LaFleur was founded in by Sarah LaFleur to meet the needs of women in the corporate world who want a more interesting work wardrobe. The budget question is an interesting one: The other clothes were equally as impressive, with cuts that were conservative, yet more interesting than your run-of-the-mill corporate attire.
Over the last 12 months, its employee headcount has shot up from 14 to Inspired by the Japanese tradition of serving an entire five-course meal in a neat little box, MM. LaFleur sends customers a box of personally curated products from their website designed to come together as a complete set of outfits—dresses, blazers, even accessories—that a woman would need for a week at the office.
Customers who visit the website are invited to answer a very short questionnaire about their style and body shape, and a week later the Bento arrives at their doorstep. They can keep and pay for the products they like, then return the rest for free. LaFleur blog, LaFleur points out that Barack Obama only wears gray or blue suits to cut down on the number of decisions he has to make every day. The Bento is MM. The goal of the box is to give the customer an opportunity to experience the quality and fit of the products without expecting her to spend time or effort in the shopping process.
The Bento service allows women to experience the attention to detail that goes into every garment, since it is almost impossible to demonstrate this on a website, LaFleur says. But we went in the exact opposite direction: I think the same should be true for clothes.
To achieve a perfect fit, Nakamura uses a wide range of models during the design process, rather than just using a size two model and then proportionally scaling up, which is standard practice in the fashion industry. When she is creating a new dress, she drapes layers of material on the model, then cuts the dress as necessary to sculpt the right look and ensure that the fabric does not bunch up at the seams. LaFleur team also innovates by finding materials that look luxurious but are easy to maintain: Many of the clothes in the collection are machine washable and can be worn right out of the suitcase when a woman is on a business trip.
And unlike other brands that offer new clothes every season, MM. LaFleur does not respond to seasonal trends. Many of the dresses in their collection have been around since the company launched in , which is not common among contemporary brands. The Sarah dress, for instance, was one of the first dresses Nakamura designed for MM. LaFleur three years ago, and it is still available. Everything seemed a bit, well, corporate.
It was only when I tried on each piece that I started to change my mind. Take the Emily dress, for example. But trying it on, the design came alive. It was tight in all the right places, form-fitting, yet professional. And it had pockets! The fabric itself was heavy and wrinkle-resistant; it was the kind of dress you could wear season after season.
The other clothes were equally as impressive, with cuts that were conservative, yet more interesting than your run-of-the-mill corporate attire. I loved the deep teal color and stretchy, comfortable fabric of the Noho skirt and the cornflower blue of the Didion shirt.
The Sant Ambroeus cardigan had a great structured feel and interesting detailing on the sleeves. All of these items were perfect for someone who already owns a lot of black. What blew me away about MM. LaFleur was the quality of the clothes.
The Bento Box gave me a good feel for the brand and is an excellent option for those who are unfamiliar with the company. Ordering and returning the clothes was a piece of cake: The primary downside is that the selection on the site is quite limited. There are currently 21 dresses in the online store and just eight skirts. According to a representative of the company, MM launches full collections twice a year spring and fall , but changes the mix of styles and colors continually.
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