Posts by Kristina

Intimate Affairs: A Recap Of Lingerie Inspired Events At NY Fashion Week

Josie Natori RTW Spring 2015

Josie Natori RTW Spring 2015 (Photo by Josh Wong)

Ahh, September in New York. There are such bitter sweet feelings this time of the year as the lazy days of summer are behind us and we gear up for a changing of the seasons including cooler temperatures, fall foliage and for the fashion obsessed – New York Fashion Week. With the fanfare of spectators and general hoopla surrounding the weeklong event, we lingerie professionals can often go overlooked as the spotlight shines on notable designers primarily in the ready to wear and couture markets. But that doesn’t mean that we miss out on all the fun when the fashion brigade comes into town. There are plenty of lingerie inspired events and exhibitions around town that serve to remind me each season how impactful and important the roll of intimate apparel plays in the fashion world. And the best part is that you don’t always have to be a professional in the industry in order to enjoy them.

These past few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of attending some of these events and found myself inspired, wanting to share my findings with fellow lingeristas alike. Aside from the exclusive runway shows and private events, there were also performances, exhibitions, pop-up shops and trunk shows that the general public was welcome to take part in. It helps to be an avid follower of your favorite brands and labels if you want to get the inside scoop on what’s happening and where. And if you’re a sucker for a spectacle as I (embarrassingly) am, then there’s no reason you can’t take part and join in on the fun.

If you’re wondering what some of these events are like then read below to catch a glimpse at my fashion week roundup, including the more noteworthy events which served to remind me of the significance of lingerie in our lives and how it has influenced the whole of the fashion community decade after decade.

Triumph Magic Wire Bra Launch

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Triumph’s history display

Triumph has been one of the most notable lingerie brands across the globe for 125 years, first launching in Europe and slowly expanding across Asia before setting it’s sights on the US. While they don’t yet have retail stores in metropolitan New York, that hasn’t stopped them from garnering the buzz that this brand so well deserves.

The Magic Wire bra event was recently held at their temporary pop-up store in the East Village and was chock full of entertainment and excitement. Guests got a first hand view of the new revolutionary bra which does away with rigid and uncomfortable metal underwires in favor of a new silicone support piece encased within the bra fabric to support the smooth molded cups. This stabilizing piece serves to offer comparable hold and shape as traditional underwires but without the poking and prodding of a metal wire. An additional mesh stabilizer serves to compliment the pliable silicone feature and helps to add additional support while providing flexible comfort to rival a completely wireless bra.

Triumph's new Magic Wire bra

Triumph’s new Magic Wire bra

Lucky patrons were treated to a personalized bra fitting from Triumph’s knowledgeable staff and they had the opportunity to try on the new bra and take it home for a more in depth review. Available up to a G cup, these bras are also offered with fashionable details such as lace and jacquard and in an array of top selling colors. I personally went with the basic black. Boring, yes, but once I had it on in that dressing room I knew I’d get good use out of it indeed. The stretchy fabric and cups were able to move with me and I felt unrestricted yet still secure. All in all I have become a big fan.

Contortionist at the Triumph Magic Wire bra launch

Contortionist at the Triumph Magic Wire bra launch

In addition to the complimentary bra fittings, guests also were treated to an array of dazzling spectacles including a live contortionist, an impressive magician and a host of themed cocktails complete with smoke and mirrors (seriously, the cocktails had smoke radiating off of them). We also got a great review of the history of the Triumph brand along with live music and a glimpse of a few celebrities to further kindle my fan-girl tendencies – a mark of a great event that’s sure to have a successful following.

Exposed: A History of Lingerie – Exhibit at the Museum at FIT

Corset, circa 1905, England (Photograph courtesy The Museum at FIT)

Corset, circa 1905, England (Photograph courtesy The Museum at FIT)

Next up I just had to stop by and take a peek at the Exposed: A History of Lingerie exhibit at my alma mater the Fashion Institute of Technology. FIT is known for having an extensive collection of historical costumes and dress, most of which is archived at any given time and has never been seen by the public before. I can remember as a fledgling lingerie designer we had the great privilege of viewing a few pieces of their vintage lingerie collection up close and personal. It was a memorable experience as we marveled at the delicate fabrics and watched as they were carefully handled under the protection of white cotton gloves for preservation. So when I heard that some of these lingerie pieces were on display for the first time ever, I of course, had to go and check it out first hand.

The great thing about the museum at FIT is that it is free of charge and open to the general public. If you happen to be in NYC between now and November 15th and you have some free time to spare, it’s a great place to gain some inspiration and get your creative juices flowing.

Mid to late 19th century dressing gowns, bustles, and corsets (Photograph courtesy The Museum at FIT)

Mid to late 19th century dressing gowns, bustles, and corsets (Photograph courtesy The Museum at FIT)

Upon entering the exhibit you will quickly find that it is curated for the viewer to progress chronologically down the line taking in the 50+ garments one by one beginning from the late 1700’s and concluding with today’s modern wares. The opening 18th century looks are full of detail and in great condition, paired next to similar outerwear garments that have been influenced by the lingerie look during the same time period. It’s this connection that shows the viewer how lingerie has always helped to shape modern day dress and that the concept of innerwear worn as outerwear was a viewpoint utilized for centuries and not necessarily an innovative practice during the Madonna styling’s of the 80’s.

Warner Bros. corset, circa 1889, USA (Photograph courtesy The Museum at FIT)

Warner Bros. corset, circa 1889, USA (Photograph courtesy The Museum at FIT)

Gradually the exhibit leads us on a chronological journey throughout the decades and centuries highlighting some of the most popular silhouettes and fabrics from those times. I found myself marveling at the whalebone corsets and metal bustles of the late 1700’s, giggling at the modest dressing gowns of the mid 1800’s and lusting after the girdles, petticoats & brassieres of the mid 1900’s. It was fascinating to see first hand how lingerie has evolved throughout time and how our attitudes and perspective have come so far with the finale of the exhibit showcasing modern day innovators we all know and love such as Agent Provocateur and Hanky Panky. If you are a lover of lingerie or just interested in history in general, then I highly recommend taking a spin around the exhibit and possibly gaining a new perspective and appreciation of the wonderful world of lingerie.

Josie Natori Spring 2015 Runway Show

Program for the Josie Natori Spring 2015 RTW runway show

Program from the Josie Natori Spring 2015 RTW runway show

When I think of luxury designer Josie Natori I think bold prints, billowing fabrics and saturated colors. Though the Natori brand has become much more than that, it continues to stay true to its roots and delivers to us optimism and elegance collection after collection.

Each season the Natori runway show captivates us with a fresh and innovative spin on the prints and silhouettes that she is most known for. The ready to wear Spring 2015 collection debuted last week and sure enough, it stayed true to this concept once again. With a strong loungewear presence and many pieces worthy of a good night’s sleep, the pieces floating down the runway evoked a vision of a tropical paradise, complete with island-inspired colors and textures.

Key looks from the Josie Natori Spring 2015 collection (All photos courtesy of Josie Natori)

Key looks from the Josie Natori Spring 2015 collection (Photos by Josh Wong)

Some more notable themes of the show included three-dimensional embroidery effects adorning soft linen robes, while obi belts cinched in fluid, shiny pantsuits. Tropical leaf prints and tie dyes complimented bold hibiscus accessories while citrus colors comingled with indigos and beiges making us long for an Island getaway before winter has even begun.

Josie Natori Spring 2015 runway finale

Josie Natori Spring 2015 runway finale

All together the show was uplifting and lively while remaining classic and true to it’s signature Asian influences. The finale featured all the models in basic white tops paired with an array of colorful sarong-like pants in bold organic patterns as they converged on the runway to Pharell’s hit “Happy”, ending the show in a cheerful and airy climax of color.

Chromat Spring/Summer 2015 Runway Show

Chromat Primary Top, Spring/Summer 2015

Chromat Primary Top, Spring/Summer 2015

Following up the Natori show with the Chromat garments show is a lesson in the study of contrasts. Part lingerie, part swimwear and part ready to wear, Chromat’s pieces are considered “structural experiments for the human body”. Since 2010 they have been creating cage-like pieces out of elastic, plastics and metal to achieve unique designs coveted by avant-garde, fashion-forward personalities.

Chromat Mesh Underbust Top & Mesh Band bottom Spring/Summer 2015

Chromat Mesh Underbust Top, Mesh Band bottom & Topknot Cage Spring/Summer 2015

Along with Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Beyoncé and Madonna, I have been a fan of Chromat’s work for a while now and jumped at the opportunity to see them in action. One may think that there is not much more you can improve or expand upon when dealing with a specific technique like body caging (especially when the look has been copied by so many other brands) but the reaches of the mind of a designer are limitless and Chromat has once again come up with edgy newness worthy of excitement in addition to fresh updates on some of the old favorites.

Chromat Shine Collar, Extended Bustier & Android Pant,  Spring/Summer 2015

Chromat Shine Collar, Extended Bustier & Android Pant, Spring/Summer 2015

In addition to architectural neoprene, flashes of neon trim and asymmetrically slashed bodices, they have now expanded to include plus sized looks up to a size 20 and presented on curvy beauty Denise Bidot for the runway. These new size offerings have garnered a lot of praise on social media with hopes of seeing other labels and fashion models follow their lead catering to all sizes of fashionistas.

I’d love to hear about any other fashion events you’ve attended lately! Are there any other events you would like to see us cover?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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Ones To Watch: 5 Lingerie Brands To Keep An Eye On

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Edge O’Beyond

Designing lingerie can be a hard, grueling job but someone’s got to do it! Not that it’s without its perks, of course. However the industry is by no means a cushy one and often the job is not nearly as luxurious as it seems. There are certain times when the workload can get downright unbearable with 18 hour work days, non-stop travel and back-to-back meetings monopolizing your entire schedule, let alone your precious personal life. Working as a designer can quickly take its toll on your health and personal relationships if you’re not careful. But with the headaches come the rewards (world travel, celebrity networking and free samples, just to name a few), which at the end of the day outweigh the negatives making it all worthwhile. However after years of sleepless nights and brutal schedules I’ve decided it was time to make the leap into a different sector of the lingerie world and try my hand at a new trade: retail.

This was not a decision that I made lightly especially considering the fact that I love designing lingerie. The passion has been pumping through my veins since I discovered my first garter belt at age 13! However after 12 years I’m finally ready for a change. With a deepening curiosity for merchandising and marketing I’ve decided that curating a shop is going to be the next step in my lingerie career. Launching virtually to start, I’m now looking forward to building an online selection that will highlight unique brands, support new labels, cater to stylish young women and allow me to further explore this whole other spectrum of consumerism and business.

While I am only in the initial stages of this new venture I realized that the best way to cut my teeth would be to attend the Curve Lingerie Expo this week in NYC where I could review a diverse array of lingerie brands and get more information on who they are and how we can work together. So here I am fresh off of 20 hours spent in lingerie nirvana, pounding the pavement (or in this case plush carpeting) and scouring each and every booth for gorgeous lingerie and sleepwear to offer to my soon-to-be prospective customers. During my lingerie frenzy I have encountered many amazing brands that have impressed me with their ingenuity and new ideas. I am now so inspired and excited to begin my journey into the world of ecommerce and share what I’ve found with like-minded women who appreciate the value of detail, comfort and affordability.

So as I slowly descend from my shopping high and begin the carefully crafted buying process I want to share with you some of the brands that particularly struck a chord with me this season. Many are still new to the industry and I hope to see them stick around for a while as I find their perspective refreshing and I hope to soon stock their lovely offerings on my up and coming web shop. Take a look below and let me know what you think!

Naja

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You may have already heard of Naja as they’ve been recently garnishing a lot of press for their Underwear For Hope campaign. This San Francisco based company commits itself to educating and empowering single mothers in Columbia to work in their factories and produce their products. In addition a percentage of each sale goes toward supporting these mothers who have helped to make this socially conscious brand a Kickstarter success story. The affordably priced bras and panties utilize comfort first with pima cotton fibers, memory foam and nylon. They boast fun, whimsical prints ranging from photo-real naturescapes to boho floral mixing or tattoo-inspired decals. Each piece also has some surprising details such as printed inside cups or hidden inspirational sayings to add a little twist and brighten your day. Visit www.naja.co for more information.

Erica M

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In the market for some sexy new legwear? Take a cue from the iconic Beyoncé and check out the hosiery and bodysuits from NY based designer Erica M. Utilizing high quality hosiery from Italy, Erica M’s Bey-approved looks are sexy, sassy and a bit rebellious with leopard patterns, faux stirrup looks and evocatively placed heart designs. With her use of suggestive trompe l’oeil and a combination of luxurious and durable knits these items feel fresh, elegant and empowering. See for yourself at www.ericam.com.

Monette Paris

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New French label Monette Paris is expert at utilizing silk to create luxurious and sophisticated lingerie true to classic French form. Scrolling through their collection is like window-shopping on the Champs Élysées with their paper-thin lace, sumptuous drapes and crisp eyelets. All of their pieces feel light and airy with clean lines and elegant colors lending the silhouettes a nonchalant refined glamour. In addition to their soft selection of bras and briefs you’ll also find bodysuits, slips and skirts that can easily transition into tasteful outerwear. Take a look at www.monette-paris.com.

Tutti Rouge

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If you’re not already familiar with Tutti Rouge, they are a lingerie company out of the UK specializing in feminine bra sets with a flirty attitude. Still relatively new to the US this fun and girly brand caters to the full-busted women with their mostly padded bras available from a size 28-38 band and D-HH cup. Utilizing primarily satin, mesh and lace, these coordinating bra and panty sets have playful and feminine details such as beaded lace, cheeky prints and cute bows often finished with a tiny signature little heart embroidery. It’s the details that make this brand worth looking in to as well as their wide sizing range and affordable price point. Check them out at www.tuttirouge.com.

Edge O’Beyond

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Another UK brand that I’m excited about is Edge O’Beyond, scheduled to launch later this month. The Edge O’Beyond range caters to a more sexy and sophisticated customer with its luxurious sheer lace and metallic accents. 14K gold chains and filigree detail add a bit of sparkle to these seriously sexy pieces with suggestive detailing that’s both innovative and distinct. Though their price points are on the higher side, the quality of these unique designs and the wide size offerings (30B-36DD) make it a quality investment for any sultry fashionista. Find them at www.edgeobeyond.com.

What do you think about these 5 brands? I’d love to hear your opinions as well as any suggestions on what you might like to see from a new online lingerie retailer.

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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Essential Undies: 8 Panties That Every Woman Should Own (And the 2 That They Shouldn’t!)

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Bikinis, briefs, boyshorts, thongs, tangas, G-strings, V-strings, cheekys… The sky is the limit when it comes to the world of undies and the multitude of options we lucky ladies have to choose from these days. We no longer have to settle for drab drawers that merely keep us covered. Panties are getting more technical, more functional and are upping the ante, playing double duty as both a necessary and a utilitarian item. And when dealing with the most intimate of garments that we keep closest to our most private assets, it’s only fitting that we should garner them the amount of attention that they deserve.

The majority of women wear underpants for close to 24 hours daily, sometimes undergoing 1 or 2 quick changes throughout the day as needed. I often find myself on pair number 4 before the day is done, starting my morning off with a practical panty in order to avoid lines and bumps under tight pants, next changing to an athletic moisture-wicking pair for my evening work out, then moving on to a sexy lacy pair for date night and finally finishing off the evening with a breathable cotton pair for bedtime. It’s no wonder that I own over 100 pairs!

