Wolford: can men work at the boutique?

Wolford Boutique in Soho

Recently there was a post on Hosiery Advocate’s blog about him feeling that Wolford doesn’t wish to hire male staff.  Eugene, the Hosiery Advocate, even went as far as writing them a letter.

I was in the area, so I walked in and asked about that.  The lady working there told me that they have no problem with hiring men.  However, she did mention that some female customers would rather have another female assist them with the change room.

It seems to me that Wolford may lose sales if their customers are not comfortable wtih the sales staff.  At least when I try something on I ask the sales girl to come over and look so I can be confident that this is the proper fit.   If it’s lingerie, for sure I’d prefer female staff to check the fit.

I used to know a guy in Toronto who brought in a line of Latvian lingerie.  He distributed it to stores, but he also had a retail location where I went with  my mom for shopping.  There was a change room, but he obviously didn’t offer “assistance” beyond the curtain.  I don’t know for what reason, but his business closed down eventually.

Have you ever seen men assisting women in lingerie stores with change rooms (ex. Victoria Secret, La Senza, and so on)?

What is your opinion on this?  Would it hurt Wolford’s sales if they would hire male staff to assist clients at the boutique?

I asked for some opinions and most people seemed to think along the same lines as Jenny from United States who agreed to share her response with us.

“I would definitely feel weird if a guy tried to help me make a purchase at a Wolford store or Victoria Secret. It would say to me that he has a fetish for hosiery or lingerie, and that’s not the kind of person I want standing a foot away from me while I pick out my undergarments. My guess is that most women would feel the same way, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

On the pantyhose forum there were also mentions about the fact that men and women react differently in the same situation when it comes to a sales person of an opposite gender.  Another man stated that he saw gay men working at lingerie stores and women didn’t mind, they just perceived them as one of the girls.

I even consulted two women at work about this matter.  One lady said that for sure she would prefer female staff since they have the same anatomy, but she made an exception – drag queens are OK!  Another young woman said that she doesn’t mind men at all because even her gynecologist is male, she knows what she likes and all she doesn’t require any assistance or assurance in the changeroom.

Let’s say, so far from my little research most of the time both genders would say that lingerie stores should continue to hire only women.  Is this discrimination or not?  I remember that one time a professor told me that equality is a concept that generates a lot of confusion and is often misunderstood.  Perhaps Wolford is also having that dilemma.

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What is Customer Service Like at Fogal Hosiery in Vancouver?

Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating experience for me.  You see, I never actually owned a pair of Fogal hosiery.  I decided to send my guy to buy me some from the local Fogal boutique that recently opened in Vancouver.  He went there, but returned empty-handed.

What happened?

“I didn’t get any customer service”, he said.  Turned out that when he came to the store, there was only one person working (the manager) and she was talking to a female customer.  He picked out something that he liked from the sample display and asked the manager three times for that specific item in size Medium.  All that needed to be done was to run the purchase through the cash register, that’s it!  After being in that store for some time (15 minutes according to his estimation), he walked out.

I was surprised, last time I was there I got really good service.  So I picked up the phone and called up the boutique.  The explanation I got was that the staff is trained to stay with the customer that they started working with until the end.   She explained that the other customer seemed to be very needy and required assistance.  That’s why the manager could not interrupt her conversation with the other customer and go to the cash register to process a sale.  I agree to an extent here, but if you are the only staff in the store, sometimes you need to multi-task.  She was polite and of course she apoligized, but there was no offer extended to compensate for that unfortunate experience.

I wonder if his gender made any difference.  Could it be different if it would be a woman coming in to make a purchase?  I find that sometimes in high end stores staff only watch out for their “target market”.  They may not even greet a customer if for some reason they don’t think that this person is going to buy much because of their youth or simple clothing.  I really hope that’s not the case since my first experience with Fogal was quite positive.

