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Sandra Dee

Montpellier's Linferie Queen crack

The bright purple shop front situated next to Tiffins on Montpellier Walk is deceptively small, but as soon as you enter you discover you can browse two floors of the very best designer swimwear and nightwear, as well as underwear and perfumes. This is Sandra Dee, a cornucopia of luxurious lingerie, named after its owner Sandra Davies. The ‘Dee’ Sandra tells me, comes from her middle name Deanna.

Sandra has been in business for 30 years, having opened her first shop in Clifton Village, Bristol, by cashing in her £250 pension from her previous job. She started off with knitwear, then moved into ladies clothing and then lingerie and wedding dresses. Before that, however, she was an air stewardess and an area manager for a catering supplies company.

She moved to Cheltenham in May 1994 and now owns one of the most popular shops in Montpellier. She boasts a loyal following of customers who appreciate the extra mile to which she and her staff will always go. If a customer wants something that’s not in stock, she can invariably get it for them. That is her motto, she says, and it is what singles her out from the average lingerie store.

Whether you’re size 8 or 18 Sandra and her team are the experts at making customers look and feel their very best with flattering styles and correctly fitted bras. The secret of a good bra, she informs me, is that you shouldn’t know you’re wearing one.

And that goes for underwired garments too. She demonstrates this by showing me a bra with rigid underwire from a well known high street store (which shall remain nameless) and then showing me one of the brands she stocks. The wire is flexible and comfortable, she assures me. I’d love it.

The shop sells sizes from 30 to 46, from an A cup to an H. The swimwear range also comes in cup sizes. It starts from a petite size 10A and goes up to an 18 DD with some brands also available up to an F cup, (Sandra will find you a size 20 too if you need it).

In fact there so many costumes and bikinis in a variety of colours and styles hanging on the rails which line the whole room on both sides, that I don’t know where to begin.

There is also a unique Gift Buying Service: customers can try on and choose the items they like, then pay a small deposit to reserve them. Husbands or partners can then make the purchase and it will be gift wrapped free of charge.

Amongst the brands which Sandra Dee stocks are Prima Donna, Marie Jo, LunardiSeta, Aubade, Eternal Spirits and Marjolaine, while swimwear brands include Maryan Mehlhorn, Lise Charmel, Manuel Canovas, Charmline, Louis Féraud, Roidal, Miracle Suit and Gottex.

Sandra Dee is located at Montpellier Walk, Cheltenham GL50 1SD. Telephone 01242 238427 or email shop@sandradee.co.uk. Opening hours are 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday.