How about a hot sex tip for Valentine’s Day? In one word, lingerie. The gift that keeps on giving, to both the giftee and possibly (hopefully!) the gifter. It might seem obvious, but it’s so true: the right pieces of intimate apparel can boost your self-confidence and your sense of play—which can make you very sexy.
Local designer Romance Anastasa, 34, is well aware of that power and has created and sold quality intimate apparel since 2015. She founded her company Queendom by Romance “after noticing that the local area was an undergarment dry zone,” as she writes on the brand’s website.
Born and raised in Bronzeville, Anastasa says she has found her calling. “From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur—it was in my blood! My great-grandmother owned taverns in the neighborhood,” Anastasa tells me. “I always wanted to be a boss like her but hadn’t quite found my passion yet.”
Since her own first name wasn’t enough of a hint, Anastasa stumbled on her dream career while working her way through school at Macy’s, where she started as a sales associate in the lingerie department and was shortly promoted to lingerie specialist.
“At that time I began planning to open my own lingerie store one day. After working as a nurse and health care sales executive for over five years, I took the leap and successfully opened the first brick-and-mortar location in Bronzeville on 47th Street . . . We offered free bra sizing regardless of purchase upon first opening, and I had the pleasure of sizing a lot of the women in my community. It was through these intimate moments that my customers began to tell me about the other types of products they wanted to buy, so I began to make them. What makes Queendom by Romance so special is because it was all truly born out of love,” she says.
But love is not all lace and roses. Anastasa admits that becoming an entrepreneur has been a “wild roller coaster ride.” “I have lost it all and rebuilt at least twice,” she reflects. “But I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. Every single moment has prepared me for the future, and I wouldn’t change a thing,” she says.
What happened during COVID illustrates Anastasa’s point. “I had built my success around foot traffic and community engagement. When the pandemic hit, I was forced to close my doors and pivot to e-commerce. It was extremely hard for me, but pivoting to e-commerce helped me develop myself more as a designer because it allowed me to really focus on my passion. It also allowed me the time to become a designer-in-residence with the Chicago Fashion Incubator,” she reflects. Anastasa holds the organization in high regard: “I have been with CFI for a little over a year now and will probably be with them until they kick me out! My experience with CFI has been invaluable,” she says.
Though there’s always so much to learn, Anastasa has an innate talent for design and selects incredibly sexy lingerie for an extended range of sizes for her shop. Her small yet well-curated collection features lots of color and fun details, oftentimes in pieces that don’t need to be an exact size to fit (wink, wink, gift size problem averted) but still wear comfortably. Special mentions to the lingerie set Rose & Thorn ($42.99), which comes in a “queen” size option and to the Janet babydoll and G-string set ($41). Both sets could work beautifully for any body type.
With two size options (S/M or M/L) and ribbons that can create multiple combinations, the hot pink Farah lingerie set ($39.99) is also a lovely choice. Besides lingerie sets, Queendom by Romance offers bustiers, bras, bralettes, and a few accessories, such as the must-have mesh Onyx Opera gloves ($24.99).
Though her line is very affordable (prices start around $29.99 for lingerie items), Anastasa says that quality really matters to her. “It is very important for me that Queendom creates a safe place and community for those that not only love quality things but also have a love for every single inch of themselves,” she says. With the added benefit of this being a Black-owned and local business—what’s not to love?
Queendom by Romance
queendombyromance.com; queendombyromance at Instagram