Posts from August, 2012

The One Big Way Victoria’s Secret Helps the Entire Lingerie industry

Doutzen Kroes for Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret gets a lot of flak within the lingerie industry. “Icky Vicky” is one of their most common nicknames, and I don’t know a single lingerie blogger who’s given one of their bras a positive review. Their sizing chart makes no sense, and even though I wear a size they carry (a C cup), I don’t shop there anymore because the bras just don’t fit. Add in their problematic marketing, child labor issues and, most recently, the hosiery knockoff scandal, and well…let’s just say the VS PR team really earns their paycheck.

But that’s not what today’s article is about. For all of Victoria’s Secret’s problems, I think they fill a vital role within the lingerie industry and also within the lives of individual women.

I don’t know how it is in other countries, but in the U.S., Victoria’s Secret is the lingerie store. And they are most women’s first exposure to pretty, lacy, and (dare I say it?) sexy lingerie. Most department stores (think Macy’s and J.C. Penney’s) sell really boring underwear. Everything’s white, beige, or black. The only nylons are control top pantyhose. And every store carries the same 10 brands (which, coincidentally, are all owned by the same company…but more on that later). I remember being an early 20-something with a budding interest in pretty lingerie (this is pre-Gap Body, pre-Aerie, and pre-Lingerie Addict), and feeling like my choices were extremely limited. Except when I walked into a Victoria’s Secret.

With over 1,000 stores in the U.S., Victoria’s Secret is everywhere. Every mall, shopping center, or downtown district has a VS. I grew up in a city with no lingerie boutiques (which is true for many women in America) and Victoria’s Secret was the only place to pick up anything remotely exciting. Not only did they have a larger lingerie selection than the department stores, the staff was consistently friendly, and, best of all, the prices were within even a student’s budget.

Now I’m not waxing poetic about VS. They’re not one of my top 5 places for lingerie shopping. But when you’re brand new to the intimates and don’t know where else to go or even how to even start, Victoria’s Secret can be a gateway to the world of lingerie.

To illustrate, when I was in college, lingerie boutiques felt very inaccessible to me. I didn’t know a good bra from a bad bra. I didn’t know why Bra X cost more than Bra Y. And I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on any of my clothes, including my underwear. Add in how the lingerie boutique experience can be a little uneven (especially, I think, if the sales staff has already decided you’re not a customer), and well, lingerie shopping can be extremely intimidating…especially for a newbie.

But when I shopped at VS, I felt like it was okay for me to “just look around,” and also felt like it was okay for me to explore all this new stuff I was interested in. I experimented with garter belts and thigh highs and cheeky panties and bustiers and bright colors and sheer lace and so much other stuff I couldn’t find 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 some of my favorite styles this way). I bought a ton of cute panties from them. And before I knew anything about Kiss Me Deadly or Huit or Wacoal or Hopeless or any other of the brands I know and love now, I had a place to buy lingerie that made me feel pretty.

Victoria’s Secret gets a lot of hate for their sizing practices, their over-emphasis on sexy, and the quality of their products (and rightly so), but I think they have another purpose in the industry at large, and that’s introducing women to lingerie. Victoria’s Secret helps make lingerie seem normal.

For me, Victoria’s Secret was the first hint that there could be something better out there for me to wear beneath my clothes. And honestly, I’m not sure I’d have even started a lingerie blog without a VS nearby to keep my interest going during those early days.

So what do you think, dear readers? Is Victoria’s Secret all bad or do they actually help the industry? I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Lingerie of the Week: Evollove ‘Bird Song’ Balconette Bra & Brazilian Brief

The reasoning behind why I chose this sky blue, bird print bra & panty set for this week’s Lingerie of the Week is simple…it made me smile.

I adore everything about this set, from the lovely, whimsical print to the sheer lace accents. The only thing I don’t like? The size range. This bra is only available in D-G cups. But if this is in your size, I recommend picking it up now; I have a feeling it won’t be around long.

$102 for both the bra and panty, available at Journelle.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Real Talk and a Rant

(cross-posted from The Lingerie Addict Tumblr and Facebook)

There are people who think I should only post photos of small-busted women. There are people who think I should only post photos of full-busted women. There are people who think I should only post photos of women with tattoos or plus sized women or older women or women who aren’t photoshopped, and so forth and so on.

I don’t know what’s been going on lately, but I’ve been getting a ton of angry messages from people who think I have some kind of personal grudge against them because my blog isn’t just about the women they think should be represented all time (usually couched in language similar to “women who look like me” – whatever that happens to be).

First of all, as a muscular, scarred-up, size 10, afro’d, black woman who never sees anyone that looks like her in any mainstream media anywhere (unless it’s a photo of myself that I posted myself), I understand that kind of frustration. Truly. Underrepresentation is unfair.

But before you send me an angry message complaining that I never post about anything for full busted women or I never post about anything for plus size women or I never post about for small busted women, please take a few minutes to search the platform you’re on. Because while I fully acknowledge that making TLA’s blog and social media more diverse is an on-going project (and one I am fully committed to), there is a huge difference between me *never* posting a certain a thing and me just not posting it on the day you happened to stop by.

In other words, everything I post is not going to be 100% relevant to you all of the time. That’s an unreasonable expectation.

I am not a body size blogger. Full busts, small busts, petite sizes, plus sizes…none of those are the sum total of what TLA is about. I’m a lingerie blogger. And that means I post photos of the lingerie that inspires me, which just so happens to include a LOT of different things at a lot of different sizes. Some of it might work for you. Some of it might not. And that’s okay. Because there is somebody out there it applies to.

And now you know. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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The New Rules of Lingerie: 7 Pieces of Advice for Every Woman

Maja Ogonowska

Awhile back, I did a post on the 7 Deadly Lingerie Sins. It’s become one of the most popular articles we’ve published to date (people really love sin, apparently), but I think it’s time for a bit of an update, and a new, 2012 spin.

Since I’m always around lingerie in some capacity, I hear a ton of lingerie rules everyday. And most of them, while well-intentioned, are pretty generic. You know what I mean: get a bra fitting, don’t wear the same bra more than one day in a row, have at least one bra that matches your skin tone, and so forth and so on.

It’s important stuff – there are lingerie newbies being born every single day – but it can also be a little repetitive…especially if you’ve been interested in lingerie for awhile and are already familiar with the basics.

So I felt like it might be nice to have a second set of lingerie rules that supplements the first few we always hear about. And since I love coming up with arbitrary lists of rules (don’t judge; it makes me feel wanted), I’ve put together a few things I think every Lingerie Addict should keep in mind when it comes to intimate apparel.

1) Affordable is subjective. One of the most popular questions I get is “Where can I find an affordable lingerie?” And while I understand what people are trying to ask, it’s not the best way of asking it. “Affordable” is incredibly subjective and what’s a good price to me could very well be too high (or too low!) for you. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being on a budget. But if you have a price point in mind, it’s hard for other people to connect you with the right choices when you’re being vague about what you can afford.

(On a related note, no criticizing other people’s budgets. If you don’t spend more than $5 on a pair of tights, good for you. If you refuse to spend less than a $100 on a bra, kudos. I’m glad you have a system that works. But it doesn’t mean everyone else needs to shop the way you do.)

2) Lingerie is not just about sex. I am so tired of constantly being told that lingerie is only for women who are in heterosexual relationships to wear for their men. Don’t get me wrong…it’s great if you’ve found lacey knickers help out with your love life, but lingerie is more than just a bedroom accessory. And if your significant other isn’t into lingerie, that’s okay. Wear it for you. So many people think lingerie is only bras and garter belts, but it also includes robes and chemises and slips and loungewear and so much more. The whole point of lingerie is to make you feel good. The layer closest to your skin should help you feel comfortable and confident and amazing and awesome all day long. And if that’s not what’s happening, that’s a problem. Let’s start moving the conversation beyond the sexy sexy, and to how our intimates make us feel.

3) Be willing to look around before insisting no one makes anything in your size. At least once per day, I get an email or a Tumblr message from someone who tells me that no makes pretty bras above a D cup or below an A cup. Ladies, that is simply not true. Now, you may not be able to find those bras (they’re called “extended sizing”) in your local shopping mall, but they are out there, and part of being a proactive consumer is looking around before giving up. There have never (and I mean NEVER) been more lingerie options available for women at either size of the size spectrum than right now. Whether you’re a 28AA, a 42N, or a 50DD, I know for a fact that there is at least one brand out there is making pretty bras in your size. You just have to look.

4) But avoid looking for unicorns. While being a proactive consumer is good, having unreasonable expectations is not. There is no 100% silk, handmade, quarter cup bra in a F cup that retails for less than $25. Unless it’s being made in a sweatshop. And those are not okay. Shopping for lingerie is already hard enough; don’t make it any more difficult than it has to be by setting yourself up for failure at the start. Having a sense of what’s out there is part of being an informed consumer.

5) Everything is not going to fit you perfectly. That’s okay. It’s true for everyone, and it’s not always the fault of the lingerie. If you’re an E cup, a flimsy bralette is going to look different on you than on a B cup. If you have shallow boobs,  you won’t fill out a bullet bra the same way someone with full boobs does. If you have a high waist/hip ratio, every panty brand just won’t work for you. Unless you’re the actual sample model for someone’s company, trial-and-error when it comes to what brands are best for your body should always be expected. And when you do find something that works, buy it…because that brand has already shown you that you’re their target customer.

6) Never feel ashamed of your lingerie choices. If you like really skimpy, tawdry, X-rated lingerie, embrace it. If you only wear the vintage stuff, go for it. If it’s silk 24/7 for you, fine.  And if you prefer plain, organic cotton briefs, that’s great too. What you like is what you like, and that’s okay. And no one else should me making you feel like there’s a problem with your choices. If it’s being made, that means someone’s buying it. And as the saying goes, the world takes all kinds.

7) Be a conscious consumer. There are tons of different ways of being conscious, and I’m not here to say one kind is better than another. We all have limitations on our time, but it’s worth looking at where your undergarments are made, who made them, and what conditions the people who made them work in. I know how overwhelming that kind of research can be, but if it helps, think of the thing that matters most to you (organic or fair trade or locally made, etc. etc.) and start from there. When it comes to making things better within the lingerie industry, consumers have the ultimate power…we just have to exercise it.

As always, I love to hear what you think, so if you’ve got a rule of your own or disagree with what I’ve listed here, let’s talk about it in the comments!

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Weekly Lingerie Sales – 8/25/12

Picnic Pinup Shorts and Halter via Chansonette Collection

How to Star in Your Own Boudoir Shoot: Tips From the Pros

The Philantropy Babydoll from the Lola Haze Spring 2013 shoot

Recently, I called in the troops for our semi-annual battle-against-the-clock party: the lingerie photo shoot.  The shoot punctuates the end of the design process–once an item has been shot, it cannot be changed–and begins the great coming-out party for the collection.  I had finally stopped redesigning and fiddling with my Spring/Summer 2012 collection for Lola Haze™  and was ready to send her off into the world.

It was great fun.  This time there were eight of us squeezed into a New York City studio, madly trying to get through all the looks in the collection within the day, before heading out to shoot on location.

Maria, our makeup artist, referred to adjectives about mood and images I provided, as well as the garments themselves, to come up with a playful, bright-lipped look.  After she created her look, her job was to vigilantly watch the shoot and run in to fix lipsticked teeth or flattened hair.  The photographer, Dan, set up lights and kept the model framed, lit, and focused.  Tanya, our gorgeous model, is a pro.  She somehow survived standing for eight hours in heels and rotating through an endless variety of poses while looking incredible and poised.  The assistants, Alyssa, Andi, Guylene, and Isabel scurried around managing the garments, preparing accessories, holding reflectors, and generally being indispensable.  I kept the show on the road.

Lola Haze photoshoot Spring 2013, Brooklyn

Working with pros, when everything runs in smooth harmony, it’s easy to get thousands of beautiful shots in a day.  Seeing my creations come to life on Tanya, gussied up by all the talented people around, is always exciting.  This time it got me thinking about how other women can create sexy boudoir photoshoots.   No, we’re not all 5’10″ 120-pound fashion models, but we all have something hot to show off, and there’s nothing more fun that showing it off in front of a camera!

Since we can’t all assemble a professional team to beautify and retouch us, I asked my team for tips to help everyone stage the perfect home boudoir shoot.

MODEL: Tatjana Sinkevica
A NYC model who has appeared in Project Runway All Stars

Q: How did you learn to pose?
A: I’ve learned to pose just by watching others: dancers, ballerinas, models, magazines, commercials and adding my personality and my own twist into it.  The same comes with the facial expressions– I try a few so clients have a variety to choose from.

Q: What do you think about when you’re posing?
A: When I’m posing I’m thinking about all kinds of things, usually not modeling at all!  Far from it, since posing comes automatically, especially if it’s a catalog shoot [instead of editorial].

Q: What are some tips you can give to regular women to feel and look sexy in front of the camera?
A: Every woman can look great in pictures–it’s all about confidence!!!  Flirtation also helps a lot, so play with the camera, tease it!  Imagine that it’s your boyfriend/husband and fantasize!

Q: Can you tell a story of your most interesting or challenging job?
A: One time I was in China shooting for a cover of a Chinese magazine.  I was shooting in a swimming pool and none of the crew members spoke English so when he wanted me to smile, the photographer leaned over the pool and just squeezed my cheeks.  That was so funny!  I take these situations with humor and as adventures.

Maria unlipsticks Tanya’s teeth, Lola Haze Spring 2013 photoshoot

MAKEUP ARTIST: Maria Ortega
Website: www.mariaortegamakeup.carbonmade.com
Maria Ortega is a self taught, freelance makeup artist based in NYC. Some of her notable past clients are: Project Runway designer Viktor Luna, Snoop Dogg, NBA Championship player Kevin Willis, celebrity stylist Nole Marin and Miss Jessie’s hair care products. Maria Ortega has also done makeup for NYFW runway shows and presentations. Some makeup companies she has worked events for are: Lo’Real, Covergirl, Physician’s Formula, Almay, Maybelline and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics.

Q: What’s the difference between everyday makeup and boudoir shoot makeup looks?
A:  Everyday makeup and daytime makeup is subtle and enhances a woman’s natural beauty and best facial features. Boudoir makeup brings out the sexy in all women independent of age, size and shape. It releases the inner vixen and provides a sultry look. Usually Boudoir makeup involves a smoky eye, false lashes, cat eye liner and a bold lip.

Q: What are some tips you can give everyday women as they prepare for a boudoir shoot?
A: When a woman is planning a Boudoir shoot it is of the essence to prepare by properly hydrating the skin and having a good skin care routine both for face and body. Eye cream is a must to keep hydration and prevent/repair early signs of aging. Day and night cream on both face and body is of ultra importance. I also recommend and suggest a good facial exfoliator and body polish. Supple skin makes every woman feel beautiful. A Boudoir shoot is an intimate shoot celebrating the beauty of a woman; accepting your shape and size and loving yourself is the best preparation. Confidence is the best accessory.

Q: What products are essential?
A: My favorite makeup products to achieve a boudoir makeup look are: Make Up For Ever HD Foundation, Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palette, Stile Smudge Pot gel liner, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in “NSFW” for that ultra seductive red lip.

Q: What are some sexy makeup trends right now?
A: This Fall will be all about dramatic and bold liner. By adding a cat eye, double wing tip or dramatic gel liner not only will you be making a fashion statement but you will also display strength and a bold feminine expression. As always, a bold lip in a statement color always is trendy. My favorite trend to follow is what looks good on you. If you like your cheekbones…play them up, if you love your eyes, then play them up. Knowing your best facial features and playing them up never goes out of style.

Q: What do you love about being a makeup artist?
A: My favorite thing about being a makeup artist is being able to enhance beauty, transform, innovate and create beauty with cosmetics.  I love editorial and working with talent and models. However, there is an incomparable feeling to working with the everyday woman and transforming not only her face with makeup but also her self esteem. That feeling is one like no other. The smiles my clients have when they look at themselves cannot be compared to any other type of joy. I feel pretty when I do makeup on others.

Maria’s makeup table!

RECENT HOME BOUDOIR SHOOT STAR: Andrea Conti
Lola Haze™ Intern extaordinaire

Q: What were some challenges you faced when doing your boudoir photo shoot?
A: Lacking the right equipment!  Luckily for me, I’m good at photoshop, so even though we were using an iphone, I was able to tweak lighting.  I recommend taking a few test shots and seeing which angles/parts of the room give the best lighting.

