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Confessions of an Addict: The First Time I Wore Lingerie Under a Trench Coat

It’s almost 1:00 a.m. here and though I have a blog post on winter tights already published for today, I’m having a hard time getting to sleep. I think I’ve reached the place where I sleep better with The Boyfriend than without him… which is really new and different for me.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about some of my lingerie memories… the ones that have influenced why I think, feel, and write the way I do about lingerie. And for some reason, I keep coming back to the first time I did that whole “lingerie under the trench coat” thing. Very cliche, I know.

It was 2007/2008 and I hadn’t started blogging yet. I honestly didn’t know anything about lingerie. As a matter of fact, I was still shopping at Victoria’s Secret and wearing their uber-padded 36B bras (the size they put me in). I’ve always said that Victoria’s Secret doesn’t really sell lingerie; they sell sexy. And for some reason that weekend, I got the notion to be “sexy” for my then-boyfriend.

I bought a lace and patent leather balconette bra with coordinating garter belt, knickers, and stockings. Scandalous, skimpy, and disturbingly flimsy, this set embodied what I thought other people thought was sexy at the time. The model in the catalog certainly made it look sexy, and I bought into the promise that buying the lingerie she was wearing would make me sexy too. And wasn’t this the sort of thing guys were into anyway?

Returning home with my purchase, I spent the rest of the evening getting ready. Bath, lotion, hair, and makeup… I wanted to be immaculate from head to toe. After several hours of prep work, it was finally time to put on the lingerie. I’m sure I fumbled with the garter clasps, and I remember being terrified that my hands would rip the nylon stockings (I practiced martial arts at the time so my fingers were not delicate). I also remember feeling quite uncomfortable in the get-up and very much not like me. But it would all be worth it if the ex thought I was sexy, right? Right.

Throwing my winter coat over the ensemble and buttoning it up to the neck, I drove (carefully) over to his house, heart fluttering nervously. Even more careful steps up his driveway in my too-high heels (wouldn’t be sexy to tip over in the lawn), a quick ring of the doorbell, and I was inside and ready for the big reveal. Holding my breath in anticipation, I flung my coat open and showed him my brand new lingerie.

A moment passed.

And then another.

And another.

And then he laughed. 

Not a nervous chuckle. Not a surprised giggle. I mean a full blown belly laugh followed by (between ragged gasps of air), “You look ridiculous!”

I was shocked. Ashamed. Hurt. Embarrassed. You name it; I felt it. Most of all, I felt foolish. Very, very foolish. I pulled my coat closed and dashed up the stairs to wash my face, change my clothes, and resolve to never, ever do that again. And I haven’t.

Looking back on that moment though, I can see how it became the foundation for a lot of my perspectives about lingerie today, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Here’s a quick list:

  • buy lingerie for you, not your partner
  • in that same vein, buy what makes you feel good, not what other people say is sexy
  • dump anyone who laughs at you and says you look ridiculous in lingerie. Immediately.

I told The Boyfriend about this story a few weeks ago, and his response was, (and I quote) “What an asshole.” Followed by, “So when are you going to come over in lingerie and a trench coat for me?” And you know what? Since our two-year anniversary is coming up at the end of this month, I just might….

Photo Credit: Victoria’s Secret. This isn’t the lingerie I wore that evening, but it looks like something I would have bought at the time.

Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

32 Comments on this post

  1. Beccabees says:

    When I was going to meet my husband returning from a 15 month deployment in 2007 I wore a sexy underwear getup with a thong and garterbelt and whatever under a cute flouncy dress, but as I was bending into the car to buckle up my baby daughter in the parking lot of a gas station a guest hit me just right and blew my skirt almost over my shoulders. I FLASHED A CROWDED GAS STATION OF MY HUSBAND’S CO-WORKERS!!!!!!! Lesson: always wear a jacket while wearing scanty panties!!!!! The universe knows you want to show off your underwear, it’s just confused as to whom!!!

  2. Rachel says:

    Oh sister, I feel you on this. I have the same story. I bought a new lace slip (that I thought was sexy, at least), arranged myself *just so* on the couch with music playing. He came home from class, opened the door, chuckled/rolled his eyes, walked to the refrigerator for a beer, sat next to me where I was frozen in disbelief/confusion, moved my feet to the floor, grabbed the remote, and turned on ESPN.

    I got dressed and walked out without either of us saying a word. We never discussed it. The ignorance/uselessness of youth prevented me from realizing that we were supposed to break up at that point, took a couple more years.

    A couple years ago, I took a huge risk and did the trench coat/lingerie thing with a new man. He reacted correctly!

  3. john says:

    You made two mistakes: first you put on your lingerie for a wrong guy (Big mistake! Be happy you never married him!), and then to make things worse, you took his reaction as gospel.
    Luckily, you seem to have learned the lesson, and it has nothing to do with lingerie: if your guy reacts with laughter to you being sexy for him, he is not only a wrong guy, he is an a55hole that should not be allowed to mingle with humans, but should be displayed in a zoo or some such place.

  4. Nate says:

    Wow, I wish I could get my wife to even come close to doing something like that for me. I can barely get her to wear a matching bra and panty…garterbelt? Forget it! I have to beg for that kind of ensemble..needless to say, your “man” (I put that in quotes because he obviously was not much of a man) was a fool. Hope your new man is much more appreciative.

  5. Lauren says:

    See I know my boyfriend does appreciate the efforts – but in all honesty unless I force him to not touch, the lingerie does not stay on long enough for it to have full effect :’)

    he has been better since I moved away though…I see him less so he appreciates it more

  6. […] elsewhere. Victoria’s Secret was literally my entry point to lingerie. I picked up my first “sexy” lingerie set from them. I bought many of my first bras from them (and looking back, was introduced to a lot […]

  7. Bob Jones says:

    My wife came to my house dressed like this early in our dating life. Talk about pressing all the right buttons! I knew I had a keeper.

  8. Gayle says:

    I got such a charge out of your post. Back in the 70's dressing up was kind of standard with the man of the month club. ;-) (I am on ol' hippy.)
    Rather than the trenchcoat, I had a red woolen, floor lenght cape with hood….yes, Little Red Ridinghood! The boy friends had a good time being the Big Bad Wolf!
    I still have that old moth eaten cape because it has too many wonderful memories to get rid of it.

  9. Pacifica says:

    Just did this last week for the guy I'm seeing. Marlies Dekkers balcony bra & thong, thigh-highs, black stilettos and grey trench–totally my style. He opened the door, took one look and went, "Wow!" Although the lingerie didn't stay on for too long (the stockings did!), the compliments and appreciation really made it a memorable (and confidence boosting) experience! You're absolutely right though–if your guy doesn't say you look great in the lingerie, dump his arse flat and find a boy who can appreciate you in and out of your skivvies!

  10. THE-LOUDMOUTH says:

    I normally don't wear lingerie because, well… I end up getting naked way too fast for it to matter.

  11. Autumn says:

    Another one for the "what an asshole" perspective.

    I've never done the trench coat thing myself. Have I dressed provocatively solely for the benefit of a boyfriend? Yes. But I think I've learnt now that you indeed can't 'buy' or 'wear' sexy and that sexiness comes from the inside.

  12. Kelley says:

    How awful! I'm so glad you've found someone who appreciates you! I've seen your photos, and I'm sure that no matter how gawd-awful the lingerie was, you looked wonderful in it. My husband may have pulled that kind of an a-hole move years ago, he was 'uninterested' in lingerie to the point of me selling all my corsetry and designer pieces because he made me fill so silly for having them. Finally after I gained 40 lbs and our sex life suffered horribly, he realized that there may have been something to it! We now co-own a lingerie store and he's gotten over himself. (In that area at least). So I guess he's a convert!

