Raised between Paris and the United States, I grew up wearing dessous — French underpieces for layering — that I had inherited from my grandmother, a devotee of elegance, style, subtlety and practical solutions for making all those things last.

It wasn’t until I was a designer working in New York in my thirties that I finally needed to replace my well-worn dessous, which was when I realized they not only did not exist in the States but that the Swiss-made pieces I’d been wearing were far more expensive than I’d guessed. On the (very) plus side, traditional dessous are both incredibly delicate, feather-light and remarkably durable, capable of withstanding years of washing without losing their shape or falling apart. They dramatically extend the lifespan of your wardrobe because this barely-there layer between skin and clothing means your favorite pieces needed to be washed far less often, protecting them in the same way socks protect shoes. The downside: I discovered these layers I’d worn without a second thought for so long were $600 to $800.

As a designer myself, I knew it would be nearly impossible to produce dessous of equal quality at a lower price point, but for years I kept experimenting anyway, sourcing and searching for ways to make it work. Simultaneously, the wholesale model of the fashion industry began to shift and turn towards direct brand-to-client interaction until it finally became possible to create and offer these pieces in exactly the way I’d always wanted to.

Today, I design each piece in Nashville, Tennessee, the city I now call home, and each is sewn in New York by the same team I worked with during my years there. I use a particular Japanese cotton, long-known for its superior weave and weight, from one producer and custom embroideries from an old lace mill north of Paris that still employs the same techniques they used in my grandmother’s time. Dessous are not for fast fashion; they’re precisely what makes fashion age well — an investment that preserves elegance and luxury in everyday life. And that’s such a beautiful thing.