Q: What did you wear?
A: Everything from panty hose and heels to a silk robe.  My favorite shots were the ones of me wearing Lola Haze™ lingerie–notably the Liquid Lace Romper and Be My Valentine Chemise.  Having colorful pieces gave the shoot a lot of character.

Q: Do you have any tips for readers who want to do their own boudoir photo shoot?
A: Test lighting! If you have someone to take photos for you at different times of day-this would probably add a lot of variety to the shoot. Also, get creative.  Use a mirror, heels, props-anything! It also helps to have someone you are comfortable with taking the pictures.

Q: Anything else you want to add?
A: Make an afternoon of it-plus cocktails.  I was thankful to have a roommate that is good at hair, makeup AND photography. It ended up being a blast!

I regard Alyssa’s thong styling work, Lola Haze Spring 2013 shoot

DESIGNER: Myself, Laura Mehlinger
Owner/Designer Lola Haze (and someone who has directed a lot of photo shoots)

Q: What kind of lingerie should women choose for a boudoir shoot?
A: Aside from the clear answer that you should find something you feel comfortable and sexy in, there are a few tips for ultimate flattery.  Know your best body part and find lingerie that displays it.  Some near-universally flattering garments are stockings and garter belts (you may worry about the upper thigh show, but there’s nothing sexier), corsets, balconette bras, diaphanous robes, dark colored teddies.

Q: What about color?
A: For color, I would generally avoid white, which can often catch light on body parts you would rather recede, and can appear transparent when you don’t want it to.  Black is always sexy, but can also blend into the background and not define your body if the lighting isn’t great.  I would choose a color.

Q: Other tips?
A: Practice beforehand!  Models aren’t perfect, but look amazing in photos because they already know their best angles. Get out a mirror and flirt with it.  This is especially true for facial expressions, which can convey discomfort or stiffness if that’s how you feel.  If your poses are already figured out, you can just relax when it’s time for the shoot and put your best…something forward!

Please share your boudoir shoot stories and tips with us!

Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

I’ve loved lingerie since before that was reasonable. I taught myself drawing, designing, and sewing, and after graduating from Harvard with an English degree, immediately went to work disregarding it and following my passion for fashion. After a few years designing for a big company, I went off on my own and started Lola Haze TM, (named after the title character in “Lolita,” my favorite book). Lola Haze is playwear for the bold woman who loves fun and dresses for herself! I feel happy and lucky that I get to love my job so much, and am thrilled to share my lingerie enthusiasm with The Lingerie Addict!

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NYC Lingerie Market: Spring/Summer 2013 Trend Report

The view from Bergdorf Goodman

Every six months, I go to New York and Las Vegas (and sometimes Paris) to get a sneak peek at next season’s lingerie trends. That time of year is called “Lingerie Market” and though it only lasts for a few short weeks, these are the most important days of the entire year for your favorite lingerie brands. Lingerie Market is when orders are made, press previews are conducted, and a brand either gets the buzz it needs or fades away into obscurity.

ClareBare

Next month (September), I’ll be attending the Las Vegas Lingerie Show, but this month I went to CurveNY and the Designer Lingerie Showcase. I also attended a few private showings from smaller brands in local hotels. I love Lingerie Market because it’s a lot like fashion week for the lingerie industry. There’s something happening every night and every day, and when you discover a new brand that goes on to make it big six months later…well, there’s no better feeling than that. For this season’s report, I’ll start with a few of my general observations about the shows, then focus in on the brands that really caught my eye.

Myla

One of the positives of this year’s market was that the lingerie industry in general feels the strongest it’s been since the recession. Luxury brands have gone back to doing luxurious things (Myla, for example, is using real gold foil lace and freshwater pearls in their next collection), and I saw infinite varieties of lace, some of which cost hundreds of dollars per yard. I also saw more independent designers during market, and heard that there are more boutiques willing to take a risk on them, which is a great sign for the industry.

Ombrato

In terms of overall trends, I’m seeing a very casual, unfussy kind of luxury. Think simpler silhouettes, and a focus on really fine materials as opposed to frills, bows, and ruffles. Many of the collections felt very fresh and very wearable. There was also some inspiration from the 20′s and 80′s with chevron prints, flowing fabrics, and rich brocades. Patterns, when present, were unique and whimsical: think feathers, flamingos, and matroskas.  Oranges, corals, pinks, and blues are the colors for next season with bright, vibrant versions appearing in lingerie and more muted, softer tones in loungewear. And, of course, as I mentioned before, there is a lot of lace. There are also same brand new, more luxe lingerie scents coming up for next season. Eucalan, for example, is debuting a new jasmine-scented lingerie wash named Wrapture.

On the less positive side, I was really disappointed with many of the big brands, especially the ones displaying at Curve. Curve was just uninspiring this year. So much of what I saw just felt like a retread of last season (which, for the worst offenders, was just a retread of the season before that). It wasn’t horrible, but it was safe. Safe to the point of boring. I also noticed that a ton of brands are doing a swimwear lines now, and I also saw more nightwear/loungewear/shapewear lines. Interestingly, there were a few more adult brands at Curve this year (like Leg Avenue). But to end this paragraph on a high note, the European brands, specifically the UK ones were very directional and innovative.

Huit

Oh! One more thing…the multi-seasons long trend of retro lingerie appears to be fading away. There are still some holdovers, like high-wast knickers, but even those have a more modern look and feel now. It’ll be interesting to see if vintage-inspired lingerie makes a reappearance next market, or if my suspicions are correct that the mainstream lingerie industry has moved on.

Every market, I see literally dozens of brands. So many, in fact, that they all start to blend together after awhile. But the list below represents my standout favorites for next season. One of the funny things I’ve noticed is that my personal tastes have changed in the last few years. For the first time ever, I’m really interested in loungewear.

Suzanne and Fleur from Fleur of England

A final note before we get started, there are three brands I loved that aren’t below: Myla, Fleur of England, and Ari Dein. All three are super high-end, luxe brands, and they prefer not to release official images until the collections are in stores. I respect that, and hope to share their gorgeous collections later on this winter. Now on to the show!

Nevaeh Intimates:
A newer brand, Nevaeh Intimates is already making waves. I really liked the attention to detail in her pieces, and everything looked beautiful but also felt soft and comfy enough for everyday. The real showstopper though, is the lace collection. No doubt about it, I want everything in this line. P.S. They’re also made in the U.S.A.

Gilda & Pearl:
Gilda & Pearl is a lingerie line I’ve been a fan of ever since I discovered them on Etsy years ago, and, like many of the independent designers in this report, I’m so glad boutiques are stocking this brand now. Incorporating next season’s trend for coral in this classic silhouette of a kimono robe, I could lounge around in this piece all day. Maybe it should go on the honeymoon list?

Love and Dream:
One of several made in the USA brands listed here, I adore Love and Dream’s casual, easy to wear sleepwear. Like all the best lingerie, these basic pieces feel even better than they look. And with Autumn approaching, I have a feeling that nightshirt will be mine very soon.

Between the Sheets:
Random fact: Layla L’obatti (the designer/founder for Between the Sheets) was the very first designer to invite me to view her collection when I made my first trip to NYC market, so visiting her is like visiting an old friend. I personally own several Between the Sheets items, and I’m enamored with their new, lower-priced loungewear line, pictured below. This is another US made brand that’s designed and manufactured in NYC.

Two Figs:
Two Figs makes elegant sleepwear for D-G cup women, and they’ve recently moved all their production to the USA. I often get requests from fuller-busted readers who want gorgeous nightwear that accommodates their bust, and this is it. The smallest size fits women with dress sizes 0-2 and the largest size fits women 14-16.

Fortnight Lingerie:
Another brand I’ve known about since their first days on Etsy, I adore Fortnight’s simple, comfortable shapes. This is a line I buy from whenever I can, and I’m so glad they’re getting picked up in more stores (both large and small) now.

Kriss Soonik:
A designer with a signature style and a unique point of view, Kriss Soonik is perhaps best known for her lace bodysuit. I think if you’re going to buy luxury lingerie, it’s ideal to buy things that can double as innerwear and outerwear. And I don’t know about you, but I’m really digging the fishnet mesh.

Angela Friedman:
Yet another designer I remember from Etsy (and creator of what are perhaps the most famous silk ruffled panties on the internet), I’m happy to see Angela Friedman is “officially” joining the lingerie industry. Her debut collection showed a lot of promise, and I especially liked the gorgeous fabrics (which the picture below doesn’t really do justice for) she chose. This is a return to handmade fine luxury, and there’s always a customer for that.

Eberjey:
Though Eberjey is a brand that’s been around for awhile, I’ve only recently discovered them. Their pieces are simple, but incredibly comfortable. They’ve even got me thinking about trying out a romper.

Beautiful Bottoms:
A UK brand, Beautiful Bottoms is known for their modern take on silk lingerie. Their lingerie also shows a sense of humor and whimsy (blue flamingos, anyone?) and seems perfect for the Lingerie Addict on a holiday.

Fraulein Annie:
With a focus on stylish, glamorous, perfectly fitting lingerie, German-born, London-based Frauke of Fraulein Annie has created an amazing brand with an even more amazing size range (A-G). It’s a crime this label isn’t carried in more stores.

Love Claudette:
You’ve already heard me talk about how much I love Love Claudette. Like their tagline says, they’ve become my “new favorite bra,” and apparently I’m the only one since all my favorite lingerie boutiques are now stocking this line. I said they were the lingerie brand to watch last year, and it looks like I was right.

Splendid:
Splendid is a brand I’d not heard of before this market (though, now that I think about it, I may seen one of their clothing stores in Bellevue). Simple, bright, and inexpensive, this basics brand is perfect for college students.

Les Affaires:
Les Affaires is another new loungewear line I hadn’t heard of before this year. Based out of Asia, their only retail locations are in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan. Again, I like the simple, fluid lines and soft colors with an accent of lace.

Naked Princess:
A relatively new brand, this was only Naked Princess’ second appearance at market, and they’ve gotten even better. I definitely saw potential in their very first collection and I love how this new range takes full advantage of all their gorgeous lace (there’s a wonderful bedjacket and bodysuit also in the line not shown below). And, like several of the other names on this list, they’re now made in the USA.

***All 5 Brands Below Are Part of The Eveden Group. Of all the big “corporate” brands I saw at Curve (which are also, unfortunately, the ones most likely to be available in your neighborhood), I was most excited about their new pieces. I also like that the Eveden Group makes something for A thru N cups, a range I don’t think any other groups have.

Huit:
With their bright colors, amazing patterns, and just plain pretty lingerie, Huit was our top everyday lingerie pick for 2011, and next year’s collection shows they’re sticking with what works: fresh prints, innovative patterns, gorgeous lace, and perfect fit.

