Posts by Kristina

Lady Miss Matched: 7 Ways To Keep Your Daily Lingerie Coordinated

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It’s an annoyance that many a friend has lamented: It’s nearly impossible to wear matching underwear on a daily basis. The average woman owns about 3-4 times as many panties as she does bras and takes special care to wash them after each use while alternately, bras can usually go 2-4 wears before requiring laundering. With these statistics it’s easy to see how tricky it can be for a lady to coordinate her undies each day. Yet the satisfaction that we often feel from donning a well-coordinated set under our clothes can help make the difference in our mood for the day and inspire us to feel more confident, often encouraging us to show off our impeccable taste to a good friend or significant other.

Ever since I joined the dating world I’ve felt the pressure too. As a lingerie designer I feel it’s my duty to wear the very best undergarments each day with matching sets that let my personal style shine through. So the pressure I’ve put on myself to coordinate my underthings before a big date has been weighing on me more and more as I realize how miss matched my lingerie wardrobe is. Which bottoms do I have to match this bra? Which undies haven’t I worn yet this week? Will my date notice if my bra and panties don’t match?

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The truth is that once you get to the point of undress with another person, chances are that the last thing on their mind is whether your bra and panties match or not. But while we tend to be our own harshest critic it still remains that we just feel better about ourselves when we know we’re sufficiently put together and well-kept underneath it all.

The problem many of us encounter is that it can be expensive to develop a lingerie wardrobe full of all coordinating pieces. When we shop for underwear we often stock up on panty deals purchasing multiple pairs based on comfort, price and color, while bra shopping tends to be more calculated, expensive and time consuming, resulting in relatively few purchases in comparison. The modern woman doesn’t have the time or the budget to purchase exclusively matching sets all the time so why not work with what you already have in your wardrobe or invest in a few inexpensive pieces that can easily be mixed and matched in a multitude of fashion combinations?

Furthermore, I believe that we can all benefit from a little bit of anti-fashion. Who says your clothes have to match in order to look good? Look at the success of tween retailer Little Miss Matched encouraging kids to have fun with their collection of bold clashing prints and daring colors, guaranteed to lighten the mood and eschew the traditional fashion etiquette. Consider your underwear as your own private medium where you can have fun, express yourself in any way you see fit and decide when and with whom you want to share it with.

While this declaration may not be for everybody, there are still ways that you can minimize the miss-matched-ness in your wardrobe and stretch your lingerie further. Here are 7 tactics that you can use to help alleviate some of the stress of coordinating your undies. After all, we wear this stuff closest to our bodies and deserve to have them make us feel as comfortable and confident as possible each and every day.

1) Buy tops and bottoms together

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Agent Provocateur, Kriss Soonik & Claudette

This is by far the easiest way to solve the miss-matching dilemma but also the most costly and time consuming. For each bra you purchase you can also buy multiple panties from the same group to ensure that you will always have a bottom to match. However I strongly suggest trying everything on first and making sure that you feel comfortable in the panties as well as the bra before committing to multiple pairs of the same collection. And keep in mind that just because the bottoms are not in the exact color or print as the bra, doesn’t mean that it’s not part of the same group. Many designers purposely offer multiple colorways with the intention for them to be mixed and matched to the bras for longer versatility.

2) Match similar colors

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1. Aerie bra $29.95 at www.ae.com & Debenhams panty £5.00 at www.debenhams.com
2. Princesse Tam Tam bra $83.00 at www.journelle.com & Gap panty $14.95 at www.gap.com
3. Topshop bra $36.00 at www.us.topshop.com & Cosabella panty $24.00 at www.journelle.com
4. Von Follies by Dita Von Teese bra $65.00 at www.fairefroufrou.com & Asos panty $15.05 at www.asos.com

The top selling colors in lingerie tend to be black, white and nude. And if you happen to be a little adventurous you may also include other more bold colors such as red, pink and blue. These are great pieces to start with because they can easily be matched to each other simply by sharing the same hue. If you own mostly black bras then chances are you’ll have an easy time finding an array of black panties to your liking. Even if the fabrics are not consistent you’ll still look put together and coordinated.

3) Look for similar trim colors

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5. Dottie’s Delights bra $185.00 at www.dottiesdelights.bigcartel.com & Forever 21 panty $4.80 at www.forever21.com
6. H&M bra $17.95 at www.hm.com & Elle Macpherson Intimates panty $30.00 at www.anthropologie.com
7. Calvin Klien bra $42.00 at www.figleaves.com & B.tempt’d panty $13.30 at www.wacoal-america.com
8. Eberjey bra $70.00 at www.journelle.com & Passionata panty $26.00 at www.journelle.com

Another simple but fun way to utilize color in your favor is to seek out pieces with matching trim colors. If your beige bra has a contrasting pink lace trim then finding a panty in a similar shade of pink offers a fitting alternative to the obvious beige panty, which is also a viable option. Or look for popular color combinations like black and white that can easily allow you to mix and match, some pieces black with white trim, others white with black trim. The ability to swap either color out for the other allows for more variety and creativity in your wardrobe.