However, as the lingerie industry grows and demand for more functional underthings increases, designers are finding more and more ways to combine problem solving features into one garment. If you are in need of some of these undies that perform double duty then read on as to which styles offer the best solutions to some of our daily dilemmas. Depending on your lifestyle and preference you may want to stock up to keep yourself covered in any situation. Don’t settle for bottoms that don’t work for you – you deserve more from your undies. And who knows? Maybe in a couple of years all of our panty needs will be met by one magical super panty that women everywhere will covet for years to come. But until then here are my picks for the 8 most essential styles of panties out there and the 2 that I suggest avoiding at all costs.

1) The No-Show Knicker

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Ahh the dreaded vpl! The chronic conundrum of visible panty lines under your pants, shorts, skirts and dresses is a headache for many especially for those with a preference for full coverage panty bottoms. Chunky waistbands and leg elastics are infamous for causing those slight bulges under clothes that unnecessarily give the world a peek at our panty preference. Going commando or wearing a thong is one way to avoid vpl but your best bet is to pick a style with thin fabric and equally flat finished edges. Look for seamless styles with a folded over waistband or a man-made material panty with raw or bonded edges, which will eliminate the need for any elastic at all. If you prefer to keep the elastic on the legs in order to keep them from riding up, look for elastics that are lightweight, small or flat like a narrow band or taping. This will help you to wear your whites and tight fitting bottoms with confidence.

1. Vanishing Edge Microfiber Hipster by Soma Intimates, $16 at www.soma.com; 2. Invisibles Thong by Calvin Klein Underwear, $12 at www.calvinklein.com; 3. Light Hipster by Sloggi, $17 at www.figleaves.com.

2) The Skin-Tone Panty

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Like the no-show knicker, this panty should be a staple in any fashionista’s wardrobe. This panty will become virtually invisible when closely matched to your unique skin tone, making light colored pants and skirts safer to wear. Since everyone’s skin tone is different it can be hard to find the right match for you but spending time on a website like myskins.com can help find you the best possible match. These flesh-colored panties also come in handy when trying on bathing suits or new underwear as they allow you to hygienically and safely try on other bottoms while still remaining invisible so you can get a better feel for the style. Try combining the features of this panty with the no-show knickers for optimal usage with flat or no elastic for the ultimate go-to invisible panty.

4. New Soire Hot Pants by Cosabella, $35 at www.herroom.com; 5. Thong by MySkins, $12 at www.myskins.com; 6. Diamond Lace Hipster Tanga by GapBody, $12.50 at www.gap.com.

3) The Active Undie

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It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered my first pair of activewear panties specifically designed for high impact aerobics when I realized I had been unnecessarily suffering for years. These specially designed athletic undies not only offer comfort and stability throughout some rigorous exercise but are also made with wicking fibers that are soft on the skin and draw the moisture and sweat away from the body keeping you cool and dry throughout your routine. The final effect during a long or intense workout is refreshing as these skivvies allow you to focus your full attention on the task at hand and not on your underthings.

7. Workout Bikini by Moving Comfort, $16 at www.movingcomfort.com; 8. All Sport Shorts by Sweaty Betty, $25 at www.sweatybetty.com; 9. Woman’s Barely Hipster by Patagonia, $20 at www.patagonia.com.

4) The Sexy Skivvy

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The sexy skivvy is why I got into fashion in the first place. It could be different for each person: a satin and mesh bikini for some, a cute cotton boyshort for another or maybe a lace thong for someone else. It is the panty in which you feel you are most attractive. It is something that elicits confidence, whether others will be seeing them or not. Either way when you put on a pair, these undies should make you feel your sexiest, your most assured and your overall best when you wear them. Try wearing them on dates, for a big meeting at the office or anytime your confidence may need a little pick-me-up.

10. Palais Royal Tanga by Chantelle, $38 at www.thelittleflirt.com; 11. Dessous Ruched Back Bikini by Claudette, $28.56 at www.asos.com; 12. Dazzled Cheeky Brief by Jezebel, $14 at www.designerintimates.com.

5) The On-The-Go Undie

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Time is of the essence and in today’s busy society we don’t always have the time or resources needed to take care of the most basic of human chores. This can include laundry, particularly when traveling or spending time away from home. One could be left with limited packing space as well as time and energy to include all necessary items on their list. Under these circumstances I recommend investing in a couple pairs of lightweight, hand-washable panties. Paper-thin & soft, you can stock up on a handful of these multi-taskers and carry about with your business. In fact even one pair can do the job on it’s own if needed. These microfiber styles are easy to transport, comfortable to wear and dry very quickly, allowing them to be hand or machine-washed before turning down for the night. Hang them to dry and you will awake to find a fresh and dry pair just a few hours later – no dryer needed. These are especially helpful on long treks, camping trips or spontaneous holidays.

13. Light & Airy Bikini by Jockey, $11 at www.jockey.com; 14. Siren Hipkini by Icebreaker Merino, $29.99 at www.icebreaker.com15. Give-N-Go Lacy Bikini by ExOfficio, $22 at www.exofficio.com.

6) The Comfort Panty

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We all have those days where we just don’t feel so great. Cramps, bloating or a general feeling of being under the weather can make your skivvies the last thing on your mind. You want to feel comfortable and secure without having to worry about aesthetics or functionality. On days like these it’s best to have your most comfortable undies at hand. Natural fibers are often the best solution here with cotton and bamboo leading the pack. But don’t confuse these with your typical granny panty. The silhouette, coverage and color can be as unique as you are as long as the fit and comfort works for you.

16. Old School Old English Cheeky Hipster by L.A.M.B. x Hanky Panky, $34 at www.hankypanky.com; 17. Cotton Lingerie High-Leg Brief by Victoria’s Secret, $8.50 at www.victoriassecret.com; 18. Ruched Bikini by Tommy Hilfiger, $9 at www.tommy.com.

7) The Cover-Up Knicker

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I love playing around with different kinds of underwear according to my mood & outfit each day, but for the most part I want to be sure that I’m the only one enjoying my choices without fear of an accidental slip up or sneak peek. Particularly when out and about in a short skirt or dress (and especially during those windier months), there are times when accidentally flashing strangers is not on my to-do list and I’m looking to cover my behind – literally. In times like these I look to a more full coverage short or bloomer to keep my undies under wraps. Some days I keep it basic in solid bike shorties. Others I’ll opt for a flashier version with prints or ruffles. Either way it’s a relief to know that no gust of wind is going to stop me and I no longer have to stress over a possible wardrobe malfunction.

19. Lolita Lace Shorts by Free People, $68 at www.freepeople.com; 20. Lace-Trim Bike Short by Pins And Needles, $24 at www.urbanoutfitters.com; 21. Rita French Knickers by Hanro Of Switzerland, $111 at www.hanro.com.

8) The Long Undie

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I know what you’re thinking: How can you even think about long underwear when we just started summer? But I have to admit that a great pair of lightweight long underwear is a necessity that I can’t live without during the colder months. Perfect to double as pajamas, these undies often made out of silk or polyester give that extra barrier between you and the frigid winter air. And after the harsh winter many of us experienced this year I’ve never been more appreciative to own 2 sets of this valuable layering piece.

22. Low Rise Long Underwear Pant by WinterSilks, $39.99 at www.wintersilks.blair.com; 23. X-Temp Thermal Printed Pant by Hanes, $14 at www.hanes.com; 24. Silk Underwear Pants by L.L.Bean, $47.95 at www.llbean.com.

Now of course not all of these 8 panty styles will appeal to everyone and there are many other solution-based undies out there for your unique situations. However there are a few kinds of skivvies that I do suggest you avoid for health and comfort reasons:

The Ill-Fitting Knicker

A no-brainer here yet we’ve all been guilty of it: wearing underwear that does not fit us properly. They may be too tight or may be too loose but either way they are sure to cause discomfort. Who needs to be shifting and pulling all day causing irritating skin or visible bulges? Toss those inappropriate panties away and invest in something more suitable for you, your shape and size that will allow you a day hassle-free from unworthy undies.

The Unbreathable Panty

There are some cute undies out there but not all are created equal. Many tightly-knit, inexpensive, man made fibers don’t allow the skin to breath and can easily cause you to become sweaty, hot and irritated in your most sensitive area. You don’t have to put yourself through the discomfort and risk of infection or irritation solely for aesthetic purposes. If your synthetic underwear is tight on the body then you may be doing more harm than good. Swap those fake fibers for a more breathable blend or natural fabric. Your skin will thank you. But if you must wear a synthetic style at least look for ones with a cotton fabric crotch liner to help protect your most intimate areas from the harsh abrasions you may end up experiencing.

Do you own all 8 types of the above panties? Which other styles can’t you live without?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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Summer Swimwear: 10 Beachwear Trends To Try Out This Season

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Is it summer yet? Over here on the east coast it’s been slow going and I’ve been seriously craving the warm temperatures these past few weeks and the carefree qualities that come with it: a light breeze, trips to the ice cream shop, the scent of tanning oil, lazy Sunday barbeques and pitchers of crisp sangria. But most of all I’ve been jonesing for some new summer clothes including breezy skirts, strappy tank tops and of course a super cute swimsuit to compliment my soon-to-be-tan complexion.

This past week while surfing the web for some practical (and some not-so-practical) swimwear options I found myself overwhelmed with a bounty of outstanding choices. I can remember way back when I only had a paltry selection to choose from. As a stylish young fashionista I often found myself sadly forced to choose between boring solid color basics or oversized fluorescent florals; teeny-weeny string bikinis or dowdy one-piece coveralls. But with the countless options available today for all shapes, sizes, colors and budgets I’ve found the limitless options fresh and inspiring. Not to mention a bit overwhelming!

After combing through the massive selection of bikinis, one-pieces and cover-ups, I noticed many interesting trends popping up throughout the assortments. Some cute ones that I imagine will stay strong for a few seasons going forward and some unique ones which, while new and innovative, tend to remain unpractical and may be doomed to the fate of a passing fad. But regardless of personal taste any woman is sure to find what she is looking for in the infinite array of options available.

