Posts by Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

World Cup Lingerie: What to Wear for the Football Finals

sexy woman in lingerie with classic soccer ball

I’m going to miss the World Cup. It has been my constant summer companion, always just a click or glance away. The best thing about the World Cup for a mild soccer enthusiast like myself from a country of middling international soccer achievement is that it provides a reliable flow of delicious drama. I can wade through other people’s joy, frustration, diving, and biting for ninety minutes without having to worry about getting swept away in real emotion. Since the US never had a chance, my team loyalties have been largely a matter of taste, style and mood – which is how fashion designers like myself prefer to make life decisions anyway.

So what about soccer and style? Why has everyone been dwelling on boring stuff like Brazil losing their star player and Costa Rica’s superior off side trap when there’s so much opportunity to play with World Cup fashion? I don’t mean just questioning the concept of Portugal’s wet-look jerseys, or musing about the stink to style ratio of players’ dreadlocks; I mean OUR fashion, we, the humble spectators.

With half the world tuning into this single event, the World Cup has the attention and driving energy of major trend that Birkenstocks and long line bras can only lust after.  So I would like to channel World Cup animus into my outfits, specifically my lingerie choices.

Sunday’s final match promises to be high stakes and high drama. Let’s dress for it. Let’s end with a bang, people.

Here are some thoughts if you are rooting for Germany, rooting for Argentina, or agnostic on team but devoted to cuteness and want in on the action.

GO GERMANY!

Let’s say you are actually IN Brazil during the World Cup. You probably didn’t manage to score tickets to the final, just statistically speaking. But if you plan to watch the game from a hot locale near water, you may want to do it wearing this lovely Jolidon bikini in Germany’s colors, red and gold. Maybe you’ll throw on black sunglasses or slippers to round out the Deutche flag colors. An advantage of this choice is its relative subtlety in conveying German boosterism. Germany’s 7-to-1 trouncefest over Brazil in the semi-finals guarantees that your Brazilian neighbors will be none too keen to sit next to you wrapped in the German national flag. On a style note, the gold faux belt construction is a novel take on the classic triangle bikini.

Jolidon Red and Gold Chic Bikini Swimsuit $129

Jolidon Red and Gold Chic Bikini Swimsuit $129

 

What says “GERMANY! FOOTBALL!” more precisely and efficiently than Adidas, the German athleticwear behemoth? Adidas brought in the feminizing fashion touch of designer Stella McCartney, who has an ongoing partnership with the brand, and I would like to bring that very touch to this otherwise supremely macho event. This pro-Germany choice is red, gold and black again, but with a more participatory athletic spirit than the above bikini.

Adidas by Stella McCartney Bikini Top $56

Adidas by Stella McCartney Bikini Top $56

Adidas by Stella McCartney Studio Shorts $64

Adidas by Stella McCartney Studio Shorts $64

Adidas by Stella McCartney Run Performance Jacket $180

Adidas by Stella McCartney Run Performance Jacket $180

As far as true sport paraphernalia, this one seems inoffensive. Team jerseys can be so boxy and unflattering—not to mention stiflingly synthetic—so why not hang in this feminine white tank with a cute pair of bottoms? For the sake of participating in the German spirit, the bottom should be purchased from a German lingerie brand, so here are two options, gorgeous stockings by Falke (if you really want to celebrate the “foot” in “football”), and everyday briefs by Rosa Faia.

 Germany Soccer Ball  White Tank $18.99


Germany Soccer Ball
White Tank $18.99

Falke Fond de Poudre Stockings $39

Falke Fond de Poudre Stockings $39

Rosa Faia Brief (click image to visit website for store locator)

Rosa Faia Brief (click image to visit website for store locator)

You need to have something on hand for the celebration you hope for post game. Try this bodysuit from German brand Triumph, which supermodel Helena Christensen (not German) has put her name to. After expending all that energy cheering and drinking beer and cursing the ref, you’ll want to relax in something sweet, feminine and German. It also reminds me of the costumes from the current revival of the Broadway show “Cabaret,” so if you’re looking to channel a period of moral decay and sexual prurience in Germany as depicted by American storytellers, there’s that.

Triumph Nightingale by Helena Christensen Bodysuit $173.60

Triumph Nightingale by Helena Christensen Bodysuit $173.60

Finally, if what you really want is an actual German companion to enjoy the game with, snag the Spring 1999 Victoria’s Secret Catalogue featuring German cover model Heidi Klum on eBay.

vs

GO ARGENTINA!

After yesterday’s nail biter of a semi final, you may be in need of a manicure. By the time Argentina finally beat Holland in a penalty kick shootout, my white knuckles and ragged nails could have used some love.

Incoco Team Argentina nail polish $8.99

Incoco Team Argentina nail polish $8.99

Argentina’s most important weapon in Sunday’s final? Star player Messi, who will need your long distance support. Support yourself and Messi at the same time in an authentic Adidas track jacket and Parfait by Affinitas bra in sizes 30D-40G. Or if you prefer to keep your support metaphorical (and your money in your pocket), grab this sporty looking bralette in Argentina’s team colors, light blue and white.

Lionel Messi Track Jacket $60

Lionel Messi Track Jacket $60

Parfait by Affinitas Melissa Unlined Bra $48

Parfait by Affinitas Melissa Unlined Bra $48

American Apparel Baby Rib Bikini Bra $5.00

American Apparel Baby Rib Bikini Bra $5.00

Celebrate Argentina’s home grown lingerie industry by sporting a piece from Jane Pain. You might also want to visit the brand’s website for a taste of Argentine passion and darkness.