Freya:
Freya is a popular brand because they full bust bras in flirty, fun styles that don’t look “heavy” or ultra-supportive (but still are very supportive, of course). Their regular underwire bras are available up to a 36K, with the longline bras sized up to a 38G. Cute, chic bras for fuller busts? What’s not to love?

Elomi:
With bras available up to a 40K, I love how Elomi incorporates rich, on-trend (bright pink, remember?) color into their bras. While the seams give support, the sheer accents also helps lighten the look.

Fauve:
Fauve is known for their luxe, European-style look. Fine fabrics, lace overlays, and rich embroideries define this brand. I thought they were only for D+ cups, it turns out Fauve is available in B and C cups as well.

Goddess:
For my plus size readers who are also full busted and having trouble finding bras that aren’t just shades of beige and white, Goddess may be the solution for you. The bra shown below will be available in sizes up to 42N, one of the largest letter cup sizes I know of.

What do you think of next season’s sneak preview? Any brands you’re looking forward to seeing?

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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DIY Lingerie: How to Hand Dye Your Stockings

Lilac on woolly stockings from Asos (merino wool), Lilac on beige hold- ups, Lilac on 27/4 Charnos stockings, Gold Ochre on 24/7 Charnos stockings, Sky blue on 24/7 Charnos stockings, Sky Blue on Victoria’s Secret white stockings.

Today’s guest post is by a TLA reader, Katerina. She’s a stocking and lingerie freak and loves everything made of silk, cashmere and merino wool. One day, she’d like to own a cashmere luxury set of big pants and a bra one day. Unfortunately, no one makes this yet. Katerina  spends lots of time dyeing garments, learning to sew, knitting, making waldorf dolls and painting on glass and fabric. Her creations usually involve beads, feathers, Svarowski crystals and portraits of rock musicians. Katerina also hunts for vintage clothes that would match her vintage inspired lingerie every chance she gets. She has an Etsy store here, and today’s she’s talking about how to hand dye your stockings whatever color you’d like.

I´m a notorious hosiery addict and spent many hours hunting for stockings that would be anything but black, white or nude. Every time I did find some, they usually laddered after one wear, so I´d say it was a waste of time and money. Especially stockings (and even hold- ups) are hard to come by in a variety of colours and who wants to wear black all the time?

Moreover, not every company actually makes stockings in exciting colours that would match your lingerie. I am also a dyeing addict, so I decided I´d try to dye my favourite and affordable stockings and see what happens.

I especially like Charnos 24/7 stockings, because I want stockings that last as I wear them daily. You can also dye wool stockings, silk stockings and hold- ups.

Cerise on dark grey hold-ups, fishnet hold ups and Gold Ochre on woolly Calzedonia stockings.

What you need:
A good dye. I use Jacquard Acid Dye. For info and instructions, click the link.

This is meant for materials like silk, wool, nylon and feathers. When you dye properly and follow the instructions, you actually get stockings (and other clothes) that won´t bleed when wet or be bad for your health.

Other dyes you can buy in your supermarket, all-purpose dyes, are meant for home dyeing, for a variety of materials (like cotton), so they´ll always bleed. There´ll always be excess dye. You can always use something that sets the dye, a fixative, but that won´t withstand higher temperatures ( imagine the heat your body produces) and the dye and the substance used to fix the dye could get into your skin, cause irritation or worse (we don´t want anything this aggressive in our body). Also, I never got an even result with any all- purpose dye.

Acid dyes need heat and acid in order to set. They also withstand heat and once they are set, they don´t bleed and the colours are lightfast. I mean never bleed. Even when washed on hot. If you want to know more about dyeing (in our case dyeing with acid dyes), read Paula Burch´s web site.

Now choose the colour you want. The result will depend on what the original stockings look like (with the same dye, you can get a warmer shade or a colder shade, as you can see below).

Charnos 24/7 stockings (beige) and grey woolly stockings from Calzedonia (sold as over- knees I think) both dyed with Jacquard´s Gold Ochre.

What you need:
• A pair of dyeable stockings (nylon, silk, angora, cashmere, wool). For information on whether your stockings are dyeable with acid dyes, check Paula Burch.
• A large pot. I´d use one you don´t use for cooking.
• Vinegar. I use 1/4 cup per quart of water
• Lots of water.
• Rubber gloves
• Something you´ll stir the water with that won´t damage your stockings.

If you dye silk, be careful not to boil it! Silk is a very durable material unless it´s boiled. Then it loses its qualities, will be less shiny and strong.

If you dye wool, angora, or cashmere, be careful not to expose it to temperature shock. Heat the water with the stockings in it gradually and then let cool off gradually. If you bang a pair of wool stockings in a pot full of boiling water, you´ll end up with baby- sized stockings.

I´d start with a small amount of dye and old stockings, that way you can see if you´re brave enough to dye your more expensive ones.

Hand dyed lace top from stocking sewn to cotton stocking.

Instructions:
1. Fill the pot with lukewarm water and add the stockings.
2. Heat gradually. When it´s about 30 °C (about 86 °F), take the stockings out and add the dye you´ve mixed. Don´t use the whole jar of dye on a pair of stockings;  you don´t need alot. I´d say one teaspoon of dye per a pair of stockings or even less for a light shade. Add the dye in a plastic container, preferably filtered by means of an old stocking (some colours like magenta can cause small dots on the fabric and we want to prevent that). Also, wear safety glasses and be careful not to inhale the powder as it can be toxic.
3. Stir the dye and then add the stockings. When dyeing wool stockings, don´t let the interval between taking them out of the pot and putting them back be too long, They could shrink – temperature shock, remember.
4. Keep stirring, be careful not to let all the stockings get tangled all together, if they are twisted, you´ll get a tie- dyed reset. Also, don´t use too many stockings at once. The more space they have, the better chance of an even result you get.
5. Keep heating. When the water is close to boil, add vinegar. This will help the dye set. I use 1/4 cup per quart of water
6. Let it sit in the solution while stirring from time to time for about 20 minutes. (when dyeing wool, remember to let the water cool off before taking it out, even a cold container you´d put it into may cause shrinkage!)