  13. Annmarie says:

    To G @ 17:
    I'm delighted to see there's still hope for the human race!!!

    As for your statement "we are not exactly a mainstream straight couple", an old Frank Zappa quote comes to mind: "Without deviation from the norm progress is not possible".

  14. Sundal Rox says:

    Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience, Treacle.

    It's always those moments you look back on that make you think 'why the HELL did i not dump that loser THEN and THERE!' I once excitedly tried on a new bikini to show my loser ex-boyfriend (bodybuilder, never date one) and he said 'Baby, your body is looking really good, but you just need to work on this area here' and touched my bum. I just wanted to put my clothes on IMMEDIATELY, never had I felt uncomfortable being naked in front of him, until that moment.

    We broke up shortly after, and my current boyfriend would never dream of saying such a thing, quite the opposite, but I do agree with some of the girls on here when a bit more enthusiasm for all the time, effort and MONEY I spend on nice lingerie would not go amiss!

  15. G. says:

    To answer your question Annmarie, I can only speak for myself…but…YES!

    More than acceptable, my sweet man has surprised me in a saucy lil' outfit and I was thrilled!

    But perhaps, we are not exactly a mainstream straight couple when it comes to the boudoir….

  16. Janus says:

    Yes, asshole would be a good way to describe this loser. So would jackass, douchebag, and idiot. But I think I would call him a brain-damaged f**king moron. Even if your choice of lingerie wasn't his personal preference, he still should have appreciated the time and effort you put into your surprise.

  17. Annmarie says:

    No doubt the ex was a complete idiot, an unappreciative asshole who not only missed the entire thing, but was also mean enough to put you down.

    In yet another take/twist on the whole issue… Would it be acceptable for a man to dress up in lingerie for a woman and surprise her in a similar fashion?

  18. Publius says:

    Wow. I guess we're all in agreement that the then-boyfriend is not worth it. My wife did a similar thing to me (not a trenchcoat, but waited in the bedroom when I got home from work). There was a smile, a grin, even. Which led to other actions. But, there was, in no way, shape or form, laughter.

  19. YvesNY says:

    To those of you girls who have a boyfriend/husband/SO who does not know a thing about the essence of feminity, get another SO ASAP.
    Men and women have distinct differences and features, and we have to accept/ENJOY/worship them… Otherwise, become an hermit… but life is too short to miss the joys of it…

  20. Jamillah says:

    OH MY GAWSH. What an asshole is right! but you know I love what you were able to takeaway from that experience. I think I would've hit your ex in the mouth. Seriously.I'm glad your current BF is excited and know what he's got.

  21. Marianne Faulkner says:

    I'm also on the "What an asshole" train. *Hugs* I'm sorry that happened to you, and I'm glad you were able to turn it into a valuable lesson (that you shared!) instead of just penning it up and being damaged by it. *cough* Not that *I've* ever let something cruel someone said become an everlasting sore spot, nope. Because no one ever does that!

    Anyway, I think it would be challenging for me to find someone who date who gets as excited about lingerie as I do, although I imagine we'd be experiencing different kinds of excitement, what with me nerding out about design… As it stands, I always seem to end up with the far end of the enthusiasm spectrum (unless we're going for the creepy infatuation thing, I've tried that too). I modeled a latex French maid outfit at a Dark Garden several months ago and my gentleman friend was completely unimpressed. "I already know about your ass, I don't need to see your ass in a balloon." The implication was that I don't need to play dress up to be sexy, but his phrasing was graceless. At least he didn't tell me I look ridiculous though! I've definitely had far worse things said to me so I suppose I should be grateful that a mere disinterest was the worst I suffered.
    The aforementioned ensemble, in all its glory: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2051002088196&set=a.2050987807839.110420.1638833909&type=3&theater

  22. Joe D2 says:

    OK here's a bit of a twist on this story based on my experience.

