Tomima Talks: The Designer Designing Marie Jo

Updated: Oct 19


I grew up with a “set girl”. My mother only wore matching bra and panty sets. She didn’t talk about it. She didn’t show them off. It was simply her quiet truth along with a projected self-confidence. And now, as I write this, I wonder if this small adherence each morning also set her mental makeup for the day.

Are you a “set girl”? Yes? Sometimes? Want to be but need some help? Look no further than the Marie Jo brand. They understand and design to the power of a perfectly fitting bra and panty set – Ready. Set. Go!


Marie Jo Bra Sizes: Band 30-40, Cups A-F (D3)

TOMIMA: Can you first share with my readers some basic information about the Marie Jo (MJ) brand?

MAGALIE: Yes, we are a Belgium-based brand located near the city of Ghent where the famous Ghent Altarpiece by brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck resides. We are a sister brand to Prima Donna. Our focus is on stylish and unique well-fitting lingerie sets which we adapt each season. In 2018 we added swimwear to our Collection and made sure it has our same trusted fit.

TOMIMA: What was your journey to becoming a designer for MJ?

MAGALIE: I have a background as a textile designer. Always designing fabrics with a specific shape or volume in mind. As a child I was surrounded by my mother’s textiles, as she’s a hat designer. This is where my love of fabrics and fashion started.

I traveled to Tanzania to work with a group of women on woven products. I worked in a Textile Lab together with artists and designers from all over the world on innovative products.

Now, I’m a lingerie designer. The curves of a woman are the most beautiful shapes I could imagine designing for. For the last 4 years, with Marie Jo, I’ve been busy transforming all my knowledge of the different textile techniques into exciting and surprising designs.

TOMIMA: Any fun story about a mistake or design challenge?

MAGALIE: We design everything in our own stitching atelier. Sometimes when developing an idea, the colors of the materials are completely wrong, and we have crazy combinations. But often, those crazy color mixes are loved by all the seamstresses in the atelier! It has happened that we will change our initial concept because of the mixes they created! We love a little craziness; it makes our lingerie exciting!

TOMIMA: MJ is famous for the details. How are they determined each season?

MAGALIE: With Marie Jo we work to catch your eye when you shop and catch your heart when you wear it – literally and figuratively. We, therefore, work closely with our suppliers to create new fabrics and colors. We start from a single inspiration. It could be something on the catwalk, a painting, from nature, and so on. And then collaborate as a team until we have new materials that perfectly fit our Marie Jo DNA. Our uniqueness lies in new color combinations or combining two unexpected materials. Every design is full of beautiful details – those for the eyes but also invisible ones for a comfortable and supportive fit.

TOMIMA: MJ has a great bra style guide to help a woman select the perfect bra to suit her style. Can you walk my readers through it?

MAGALIE: Happy to!



Plunge bras have a lower center cut. The straps are set closer together, the underwires are higher under the arms and lower in the center to lift and center your breasts for irresistible cleavage. Especially perfect under low necklines.



Push-up bras are low cut to reveal more cleavage. Straps are set closer together with a higher underarm wire and lower in the center. Our push-ups center the breasts and add extra volume creating more cleavage. The perfect choice to wear with a low-cut, V-neck top.


TOMIMA: The MJ brand has primarily 2 distinctive cup shapes. Can you elaborate on each?

MAGALIE: Yes, we have two signature cup cuts; the heart-shaped and the rounded.

The heart-shaped cup is similar in shape to the top of a heart. It’s a full-coverage cup cut high on the top, that then dives into a deep plunge between the breasts. It’s the perfect cup shape to camouflage loss of volume and asymmetrical breasts.


Our rounded cup cut will always have some padding for modesty or added volume. It has a traditional curved line on the cups to create a natural rounded shape.


TOMIMA: Who is the MJ customer?

MAGALIE: We design bras for every woman on every occasion and for every mood. It’s important for us that the Marie Jo woman can wear the same bra from work to family and friends – day-to-night and so on.

With “My Invisible Force”, we are launching a brand new campaign that focuses on the incredible impact of the right lingerie on women’s self-confidence. Let’s be honest: The image women have of themselves is a deciding factor in how they experience their lives. That little something extra that convinces us that we are capable of moving mountains, even when it seems impossible at that point in time, is our “invisible force”. We want to propel every woman’s invisible force.