If you didn´t use too much dye, there is almost no leftover dye in the fibres. Put it in a sink or a bucket and rinse in hot water ( about 60 °C or 140 °F) several times. Cold water won´t do, since the dye can only be set by rinsing the stockings in hot water. Be very careful when rinsing, I´d advise rubber gloves since stockings are very sensitive.

If rinsing woolly stockings, you need to warm the water you´ll rinse in gradually. You can rinse it in hot water, don´t get me wrong, but you have to add hotter and hotter water, not bang it in boiling water and rinse. Also, don´t rinse too fast ( I´d avoid a washing machine here) as this can cause shrinkage too.

Let it dry and you´re done!

Next time you can try dyeing lingerie.

Kiss Me Deadly pull on girdle dyed with Jacquard´s Turquoise. Was pale blue.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Real Talk: On Not Wearing Bras (Yes, It’s Okay to Go Braless)

Spirella and Spencer Ads, via corsetiere.net

Here’s a random fact: Did you know there is actually no common medical reason to wear a bra?

That’s right. None. Contrary to popular belief, bras don’t improve breast health, prevent breast sagging, or anything else. Quite simply, there is no agreed upon health benefit to wearing bras that applies to every single woman.

I know it probably seems a bit strange for me to be saying this. After all, I am a lingerie blogger so I should be Team Bra 24/7, right? But I’ve been thinking about the whole bra/no-bra thing for awhile, and some of the language we have around bras (and the women who don’t wear bras) really bothers me.

As much as I love bras (and, as you’ve probably guessed, I really love them), even I don’t wear one everyday. I wore a bra more often when my nipples were pierced, but since I’ve taken the piercings out, I’ve gone back to wearing a bra a lot of (but not all of) the time. Which is fine because no one should feel obligated to wear a bra…in the same way no one should feel obligated to wear a corset or obligated wear a girdle or obligated to wear any underwear at all for that matter.

While I understand that some people may prefer their breast shape with a bra or are more comfortable wearing a bra (for a variety of reasons – heavy breasts, nipple sensitivity, back pain, etc.),  that’s a completely different thing from the notion of compulsory bra wearing…i.e. saying every woman has to or should wear a bra. Unfortunately, that latter sentiment (you must wear a bra at all times!) is the general consensus from the society at large, including many facets of the lingerie community. And this article focuses on that social conversation regarding bra wearing.

What’s most interesting to me in about this whole bra/braless conversation is the ideas other people have why a woman might choose to go braless. Bralessness still has a ton of social stigma attached to it. People rarely attribute bralessness to comfort or personal preference; instead, it’s seen as a plea for sexual attention, a political statement, or even a lack of self-care. Why can’t bralessness ever just be an innocent, innocuous choice? Why are women made to feel that they always have to wear a bra (and, if we’re in the United Staes, a molded bra which hides your nipples)? It’s a thought-provoking question, and, as some of the illustrations hint at below, the idea that women’s bodies just aren’t good enough on their own is really old-fashioned.

The S-Bend ‘Gibson Girl’ Corset, via Wikipedia

What do I mean? Well, we already know that for several centuries, women wore stays or corsets almost everyday. A woman’s underpinnings were seen as connected to and a reflection of a her morality. I’ve often wondered if the phrase “loose woman” (as in, an “unchaste” or “immoral” woman) has its etymology in corset wearing. After all, the term has been around since the 15th century. Wealthy women could afford the greater restriction of mobility that came with more tightly bound stays. That contrasts to lower class and less affluent women who needed their stays looser to perform hard physical labor.

Not surprisingly, upper class women were also seen as “more” moral and worthy of protection than their poorer counterparts. For centuries, only a woman’s most intimate acquaintances ever saw her without her corset. If one went without a corset (or if the corset was visible), this was a sign of “ill-breeding,” and that woman might be assumed to be an actress, prostitute, or some other lady of ill-repute. In that way, wearing a corset, albeit within the strict rules of society, became a way to advertise that you were a morally upstanding female member of the community…and so eligible for the privileges thereof, including admission to “good” society, a beneficial marriage, and the relative perks of politeness, etiquette, and being “treated like a lady.”

via Super Kawaii Mama

Now let’s fast forward 50 years or so later. By now the bra has been invented (in 1890, 1910, or the 16th century depending on who you read) and so has the girdle. Originally seen as a more comfortable and flexible substitute for the corset, the girdle also replaced the corset’s function as a moral boundary as well. Despite the comparative freedom a girdle offered, a “proper” woman still didn’t let her flesh jiggle or shake unencumbered. Everything had to be tightly restrained within the elastic, mesh, and straps of a foundation garment. Women who “broke the rules” were subject to unsympathetic criticism about both the shape of their bodies and the looseness of their morals. Sounds familiar.

So how is all that relevant today?

via Corsetiere.net

Well, despite our current beauty ideal for a soft, rounded, featureless cup shape (hello there, molded t-shirt bras), it’s important to remember that it’s just today’s beauty ideal. There’s no health study and certainly no moral judgment that should give it added weight. If you don’t care for that particular look or you don’t just flat out don’t like bras, that’s fine. It shouldn’t be a character judgment and it’s certainly not a “bad” reflection on who you are. It’s just a personal preference. In the same vein, for every woman, wearing a bra is a personal choice. It is her own decision for her own reasons, and no one else should get to judge.