Below are 10 of what I felt were the most intriguing trends I’ve seen out there for this swimwear season. Whether lounging poolside or soaking up the sun at the beach you can be sure these pieces will turn up the style and turn some heads at the same time. Happy swimming!

1) Surf N’ Turf

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One hot trend for summer is the surfer girl look. Inspired by the neoprene wetsuits donned by true athletes of this aquatic sport, these suits have got the look but without all the bulk and insulation of the real thing. Think bright colors, high necklines, zigzag stitching and zippers galore – you can now effortlessly look the part without even having to set foot in the water.

1. Color Block bikini by Beach Bunny Swimwear top $110, bottom $90 at www.beachbunnyswimwear.com; 2. Mesh Tec bikini by Becca By Rebecca Virtue top $74, bottom $58 at www.everythingbutwater.com; 3. Electric Youth bikini by NLP top $138, bottom $62 at www.nastygal.com; 4. Cooha suit by Unif $138 at www.unifclothing.com.

2) Let’s Get Ready To Ruffle

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Ruffles and flounces have been making waves for a few seasons now as a flirty accent on some old favorites. While this is a trend that’s sure to withstand more summers to come, designers are finding cute new ways to incorporate the frills by ramping up sexy necklines and cheeky bottoms with some girlish charm.

5. Minty Ombré bikini by Maaji $116 at www.kayokokoswimwear.com; 6. Deep Plunge Ruffle swimsuit by Asos $66.69 at www.us.asos.com; 7. Penny bikini top and Raigan bikini bottom by Zinke top $99, bottom $82 at www.shopzinke.com; 8. Boho Stripe Bandeau Swimdress by Juicy Couture $160 at www.bloomingdales.com.

3) Sheer Madness

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Mesh is always a reliable choice when looking to make coverage more sexy. And sexy is the name of the game with these new fabric-blocking suits. Playing off of a mix of opaque vs. sheer, the fabric mix on these styles play up the fashion component in a bold and provocative way while still allowing you to be covered in all the right places

9. Descent bathing suit by Michi $295 at www.michiny.com; 10. The Amalfi tankini by Lee And Lani $130 at www.leeandlani.com; 11. Head Trip maillot by Kore $264 at www.korewear.com; 12. Firebird swimsuit by Minimale Animale $290 at www.minimale-animale.com.

4) Catch Midriff?

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Though the original monokini dates back to the 1960’s, today’s monokinis are in full swing with design details rendering it a sexy alternative to the one-piece swimsuit. This suit has most recently made a splash by targeting the bare midriff as its newest focal point. While for some it takes a large dose of confidence to accent this most sensitive of body parts, for others it’s just another way of highlighting the sexiness of a woman’s body and of course her knack for edgy style.

13. Santa Cruz one-piece by 6 Shore Road $138 at www.6shoreroad.com; 14. Shiny Splash one-piece by American Apparel $54 at www.americanapparel.net; 15. Tada one-piece swimsuit by Lolli $110 at www.urbanoutfitters.com; 16. Flora Maillot by Kore $246 at www.korewear.com.

5) Hello Sailor!

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Good news for retro pin-up enthusiasts: nautical swimwear style is still going strong with a bevy of beautiful options to strike your fancy. Perfect for the beach, this flirty trend does double time in both revealing and conservative silhouettes. The red white and blue color scheme is perfect for showing your off your patriotism while gold details, sailor stripes and bow ties give a nod to some famous pinups of the past.

17. Bettie “Hello Sailor” swimsuit by Pin Up Couture $78 at www.pinupgirlclothing.com; 18. All Day Aquatics swimsuit by ModCloth top $49.99, bottom $39.99 at www.modcloth.com; 19. Sammie swimsuit by Fables By Barrie $124 at www.fablesbybarrie.com; 20. Anchor bikini by Hello Kitty top $24.50, bottom $22.50 at www.hottopic.com.

6) Strap Happy

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Though it’s been around for some time now I am not a fan of the strappy caged look when it comes to swimwear. While I love the look in the lingerie world, it conjures up bad images of twisted fabric and ridiculous tan lines out in the beach world. But I do agree that these design details are cool and innovative and I can relate with those who may succumb to their lure as these edgy styles continue to be updated on a seasonal basis utilizing new shapes and patterns guaranteed for a unique look.

21. Seychelles String Back one-piece by Mikoh $202 at www.revolveclothing.com; 22. String Back one-piece swimsuit by Kovey $113 at www.urbanoutfitters.com; 23. Spiderweb Inset one-piece swimsuit by Vintage Suits By Mary $92 at www.pinupgirlclothing.com; 24. Sunstreak swimsuit by Nasty Gal $98 at www.nastygal.com.

7) Fit To A Tee

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Are you someone who burns easily in the sun? If so then a rash-guard or oversized tee may be a staple in your beach wardrobe. If for whatever reason you prefer to cover up a bit under the sun then a sleeved bikini may be an option for you. These stylish swimsuits not only offer some more coverage than it’s string bikini counterparts but it will also garner a little extra attention with its distinctive shape and more modest coverage.

25. Glow Tide swimsuit by Amore And Sorvete $180.99 at www.modcloth.com; 26. Ay Papi bikini by Beach Riot top $86, bottom $71 at www.swell.com; 27. Underbust Uniform bikini by Chromat top $218, bottom $108 at www.chromatgarments.com; 28. Sinaloa Stripe bikini by Nanette Lepore top $64, bottom $76 at www.nanettelepore.com.

8) Twist And Shout

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The ruching, gathering and twisting of fabric has always been a flattery technique that can help to draw attention away from certain problem areas on the body or to highlight others. It’s also reminiscent of Grecian goddesses and Hollywood starlets, two alluring historical figures many girls would be happy to emulate. Today’s ruched and gathered swimsuits modernize sexy in bold shapes and daring silhouettes not for the faint of heart.

29. Cut Out Crossed one-piece by Vix Swimwear $184 at www.vixpaulahermanny.com; 30. Sunning Sweetie one-piece swimsuit by Contour By Christina $118.99 at www.modcloth.com; 31. Striped Natural Support one-piece swimsuit by Torrid $88.50 at www.torrid.com; 32. Cross Front Wrap Halter swimsuit by Asos $53.35 at www.us.asos.com.

9) Take The Edge Off

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Scalloped edges on a garment can be hard to achieve in fashion, often requiring pricey labor-intensive details which in the past rendered the look expensive and luxurious. While this connotation still holds true, the effect continues to evolve and has become more accessible for a wider range of fashion-conscious consumers. These swimsuits with their delicate scallops embellishing the skin look high-end and fanciful without additional prints or trims to detract from the simplistic, clean look.

33. Scallop bikini by Free People top $68, bottom $68 at www.freepeople.com; 34. Honolulu bikini by Marysia Swim top $130, bottom $130 at www.shopbop.com; 35. Martine swimsuit by Nasty Gal $68 at www.nastygal.com; 36. Milou Tipped bikini by Herve Leger $840 at www.herveleger.com.

10) Prints Charming

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All-over prints have become more fun and conversational lately with some wacky repeats showing up on everything from t-shirts to purses. Swimwear is jumping on the bandwagon now too with designs ranging from cute to kooky. Why not strut your stuff with a theme that’s personal to you and exemplifies your style? Whether you’re into cats, fast food or zombies there’s sure to be an option out there for you.

37. The Bahamas Scoop one-piece by We Are Handsome $297 at www.wearehandsome.com; 38. Astronomy Oh My bikini by ModCloth top $44.99, bottom $39.99 at www.modcloth.com; 39. Fruit Punch one-piece swimsuit by Wildfox Couture $148 at www.bloomingdales.com; 40. Soul Stealer bikini by Iron Fist $39.95 at www.ironfistclothing.com.

Would you wear any of these trends? Which one is your favorite?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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Addicted To Lingerie: 8 Steps To Curb The Obsession

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It’s fitting that I write this article for a blog named The Lingerie Addict as I have just come to grips with the fact that I truly am a lingerie addict myself. This is not something I admit lightly. I have spent years of my life lusting and fawning over hand worked corsets, vintage slip dresses and showy bras. I have spent loads of hard-earned cash on lacy camis, cheeky panties and matching boudoir sets. But a lingerie “addict”? Nah, that word can’t possible apply to me!

However earlier this month I began my annual task of spring cleaning. With the long, hard winter behind us I was eager to open the windows and let the fresh air inspire me to tackle my overstuffed dresser drawers and closets. It wasn’t until I sat down amidst my contents of 5 lingerie drawers when I realized how exceptional my collection really was.

It got me thinking: how many bras does the average woman own? Why do we hold on to things that no longer fit or flatter us? Why can’t I stop buying more and more lingerie? I certainly can’t be the only woman in the world with a dresser full of lingerie and an admitted spending problem. So I decided to research the statistics. The average woman today owns about 9 bras and about 20 panties contributing to the estimated $30 billion dollar global market. Lingerie spending has risen steadily since the economic crash of 2008 and shows no signs of slowing down with 50% of lingerie purchases spent on bras and 33% on panties. This is a far cry from my personal collection of 85+ bras and 100+ panties and I have a feeling I’m not alone here.

While my situation is not indicative of these statistics, I do believe that being a lingerie addict isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As with any shopping addiction, all it takes is a little discipline to keep yourself in control and your obsession in check. I will state here and now that my new goal for this year will be to curb my addiction and redirect it in a way that will save me more closet space and money by 2015. To help reach this goal I have constructed an “8 step program” for myself in order to reach full lingerie nirvana. These are steps that I have already begun taking to help keep my lingerie spending in control. If you feel you are in the same boat with your lingerie obsession (or have some additional advice for me) then feel free to take a cue from my new personal rulebook below.

1) Get rid of lingerie that does not fit

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We’ve all heard by now that 8 out of every 10 women are wearing the wrong size bra. Whether you believe the hype or not, the fact remains that many of us could benefit from a wardrobe purging of wrong or miss-sized items that we’ve been holding on to for one reason or another. I personally have a bevy of bras from a couple years back when I thought I was a size 34B. It turns out that I, too, was misinformed and have benefitted from switching sizes ever since. However I noticed that my substantial collection of brassieres included a significant amount of size 34B’s that I acquired throughout the years. 34B’s that I loved and wore despite the loose waistbands & gaping cups. Now that I know what a good fitting bra feels like I’ve tossed my 34B’s to the wayside and they’ve been gathering dust ever since. It is time for me to say goodbye these bras and make room for more practical pieces. The same holds true for anything that pokes, slips, squeezes, itches or shifts which is why I’m tossing my wedgie-inducing briefs, oversized nightgowns and impossibly suffocating pantyhose.