Jane Pain Primal Symptom Collection (click image to visit site).

Jane Pain Primal Symptom Collection (click image to visit site).

What happens when you want to learn more about Argentine lingerie? You may wish to google combinations of related words, and if you do, the first thing you find may be an entertaining tangent. Sleepwear and lingerie brand Ultimo has signed Argentine model Luisana Lopilato to be their face and body. I’m not sure wearing this lingerie counts as participating in the Argentine World Cup spirit, but it can’t hurt.

The One Spot Bra 16.80 GBP featuring Luisana Lopilato

The One Spot Bra 16.80 GBP featuring Luisana Lopilato

Let’s play a word association game. I say “Argentina….”

You say….”TANGO!”

I know we’re here to discuss soccer, but can we please just be honest and admit that though we love the beautiful game, we love the beautiful dance more. They’re both leggy, as will you be in these two tango-reminiscent pieces. Dance, kick and strut your way through half time and into a night of celebration in this flirty chemise (from my own brand) and tango dress (from the infamous J Peterman).

Lola Haze Cancan Chemise $94.50

Lola Haze Cancan Chemise $94.50

J Peterman Buenos Aires Tango Dress $798

J Peterman Buenos Aires Tango Dress $798

 

I AM CHEERFUL, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHO TO CHEER FOR!

Who needs national pride? Borders are man made; the soccer spirit is essential. Live up your cheerful neutrality in this sexy referee costume, which admittedly has a bit of girl-trying-too-hard-on-Halloween vibe—but what could be a more spirited way to enjoy twenty-two men sweating it out?

Sexy referee costume $45.99

Sexy referee costume $45.99

 Do you plan on watching the World Cup Finale? Who are you rooting for?

Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

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

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Radically Gorgeous Mastectomy Swimwear: Monokini 2.0

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Sirpa Monokini designed by TÄRÄHTÄNEET ÄMMÄT for Monokini 2.0

Sirpa Monokini designed by TÄRÄHTÄNEET ÄMMÄT for Monokini 2.0

Mastectomy swimwear doesn’t get much love.  There are a few companies that sell it, like Land’s End, Anita, and Amoena, but when I created a shopping challenge for myself to find a mastectomy suit I might be excited to wear, I failed.  Or maybe, more to the point, the market failed me.

Actually, let me back up, if only to expose how my own assumptions about mastectomy and fashion aligned with the market’s limited offerings.  I feel a little guilty admitting that I was expecting truly horrible swimwear, so I was a teeny bit surprised that any attention had been paid to mastectomy fashion at all.  There were a few one-pieces with some splashes of color that weren’t so bad.  I found a bikini or two that seemed sporty enough and not embarrassing.

But “not terrible” should not be the fashion benchmark for mastectomy clothes.  A woman loses a breast to cancer.  Does she have to lose her style too?

The mastectomy swim market is mumsy and conservative.  I didn’t see any cutouts or strappy suits, or attempts to offer on-trend styles, and very few two pieces.  The overall impression is that the market offers options for a woman to normalize her body, cover herself, and discourage attention.  The main feature of mastectomy swimwear is the hidden pocket that holds a breast form in place.  One company writes, “[our] pocketed swimwear gives you the confidence to show off your figure again.” Another suit is described as “comfortable and supportive, this swimsuit has moulded cups and discreet, hidden pockets for prosthesis.”

This marketing suggests that a woman who has undergone a mastectomy must want to keep her missing breast a secret and that she can have body confidence only when she can disguise her body.

But what if she wants to celebrate her new body?

This is the radical thought behind a new swimwear collection, Monokini 2.0.  The project is the brainchild of Finnish designer Elinia Halttunen (PhD), the self-proclaimed “woman with one tit.”  A group of Finnish designers have come together to design whimsical, gorgeous swimsuits for women who have undergone a mastectomy and who don’t choose to have reconstructive surgery.  Monokini 2.0 “re-examines popular culture’s narrow view of a woman’s ideal appearance.  We strive to expand what is accepted and considered beautiful.”

Reeta Monokini designed by VILMA RIITIJOKI for Monokini 2.0

Reeta Monokini designed by VILMA RIITIJOKI for Monokini 2.0

Mert Otsamo, the designer of the “Katja” suit, writes, “I do not want to hide, I do not want to stop swimming, I do not want to undergo extensive plastic surgery operations, and I do not want to be forced to use the uncomfortable prosthesis on the beach. I want to feel as free and active as I did before my cancer, and Monokini 2.0 gives me a chance to do exactly that.”

Katja Monokini designed by MERT OTSAMO for Monokini 2.0

Katja Monokini designed by MERT OTSAMO for Monokini 2.0

Monokini 2.0 gives women a chance to show their bodies as they are, without having to form themselves to a social notion of what their bodies should look like.  Also, they are such cool designs.  Drawing on the handwriting of various designers gives the collection a breadth of spirit and aesthetic that is as diverse as the women it is designed for.

The “Elina” is geometric and sporty, the “Virve” has a pinup vibe, and the “Reetta” looks like it grew in an enchanted, one-breasted forest.  Each piece is more incredible than the last.

Monokini 2.0 is now fundraising through a Kickstarter campaign in order to bring three of their designs to market.  They aim for these styles to be ready for purchase for Summer 2015.

Please let us know your own experiences and thoughts about mastectomy swimwear.  What do you think of Monokini 2.0?

