An Interview with Elif Ucan, Owner and Designer of Touche Pas

Designer and entrepreneur Elif Ucan is making life easier for us with her brilliant little slips of washable fabric designed to “shield” you from sticky, messy, less than savory day-to-day experiences.  Elif is an entrepreneur and education policy analyst based in NYC and Istanbul, Turkey, who studied law in Germany for her undergraduate degree, worked in the fashion industry, and recently earned her second master degree from Harvard University.   Read all about why you need the Touche Pas “Universal Square” below.

 RW: How did the idea of Touche Pas come to you?

EU: The idea to create this project came to me while I was working in the fashion industry in NYC prior to graduate school. I was constantly rushing around the city for production and being exposed to the dirty, sticky seats found in the city’s public transportation, whether subway, taxi, or bus. Hot, muggy NYC summers exacerbated this issue and prompted me to begin taking a scrap of leftover silk with me to sit on. It was such an easy solution to the problem. After friends began requesting scraps of silk, I decided to create the product.

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 RW: Will you take us briefly through the process of starting to manufacture the product.

EU: Coming from the fashion industry, it was important to me to create a product that was both attractive and functional. I wanted women to feel they could use the product without compromising their fashion integrity. Inspired by the design of the iconic Hermes silk scarf, I created the Universal Square using a natural silk-like fiber with more durability to better suit the use of the product and make it low maintenance to care for. I was careful to create a square large enough to be useful, yet small enough to fit into the compact pouch and easily in most handbags.

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RW: What were your biggest challenges when starting the business?

EU: Touche Pas is a project I began while in graduate school. Juggling starting a business with another full-time commitment was not easy, but a valuable lesson in time management. One of the greatest challenges while developing the product was sourcing lightweight durable fabric that would create fashion appeal.

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 RW:  What’s the most creative way you’ve seen the Universal Square used?

EU: I have seen people use the product in many great ways, such as in the park, as a mini-cover-up on the beach, or to protect their kids from surfaces in public settings, to name a few. The most creative way I have seen the product used was as a face mask while driving a four-wheeler through Mumbai, India.

 RW: What’s the best way to wash Touche Pas products?

EU: The best way to wash Touche Pas products is to wash with like colors using the hand wash or gentle washing machine cycle followed by hang drying them.

RW: Do you have plans for more products?

I am currently building on the “urban shield” concept by developing Spoke, a new line of urban accessories. Stay tuned for our launch at spokebike.com!

 RW: You’re a Harvard Square local, what are your favorite places to shop and eat?

EU: Aside from shopping at Forty Winks, I have a few local Cambridge favorites. Since I love to cook, Formaggio on Huron Ave. became part of my weekly routine. Their selection of organic produce, cheese, wine, and bread from Poilane is unsurpassed in Cambridge. For drinks, the bar at Harvest is a favorite. Bartender Kelly Unda makes the best drinks in Cambridge. No contest. For dinner, both Ten Tables and Central Kitchen are ideal for farm-to-table cuisine and good wine.

 RW: Do you have any advice for ladies starting their own business?

EU: Be agile, be a phenomenal listener, cultivate a strong team, hustle, and finally, trust your instincts – they are there for a reason!

Touche Pas Universal Squares sell for $22 and available in a plethora of lovely colors here at Forty Winks.  xoxo.

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Our Top 5 Wireless Soft Bras

It’s shaping up to be one hot summer and while I’m not complaining (especially after that winter from hell) sometimes my everyday bras just get a little hot.  When temps are high, I usually reach for something wireless and without molding.  I find these styles to be more breathable and generally more comfortable when I’m sweating my butt off (if we’re being frank).  While wireless styles aren’t for everyone, a lot women are surprised by the support a well constructed wireless can offer.   Interested?   Below are our top five soft bras in no particular order.

(Ladies with bigger busts should try soft cup styles with underwire for a cooler, summertime option.  I’ll be posting on this next week, so stay tuned!)

Cosabella Never Say Never Sweetie Soft Bra ($54)

Great for slightly larger cups (up to a 32E, 34D, 36C/D, 38B/C depending on your support needs) the Cosabella Sweetie is my personal favorite.  The additional lace underneath the bust and the stretchy, yet strong fabrication add additional support.