2) Nix lingerie that doesn’t suit your style

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It can be fun to play around with your lingerie and try out new pieces or styles that would normally stray from your comfort zone outside of the bedroom. After all, intimate apparel is one of the safest places to experiment and find out what you or your partner like. But experimentation can sometimes leave you with a “one hit wonder” on your hand that may never see the light of day again. I have an abundance of “one hit wonders” in my closet not only from experimental buys but also from emergency purchases (who forgets to pack underwear their on their vacation??) and free giveaways at work. None of them suit my personal style and I avoid wearing them at all costs so why keep them around? And just like that I’ve reduced my overflowing collection by about 30%!

3) Take better care of my most important pieces

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Whenever I make a new purchase I always start off giving it the love and care that it deserves but as time goes on, and my collection grows, I find myself skimping on some of the most basic rules of thumb for lingerie care. Most of my white and nude pieces begin to grey before their time and I’ve unwittingly contributed to the disintegration of many a lace panty. This year I’m making a more conscious effort to store my cupped bras neatly with backs clasped and stacked horizontally to avoid crushing or creasing the cups. I’m limiting my bras and tights down to two wears before laundering (socks and undies are always just once). I’ll continue to hand wash my bras and delicates while the more basic styles will go into the washing machine and always in a mesh lingerie bag. I also recommend using cold water for everything and separating your lights from darks. Try to avoid using bleach (I learned the hard way) as it can cause discoloration and contribute to the breakdown of lace fibers. Gently rinse and pat dry all delicates before leaving them to air dry flat or in their natural shape. Hopefully this will add a little more longevity to some of my more fragile pieces and keep me from taking the lazy way out.

4) Stop the impulse buying

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It’s hard to control yourself when you work in a sea of gorgeous intimate apparel but I will succumb to the addiction no more! My new motto is “Ask why before you buy”. Most of my lingerie purchases are based on desire rather than need and this is what’s landed me in a virtual mass of lingerie. Far be it for me to deny myself the most basic of essentials: a supportive sports bra, comfortable panties, convertible bra or pantyhose, but the pretty, sexy, flirty fashion pieces that I love so much will have to be limited from now on. This is by far the biggest task for me to take on so I’ve decided that every time I pine for a new purchase I will attempt to channel my obsession in other ways. Such as….

5) Keep a lingerie inventory

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Knowing and reminding yourself of what you have on hand is a great way to avoid those impulse buys. I believe that if I can keep my drawers and closets organized and then skim through them every couple of weeks to remind myself of my stock then it will help to alleviate my shopping impulses. I plan to work with what I’ve got and remind myself how much I already have. No, I don’t need that new rhinestone encrusted corset when I have 7 perfectly beautiful corsets sitting in my drawer begging to be worn. I can get my rhinestone fix with my sparkly bra from last season or my lurex tights. I hope that shopping my own closet will allow me to become more creative in the long run and to appreciate the lingerie that I already have.

6) Rid yourself of “benched” pieces

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One of my biggest lingerie hoarding problems is my over-ambitious notion that I can fix any wear, tear or irregularity in my clothes. This includes runs in my hosiery (I can just add a dab of clear nail polish to stop it in its tracks!), bra waistbands that are too loose (I’ll just re-sew the back clasps!) or even panties with too tight leg elastic (I’ll lose a few pounds!). But the truth is that these pieces end up sitting in my drawers month after month “benched” from the game. Sure it would be great if I could make good on these promises but the fact is that I, like many of us modern day women, do not have the time, resources or energy to indulge in our inner Martha Stuart and make the needed repairs in a timely manner. Rather than taking up space I vote to rid yourself of the burden altogether. When it comes to lingerie fit and quality are key and if something isn’t perfect then it just isn’t worth it.

7) Just say no

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In my line of work we are fortunate enough to enjoy some perks from time to time including free samples and giveaways. As exciting as this is it can sometimes be overwhelming as styles pile up and you find yourself accepting things that you don’t even plan on wearing. It can be hard to say no when someone is giving you something (especially when that something is complimentary) but I am going to have to start practicing my no game. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s a good idea and in an effort to become less wasteful I’d prefer to save that sample for someone who really appreciates it and will get more use out of it.

8) Avoid sales, bargains and clearances

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This goes hand in hand with step #4 about impulse buying. Sales are dangerous places for shopping addicts like myself and can turn a simple browse into an all out spree. It’s a slippery slope as turning down a designer bra at 50% off is more painful than turning down the same designer bra at full retail price. However from now on I will be making a more conscious effort to avoid sales all together. Those big red letters will no longer have an effect on me as I will be impervious to their charm! Just because something is reduced in price does not make it more necessary and from here on out I plan on using sales solely for lingerie necessities.

Do you consider yourself a lingerie addict too? How do you curb your obsessions?

Kristina

Kristina

Lingerie Designer specializing in fashion & trend.

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

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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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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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

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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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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