Elina designed by ELINA HALTTUNEN for Monokini 2.0

Elina designed by ELINA HALTTUNEN for Monokini 2.0

Virve Monokini designed by TYRA THERMAN for Monokini 2.0

Virve Monokini designed by TYRA THERMAN for Monokini 2.0

Milsse Monokini designed by TÄRÄHTÄNEET ÄMMÄT for Monokini 2.0

Milsse Monokini designed by TÄRÄHTÄNEET ÄMMÄT for Monokini 2.0

Camilla_monokini21

Camilla Monokini designed by TIMO RISSANEN for Monokini 2.0

Kristiina_monokini2

Kristiina Monokini designed by OUTI PYY for Monokini 2.0

Solja_monokini2

Solja Monokini designed by KAKSITVÅ for Monokini 2.0

Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

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

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Top Ten Men’s Sexy Underwear Brands–Reader Picks

Rounderbum Anatomic Coral $22.50

Rounderbum Anatomic Coral $22.50

In March, I wrote an article for this site explaining why I, a straight woman, think more men should wear sexy underwear — for the sake of equality, self expression, and fun.  I wrote it on a bit of a whim, and had no idea it would hit such a nerve.  Thousands of reads and hundreds of comments later, I felt like a follow up or two might be called for.

A lot of readers jumped into the conversation and had great insights, so I’d like to share a few with you.  Then we’ll get to what we’re all really here for: readers’ favorite men’s sexy underwear brands!

Many women shouted some version of “right on!” or bemoaned the bashful or conservative ways their own men dress.

One woman wrote, “I love my boyfriend in tiny underwear, and just think it would be great if men could suggest their junk the way women can suggest breasts and have it not be threatening and/or ridiculous.”

Another argued that the scope of masculine fashion was particularly limited in the US: “men in western europe, japan, south korea, and many many other places have long blurred gender binaries when it comes to fashion. tight jeans, bright colors, speedos…have never been a problem. american sartorial masculinity is super retrograde.”

Unrelatedly but hilariously, another woman, referring to the featured men’s underwear brand, Cocksox, wrote,  “It’s just silly. If I was wearing underpants with a band that said VAG-BAG in giant letters around my waist, nobody would think that was sexy either.”

Many men wrote in, but their feedback was more varied.

One man rejected the idea that underwear can be as sexy an accessory for men as for women, ” It’s unflattering. I have a perfectly acceptable body, but it’s not amazing, and it’s a male body. Sexy underwear for ladies works because there are curves to hang it on.”

Quite a few men detailed their own paths to finding underwear that suited their identities and expressions.  Some felt they had struggled against social expectation and women’s judgments.

“As a man who has occasionally been teased, by both men and women, about his European style underwear I personally don’t understand many peoples aversion to anything that offers less coverage than oversized boxers. But I also don’t understand why men in this country don’t buy properly fitting clothes, both of which probably point to the fact that in this country we don’t like the male form. I am of the opinion that both men and women should stop shaming men into baggy jeans and oversized tee shirts, and embrace the allure of the male body.”

There was so much meat in these men’s underwear comments that I think they deserve a separate article.  Their comments and experiences suggest a new branch to this conversation, more specifically about what it’s like to be a man who likes to wear women’s styled lingerie, and what brands and styles they prefer.  Keep your eyes out for this in the future.

For now, here’s a roundup of reader favorite men’s underwear, ranked according to my own taste (I know, I know, not especially objective–but being a lingerie writer grants me some privileges of judgment, right?), as well as the shopping experience on each company’s website.  Many were new to me, especially the non American brands, and I’m excited to have a new #1 top favorite.

On a side note, a funny thing just happened to me while trying to rank these ten brands.  I couldn’t bring myself to relegate any to the bottom two.  Mind you, I’m not even saying these are the two worst brands out there.  On the contrary, I’m saying these are ten reader FAVORITES.  Just as I’m about to decide on #10, I’ll find something redeeming about it, like a WHOLE SECTION OF METALLIC!  I think that I’m cheering so hard for men’s underwear as an underdog, that I want them all to win.

Here goes:

# 10 Joe Snyder 

I am generally never that interested in generic supersexxxy lingerie, for men or women.  It’s fun and has a place, and it’s a huge business, but as a designer, these hackneyed expressions of sexuality bore my eyeballs.  This is the context for my putting this otherwise perfectly nice brand in number 10.  Somewhat nonsensically, the motto that follows you through the website’s shopping experience is “MAKE YOUR BEST CHOICE IN A WORLD IN WHICH CHANGE IS THE RULE.”  I don’t know what change Joe Snyder has in mind, but I recommend that some of you step away from your computers pronto, and change into this Gold Metallic Short:

Joe Snyder Metallic Short $27.83

Joe Snyder Metallic Short $27.83

Aside from the aforementioned shopping section devoted wholly and exuberantly to metallic men’s underwear, there is a section exclusively for camo, which contains 27 units, and a lot more. This brand traces its roots to 1977 when it was launched in Mexico with the objective of “support[ing] men’s virility.”

#9 Body Aware 

I was a bit turned off by Body Aware’s homepage banner which in red, black and white, screams “BASICALLY AMAZING” — and then goes on to fail at amazing me, in either basic or auxiliary ways.  But once I forgave this false promise, I found some pretty cool things after all, if not quite amazing.  I enjoyed the silliness of the Twig and Berries.

