A few months ago, I was on The Lingerie Addict Twitter talking with a reader, when a retailer said to me, completely out of the blue, “For someone who isn’t a lingerie expert, you sure know a lot about lingerie.”
Now, I wasn’t offended by her comment. I’ve always been completely open and honest about the fact that I’ve never worked for a lingerie boutique, a lingerie brand, or a lingerie designer. I’m proud of being one of the very few lingerie bloggers out there who doesn’t come from a fashion, media, or marketing background. The Lingerie Addict is and always has been about talking lingerie from an everyday woman’s point of view…not from the industry point of view.
(As an aside, if you do want to know what my career has been for the last 7 years, sign up for the Very Important Addict List…I’ve got a special announcement to make tomorrow.)
But her remark did get me thinking. If, after 3 years of blogging about lingerie, I didn’t know enough to be a lingerie expert…well, then who does?
I don’t believe working in a lingerie boutique is enough in and of itself to make one a lingerie expert. I’ve had a bra fitting at one of the most famous lingerie boutiques in America, and was left unimpressed. And I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of visiting a lingerie boutique and realizing the staff knew very little about the merchandise (which, if you’re a boutique owner reading this, is really not okay).
I don’t believe working for a lingerie brand necessarily makes you a lingerie expert either.You’ll learn that particular brand’s products inside and out, but how much of your knowledge is generalizable to other brands? Not to mention the inherent conflict of interest in working for one brand–you’re automatically inclined to think their products are best for everyone…when that may not be the case.
And, to bring things a little bit closer to home, I don’t believe being a writer or an editor (yes, even a writer or editor of a lingerie publication) automatically makes you an expert. As I mentioned in this lingerie article, one of the lesser-known secrets of the lingerie industry (and of fashion in general) is that the brand with the biggest PR team wins. Which means there is a lot of amazing lingerie we never, ever hear about.
I guess what I’m asking is the same question from the title, “What makes someone a lingerie expert?” I don’t think you have to be an “expert” to know what fits and flatters your body, or to know what you like and don’t like. And you certainly don’t need to live in a fashion capital or have a huge lingerie budget to be an expert…though I think that’s the message we get from the media sometimes.
I’ve said a lot about what I don’t think so far…so here’s what I do think. I think every woman has the ability and the capacity to become a lingerie expert, even if you’re just a lingerie expert for yourself. Being passionate about lingerie, being curious about lingerie, being well-informed about lingerie, and being willing to make a lingerie mistake or two…that’s what makes you an expert (and a lingerie addict too, for that matter). It’s not necessarily about being told what to wear or telling others what to wear, it’s about caring enough to make sure you are wearing the best possible undies you can. That your lingerie fits, flatters, and makes you feel like the amazing woman you already are.
I know this a controversial position. I’m basically saying that everyone’s a lingerie expert…or that no one’s a lingerie expert. But I’ve been turning this question over for awhile, and I’m really interested in what other people have to say. So what do you think, dear readers? What makes someone a lingerie expert? Can we all be lingerie experts? Are lingerie experts helpful at all? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I read every single one of them.