4) Mix a solid with a pattern

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9. Elle Macpherson Intimates $52.00 at www.herroom.com & Made By Niki panty $133.50 at www.fairefroufrou.com
10. Betsey Johnson bra $26.80 at www.nordstrom.com & Hanky Panky panty $29.00 at www.hankypanky.com
11. La Senza bra $42.50 at www.lasenza.com & Hanky Panky panty $23.00 at www.hankypanky.com
12. Wacoal bra $48.00 at www.wacoal-america.com & Urban Outfitters panty $8.00 at www.urbanoutfitters.com

Print offerings are much more common on bottoms than they are on tops mainly because busy patterned panties are easier to hide under women’s clothing. However the wrong bra under a light colored shirt or thin fabric can often cause much unwanted attention for its wearer throughout the day. This is why most women tend to stick to solid colors and smooth cups but are more daring on the bottom.

If you own or purchase printed bottoms then these can also be great compliments to a solid bra on top. Finding just one matching color in a pattern automatically can set you up for a conscious pairing as long as the tones are close enough. Keep in mind that the torso space between the bra and panty breaks up the look so colors do not have to match each other 100%. For example, a natural colored leopard print panty can easily compliment a brown colored bra, while a pop of red on a bra strap or bow can be enhanced by a patterned panty with a similar shade of red. There are many options to play with and the same strategy can work with a printed bra and solid panties as well.

5) Match similar prints together

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13. Tommy Hilfiger bra $36.00 at www.tommy.com & Topshop panty $16.00 at www.us.topshop.com
14. L’Agent by Agent Provocateur bra $82.00 at www.nordstrom.com & Stella McCartney panty $55.00 at www.shopbop.com
15. Cosmopolitan bra $27.00 at www.jcpenney.com & Gap panty $10.50 at www.gap.com
16. Soma bra $46.00 at www.soma.com & Esprit panty $16.93 at www.asos.com

One of my personal favorite ways to miss match my lingerie is by tossing different prints together that have a similar underlying theme. Simple prints like dots and stripes can look great with another print of similar proportions. Variations in the size scale, layout or color only make the look more interesting as long as colors are kept to a minimum and patterns are not too dense.

6) Experiment with different patterns

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17. Xhilaration bra $6.98 at www.target.com & Whimsy by Lunaire panty $14.00 at www.barenecessities.com
18. Free People bra $20.00 at www.freepeople.com & Kensie panty $12.00 at www.herroom.com
19. Victoria’s Secret bra $32.50 at www.victoriassecret.com & Freya panty $32.00 at www.barenecessities.com
20. Only Hearts bra $44.00 at www.nordstrom.com & Aerie panty $9.50 at www.ae.com

One of the biggest trends in fashion now is print mixing and mastering it is no easy feat. It takes precision and thought but when done right can have a jubilant effect on its wearer. The trick to mixing your prints together without looking too crazy is to follow a similar color scheme that can flow between pieces. It also helps to pair a busier print with a more simplistic pattern. Complex prints like florals or conversationals will often look great with a small polkadot, simple stripe, check or even a basic leopard print. If the ground colors match then you’ll have a better chance of pulling the look off. If you have a tropical looking floral on bottom why not mix it with a zebra print on top? Got a sporty striped bra? How about a pair of fun polkadot panties? This is a place to get creative and have fun with your look.

7) Go your own way

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While all of these suggestions are intended to help stretch your lingerie further they will by no means appeal to everyone. Fashion is interpretive and underwear can just as easily be considered as a functional necessity. The pressure to coordinate your underwear doesn’t apply to everyone and some may be just as happy wearing miss matched pieces whether for comfort, convenience or fun as those who enjoy putting thought into their ensembles. Rules are made to be broken and with lingerie being so personal and private it is an appropriate and safe place to break those rules in any way that you feel comfortable.

Do you find matching your underwear to be a challenge? Which brands do you feel encourage a mix-and-match sensibility?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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Dark And Edgy: 4 Lingerie Brands For Your Inner Dominatrix

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We are fresh off of a week-long celebration of lingerie here in New York City after Lingerie Fashion Week, The Curve Expo show and The Lingerie Collective show culminated in a 6 day fete full of champagne, entertainment and of course, gorgeous lingerie. There’s nothing like an injection of beauty during this otherwise drab time of the year with Valentine’s Day long gone and spring still weeks away. But leave it to the talented designers of some of the top lingerie brands around to lift our spirits with their enticing new collections for Fall/Winter 2014.

When I first started studying lingerie in the late 90’s (wow, did I just date myself?) the market was awash with beautiful feminine labels that I took inspiration from and aspired to emulate. Lace, satin and crisp cottons were fabric staples, much as they are now, evoking classic glamour, girlish charm and flirty playfulness. While these pretty pieces never failed to inspire me, I had noticed a lack of darker, more edgy lingerie that was of better or high-end quality. As a young fashion student I dreamed of seeing leather, hardware and fishnet integrated into the mainstream in a classy and upscale way. Now almost 15 years later I’m happy to report a growing market of these luxury labels designed with the strong, dominant, sexually liberated woman in mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still completely in love with classic lingerie design: the elegance of a delicate Chantilly lace against the skin, the sumptuousness of fine satin accentuating a woman’s curves or the hint of skin peeking through a strategically placed keyhole. But there is something satisfying about seeing these harder, edgy, luxurious pieces brought to light. They are, in a way, the antithesis of traditional lingerie itself as they can help to awaken the many complex desires, fascinations and deviancies, which reside within a woman’s elemental nature. These designers help fulfill fantasies and lend a powerful voice to those who need it and I’m delighted to see more of these brands emerge in the industry throughout the past few years.

While I have read about some of these new labels before, this is the first time I have actually had the pleasure of viewing them in person, studying their quality and in some cases chatting with their designers. Here are four of those labels leading the alternative lingerie revolution.

Darkest Star

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As I peruse the racks of Darkest Star’s products the only word that comes to mind is “bondage”. Darkest Star has made an art form out of the practice with an array of multi-faceted designs that can easily convert from fashion accessory to bedroom restraints.

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Designed to be worn alone or layered over lingerie, each of the leather harnesses offered are fashioned with metal rings, adjusters and clasps. Attached collars and/or cuffs add design detail while long detachable sheer silk panels at the collar cascade down the body. These panels are meant to then be twisted, wrapped or tucked around the body as the wearer sees fit and may be attached to the cuffs or thread through any of the numerous metal rings. These multi-functional pieces are easily transformed from an edgy layering fashion accessory by day into a sensual instrument of restraint by night making them as unique and personalized as the women who wear them.

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Another highlight of Darkest Star is their Pleasure Pillow. This satin pillow is pretty enough to pass as fashionable bedding however don’t be fooled! The metal rings, hidden slits and sturdy foam base easily transform this item of home décor into a platform of kinky foreplay complete with blindfold and restraints.

Something Wicked

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I’ve reported on UK Lingerie Award winner Something Wicked before and am pleased to see them continuing on with their racy assortment of innovative silhouettes and accessories. Like Darkest Star, Something Wicked utilizes a lot of leather and hardware in their designs taking the luxurious, sensual fabrics to a whole new level of seduction and dominance.

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This predominantly dark label from the same designer that brought us Obey My Demand shocks and excites with unexpected details and overt sexiness. The Debut Leather collection consists of some surprising pieces which incorporate silk chiffon, supple suede and soft mesh into its bold silhouettes. Prominent cut outs and keyholes are brazenly placed with intent to entice and tease and I’m happy to report that additional silhouettes are being added in upcoming seasons.

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The Debut lace collection also has some surprises for us with unexpected peepholes, gold hardware and the juxtaposition between hard and soft. While their assortment of accessories offers playful accouterments for the bedroom including whips, handcuffs, harnesses and blindfolds.

Sophireaptress

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This year old brand from Philadelphia debuted at Lingerie Fashion Week this season stirring up the industry and injecting a little dark magic into the event. The loungewear company specializes in rich textures, sweeping drapes and shadowy elements captivating the eye and eliciting a double or triple take.

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The bewitching collection of leggings, tops and shorts are set in a palette of black, grey and hints of metallic while the fabrics practically beg to be touched. Leggings are paired with voluminous crop tops and mystify in lightweight hosiery-like fabrics that play off of the contrast between transparency and the opaque. Velvet scrollwork, fabric blocking and photo printing are just some of the optic effects you’ll find in this collection.

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While these fashion-forward leggings prove to rouse our excitement the tops within the collection elicit a more lounge-like feel. Softly draped jersey flows around the body and offers the opportunity to retreat with details such as oversized draped hoods, extra long sleeves and billowing bodices. These roomy details are perfect for cozying up, sheathed in a blanket of mystery.

FYI By Dani Read

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Dani Read has been pushing the lingerie envelope for a few years now ever since she came on the scene in 2011 with studded bra straps, metallic pistol prints and bondage leather gloves. Even her catch phrase “Women Are Weapons” hints at the bold and audacious design aesthetic you can expect from her ever-growing collections.

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For Fall 2014 the brazen sensibility continues with more leather, mesh, straps and chains. A bevvy of unique beauties modeled new silhouettes and design details in neutral palettes complete with a tattooed heart on each chest. The looks were fresh and exciting with new injections such as zippers and allover prints that we have not seen from this label before.

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It seems that many of these pieces are multi-functional as well and can be used in a variety of imaginative ways. During the presentation the designer herself came out to adjust rope ties on the model’s wrists, illustrating how they can be used as both fashion and function. I was also amazed at the zippered halter bra which can also be dismantled and serve as a strapless bra as well as the layered leather shorts reminiscent of the leather chaps that horseback riders wear and a mesh tennis skirt with satin trimming. All of these pieces elicit that dark naughty feel but with a fun and functional edge to keep you wanting more.

Do you feel that the BDSM trend is here to stay? Which other brands do you feel nail the look?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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Jean Paul Gaultier: How The ”Enfant Terrible” Of French Fashion Influenced Modern Lingerie

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A sketch by Gaultier for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour

If you’re one of the many fashion-loving New Yorkers on the east coast right now then you’ve inevitably heard the buzz surrounding the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and how it’s been compared to the Alexander McQueen show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for it’s innovative and prolific display of avant-garde fashion. Original and a bit shocking, this new exhibition has been hailed as an inspiring inversion of our social and moral codes, encouraging us to challenge gender rolls, beauty ideals and non-conformity in a new light.