Often, when I write articles like this, people just read the title and just right ahead to the assumption that I hate bras. But I don’t. However, it’s worth mentioning one more time…if you like wearing a bra, that’s cool. And if you don’t like wearing a bra, that’s still cool. Neither option is any more offensive or troublesome or immoral than wearing or not wearing a sweater.

Spanx on Rachel Ray. Yes. we’re still doing the before/after shot.

I starting thinking about this today because I realized a lot of the conversations I hear about bras are less about how they make the wearer feel and more about how they make the wearer look, particularly to others. Words like, “flattering,” “correct,” and “proper,” are often thrown around…without any consideration or commentary on the implied meaning behind those words. And let’s be clear, whether you’re wearing a bra for fashion or for support, if it helps you feel like the most comfortable, confident, and courageous women you can be, that’s a great thing. Keep on wearing your bras. But the point is, personal preferences matter.

One should never insist that bras are a requirement for every woman. Even if a woman is fuller-busted or happens to share your bra size, that doesn’t mean bras are a necessity for her. And, of course, it’s always a problem when the conversation on bras and bra wearing turns into thinly-disguised body snark. All bodies are fine, regardless of if those bodies wear bras and conform to our notions of beauty or not. The culture of picking apart and shaming women for not wearing a bra needs to stop.

via: Intimacy

I’m also really not okay with framing bras as the cure for sagging breasts (breasts sag eventually; it’s what they do), as a form of instant liposuction (“You’ll look like you’ve lost 10 pounds!”; why should looking thinner be every woman’s goal?), as a way of putting down non-Western women and non-Western beauty standards (everyone who has ever used an old issue of National Geographic to make a point about bras), or as a way of deciding who “deserves” public abuse and humiliation (posting photos of women for the sole purpose of trash-talking them…something I’ve seen even in so-called woman-friendly or body positive communities).

Honestly, it’s all part of the same silly ball of wax women have been dealing with for hundreds of years, “Good women do this. Bad women do that…and the bad women deserve to be punished.”

No doubt, some of you reading this may be thinking, “Well that’s easy for you to say…you’re small-chested! None of this applies to women with larger breasts.” But that misses the point.

One, there are fuller-busted women who prefer going braless. They’re just not as visible or as vocal because we live in a very bra-centric culture and because bralessness has an attached social stigma. Two, the rules for bra-wearing apply to all women with breasts, regardless of which end of the size spectrum they fall on. Even if a smaller-busted woman doesn’t “need” a bra for comfort’s sake or what have you, she’s often encouraged to wear one anyway (often a push-up bra) because her breasts are still seen as inferior and sub-standard. The fact that women with larger busts deal with a different kind of social stigma as a result of going braless is very relevant to this conversation, but the topic applies to all women with breasts, including those who are shamed for having large nipples, assymetric breasts, or ptotic (sagging) breasts.  The point is, no matter what kind of breasts you have, it’s always an issue to go without a bra.

However, just to emphasize, if you prefer wearing a bra, for whatever reason, that’s great.

My New Lingerie a.k.a. the Made by Niki ‘Feel”

As you’ve probably noticed, this article isn’t about vilifying bras or starting a no-bra revolution (if it were, I wouldn’t bought that fab Made By Niki pictured above). I still love bras, and I still want to talk about bras. And while the nerd in me is very curious about the flammability of bras, it should be obvious this article isn’t about “bra-burning” either. Instead, I want to emphasize that going without a bra is not the end of the world…and it’s nice to be reminded of that.

The reasons we wear bras are just as much tied to cultural factors as they are to physical ones. It’s just that people often find a conversation on the social issues behind why we do what we do a lot harder than giving a flat medical reason for why we do what we do.Furthermore, this is just a friendly reminder that if you see someone going braless and don’t care for it? Well…is ignoring it really so hard to do? Their breasts literally have nothing to do with you.

One of the other reasons I wanted to have this wear a bra/go braless conversation is because we don’t see very many “normal” breasts anymore. And by normal, I mean how breasts look without a bra. I get emails from readers all the time who think their breasts are the wrong shape or the wrong size or the wrong symmetry when their bosom is really, truly, perfectly average. The only problem here is that we’ve gotten so used to seeing women in bras all the time, that many of us have lost touch of what breasts look like without underwires and contour cups and support slings and all that good stuff.

Victoria’s Secret, fantasy boobs in more ways than one.

To sum it all up, our particular notion of what a woman’s bust should look like is just that…our particular notion. In the 1910′s it was one way, in the 1920′s another, and the in 1950′s still another.  Our idea of what a woman’s breasts should look like is not a static, unchanging, “objective” thing. And the fact that “bra fit” is often mentioned in the same sentence with “health” or “medicine” doesn’t mean bras are beyond any sort of question or commentary. Centuries ago, people spoke about the health benefits of corsets, yet women have somehow managed to do fine without them. Lingerie, like all elements of women’s dress, is tied to fashion, and fashion – both its looks and trends – changes over time and in response to social norms of beauty.

Every woman’s breasts are different, even if they don’t fit the mold(ed cup). If you’re a woman who prefers to wear a bra, that’s awesome. And if you’re a woman who prefers to go braless (whether all the time or occasionally), that’s also awesome. Regardless, unlike what the ads of yesteryear or even today would have you believe, you don’t have a “figure problem.” You’ve just got breasts, and they’re fine as is.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

More Posts - Website

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