 

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 Eberjey’s India Retro Bralet ($54)

Meredith’s favorite in the summer months, the India’s main draw is it’s minimalist take on a lace bra.  The teeny, tiny straps are perfectly delicate and can be easily hidden under even a thin strapped tank.   Supportive up to a small D cup.

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Samantha Chang My Daily Soft Bra ($50)

This lace lovely from Samantha Chang really shines due to its accommodating neckline. Thin straps and wider set lace “cups” are perfect for plunging and other décolleté revealing shirts and dresses.  Works well up to a medium D cup.

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Clo Intimo Fortuna Soft Bra ($64)

The Fortuna Soft Bra features gorgeous signature lace designed with love by Colombian lingerie designer Claudia Ochoa.   Our favorite feature is the front closure hooks that gently create a subtle cleavage, something you don’t often get without underwire.    Great up to a D cup (depending on support needs).

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Only Hearts Soft Bras 

You really can’t go wrong with any of Only Hearts’ soft bra options.  Made in the USA and from the ultimate in comfy fabrics, their wireless styles just fit.  My current favorite is the Second Skin Soft Bra (in store only) which features a smooth, non-lace cup and delicate straps.

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We hope you’ll stop by soon!
-Rachel

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A Peek At Our Shoot With Malktime Photography

We love to provide lingerie for local photographers to shoot.  It’s because while we look at our wares with a straightforward eye- is it pretty, does it fit-photogs look at it with a creative eye and turn lingerie into something artful.  The end results are always gorgeous.

We love what Ektor of Malktime Photography did with some of our pieces.  Some shots are soft and sweet, some are a little weird (we love foxes), and some have a bit of an edge.  See for yourself and let us know what you think.

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A huge thank to Ektor, owner and photographer, of Malktime Photography (@malktime_photography)  and to the models, Caitlin (@spookyfoxy), Alex (@alexandiramorrow), Kate (@thee1K_T_B) and Crystal (@vixen_dionysus), you ladies look amazing!  Lovely makeup by @tinamuaphoto, thank you all!

 

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Movement: An Easy Way To Keep Your Breasts Healthy

Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant and guest blogger Hilary Donaldson tells us how to keep our breasts healthy though movement and mindfulness.  Thanks Hilary!

We are all concerned about our breast health as women today. According to U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics, breast cancer will affect around 1 out of every 10 women during their lifetime. Our breasts are very important to us. They provide nourishment to our babies, make us feel beautiful as women, and give us pleasure. So let’s talk about how to protect these amazing breasts of ours through movement.

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Moving our breasts whether through massage, running, or foreplay is extremely important for maintaining healthy tissue and a healthy lymphatic system, yet as time has progressed, we have found more ways to strap our breasts down. From corsets in the 16th Century to sitting at a desk all day or wearing underwire bras to sleep, we’ve found many ways to keep our breasts from moving.

While it’s unrealistic to say that you shouldn’t work at a desk or wear underwire bras, I encourage you to utilize breast movement as an antidote. Daily massage of your breast tissue (don’t forget your armpit area) with organic oil such as coconut or sesame is an easy, yet effective way to maintain breast health. It just takes five minutes to do (do it while you’re in the shower!). Simply grab, rub and move your breast tissue. Work your way around the breast, moving to the armpit and down the upper arm. If you have a history of lumps or cysts, try using castor oil as it helps remove stagnation.

Another way to break up stagnation is to take off your bra for a few hours a day to allow for movement and circulation in your breasts. The more movement the better; do jumping jacks, go horseback riding, or jump on a trampoline. At night sleep in a chemise, t-shirt or in the buff.  If you feel unsupported you can try a loose fitting “sleep bra.”  Without this type of movement, stagnation can occur and stagnation is one of the main causes of cancer and ill health.

Diet and lifestyle choices are also very important to breast health. Ill health caused by obesity is linked, on many levels, to a stagnate lifestyle. It’s best to choose organic, GMO free, whole, local foods from your local grocery store or farmers market. Add flavors to foods that are fresh, seasonal and unprocessed through spices or herbs, and try to avoid processed and packaged foods and even leftovers. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself “is this what this food looked like when it came from nature?”

Another tip is to choose antiperspirant free deodorants. The chemicals in antiperspirant block the drainage of our lymph’s creating toxic build up which can move into our breast tissue. One of my favorite brands is Schmidt’s natural deodorant which keeps me dry and smelling good.

