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A Mention of Unmentionables

Every woman knows you can never have enough lingerie. After all, it's what's underneath that really counts. And these days, there is simply not enough room in our lingerie drawers for the plethora of brands and styles from which to choose from. There are the sultry, sexy pieces for when you're having company. And then there are the sweet and comfy pajamas for nights to yourself. Two treasure-filled boutiques that offer both the naughty and nice and everything in between are Les Cent Culottes and Belle Cose.

Les Cent Culottes, or "100 Panties", carries only French brands. Browse through the shop, and you will understand why the word lingerie originates from les Francais. There is a certain "je ne sais quoi" that renders these underthings extra delicate and feminine. Owner Sophie Baudet fills her 2-year-old boutique with personally picked items. She makes bi-annual trips back to her home country to stock the shelves with unique, decadent styles. A lime and lilac wall frames hard to find, handmade, embroidered sets from Lise Charmel; while another is decked with lacy Papillon Blanc (which isn't even imported to the States). Step over to the value corner that offers more reasonably priced separates and matching sets from Princess Tam Tam and DIM, a very popular French equivalent of Victoria's Secret. If you're searching for the perfect strapless bra or supportive slip, chances are you'll find it here. For those who weren't born with a va-va-voom model figure, there's a wide variety of figure-boosting items to get you there. Beautiful rib squeezing corsets could be great over those designer jeans sitting at home. There are also satin nightgowns, nighties and pajamas to choose from. One thing to note, if you feel the itch to exercise the plastic, this is the place to splurge.

Just a few blocks away, Belle Cose invites you to a vintage boudoir storefront. Here, the old mingles with the new. Proprietor Teresa Nittolo presents a range of designer lingerie from Calvin Klein to Princess Tam Tam. Renown local designer, Mary Green, has full reign in this space with her coquettish ribbon and sheer silk numbers. Another prevalent brand you'll find is Only Hearts, making cute camisoles and boy shorts pairs you can't help but picture yourself in. As you meander through this ultra-lady-like shop, you might even find a great vintage nightgown from the 1930's draped over antique dressers that are also for sale. Belle Cose also carries everything from Spanish hand-crafted soaps to beaded coin purses to perfumes to necklaces.

When you're looking for that perfect little underthing, be sure to visit these two shops. There are great finds to be had from Les Cent Culottes and Belle Cose. Places like these remind us how fun it is being a girl.

Les Cent Culottes
1504 Vallejo Street
(Vallejo @ Polk)
Hours: Tues-Sat 11:30am-7:30pm,
Sun 12-6pm, Closed Mon.
Phone: 415.614.2586

Belle Cose
2036 Polk Street
(Polk @ Pacific)
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-6:30pm,
Sat 11am-6pm,
Sun 12-5pm
Phone: 415.474.3494