As a fashion designer who appreciates the extraordinary, I felt compelled to check out this unconventional display of creativity from the designer who brought us the cone bra and man-skirts. So last Sunday afternoon I decided to take a field trip out to Manhattan’s sister borough with the intention of reporting back on my findings. However it wasn’t until I began to peruse the first of seven rooms within the exhibit that I began to really realize how much Gaultier has not only contributed to the fashion world but also to the lingerie world as well. Row upon row of intricately crafted corsets held my attention. Mannequin after eerily life-like mannequin in hand-stitched bustiers made me marvel in delight like a kid in a lingerie candy store. It took all my self-control to refrain from handling each piece and trying them on right there in the exhibition hall!

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Sout De L’ange ribbon corset from the Boudoir section

Here is a little history of Gaultier if you are not familiar with his work: French born and never formally trained, Gaultier began his career in the 1970’s quickly making a name for himself as the “Enfant Terrible” (aka: the terrible child) of fashion, utilizing shocking and gender bending ideas for his collections, while elevating the gritty punk-infused street style to the heights of the catwalk. The man responsible for men in skirts and women in suits titillated us with his portrayal of sexual freedom and irreverence. One of the first openly gay designers, Gaultier helped redefine the definition of female empowerment and shared with us a host of muses who helped to push the envelope of couture fashion even further, including a few of my favorites: Madonna, Karlie Kloss and Beth Ditto.

Gaultier’s obsession with lingerie was especially evident beginning as a small child in the Paris suburbs when his parents refused to let him play with dolls, which he longed for, and instead bought him a teddy bear to appease him. This bear that he soon named Nana became the model and backdrop for his first foray into fashion. With the help of his open-minded grandmother who allowed Gaultier to study the construction of her own bras and undergarments, he began crafting makeshift lingerie for Nana including a newspaper conical bra and doily skirt. And I’d be remiss not to mention the application of Nana’s red lipstick – the perfect compliment to her sexy boudoir look.

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Gaultier’s childhood teddy bear, Nana

However it wasn’t until 1990 when Madonna collaborated with him for the wardrobe on her Blonde Ambition tour that the iconic cone bra was brought into the limelight much to the shock of the public. Both celebrated and criticized, this bra along with the many corsets, bodysuits and bustiers worn as outerwear (quite scandalous and profound at the time) pushed the boundaries of fashion and introduced us to a new acceptance of gender bending avant-garde looks intended to excite us and redefine the rolls of femininity and masculinity. Since then many designers have taken a cue from Gaultier and continued to extend the boundaries of fashion, shaking up the catwalks and earning a new breed of fashion followers.

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A sketch by Gaultier for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour

As I walked through the seven sections of the exhibit a growing number of lingerie brands came to mind as I saw influences reflected in many of Gaultier’s designs and details. The fashion world is cyclical and one great idea tends to spark another as trends ignite, grow and morph into new and innovative versions of their previous selves. Metal boning, caged bodies, lace-up details, satin quilting and metal hardware continue to evoke a certain feminine sexual power evident today in designs from brands like Agent Provocateur, Chromat, Bordelle and La Perla. It is possible that many of these brands have taken inspiration from Gaultier himself whether directly or unintentionally. And let’s not forget Gaultier’s most recent ongoing contributions to lingerie including his collections for La Perla featuring textured waist cinchers and quilted bras or his collection for Wolford hosiery complete with trompe l’oeil Eiffel tower stockings. And with Gaultier’s own haute couture collections donning names like “The Virgins”, “Skin Deep”, “The Boudoir” and “G-Spot” there is no doubt that Gaultier’s harbors a deep fascination and understanding of the female body.

If you happen to be in the New York area this month I suggest you visit “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” before its doors close on February 23rd after which the exhibit will be moved to the Barbican Center in London beginning in April of this year. In the meantime here are a few more highlights from the show including some of what I felt to be the most thought-provoking, lingerie-inspired pieces that instantly managed to spark my inspiration for many days to come.

 

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Le Bal Des Sirenes corset gown from the The Odyssey section

 

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The Devoreuse corset from the Boudoir section

 

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The Lace body-corset from the Skin Deep section

 

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The Baby Bump corset from the Boudoir section

 

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The Denim Look silk corset from the Punk Cancan section

 

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The Heart and Veins bodysuit from the Skin Deep section

 

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The Barbarella body-corset from the Metropolis section

Have you seen the Gaultier exhibit? In what way do you feel that he has contributed to the world of lingerie?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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Winter White: White Lingerie Gets A Sexy Makeover

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Who says you can’t wear white after Labor Day? It’s the first few days of January and here on the East Coast we’re seeing lots of white following Winter Storm Hercules which blanketed New York City under 6” of powdery goodness. However as the storm lifts and the buzz of the city picks up once more, the soft heavenly snow is destined to turn a sad shade of grey making future commutes an unpleasant challenge battling slush, ice and surly pedestrians along the way.