Bodyaware Twig and Berries $17

Bodyaware Twig and Berries $17

And on the more basic end of sensualwear, these silk boxer briefs seem comfortable and luxurious.  They have some spandex content so they shouldn’t stretch out too much.  If boxer briefs aren’t your preferred silhouette, the same fabric is cut in others, like a brief, thong, and long johns.

Bodyaware Silk BoxerBrief $30

Bodyaware Silk BoxerBrief $30

#8 Andrew Christian

This site commits the grievous offense of automatically playing music when you visit.  It must think it’s 2003.  I mean, isn’t it embarrassing enough that we are cruising this site at all?  Don’t call us out with that smutty music?!  I had a general feeling of discomfort while on this site.  In lingerie commerce, some companies choose bluntly to pedal sex in the form of their goods, rather than the more subtle and creative challenge of imbuing their product with the promise or proximity of sex.  Andrew Christian is not going for subtlety.  Their homepage features a picture of two near naked men making out on a couch while 3 others take snapshots.  Enough said.

I do, however, like the creatively designed underwear and the fun way cutouts are used.  Not only in the expected places like the rear, but also as little alluring design flourishes, as they might be used in womenswear, but rarely are in menswear.

Andrew Christian trophy boy beam boxer $25.93

Andrew Christian trophy boy beam boxer $25.93

#7 N2N 

N2N clearly announces itself as high end eroticwear, albeit with elevated fashiony-looking models and photography (as opposed to sex-industry-looking shoots).  One particularly pouty model bites his finger modelishly.  Another is so turned on by his own attractiveness that he appears to be undressing himself, thumbing his own waistband down his own hips.  He’s not wrong.  These are some very appealing undergarments, and they are thoughtfully designed as individual pieces and as a collection.  The price range reflects this sexy but unsleazy sensibility, with the simplest underwear starting modestly at $10 and going up to $48 for these really cool cutout sheer bicycle shorts.

N2N Sheer Biker $48

N2N Sheer Biker $48

#6 Ginch Gonch 

Ginch Gonch has a 70′s porn vibe to it, with its loopy cartoonish font and big snug briefs.  It encourages us to “Live like a kid!” I don’t know about you, but my childhood did not involve this guy:

Ginch Gonch Underman brief $24.99

Ginch Gonch Underman brief $24.99

The site is straightforward, as are the offerings, which are mainly funny printed cotton underwear for men and women.

#5 Hom 

Hom was founded in 1968 in France and claims four “fundamental values: masculinity, style, independence, and being different.”

To support this value statement, Hom offers six separate collections organized by lifestyle concept.     For example, there is “HO1″ which stands for “Horizontal Opening No1″ and is the signature style of HOM.  There’s also “Temptation” for “a modern seducer [who] cares about his physique and for special occasions wears delicate luxury underwear to please his partner.” “Black Addict” may be a poor translation but seems full of goodies.  “The Black Addict man regularly practices sport to keep fit and uses cosmetics…he’s attractive and likes to show it.”  He can show it all in the Shorty Crocodile:

HOM shorty Crocodile 39 Euro

HOM shorty Crocodile 39 Euro

#4 Rounderwear

This company takes a technological approach to selling underwear.  Their claim to fame seems to be “Lift tech,” which purportedly “lifts and supports the buttocks… its innovative design creates a ‘lifting effect’ thanks to hidden bands technology.”  In addition, “seamless microfiber visibly enhances the masculine package.”  A customer can really target his areas with different products, which are organized both by style and feature.  Features include “padded, lift, package, anti-bacterial, and asorbtek.”

I’m curious to know how these actually work.  Women have long been a target market for “solutions” undergarments that shape their bodies to some idealized version (look all the way back to corsetry and foot binding).  It’s interesting to see high tech shapewear spreading throughout the men’s market.

I may or may not, if I were benefitting from underwear-provided butt uplift, choose to advertise this happening on the waistband of said magic underwear.  But perhaps the Rounderbum man is happy to share his glory with the heavily branded elastic waistband on all Rounderbum’s products.  (See photo at top of article.)

#3 Ergowear

I don’t especially love the aesthetic of Ergowear, but I can see that it takes a different approach to shaping from other brands I’ve seen.  Many men’s underwear brands rely on seaming for the most protrusive look.  But Ergowear takes a pouch approach to presentation in its “Feel” collection.

Ergowear Feel Mini Boxer $19.90

Ergowear Feel Mini Boxer $19.90

The brand does also offer plenty of seamed options (for example in its 3dX section), and offers to tailor your online shopping experience according to things like “tender, ergonomic, and breathable.”

#2 Obviously 

This is good underwear.  How do I know? Because the website features no live models, only simple sketches of the products on dummy males of middling attractiveness.  The implication seems to be that Obviously is obviously such great underwear that they don’t need hotness to vouch for them.

Designed in Australia, Obviously uses high quality materials like  Bamboo Rayon, Licensed Lenzing Modal, and Lycra, which, they claim “have significant health benefits over regular cotton and synthetic underwear fabrics, they are highly UV resistant. Non Genetically Modified (GM) fibres, and Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly.”

Obviously Naked Brief $16.95

Obviously Naked Brief $16.95

#1 Bruno Banani 

On its site, Bruno Banani brags under its logo that it’s “Not for Everybody.”  It’s a surprising marketing tactic for a brand that offers a wide range of all sorts of manly garments that seemingly ARE for everybody, if they’re lucky enough to stumble across this brand.  There’s plenty of fun and fashion, but nothing tacky.  The biggest selection seems to be under what we’d call boxer briefs in the US, but are “shorts” in German.  The fit is snug and generally without a fly, and there’s variety in fabric from cotton-based to synthetic, and fun prints as well as simple stripes and solids.  I also appreciate that the items aren’t overbranded like a lot of  men’s underwear — just a small strip at the top WB that says Bruno Banani.