    I was living with a former lingerie/daywear buyer of a major dept store. She decided to do the same thing but with a fur coat. So she goes out to walk the dog in her outfit while I was busy with something at the desk. Doorbell rings. I go look out the peephole and nobody there. So I figured that the person saw my girlfriend and went away from the door. Then I hear a knock at the door so I go back and answer it.

    My girlfriend had become twisted up in the dog lead, slipped and fell down. Have to say that she made the outfit look good and the coat was a nice touch however the twisted ankle ruined a promising night.

    She succeded a few weeks later in a teal outfit and the coat but I will always remember the fall because in the end it was a big laugh for us.

  23. DougTingvall says:

    Your ex was more of a fool, than an asshole! I hope he didn't ruin the fantasy for your current BF. I love when Augusta goes to the effort to do something like that!

  24. Jan Klier says:

    Love that story.

    VS totally overdoes the sexy. You can't sell sexy (despite their attempts). You can sell style & lifestyle that creates a sexy atmosphere and experience. Much more to it though.

    And as you noted, there has to be an element of comfort – both in self esteem and just quality garment, or it won't create that atmosphere. French designers know the difference. VS doesn't.

  25. Crikey Aphrodite! says:

    A friend of mine did this in the early stages of her relationship with her husband. He picked her up, she thought just to go for a brief drive then home, however he insisted they stop at a pub for a drink where he really could not understand why she wouldn't take her coat off! :D

  26. frankufotos Lingerie says:

    I laughed too – at your Ex, once the shock of your story wore off.

    I'll join in – 'What an asshole'.

    This sounds exactly like what my girlfriend's Ex would have done, if she had ever worked up the nerve to try it for him – and that piece of ..work.. would have deserved it as much as your Ex didn't.

    My girlfriend has never done a trench coat/lingerie deal for me – not that I wouldn't absolutely appreciate it, but I think by now she imagines it as too obvious from her – she *has* done a variation of wearing what appeared to be old, ratty-looking sweats for the big reveal of an fantastically beautiful ribbon-tie bra and panty set with garter belt and stockings I'd never seen before (Thank you to her lingerie-loving Aunt, once again!).

    Trust me, it works as well : D

  27. Kayla @ TheEclecticElement says:

    I totally agree-What an asshole! Seriously, doesn't a guy like that know when they have a good thing standing right in front of them!?

    It's good that you have someone who truly appreciates you for you now, lingerie and all :)

  28. babydoll says:

    I did this for may man as a surprise and he loved it! Sorry to hear your horrific story. It was on the minute I walked into my man's house with my trench, thigh high boots and lingerie!

  29. Alice Sturdivant says:

    I really appreciate this post; it almost brought tears to my eyes!
    My husband did almost the exact same thing to me. I haven't worn lingerie in front of him since.

    Excellent advice — don't ever get involved with someone like that.

  30. Amaryllis says:

    DEFINATELY agree on the whole "what an arsehole" perspective, and immediately dumping anyone that would do that to you!

    I have to confess to never doing the whole get up under a trench coat, but I did once do nude under a trench coat (in the pre-baby days when things didn't need quite so much support to stay perky). Not only that, but I travelled on two buses and a train to get to the man too – but unlike you, I had a very VERY appreciative audience when I got there. (Indidentally, I pinned the coat together with safety pins for the journey, and only removed them just before getting off the train. I was totally not taking chances of coat blowing open!) It's one of my fun memories. Go on, give it another go with someone appreciative and with wow-lingerie that you love. It's an experience well worth having when it goes right!

  31. Jessica Fowler says:

    Love it! I wish that I could afford to shop in Victoria's Secrets! (Even though I do still shop in nice lingerie stores haha)

    I also think it's cute that you are at the "like sleeping with the boyfriend" stage! I released this the other day too. Makes you feel all warm inside :)

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