But as I write this, the pristine snow is still fresh, remaining untouched, while the grimy transformation has yet to begin. I am reveling in the cozy warmth of my apartment with a full Netflix roster and a mug of hot chocolate. I can hear Bing Crosby‘s Walking In A Winter Wonderland echoing in my head and I thought it only appropriate to honor this fleeting, peaceful moment with an ode to the virginal color that symbolizes purity, youth and innocence – perfect for the start of the New Year.

Most often the color white in lingerie has become characterized into two stereotypical categories. The first being bridal which symbolizes chasteness and is usually classic and feminine in design. While the second is basic, often with no frills and designed for comfort and modesty. But as times change, we see more lingerie designers breaking the mold enticing us with new designs, ideas and innovations. The fashion rule book has gone out the window and consumers are embracing the newfound ideas of what sexy can look like. White can be sexy. White can be naughty. And white is no longer reserved for honeymoons and simple basics.

So as I garnish my hot cocoa with marshmallows, cuddle up with my Angora Persian cat and settle in for a day of whiteout conditions, I’d like to share 12 of my favorite white and off-white lingerie pieces (one for each degree Fahrenheit on this peaceful winter day) to inspire you to look at the color in a different way.

Lilith Bodysuit by Ludique

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Romanian label Ludique has taken lace-up to a whole new level with their Lilith bodysuit mixing the strong bondage-inspired details with delicate tulle, satin and hints of lace.

Raphaella Corset by Agent Provocateur

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Agent Provocateur has hit the jackpot with their pleated tulle and lace Raphaella corset. Gold hardware and removable laced-on hip panels inject an extra dose of seductiveness into this classic antique silhouette.

Arpege Bra and Brief Set by Huit

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Quintessential French label Huit dazzles with the Arpege soft cup bra and high-rise brief. Available in an array of bold colors, this all white version oozes class and sophistication with it’s smooth mesh panels and luxurious Leavers lace details.

Veiled Slip by Shell Belle Couture

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This breathtaking Veiled Slip by Shell Belle Couture utilizes an intricately applied veil in front with floral adorned sheer mesh. The low-cut back and fishtail hemline only add to the allure of this sensual vintage-looking chemise.

Coquette Bra, Knickers and Garter Belt Set by Mimi Holliday

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Black and white is a classic color combination that will never go out of style as is evident with the Coquette set by Mimi Holliday. The delicate snow-white eyelash lace is offset by rich black velvet trim and bows making this 3 piece set refined, elegant and timeless.

Eva Blanche Kimono by Belle Et Bon Bon

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British label Belle Et Bon Bon has captured my heart with their elaborate lace and applique details often strategically placed to highlight the curves of a woman’s body. The Eva Blanche Kimono is a sexy alternative to its historically traditional silk counterparts with intricate eyelash lace and deep side cut outs providing a teasing glimpse of the body beneath.

Gia Shelf Bra and Harness Thong Set by Bordelle

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Bordelle’s signature strappy harness designs have translated into some super sexy separates including the Gia set in white with cream adjustable straps. Equal parts naughty and nice this set is sure to make its wearer feel bold and confident.

Spring/Summer ’14 Chemise by Jenny Packham

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While this demure vintage-looking chemise will not be available for purchase until Spring/Summer 2014 it’s grace and beauty are enough to hold my interest and is sure to send me checking the website for the remainder of the season. The sheer fabric drapes delicately and hints as to what lies beneath while the waist cinching and ornate lace emphasizes it’s feminine charm.

Dancing Dots Bra and Panty Set by Von Follies by Dita Von Tease

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Polka dots have quickly become a symbol of classic femininity and playfulness. No longer the stuff of child’s play these kitschy prints are here to stay. The Dancing Dots collection from Von Follies is a cute interpretation of the girlish print paired with black lace to give it a more grown up feel.

Sparkling Jasmine Bodysuit by La Perla

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La Perla can do no wrong season after season. This Sparkling Jasmine Bodysuit is a beautiful mix of tulle, satin and embroidery with plunging neckline and delicate lace underwire cups. Laced with lurex threads the subtle sparkle adds a touch of glamour to this elegant design.

Cacharel Camisole and Panty Set by Claire Pettibone

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Claire Pettibone has turned fantasy into reality with the Cacharel Set in adorned French lace. The camisole and panty set feature satin ribbon, silk rosettes and pearl details hand stitched onto the delicate floral perfect for lounging around cloaked in ornate luxury.

Amel Bra and Panty Set by Marie Meili

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The Amel Push Up Bra and Hipster Set by Marie Meili is a pretty yet practical set in classic black and white. The plunge push up cups and button details give this comfortable set a refined feel while the smooth fabric and flat lace eliminate bulk for easy every day wear.

How do you feel about white lingerie? Do you see it as more than just basics and bridal?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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Lingerie Review: Timeless Trends Iridescent Underbust Corset

Disclosure: Timeless Trends provided this corset for review purposes. All opinions written here are my own.

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I may not be a corset connoiseur however I have always shared a love of corsets like many of my fellow lingerie designers. Ever since I learned how to construct one in fashion school I was fascinated by the intricacies and minute details that came together to construct such a strong, supportive yet feminine iconic symbol of women’s fashion. I was impressed at the strength and versitility of these garments as well as their history and reputation that made them such an quintessential symbol of the female form for several centuries past.