Bruno Banani Funtasic Your Way Short 17 Euro

Bruno Banani Funtasic Your Way Short 17 Euro

For a smaller silhouette, there are “Sportslips” which are briefs, as well as “strings” which are thongs.  A few of my women readers commented that their men were looking for simple, comfortable thongs — I think we have a winner with this brand.

Bruno Banani Fairfax Sport Slip 26.95 Euro

Bruno Banani Fairfax Sport Slip 26.95 Euro

For a little roomier attire, there are a few gentlemanly pajamas, and also a smattering of “lederjacken” and “socken” to complete the underwear look.

Bruno Bananai Funtastics Pajama 53 Euro

Bruno Bananai Funtastics Pajama 53 Euro

A BIG thanks to all of you readers for your thoughts and your men’s underwear brand tips.  Keep ‘em coming!

Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

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

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The Jockstrap Double Standard: Why Modern Men Should Wear Sexy Underwear

A Yoga favorite.  Cocksox Jockstrap CX21N, $22

A Yoga favorite. Cocksox Jockstrap CX21N, $22

2 hours ago, I asked myself “shouldn’t I be using Google Incognito?” I had been doing research for this article, and though I’m on my own computer, in my own home, I could imagine some future situation in which a search history of “sexy men’s jockstraps japan” might land me in awkward waters.

And then–call it an internal philosophical debate, or call it writer’s procrastination–I spent minutes vacillating about whether, on principle, the security of hiding behind Google Incognito was worth the admission of such cowardice.

Why should this subject be embarrassing, anyway?  After all, I work in the underwear industry.  I design women’s lingerie all day long.  Colleagues discuss the sexiness of transparent lace, women’s empowerment through corsetry, and the sales figures of pleasure toys–and these feel like totally normal subjects.

But when it comes to men’s underthings, we can’t quite keep a straight face.  As a culture we’ve arrived at a place of stony unflappability when it comes to female exposure and sexuality.  A popup window of a woman in a g-string?  Big whoop.  Another socialite sex tape on YouTube?  I’d rather organize my silverware drawer.  But a man in a g-string still makes us giggle and squirm like hens at an obligatory bachelorette party.  We are unused to equating male sexuality with skin show, and the unfamiliarity of the display gives us pause.  By “we,” I mean the heteronormative majority that defines our images and comprises most underwear shoppers.

I started musing on this after a recent yoga class at my gym in New York.  My very fit teacher was about to demonstrate a handstand, and as he prepared to kick his legs up, his shirt fell up around his head, exposing his back.  And there it was: a wide elastic strap across his low hips, with the word “COCKSOX” boldly repeated on it.  Below the band, where one would expect underwear fabric, there was only skin, followed by the waistband of his low-slung clingy sweatpants.

I stifled an unyogic giggle.  It felt shocking and ridiculous for a yoga instructor to be wearing a visible fashion jockstrap.  But why?  We women spend a lot of attention and money on alluring/athletic sports bras and athletic wear.  Is this a double standard to the detriment of male lingerie expression?  And, aside from the solemn matters of heteronormative cultural dominance, gender inequality and hampered personal expression, isn’t it kind of awesome to imagine a world in which men as well as women walk around in sexy underwear?  Straight girls, are you with me?

I’m not trying to start a revolution here.  That may be beyond the purview of this blog post.  But I thought I’d at least share some sexy men’s underwear currently on the market, and challenge you readers out there to think about who you would like to see in it.  I also surveyed a few male friends about their underwear experiences and preferences.  It’s not exactly a scientific survey, but I do put a lot of stock in their opinions as fashion professionals and general men-about-town.

Cocksox, the brand that started this article rolling in my mind, offers a fun online shopping experience and a good range of styles.  They fall into the category of fashion forward everyday (as opposed to novelty) and there is a focus on comfort and fabric performance in addition to style.  The savvy shopper can browse by category, price, fabric color, style, and pouch.  “Style” includes among accessible silhouettes, like “boxer” and “brief,” less transparent ideas, like “slingshot” and “trunk.”  Shopping by pouch will lead you to the bewildering choices of “original,” “snug,” “contour,” and “natural.”  I say “bewildering” because the classifications of each style under its respective pouch header did not seem entirely intuitive. Even the natural pouch is quite shaping, and how is it different from contour?

On each product page on the Cocksox site, a shopper is invited to get to know the item by viewing a “meet and greet” video, sort of like speed-dating for unmentionables.  On it, photos of the underwear on a model from different angles are punctuated with helpful selling points like “backless backside lets your buns feel the sun!” and “Cocksox pouch keeps your ‘boys’ under control.”  Like I said, fun.  Top choice of New York yoga teachers.

Cocksox Original Pouch Waistband Brief CXA03N $25.17

Cocksox Original Pouch Waistband Brief CXA03N $25.17

Another brand that’s difficult not to recognize from street ads if you’ve ever found yourself in the Chelsea district of New York is 2(X)IST.  Their aesthetic is starker and less cheeky than Cocksox, and they offer a broader range, from a plain cotton boxer brief to a straptastic conundrum of an underpant. They show an exalting attitude toward underwear, which I applaud: “Underwear.  It’s the first thing on and the last thing off, so make your Underwear count.  Available in a number of favorite silhouettes, our signature pairs feature premium fabrics and a contoured fit that lasts all day long.”