In addition to these tips, try to make time for daily movement or exercise and make sure to get enough rest.  Take some time each day or week to sit quietly or for a stroll in nature. It’s these simple principles that can maintain our breast and overall health.

In summation:

  • Move your breast every day.  Jump, shake, and massage the breast tissue.
  • Massage your breasts and underarms with coconut or sesame oil for five minutes daily.
  • Don’t sleep in your bras, especially ones with underwire. Sleep in loose clothing or in the buff; let your breasts move freely.
  • Switch to natural deodorant.  Schmidts makes a great one.  (Find it here)
  • Choose food that is as close to its original natural form as possible.
  • Take time for yourself through daily movement.  Even a short walk each day can work wonders for your health.

Hilary Donaldson is an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant and Yoga Teacher in the Boston area. You can reach her at elementalayurvedayoga@gmail.com 

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Monday Moodboard: Birds of a Feather…

Feathers

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Show Your Momma Some Love: Our Mother’s Day Picks

Stumped about what to get your mom this Sunday?  We’re here to help!  Behold our top 5 picks for making your mama happy this Mother’s Day.

Eberjey Short PJ Sets: 

Spruce up mom’s spring sleepwear with this comfy and cute PJ set! Comfy and practical, this button-down top and matching shorts are sure to please.

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Samantha Chang My Daily Slip:

This beautifully fitting slip can be mom’s go-to for under dresses and skirts. It’s also a lovely little nightie! The matching lace undies available in store make a gorgeous set.

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Mary Green Silk Chemise and Eye Mask:

Help mom get her much deserved beauty rest with this luxurious chemise in 100% silk. She’ll love the adorable silk eye mask she can flip for morning or night… after all, moms should sleep in style too!

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Eberjey Gisele Classic Robe:

Its soft, lightweight material makes the Gisele robe comfy all year long. It hits just above the knee; and the belt is sown on so it can’t get lost! This robe is perfect for the mom who likes to relax at home while looking elegant.

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Lola Haze Vionnet Chemise:

From one of our favorite independent designers in New York, Lola Haze brings us a stunning white 100% silk chemise with a chiffon chevron pattern in nude, and black contrast straps. Your mom will love this modern twist on the classic silk chemise!

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We are happy to help you find a gift in store before Sunday. For online shoppers, we now offer free shipping and returns, which means we can send your gift straight to mom. Happy almost-mother’s-day to all!

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Monday Moodboard: Peace and Quiet

I’m off today, with nothing on the horizon but a yoga class at noon and a day of puttering around in my apartment.  Scott and I are going to repot some plants and I’m going to try a couple of new recipes.  It’s a day to catch up on chores, work on lapsed projects, and rejuvenate through simply being in my home.   I’ll be more relaxed and centered after a day of ticking things off of my to-do list.

Do others find these types of catch up days relaxing or boring?  I’d love to know.  xoxo.

-Rachel

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Monday Moodboard: Dream A Little Dream

Dreamy little shots are what I’m about this week.   I love how well lingerie fits into whimsical and lovely pictures like these…and I just can’t resist sharing the shot of that sweet little moth.  Here’s to a happy week! xoxo

-Rachel

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Love Chantelle? Buy Any Two Bras, Get Free Tote

Chantelle has always been one our very favorite purveyors of lingerie.  We love their willingness to innovate as well as their dedication to classic silhouettes and styles.   Our philosophies are always the same; we here at Winks believe in well fitting, beautiful lingerie and Chantelle always provides us with just that.

Which is why we’re excited to promote the brand through a free gift with purchase program starting this weekend.   Now, whenever you buy two Chantelle bras or a full set at Forty Winks, we’ll give you a free Chantelle tote bag courtesy of the designers themselves.

Here are a few Chantelle pieces to pique your interest.  Hope to see you soon!

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Donate A Bra, Take 15% Off at Forty Winks!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve again partnered with Free The Girls for our 2nd Annual Bra Drive!  Bring us your gently used bras Friday, April 25th through Sunday, April 27th and we’ll give you 15% off your entire purchase.

Don’t have any bras to part with?  Bring in a monetary donation of $10 or more and we’ll give you the same discount.

Forty Winks will be donating $1 for every bra donated to help off set the cost of international shipping, so bring us lots of bras!

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