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Expertly crafted corsets are a serious business and a well-made style can run upwards of $500 US dollars. While serious corset lovers know the importance of splurging for such a high quality piece of lingerie, many of us new to the world of corsets are not sure how much to spend or where to begin. For these corset beginners I would recommend Timeless Trends as a good place to start.

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Established in 2005, Timeless Trends is a corset design company based in Austin Texas that offers a wide array of quality fashion corsets at reasonable prices. Their offerings include underbust and overbust styles that can fit anywhere from a 23” to a 44” waist. All styles are made in their small Thailand factory with skilled workers guaranteeing the best possible quality and attention to detail. With over 100 styles and colors to choose from, their website is user friendly and offers helpful information on all aspects of corset selection, wear and care.

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For review purposes I chose the Iridescent Underbust Corset in blue/pink. I’ve never owned an underbust corset before and was curious to see its effects and what unique styles I could pair it with, both inside and outside the bedroom. The corset arrived promptly and I was first impressed by the fabrication and color. True to the photos on their site, the irridescent shell was a gorgeous purple color with glints of pink and blue depending on the lighting. The weight of the corset was substantial and the details and hardware seemed sturdy and secure with a steel busk closure in front, reminiscent of the true vintage corsets I learned about back in school.

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As I inspected the stitching, inside lining and grommets, I was impressed by the quality and time that was put into the garment. It has 20 flexible steel stays throughout the body with extra boning at the front and back closures. The 28 back grommets were laced with sturdy shoestring and inside the 3 layers of fabric I could feel the waist tape sandwiched between them to add extra cinching at the narrowest point. There were also hidden loops at the hem for detachable garter straps (not included) and decorative lacings at the side hem to allow adjustments for different sized hips.

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After a good 15 minutes of loosening the back laces I was finally able fit the corset around my waist and followed the instructions on the Timeless Trends website, hooking the front busk starting with the 2nd eye downwards and lastly finishing with the top eye. Then after positioning the corset in line with my natural waist I proceeded to (trickily) tighten the back laces. Alternating between top and bottom I began to tighten the laces one at at a time finishing at the center and tieing it off in a bow (for future reference I recommend having a friend help with this process as I don’t believe the human body was built to contort in that way)!

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When I was finished and exhausted from my bicep workout, I was finally able to catch my breath and admire my work. I was happy to say that I found the final effects to be flattering! Though I held off from lacing too tightly, the corset still created a pleasant and smooth shape accentuating my waistline and streamlining my curves into a feminine hourglass silhouette.

While I do not intend to wear my corset for waist training or tightlacing, I can appreciate the art form and the thought that goes into each detail. As I wear it more and more it is meant to conform to my curves and will allow me to wear it tighter each time if I should so choose. Though I will probably just stick to mostly wearing it out as a fashion sportswear piece, I enjoy the confidence and sureness that can often come with wearing such a bold and sexy symbol of classic femininity.

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With that being said, I would definitely recommend Timeless Trends to anyone curious or looking to get started in the world of corsetry. The customer service is great and the website itself offers a wealth of information to help you through any questions you may have. Each corset also comes with a lifetime guarantee which allows you the peace of mind to know that your investment is secured for life and that your high-quality purchase is the real deal. While I still may not be well versed in the subject of tightlacing or waist training, I do feel much more educated and informed on the overall topic of corsets, their use, fit, care and construction.

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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‘Tis The Season: How To Use Your Lingerie Addiction To Help Those Less Fortunate

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Every year around this time many people find themselves feeling nostalgic, sentimental and sympathetic, making more time for family and loved ones and reaching out to those less fortunate than themselves. November and December are the months that see the biggest growth in charity donations, philanthropy and volunteerism as individuals reflect on the past year’s highs and lows, and attempt to pay it forward by brightening the day of those who are worse off and in need of a little charity.

Coming off of a successful Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, many companies and activists have reached out to make a difference by offering support and encouragement to breast cancer survivors as well as cancer researchers. In the lingerie industry many brands have played an integral part in offering donations and incentives which have helped to fund numerous breast cancer organizations.

This month of November brings us even more reasons to get involved. In an effort to make the public more aware of men’s health, a campaign was launched out of Australia in 2003. Better known as “Movember” the campaign asks men to grow out their mustaches in a show of support of men’s cancer and overall health awareness. Another charity-inducing holiday this month is Veteran’s Day in the US on November 11 to honor those who have served in the military to defend our freedom and human rights. And of course let’s not forget Thanksgiving Day on November 28, an American traditional holiday which gives thanks for a boutiful harvest and all the fortunes we have been blessed with.

You may not be aware of some of the lesser known holidays occuring this November. For instance November 13 brings us World Kindness Day (http://www.theworldkindnessmovement.org/) which encourages the public to help spread love, kindness and compassion towards others. And World Peace Day (http://www.peaceday.org/) on November 17 which is dedicated to teaching and promoting peace throughout the world.

With all these postitive messages inspiring our inner giver, it is not difficult to jump on the bandwagon and allow the spirit of the season to guide you onto a selfless path of hospitality and generosity.