A friend of mine bought the No Show Trunk, which he expected to be stylish and practical.  Instead, he reported that it was so compressing as to be unsupportive.  Counterintuitive.  Also, he reported feeling like a rectangle.

2(X)IST No Show Trunk, 2 for $36

2(X)IST No Show Trunk, 2 for $36

There’s also a section of shapewear, including this Dual Lifting Brief.  Dying to know how it performs–any volunteers out there willing to try, and report back?  For the sake of research?

2(X)IST Dual Lifting Brief, $24

2(X)IST Dual Lifting Brief, $24

Another fashionable male friend of mine responded to a random underwear text message without batting an eye and with a clear, preformed point of view.  He prefers the practicality of a traditional fly construction, which precludes most shaping seams in the pouch.  The previous images in this article feature seamed pouches that serve to create shape, which is a departure from traditional underwear construction.  He mentioned a brand he just picked up on a trip to Tokyo, Roial.  Of course he buys his underwear in Japan.

I can see the Japanese sensibility in this pair from Roial, with its visual play on traditional men’s plaid, but translated into a printed knit jersey.  It also quirkily features trompe l’oile printed fly buttons, and the playful pseudo-authenticity of “CALIFORNIA” blazed big on the waistband.

Roial Men's Boxer Brief, 2940 yen

Roial Men’s Boxer Brief, 2940 yen

It reminded me of an underwear brand I saw and loved on my own trip to Japan, Body Wild.  Suspended in their storefront was a mannequin wearing a men’s brief with an all around jeans trompe l’oile.  I wish I could find a place to buy it here in the US, but I guess for me it must remain memory.

Body Wild men's boxer brief.  A snapshot I took in Tokyo.

Body Wild men’s boxer brief. A snapshot I took in Tokyo.

I would love to hear from you.  Please share your own men’s underwear thoughts and dreams

Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

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

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Review – A Regular Day in Fine Lingerie: 18 hours of Lise Charmel

Disclosure: I received this item free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Lise_Charmel_Precieux_tissage_balconnet_kant_amsterdam_lingerie

Every man who’s seen my lingerie bin (unfussy plastic, stackable, belies the sexy within) has been scared or amused. Why would any person need 80 pairs of underwear? Are you some sort of obsessive?

Well, yes, maybe I am.  Let me explain to you – lingerie does not just serve the purpose of making us not naked under clothes–though that’s the fairly low bar that every panty must clear.  Each bra or panty I own serves a slightly different purpose, sartorial or emotional.  There’s the nude thong for practicality and invisibility under slim pants.  There’s the higher waisted version of the same for high waisted slim pants.  There’s the turtle applique cotton brief that I designed in a previous job and love too much to wear.  Some Christmas themed boy briefs with candy cane charms are currently in a 10 month hibernation. Vintage Pucci tricot undies look like granny panties to our modern eye, but are zany and inspiring.  And of course there are the sexy ones.

When I was invited to review the fine French lingerie line, Lise Charmel, I obviously volunteered.  I was offered a set provided by the luxury online lingerie retailer, Honey’s Lingerie Boutique, and chose the Precieux Tissage collection.  Honey’s is a UK based website with one of the widest selections of luxury lingerie I’ve seen, offering over 50 brands.  They are consistent in their aesthetic and product assortment across their selection.  They specialize in elevated, classic brands that tend to stick with traditional materials and silhouettes.  Among the classic high end brands are La Perla, Julianne, Lise Charmel.  There are sexy brands like Bijoux Indiscrets and Maison Close, and some that veer more toward ready to wear.

Though my taste tends to run more modern and crisp, I’ve always been interested in Lise Charmel. Founded in the 1950′s, it has always for me represented French sophistication and quality in lingerie.  Fabric and raw materials are sourced in France, which you can sense just from the feeling of quality when you pick the garment up.

Lise Charmel history

The collections from Lise Charmel on the Honey’s website are true Collections–meaning that they are clearly designed in a capsule.  So each capsule has a name and concept, and within it are around 10 pieces that share a color palette and fabric and trim.  There’s a sense of cohesion which makes shopping each collection a pleasure, like you’re being gently led on a fantasy by a very skilled docent who knows a lot more than you do.  It’s nice to give full trust to fine design.

I was drawn to the Precieux Tissage collection because I loved the elegance of the black lace.  Some of Lise Charmel is more elaborate and baroque than I might wear, but this group was a perfectly wearable set of pieces that are also incredibly sexy.

Lise Charmel Preciex Tissage Half Cup Bra, 94 GBP

Lise Charmel Preciex Tissage Half Cup Bra, 94 GBP

Lise Charmel Precieux Tissage Sexy String 57 GBP

Lise Charmel Precieux Tissage Sexy String 57 GBP

I decided to wear the special occasion Sexy String and Half Cup Bra in a non-special occasion way.  Just on a Tuesday, under my leggings and jeans and t-shirt and thermal and sweater and puffy jacket.  It’s cold here in New York in February, and the extra naked seconds required to sort out all the criss crossing thong straps almost made me give up and throw on a big cotton number instead.  But I have to say: the strap detangling is worth it.  It’s magic how this pile of straps on my bed ended up encaging the body once on.  The lace is stretchy enough to be comfortable, but the bra and panty are carefully structured with velvet elastic straps, rigid mesh lining, and varied levels of stretch in the various lace and mesh.