TOMIMA: What’s the female form you and your team design for?

MAGALIE: Well, I’m a bra size 70A (USA 32A). But when I enter our fitting room I’m so in awe of the beauty of every woman. I know this will sound cheesy, but I truly find that every woman is gorgeous. Each makes my designs come alive in unique ways. This discovery made me look at my own body in a more confident way. If every woman is beautiful in her way, then I am too.

TOMIMA: Can we ask you if you have a favorite MJ bra style?

MAGALIE: I’m a lover of our deep plunge wire bra, transparent (see-through), luxurious, and nice plunge in every outfit. Danae is an example of this bra. And the push-up with or without removable pads, I like the versatility of this one. These two styles have one thing in common: a lot of embroidery or lace… Guess I’m an addict.

I’m a bit self-conscious about wearing my own designs… I always see ways to improve. This gives me inspiration for next seasons, haha! When I choose my lingerie set for the day, it adds that little extra to my outfit and how I’m feeling, it’s a real booster… The greatest kind! And I can feel so complete when the color matches my outfit, it’s the little perfectionist in me.

TOMIMA: Anything special about the underwires in your products?

MAGALIE: Yes, they have a special 3-dimensional shape to be more comfortable and provide strength. The underwires’ thickness will also differ by size. And the shape of course depends on the bra style being made. Our wires are also treated with a special coating to reduce the chance of them squeaking while you move.

TOMIMA: Is there a system to MJ’s style numbers?

MAGALIE: As a customer, pay attention to the last number in our style number. It indicates the specific style. For example, if it ends in a zero, it’s our full cup bra. Ends in a six, it’s our padded heart shape. Ends in a nine, it’s our balconette style, etc.

TOMIMA: Will MJ be expanding its size range? (Band 30 – 40, cups A – F(D3)).

MAGALIE: We’re continuously evaluating our size range for specific styles. We often talk with our customers and sales team on market needs. If there is a need for a new size, we develop it. This often takes more than one season as we field test and improve a lot in the development.

Also, keep in mind that our sister brand Prima Donna also designs beautiful products, and their size range goes up to a 48 band and a K(D8) cup size.

TOMIMA: MJ is famous for their embellished shoulder straps. How did this begin?

MAGALIE: The idea originated already in the starting years of the brand. We want the concept of the beautiful laces, colors, or material combinations to be visible all over the bra. So, we add them to the straps as well. It gives not only the complete look, but it also makes you feel utterly feminine by softening the neck and shoulder line. And we have had more shapes besides dots and daisies.

TOMIMA: What would be your thoughts on an MJ woman’s capsule lingerie wardrobe?

MAGALIE: Her lingerie drawer would be a mix of minimalistic chic, luxuriously romantic, and light and daring sets. Something for every moment and every mood.

Colorwise a good mix would be a dark, a light, and a red bra set with a funky seasonal color set to brighten up your day.

Stylewise I would go for a decorated wire bra for the light sensual feeling, a smooth cup for when you want to go for the seamless look, and a beautifully embellished bra with lace or embroidery to feel empowered with your “invisible force”. I would also make a mix in briefs between seamless and decorated. That way, you always match and you can wear it with all your outfits.

TOMIMA: Can you tell my readers what you and your team are currently working on?

MAGALIE: We’re continually designing new concepts to attract the next generation of Marie Jo ladies.

Our design team always thinks outside the box, offering new interpretations on lace, unique prints, exquisite fabrics, original combinations, and sophisticated details. This makes our lingerie and swimwear anything but boring.

Right now, we are focused on light and comfortable styles. Think transparent. Lace finishes for a seamless effect, spacer cups, wireless bras…

TOMIMA: What product are you still trying to master to perfection?

MAGALIE: There are some new bra styles in development. You’ll see more soon…!

Final Thoughts…

Looking to make a lingerie set or a swimsuit set? HerRoom makes it really easy for you. Every product page on our site has a “Matching” tab located just below our “Add to Shopping Bag” button (see example below) so you can quickly see all matching options while staying on the same page.


YIKES! & YEAHS!

Fab-fitting, comfortable, stay-put strapless bras DO exist! A strapless bra is actually your ultimate bra size test; if a strapless in your normal bra size doesn’t fit, you’re in the wrong bra size. Can you spot the fits below that are giving the strapless category a bad name?


Fondly, Tomima Founder & CEO HerRoom.com

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