Short on time or financing? Being charitable has never been so simple and attainable in this day and age. In addition to getting involved in your local non-profit organizations (ie: anti-poverty, health awareness, animal welfare, education, etc) there are numerous other ways to give back. Many companies are offering services or donations simply by shopping their brands. Some donate sales to specific charities, some utilize an underpriveledged workforce with the purpose of training impoverished women and some simply aid you in recycling or donating used goods to people in need.

If you are wondering how you can help, here are a few reputable underwear-based companies that are sure to make you feel good while you do good. Check them out to see what small steps you can take to make a bigger difference in the world and better appreciate your own fortunes.

Free The Girls (www.freethegirls.org)

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Statistics show that 80% of slavery and human trafficing victims are women and girls sold into prostitution against their will. Those women fortunate enough to be rescued are then left with deep emotional scars as well as limited opportunities to rebuild a new, healthy lifestyle.

Launched in 2010, Free the Girls is a non-profit organization that offers opportunities and support for many of these women rescued from the suffering of human trafficking. The organization collects donations of gently used bras from all over the world to donate to these women with the intent of assisting them in second hand resale, allowing them an opportunity to get their lives on track and earn minimum wage or higher for themselves.

To date, Free the Girls has collected over 200,000 bras and are still going strong with bra drives and other events throughout the country.

Cherie Amie (www.cherieamie.com)

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You may have heard of Cherie Amie last November when a crippling house fire devouered much of their stock of lingerie just days before the company’s launch. Founder Tara Smith had just returned from Camaroon, West Africa where she had hand carried the hand-crafted underthings back with her after a month long visit commissioning and supporting a group of women artisans with her new fair trade collection.

The ultra feminine lingerie line was initially conceived as a humanitarian effort by Tara and her husband with 100% of the proceeds going to charitible projects in African countries as well as supporting sustainable development and women’s economic empowerment.

While the fire may have caused ripples in their initial development, it did not stop the drive and vision of the brand. Cherie Amie has been up and running since, offering shoppers a chance to support women in need with its array of teddys, babydolls, panties and men’s boxers and plans to make more trips to Cameroon for new and updated collections each year.

Zoraab (www.zoraab.com)

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Zoraab is a fun & stylish online retailer of mens socks. Based in New York City they aim to outfit the feet of today in bright colors, bold patterns and personalized style. But under this label’s stylish and funky exterior lies a philanthropic bonus as 10% of all proceeds are donated to homeless shelters across the nation each year. On the website they explain how socks are the #1 requested item of clothing each year and yet one of the least donated pieces according to the Salvation Army.

Partnering with various charitable organizations, Zoraab not only donates a percentage of their earnings to those less fortunate but has also offered to match any contribution from it’s customers when they host a “Sock Hop party” to collect sock donations for anti-poverty charities. This Socks For The Soul project has helped to create awareness and gives shoppers an extra incentive for shopping their brand.

Sweet Cheeks Panties (www.sweetcheekspanties.com)

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Two time Olympic medalist snowboarder Hannah Teter is no stranger to social activism. Her underwear label Sweet Cheeks Panties is not only cute, cheeky and clever but the styles themselves come with a conscience. Each pair sold on the website translates into a donation of 40% of the retail price towards Children International which provides food and nourishment to poverty stricken children around the world.

In addition, Hannah has recognized Children International as a charity that does the most good per dollar. Since 1936 they have been focused not only on providing meals to children in need but also by helping to break the cycle of poverty by assisting them with health, education and emotional aid.

The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation (http://www.standupfoundation.com)

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British rugby athlete Ben Cohen made a bold move in 2011 to quit his professional rugby career in favor of devoting himself to battling homophobia and educating others to the cause. Ben launched the StandUp Foundation specifically aimed to combat bullying of children who might be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Ben’s selfless career change came as a surprise given the married eye-candy’s hearthrob status in years past. The StandUp Foundation offers support to various organizations and programs throughout the US and UK. In addition, his line of rugby sportswear includes men’s boxers, briefs and t-shirts with proceeds benefitting the anti-bullying work of his foundation.

Pajama Program (http://pajamaprogram.org/WordPress/)

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Pajama Program is an organization founded in 2001 that provides pajamas and books to children in need. Many of these children are orphans or living in foster care and temporary housing and have never experienced bedtime story or clean and cozy pajamas.

Supporters of the cause are urged to help out in various ways. Pajama donations are a priority with the 1 Million Good Nights event extended throughout the winter from December to March. This is when pajamas are most needed and the Pajama Program has set a collection goal of 1 million pajamas and 1 million books for the children in need. As of November 1st they have reached approxamitely 25% of their goal and are still in need of more donations.

How do you feel about socially active lingerie brands? Can you recommend any others?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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Fright Night: 12 Spooky Unmentionables For Your Dark Side

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I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with the macabre. Maybe it’s the departure from my usual world of flowers, rainbows and kittens, or maybe it’s the enticing allure of the unknown. Perhaps it’s that magical power that stirs up our dark imaginations and allows us to subject ourselves to frightening horror films, spooky ghost stories and gruesome images. Either way, if you are like me then you enjoy a little morbid indulgence from time to time and possibly find yourself drawn to it’s influence in fashion and lingerie as I do.