A sign of luxury is the way a bit of lace is edged.  In this set, the edges of the garment are scalloped lace, which refers to the repeated curve shape.  This can be an expensive appearance to achieve, because it means that the garment must be cut out and manufactured in specific ways to maximize use of the scallop edge of the fabric yardage — so sometimes fabric can be wasted, raising the cost of production.  In some places of the garments, like the leg openings of the thong and the bottom edge of the bra, the scallop edge is achieved through a lace trim that is created separately from the main fabric, and carefully applied on top.

A red Swarovski crystal adorns the center front of the bra, and there are two tiny ones on the straps.  Off the body, I felt they were a bit over-the-top for my taste, but once on, they were just the right size to punctuate the all-black garment, without screaming.

As for fit, the thong was comfortable and perfect.  Straps are always a bit tricky: too tight and they form muffin….everything.  Too loose and they droop.  In this thong, there was enough elasticity in the velvet straps that the stretch and recovery would suit a variety of body shapes within the size range.  The bra was gorgeously designed and constructed but for me created a shape that isn’t my preference.  One surprise was that the photo on the website featured top to bottom seaming across the cup front, which creates a modern shape that I prefer.  But in  the bra I received (photo below), the seaming was horizontally across the bust.  This is also a standard and nice way to create cup shape, but in this case I felt it created a bit of a 1950′s shape for me.  

Precieux Tissage Half Cup Bra that I received

Precieux Tissage Half Cup Bra that I received

The great thing about my regular day in Lise Charmel was that for the most part I forgot I was wearing it.  Until I remembered and smiled to myself.  The best kind of luxury is the kind that you can enjoy unconsciously, so that the pleasure exists in being able to recall it at whim.  I went about my day, lifting boxes of samples, sitting at a computer, shuffling through the dirty New York subway, wearing this beautiful lingerie as my little secret.  At the end of the day when it was time to take it off, I felt a moment of regret.  Luckily there’s always next Tuesday for secret glamour.

Have you ever worn Lise Charmel?  What are your favorite pieces?

Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

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

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20 Sports Bras to Support Your New Year’s Exercise Resolution

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Michi Lioness Bra, $115

Michi Lioness Bra, $115

So how is your 2014 going to put 2013 to shame?  Two weeks into this virgin year, and we are all full of virtuous optimism about the purer, healthier, happier future.  We will:  Quit Smoking!  Kick the Ben & Jerry’s Habit!  Call Our Mothers!  And of course: Go to the Gym Every Day.

It’s fun to work out in January.  I’m a year-round gym goer, but I especially love/hate January for the crazy energetic shift and frenetic crowds at the gym.  Personal trainers are themselves run ragged from running others ragged for 12 hour straight.  It’s kind of fun to watch.  It’s also a fun time to quietly mirror other people’s personal training sessions.  Nobody will notice my simultaneous kettlebell swings, right? But I’m getting off topic, and possibly TMI.

Accompanying January’s waves of enthusiastically resolved exercisers is a real optimism in gym fashion.  Gym-rats are starting their resolutions off right with brand new bike shorts for spinning class (neon!  All the better for booty shaking in the black light!); glossy new running shoes (simpler silhouettes this year, closer mesh, brighter colors!); and for those with massive muscular ambitions, the always intimidating weight lifting gloves.

I love to see girls bringing their perky newbie positivity to their gym clothes–it inspires me during my last 20 seconds of planks, and I think it inspires the wearer to work as hard as she looks good.  I especially like how sports bras have become a centerpiece of workout wear.  It’s a new thing; remember those white cotton monstrosities of just a decade or so ago?  Now sports bras are meant to be seen, classified more as tops than as underwear.

Alongside the general outing of sports bras, there’ve been innovations in fabric and construction that allow fashion to merge with advanced functionality.  Full support doesn’t just mean a giant ace bandage.  Wicking properties can coexist with rip roaring colors and interesting strappiness.  Some of the trends in sports bras mirror and follow trends in lingerie and ready to wear, especially in the decorative use of straps and in color and fabric blocking.  There’s also more focus on prints than there has been in the past, just as there’s been an explosion of prints in lingerie, swim, and ready to wear for the past few seasons.  Michi is one of my favorite brands to watch that is doing incredibly sophisticated design in athleticwear.

So, to help us all on our quests for betterment in our own health, or for couch cheering for others’ (no judgment; taking a multivitamin and cleaning under the fridge are also virtues), I’ve rounded up some sports bra trends to kick off 2014.  Now go kick butt.  And tell us how it goes!