I am sad that it didn’t work out.  Maybe some day I’ll order it online or buy it in Toronto’s store.  This time, instead of Fogal, I went to the Wolford boutique that is literally across the corner from them and purchased another pair of Neon 40 in Cosmetic shade (skin tone).  You see, my guy was too upset to go back to the Fogal store.

I am still open-minded about the Fogal brand and I judge people favourable.  At least for now I prefer to think that it was simply inexperience of the staff  person to multi-task while working alone with multiple clients.

Note Added Later: I heard from some of my fans that they went to Fogal and got good customer service.  So maybe it was just a day of bad luck.  I would also like to say that I had AMAZING customer service at Fogal in Toronto. What is customer service like at Fogal for you?  Would love to hear.


Fogal in Vancouver (I’ve been asked about the location – so far listed in Yellow pages only)

1012 Alberni Street

Vancouver, British Columbia

1 604 685 6722

(also goes under Fogal Legwear Canada Ltd)


*Friends, the only funding for this blog is from the shop section.  Please indulge your pantyhose obsession and show some support for my work!  Your purchases make this blog possible.*

Fogal Boutique in Vancouver – New!

Fogal store opened in Vancouver 2 months ago. They also have locations in New York, Chicago, and Toronto.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Fogal opened 2 months ago right around the corner, literally, from Wolford!  They have stores in New York, Chicago, Vancouver, and Toronto.

I went inside and the staff were friendly.  They perked up when they realized that I was familiar with Fogal brand.

I was wearing my Wolford pantyhose, Neon 40, with the shine effect.  Right away I got compliments, questions, and even got presented with a similar item from Fogal line.  I asked about seamless pantyhose, but turns out that Fogal does not carry such design.

Correction:  Yes, Fogal has seamless, but they don’t sell it at that boutique.  People buy it online.  Staff at the store didn’t know about this item. 

Staff were calling me by my first name and they even offered that I’ll try on samples.  Yes, they’ve got a whole wall of samples that customers can try on before purchasing.  Both customer service and the quality of product were really good.

I only heard of Fogal from other hosiery enthusiasts, but I have never actually had a chance to try it, so I was very interested to have that opportunity.

I tried on snake print and leopard print pantyhose, as you can see on photos here.  Stay up stockings that they had on display also looked really good.  I touched the double silicon lining and it felt like it would be comfortable on the leg, not like cheaper brands that either squash your leg or simply fall off.

There were some points though that caused me to get a little concerned.  First thing that alerted me though is that they don’t sanitize the samples in between.  They tell clients to keep their underwear on when trying, but from my knowledge it’s not good to share socks since some people may have skin problems on their feet.

Second, they destroy all samples once per month at the head office in Europe.  Even staff can’t keep it for themselves.  Why?  Because it is a luxury brand, so that’s the proper thing to do, as I was told by the staff.

Since you know how I am about stitching my pantyhose and reusing it, you can probably guess my reaction!  I am not suggesting to exhibit flawed product, but there are charities like “dress for success” where women would appreciate donated used hosiery.  Vancouver is a very eco-friendly city.

It was a very nice experience overall to visit their store.  The atmosphere is very high end and they have nice displays.  I greatly recommend you to pay a visit.  They gave me two catalogs to take home, but I couldn’t wait and looked through them as soon as I left the store.  I am glad to see that serious hosiery brands are coming to North America and I hope that they’ll bring along a wave of femininity that will inspire women to dress beautifully.

Wall of samples on display.

Great selection of colours.


*Friends, the only funding for this blog is from the shop section.  Please indulge your pantyhose obsession and show some support for my work!  Your purchases make this blog possible.*


Fogal Boutiques Updates:

– my visit to Toronto Fogal Boutique


– my downhill experience at Vancouver Fogal boutique



Fogal in Toronto (awesome place!)

The Colonnade

131 Bloor Street West

Toronto, Ontario

1 416 929 0369


Fogal in Vancouver

1012 Alberni Street

Vancouver, British Columbia

1 604 685 6722

(also goes under Fogal Legwear Canada Ltd)