Soccer phenom Brandi Chastain may have made the sports bra hip, but it’s not as if she really needed a $42 brand-name brassiere for her World Cups. Judging from the photos, she could have done just as well in an $8 training bra. Her now-famous Nike halter top wouldn’t be much use to the average American woman, whose 36Cs jiggle way too much for a Brandi bra.
That’s why the Dor-Ne Corset Shoppe at 925 F St. NW is the busty woman’s savior. The 67-year-old store caters to the voluptuous—women who pop out of Victoria’s Secret demis and can’t find athletic wear to buttress 38 FF bodices. Along with tangerine polyester pants and floral-print muumuus, Dor-Ne sells bras from 32 A to 52 II, plus queen-size pantyhose for gals up to 490 pounds. Recently, the store started stocking a few full-figured bathing suits, too, with “very positive result,” according to owner Zina Leshchiner, a lovely Russian woman who used to be a customer.
If you need real support, Dor-Ne is the place to come—at least until the Archdiocese of Washington wins permission to tear down its building and puts up an office tower. If that happens, Leshchiner will relocate to suburban Maryland, where parking is better. “We are unique and one-of-a-kind,” says Leshchiner. “We are custom-made, custom-fit, the same way it was done in the old days.”
Arlington resident Kathryn Ruggiero has been shopping at Dor-Ne for 40 years. “I’m still coming here with a hernia,” she says, after asking for some Vanity Fair panties.
Awash in beige and ’50s pink, Dor-Ne’s is no-nonsense, back-straightening, Jane Russell lingerie that will lift and separate the heftiest of bosoms. “Wictoria’s Secret sell beautiful things with no support,” Leshchiner says with a heavy Russian accent. “Who else sells corsets today? We are only one. Lots of other stores sell lingerie, but not size, quality. Wictoria Secret send me customers.”
At Dor-Ne, there’s no browsing. With the efficiency of a Russian drill master and no adolescent fear of breasts, Leshchiner and her minions loop you with measuring tape, shamelessly eyeball your decolletage, and then order a girdle set from the stockroom. “You might see something and think, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’ but I will tell you—that’s not right for you,” says Leshchiner.
Pointing to a woman and her daughter leaving the store clutching recent purchases, Leshchiner whispers, “You see? She is 13-year-old girl—38 F. She does exercising, but she cannot find—nowhere in no department store anywhere—a bra to fit. She buys big around the middle, which is too loose, and then the cup, she’s spilling out all over! But here, I fix her. Every person on earth need special touch.” —Stephanie Mencimer