in partnership
Kim Putens, Bloomers owner (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

Local business owner changes the undergarment scene

Ladies, let's talk about a little well-known experience... You walk into a Victoria's Secret, overwhelmed by lace, things that are made of very little fabric and giant portraits of women who look nothing, may I repeat NOTHING, like real women.

You wander around aimlessly looking for a bra that might fit right... but you don't want to try it on because the lines in the fitting room are just way too long. You put it in your shopping bag that the sales associate has now forced upon you and you head over to the five for $27 undie deal (unless it's panty raid time...then you get the seven for $27... you know what I'm talking about). You then leave the store wondering if you made a good purchase or if that bra will actually fit.

This kind of shopping experience is exactly what motivated Kim Putens to open up her shop Bloomers in Old Town, Alexandria. Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Putens saw a need for a store focusing on underwear, sleepwear, and loungewear that wasn't lingerie. Putens understood what was missing and what was needed in the area. "I think more than anything, I probably know this area better, from a retail perspective, because I remember growing up in Maryland, and I can honestly say I remember not having many options when it came to bra and underwear shops," said Putens.

"I wanted something that was fun, not intimidating, that really focused on everyday basics, not your edible underwear or other stuff that just doesn't appeal to me in any way," explained Putens.

Bloomers is a small shop with a large selection of bras and underwear that don't sacrifice beauty for comfort. As you walk into the 600-square-foot store, you are surrounded by bright, vibrant colors and friendly employees that are ready to help you in any way they can. The selection at Bloomers includes quality brands like Hanky Panky, Cosabella, and Natori. Prices for bras range around $40 to $80 and underwear around $10 to $32.

The staff is trained not to just sell to sell, but to get you in a bra that you feel confident and comfortable in. "Bloomers will not be the place to come to get your red bra or your hot, sexy pink bra -- I'm going to have your black and nude bras and I am going to have good bras that fit you well," said Putens. "I'm going to make sure you walk out happy and if I can't find something for you I'm going to tell you 'I just don't have something for you'."

Putens says the biggest mistake women make when buying undergarments is not taking the time to try something on. "What women don't understand is that bra sizing is just like clothing sizing, J. Crew fits you differently than Forever 21, because there is no universal sizing. The same thing is true with bras," explained Putens.

If you immediately want to take off your bra when you get home, Putens says that is a sign that you are not wearing the right size bra. She says the bra size you get fitted for is a guideline, but it is not necessarily your size. That is why at Bloomers you are encouraged to try things on and the sales associates will help you every step of the way.

And just remember that Chanel suit won't look as fabulous if you have on the wrong undergarments!