Have you ever experienced that feeling of nausea-fuelled anxiety when entering a lingerie store, mostly drawn by the “beauty standards” set by their window displays, just to realize that the delicate black lace panties and matching bra you’ve been eyeing, dig into your skin in ways you never would’ve imagined before? And yet there you are, trying to squeeze into something, which regardless of what the tag says is meant for someone two sizes smaller than you, while you achingly attempt to understand the reasoning behind the sales associate’s forced excitement upon viewing your “lovely lady lumps”, because…well, she’s about to make that sale.
Well fear no more!
Meet Ashley Holden and Amy Pearson, best friends and founders of “Stole My Heart” – a lingerie boutique born out of the need to embrace the beauty and diversity of the female body; a place, where you no longer need to sweat your nerves out when browsing through the racks of delicate lace, airy cotton panties and silky pyjamas.
I pay a visit on a crispy Friday morning. As I enter, I take a moment to look around and take in the decor – a well balanced mix of urban cool and modern vintage, perfectly representing the girls’ different personalities, blended into one. The accent wallpaper, comprised of dusty pink and creamy white flowers blooming out of the smokey charcoal background, solely represents the girls’ personas working together as one, as they sit on two green velvet chairs that I immediately want to take home with me. But all romance aside, because what followed was a conversation based on the truth behind the lingerie struggle of the REAL WOMEN OF TORONTO and beyond. (How’s that for a potential TV Series, on the female struggle with tight elastic bands and ill-fitting bras?)
As we sit and chat about the state of the retail industry, as it applies to a woman’s everyday basic need of feeling good underneath her clothes, I find out that both Amy and Ashley have “been there” when attempting to find the right shape of underwear for their body types. Upon discussing past experience, they both mention a time when they walked into a lingerie store – two beautiful young women of different shapes, looking for the right fit, striking out and resorting to “drinking [the disappointment] out of [their] systems”. It is around that time that they experienced that tiny, light bulb flash and realized they can be the ones to turn it all around for women, experiencing similar struggles.
In November of 2016, after years of waiting for the industry to sober up and realize the true needs of the end consumer and followed by months of planning and strategizing, A & A opened Stole My Heart in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Dundas West.
The location was strategically picked, as Dundas West is one of those Toronto neighbourhoods, that already promises to soon become the hub of all “cool and hip” that’s about to hit Toronto and Amy and Ashley’s beautifully curated space is already attracting a dedicated crowd.
As we near the end of our chat, I can’t help but ask the questions of “role models” and am not surprised that Ashley Graham is on top of that list – a woman, whose confidence levels shoot through the roof, as she aims to inspire more people to embrace the lack of a gap between their thighs. Like this:
And as timing proves to always work in “mysterious ways”, I am currently listening to Ms Graham answer VOGUE’s 73 Questions and it only seems fitting to end this post with a quote:
“Beauty comes in all Shapes and Sizes. Rock Your Confidence.”
Stole My Heart is located at 1504 Dundas Street West in Toronto and awaiting for you 24/7 at www.stolemyheart.ca. Tip: visit by the end of this week, to take advantage of their current sale on too many gorgeous items and finally begin to embrace your inner goddess.