Review: Kaori’s Closet
(their website; their facebook; yelp)
Kaori’s Closet is a small bra boutique in Manhattan, just on the edge of Soho; not hard to spot if you have the intersection. It might have felt like my older sister’s room, if I had an older sister who was a super feminine girl obsessed with underwear. It’s prettily designed and very comfortable. I was the only one there at first, but a few other customers wandered in when I was finishing up.
When I marched in, the salesperson cheerily asked if I needed help. (She was one of two on the floor; the other worked in the back and around the floor with other customers while I was in the store.)
This was my first time buying a bra on my own (yeah… I actually never really went shopping for anything before college. Even in college my purchases were mainly food and books and more food.) so I wanted to go “I’m totally lost in here, save meee” but was able to keep my cool and say “Yeah, that would be great.”
They have one small fitting room in the store. The doorway is covered with a long two-layered curtain and secured with velcro; the doorways face the windows/street, but the salesperson will ask for permission to come in and carefully maneuver so that the outer curtain keeps you safely concealed from Houston. There’s a poster on the wall, next to the mirror, with diagrams and directions on how to bend and scoop and adjust your bra correctly. The salesperson did explain how to go in a hook farther as the elastic wore out from washing.
I told her what I needed–a bra for this purple shirt–and she measured me with a tape (in the fitting room, shirt on but jacket off (yes I wear jackets in NY summer; I like to be warm)). She informed me that I was 32DD or 32DDD (depending on bra design, size fluctuates; it was good that she understood that); I’m no longer 32, so either I was 32 at that point when she measured me, she had an accurate measurement with no ridiculous adding of inches, and then I just had a good healthy re-migration of tissue, or she measured me incorrectly (but since the bras she gave me to try were all pretty tight, I doubt it?), or she didn’t have sub-32s in stock (again, the 32s I tried were pretty secure).
The objective was a bra that did not show under a dark purple shirt that had armholes that went below where most bra bands begin to show, so she brought me lots (lots!) of black, dark, and nude bras in a good variety of sizes. For some designs, she brought me the identical bra in two sizes; a good sign indicating a knowledgeable and considerate bra-fitter. They (the bras) were all gorgeous and, uh, all pricey.
As far as I recall, the bras ranged from around $50s to $90s, mostly at the higher end of that. This was a specialty retail store, products at retail price, so I was armed with expectations of that range from Yelp.
I ended up with a 32DDD (32E) bra, nude with elaborate black netting and lace, and removable padding (which I opted to removed right away… I still don’t hesitate about some of these things). Arguably my favorite so far; it’s a Japanese brand narue. The salesperson suggested the matching underwear but didn’t push.
Incidentally, I was there during their 4th anniversary celebration and got a flowery hairpin gift. I’m clumsy with hair ornaments so it wasn’t particularly useful (the pricetag indicated that the thing was $12, though o_o) but it was really sweet.
Two implications of the bra being Japanese: a, there is hope for Asian brands, particularly Japanese because this that I have is Japanese and Japan has always been pretty ahead in merchandising and products, but b, opportunities to explore the brand or similar brands are much diminished since I can’t read or access many Japanese resources, and Japanese products are mostly very very expensive (although high quality!).
While looking for pictures (I took pictures with my own camera but at this point am hesitating to post pictures of my underwear online) I found narue on Yahoo!Japan marketplace. Maybe someday I’ll ask a friend to help me figure that out? Because seriously, this is a awesomely beautiful and comfortable bra.