It’s no coincidence that I’m writing this a few weeks before Halloween, that one day of the year that we allow ourselves to be whomever we wish for the night. Whether it be showing off our assets in ways we would never dream of elsewise or entertaining our most uncharacteristic hidden fetishes, it is the one day where we can publicy expose those fantasies without judgement or ridicule from others.

Macabre fashion also happens to be trending right now with zombies, vampires and warewolves all the rage thanks to the expanding crop of teen franchise sagas taking over our media. Can you remember any other time when the undead was so mainstream and so cool?

Lingerie too has been influenced by the macabre for years and in many different ways. From the beautiful yet horrifyingly torturous Victorian corsets of the 19th century to the BDSM bondage wear of today (think harnesses, catsuits and restraints), lingerie can offer an indulgent yet private outlet to safely display one’s dark side within the confines of one’s own limitations.

To celebrate Halloween this year I’m allowing myself to sucomb to the dark side and yield to my more creepy obsessions. I may even take in the new Carrie flick, visit the Mütter Museum or venture into Times Scare to ring in the holiday this year. And to mark these somewhat daunting events, I’ve decided to treat myself to a spooky new update to my lingerie collection. With all the choices out there right now the options are endless but unfortunately my budget is not, so I have narrowed it down to my top 12 picks for 2013’s most sinister lingerie.

1. Horror Movie Monsters Corset by Emerald Angel

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Emerald Angel offers a large selection of handmade alternative, goth and rockabilly clothing and accessories. Her Horror Movie Monsters underbust corset is a kitchy take on a sexy staple and is sure to bring a little humor into the boudoir.

2. The Nell Robe by Betty Blue’s

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This über sexy robe by Betty Blue’s Loungerie is sure to set hearts racing with its strategic lace inserts and sensual, draped fabric. Seductive and vampy, this robe screams femme fatale in the most luxurious and provocative way.

3. Pentagram Garter by Ideologia

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With fantasy-inspired fashion in style now it’s no surprise that pentagons are popping up as a rebellious and alternatve symbol on clothing and accessories. Case in point is the Pentagram garter from Ideologia. This faux leather adornment is sexy yet edgy enough to be worn outside as a bold fashion statement if the mood should strike you.

4. Spider Web Bra from Kallisti by Mario Schwab for Asos

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Mario Schwab’s first lingerie collection for Asos has nailed the arachnophile look with this Spider Web underwire bra. The plunging, semi-sheer cups are seductively sinister and conjure up images of the Black Widow meticulously biding and stalking her prey.

5. Dem Guts Swimsuit by Black Milk Clothing

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Cult label Black Milk is notorious for outfitting cool girls across the globe in their cutting-edge, realistic-looking printed spandex. For Halloween this year they are offering a collection of creepy and gruesome patterns including this anatomically correct guts one-piece, guaranteed to illicit a few double takes!

6. Striped Victorian Circus with Skeleton Cameo Corset by Louise Black

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Louise Black’s Etsy collection of steampunk corsets and jewelry is handmade and meticulously crafted with expert attention to detail as well as ominous elements such as this skeleton cameo. Flanked in ruffles and lace, the morbid image actually doesn’t seem as ominous when combined with such feminine details.

7. Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Pasties from Bad Bunny Shop

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Etsy shop Bad Bunny stocks a unique mix of macabre accessories and burlesque paraphernalia including these sparkly Day of the Dead Sugar Skull pasties. Handmade with felt and sequins, each set is made to order and will add a bit of mischievous playfulness to any lingerie ensemble (or lack there of)!

8. The Jet Corset by Agent Provocateur

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Agent Provocateur has done it again this season with new and innovative designs for the strong and sexy woman. This Jet Corset is especially intriguing with its armor like shell, PVC strapping and jagged neckline sure to be coveted by the likes of Morticia Adams, Vamporella and Elvira.

9. 4-Way Stretch Viynl Bodysuit from Lip Service

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What’s hotter then skin tight vinyl? Nothing when you’ve got this bodysuit on by gothic purveyer Lip Service! This sexy number looks like liquid latex as it hugs every contour and accentuates your most feminine curves and assets.

10. Pentagon Harness by Chromat

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The obsession with avante-guarde label Chromat is spreading like wildfire across the fashion sphere yet many of their amazingly innovative designs are not necessarily wearable as an every day fashion item. However this Pentagram Harness is a sensible alternative with its adjustable elastic and unlimited layering potential to be worn either inside or outside closed doors.

11. Rose Vine Skeleton Skelly Pajamas by Too Fast

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For those nostalgic for the footie pajamas of our youth, Too Fast has got you covered with adult size versions that are not only cute and cozy but edgy and alternative as well. The rose encircled, true-to-scale skeleton is printed on front and back while the convenient button flap in the back adds a cute and cheeky (pun intended) twist.

12. Zombie Sleep Mask at Fred Flare

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Is lack of sleep leaving you feeling like the undead? Keep the creepy going all night with the Zombie sleep mask from Fred Flare. Not only will you block the light out for a more restful sleep but you will also freak your bedroom buddy out at the same time. The perfect Halloween prank for those with a morbid sense of humor!

Which pieces are your favorite? Do you share an affintity for all things macabre?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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