PRINTED

H&M Sports Bra $9.95

H&M Sports Bra $9.95

Sofia by Sofia Vargara Snakeskin Sports Bra, $14.99

Sofia by Sofia Vargara Snakeskin Sports Bra, $14.99

Moving Comfort Women's Alexis Sports Bra, Printed $36

Moving Comfort Women’s Alexis Sports Bra, Printed $36

BLOCKING

Glamorize Adjustable Motion Control Sports Bra, $47

Glamorize Adjustable Motion Control Sports Bra, $47

Panache Ultimate Maximum Control Sports Bra, $58

Panache Ultimate Maximum Control Sports Bra, $58

Strike it Stripe Cross Training Halter Sports Bra, $49

Strike it Stripe Cross Training Halter Sports Bra, $49

Michi Bionic Bra, $95

Michi Bionic Bra, $95

STRAPPY

Reebok Dance Sport Bra, $19.99

Reebok Dance Sport Bra, $19.99

Victoria's Secret Strappy Back Bra Sale, $19.99

Victoria’s Secret Strappy Back Bra Sale, $19.99

ZIP FRONT

Shock Absorber Active Zipped Plunge Sport Bra, $69

Shock Absorber Active Zipped Plunge Sport Bra, $69

The Player by Victoria's Secret Zip Front Sport Bra, $39.50

The Player by Victoria’s Secret Zip Front Sport Bra, $39.50

Nike Maximum Control Wire Free Zip Front Sports Bra, $35

Nike Maximum Control Wire Free Zip Front Sports Bra, $35

MAXIMUM SUPPORT

Adidas Energy Boost Bra, $55

Adidas Energy Boost Bra, $55

Natori Underwire Sports Bra, $48

Natori Underwire Sports Bra, $48

LIGHT SUPPORT

Gap Modal Pullover Bra, $24.50

Gap Modal Pullover Bra, $24.50

Lululemon Centered Energy Bra, $52

Lululemon Centered Energy Bra, $52

Oneil Rapid Sports Bra, $43.95

Oneil Rapid Sports Bra, $43.95

LARGE SIZE

Goddess Soft, $47

Goddess Soft, $47

Lane Bryant Active Sports Bra, $38

Lane Bryant Active Sports Bra, $38

Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

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

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When Did Onesie Pajamas Become Unironically Cool Holiday Gifts?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Footed Pajama $46.95

Ugly Christmas Sweater Footed Pajama $46.95

Things are getting pretty blustery over here in New York.  Evening chills harbinger the long gloomy nights to come in January, scarves and hats are drawn over faces, friends have started hunkering down for winter hibernation. But there are a few silver linings to the bleakest months, like hot toddies, blazing fires, and cozy pajamas.

At this time of year  I always find myself drawn back into a particular seasonal hobby: shopping online for onesie pajamas.  It’s my guilty secret that I perpetually hope that a fuzzy one-piece pajama will fall from the sky into my life for Christmas, but I’ve never gone so far as to make this wish known to anyone who, with 5 minutes, a credit card, and an obligation to give me a present, might actually make it come true.

So let this blog post be a coming out and a wish list.

Why are all-in-one pajamas so great? Because they feel cozily and perfectly like the past.  There’s a wonderfully rich air of classic Americana about them.  They’re an evolution of the American union suit, a one piece item of underwear commonly worn by working men in the 19th century.  Though one-piece loungewear has long since gone out of everyday use, it has been revived more recently as a style piece by retail behemoths of classic American apparel like L.L. Bean, Jockey, and J. Crew.

I won’t get so deep into any Freudian perspectives on how else a onesie transports its wearer into the past, but isn’t there also something so familiar and infantilizing about being swaddled in one continuous garment?

And at the same time, onesie pajamas are kind of sexy.  They’re the opposite of corsets; they don’t give or define shape, but instead take shape from the wearer.  They both can obscure the body under their tent, and they take their form from the body’s protrusions and curves, and so tend to highlight them.  They make the statement that the wearer is either effortlessly casual…or is trying rather hard to make a statement–and both attitudes can be appealing.

Luckily for us, there seems to be a giant onslaught of onesies for sale this season, as, especially in the UK it seems, they’ve become a genuinely modern expression of casual lounge and a more mainstream retail category.

I’ve mentally divided modern one-piece pajamas into three categories.  First is the traditional, classic union suit, usually in a thin cotton knit, in white or red.

Second is the silly, cozy printed onesie, which is usually inexpensive and bought in the spirit of Holiday fun.

Third, and newest, is the trendy onesie, which may be sold in a better boutique to women who appreciate a carefully cut garment, pay attention to the ready-to-wear trend toward rompers and overalls, and who are not trying to oversell their pajama with a loud print or bright color.  These consumers are wearing onesies unironically, as a natural carryover of silhouette from the runways of a few years ago, to the streets of last summer, to the bedrooms of this winter.

This is all a very exciting turn of events for me, and hopefully for some of you too.  Whereas a couple years ago, the memory of opening a box on Christmas 1989 and pulling out a fuzzy reindeer pajama may have had you groaning, now the fashion cadence has injected freshness and excitement into the holiday onesie.  There is, no doubt, a new updated reindeer onesie just for you, and this year, it’ll make you squeal with delight.

Here is my roundup of some all-in-ones to suit every fancy:

Asos knitted onesie

Asos Knitted Onesie $81.67

Nick and Nora Reindeer footie pajama target

Nick and Nora Women’s Footie Pajama from Target $24.99

Onepiece Rigid Onesie, Asos $288.57

Onepiece Rigid Onesie, Asos $288.57

Alas Organic Cotton Colorblock Onesie $117.97

ASOS Organic Cotton Colorblock Onesie $117.97

Wonder Woman Footed Pajamas $64.99

Wonder Woman Footed Pajamas $64.99

nordstrom

Jane and Bleeker Rib Knit Union Suit $68

Kigu Penguin Onesie $90.75

Kigu Penguin Onesie $90.75

Vintage union suit etsy

Vintage 1930′s Women’s Union Suit Etsy $40

J Crew Union Suit in stripe $59.50

J Crew Union Suit in stripe $59.50

Onepiece Lillehammer Onesie $270.42

Onepiece Lillehammer Onesie $270.42

Hoodie Footie for Dogs $19.99

Hoodie Footie for Dogs $19.99

What are your favorites?  Do you have any warm or embarrassing memories of wearing onesies?  Would you wear one now?

Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

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

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