Posts by Cora

Sale Lingerie of the Week: Josie Natori Chinoiserie Caftan

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links.

natori chinoiserie caftanI was a bit torn about posting this caftan. It’s gorgeous; there’s no doubt about that. But at $345 (on sale from $495), I wondered if it was more suited to one of our “Lingerie Lust Object” features instead…you know the ones where I post about the luxury pieces I’ll never get the chance to own. But I figured my version of expensive isn’t necessarily everyone else’s version of expensive, and since this item is actually on sale, a sale feature is where it belongs.

I’ve been eyeballing this Josie Natori Chinoiserie Caftan for a few weeks now. Though I’ve never owned a caftan, it looks like the perfect kind of summer lounging attire. Loose, breezy, elegant..and 100% silk. I’m loving the rich red combined with the golden print and the ruched center creates just enough structure to make this appropriate for out of doors (particularly if “out of doors” means your beachside resort restaurant). I firmly believe that luxury lingerie should have some element of fantasy yet still be eminently wearable, and Natori’s caftan checks both boxes.

Sizing is S, M, L, fitting a maximum of US16. Care instructions recommend hand washing or dry cleaning for best results. And if caftans aren’t your style, this printed silk is also available in a robe or nightgown.

What do you think? Have you ever worn a caftan? And could you see something like this in your wardrobe?

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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How to Use Lingerie for Your Cosplay: An Introduction

Since today is the first day of San Diego Comic-Con, I thought it’d be appropriate to publish a blog post on cosplay! Today’s guest author is Alexis Dalbey, a university senior studying for her B.A. in English. In her spare time she enjoys keeping up to date on women’s and LGBTQIA+ issues, reading everything she can get her hands on, playing video games, studying cultural theory and going out to bars for karaoke. Her favorite lingerie brand she’s purchased from is What Katie Did, but she dreams of being able to afford something from Bordelle or Agent Provocateur. You can follow her blog at TheDialogTree.tumblr.com, and she is launching a podcast with Guy Thomas soon at amateurexperthour.tumblr.com. You can see more of the photographer’s work at Tuesdays-dusk.com.

cosplay1

The author in her Poison Ivy costume. Photography by Guy Thomas.

Last June, I set out on my first big cosplay project – to dress up as Poison Ivy from Batman.

I’ve been buying lingerie for a few years, but I’d never done a large sewing project besides making shorts in Home Economics when I was thirteen. I really felt like I was going in blind, but I was determined. I started by ordering a small beige Bodywrap: Firm Control Convertible Bodysuit from Bare Necessities.

 BodyWrap: Firm Control Convertible Bodysuit, via Bare Necessities

BodyWrap: Firm Control Convertible Bodysuit, via Bare Necessities

Regarding the lingerie, I am very pleased with the fit overall. Although I don’t feel much need for bodyshaping in general, I do enjoy it as a part of dressing up as drawn characters. The waist shaping features and padded rear definitely help me achieve the slightly exaggerated body shape of Poison Ivy. Another bonus is the clasps at the crotch, which you can adjust to three different sizes. That helps with feelings of tightness or pinching down there, and it makes getting in and out of the bodysuit much easier. Now for the negatives. I was somewhat dissatisfied with the cups, which were simply too big for me. I have to wear another bra underneath so it doesn’t look loose and awkward. It’s also very difficult to hook the straps in. It’s about a ten minute process, and even after all the struggle and sore fingers, I still can never get one of the straps properly hooked in the back. This always worries me when I wear it, though it only came unhooked once during my weekend at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo.

I originally intended to go bare-legged, but I found that the bodysuit tends to ride up fairly quickly. I’m not comfortable showing that much of my body in a public place like a convention, so I purchased Twilight Printed Tights in Flo Green from Pamela Mann. They are perfect for the costume. Throughout the convention, I received the most questions about my tights. Many cosplayers have found themselves in a similar position of wanting just a little more coverage without sacrificing aesthetic, and Pamela Mann is a good option for that. But as I said to everyone who asked, the downside is that they come in only one size, and for me that resulted in the tights being pretty loose on my ankles.

Twilight Printed Tights - Flo Green via Pamela Mann

Twilight Printed Tights – Flo Green via Pamela Mann

The process of making a basic beige bodysuit into a Poison Ivy costume was long and hard. I spent nearly 200 hours dying the fabric dark green, cutting individual leaves from fake plants, and sewing them onto the bodysuit. I quickly learned that the biggest obstacle was the fabric: nylon and spandex. It was so stretchy that I couldn’t properly place the leaves and guarantee they would look right without wearing the bodysuit while I was sewing. I don’t do enough sewing to justify buying a mannequin, but I’m sure having one would have made things much simpler. Having to wear the bodysuit while I tried to sew made the process quite awkward at times and resulted in a lot of skin pricking and quiet cursing.

Phone pictures from creating the costume

Phone pictures from creating the costume

After all that painstaking and time-consuming work, I’ve thought a lot about the methods I chose. Throughout this convention season, I’ve also been thinking about the role lingerie plays in cosplay, and of course beginning my costumes for the coming year. Here’s what I’ve learned from my experience as a lingerie and cosplay newbie.

The author in her finished Poison Ivy Cosplay.

The author in her finished Poison Ivy Cosplay. Photo by Cosplayers Canada.

While the end-product of my costume looks great, a high quality piece of lingerie or shapewear may not be easy to alter. It’s already a finished product, and it’s not meant to be changed so drastically. You should consider how much change you’re plan on making to the piece, and what the material is. If you just need to dye it, pieces that are very delicate or very stretchy won’t be much of a problem (just be careful to use appropriate dye for the material). However, if you have to sew or glue a lot, you’re going to find it to be a challenging process. The more alterations you need to make, the more basic the base of your costume should be. You want as few obstacles as possible.

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The author in her Poison Ivy costume. Photography by Guy Thomas.

Many women fictional characters have lingerie as the baseis of their costume; you may not even need to alter anything to get the look you want. For example, Black Canary is usually depicted in what basically amounts to a bodysuit. One can easily purchase a bodysuit, some fishnets, a jacket and gloves, and have a finished cosplay with no further alterations needed. In this way, lingerie is incredibly useful for costuming. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that characters in video games and comic books have bodies that are not bound to the laws physics. As much as you may want to cosplay the New 52 Harley Quinn, you have to recognize that her garments will not stay up on a real human being. Clear straps and fashion tape are your friends, or you can always change the costume in a way that will better fit your body.

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The author in her Poison Ivy costume. Photography by Guy Thomas.

Finally, if you’re even a little concerned that your costume may be considered inappropriate, double-check the rules for appropriate attire for any conventions you are planning on attending. If the rules are unclear, contact the convention staff with your concerns. A good rule of thumb is that your costume should have at least as much coverage as a two piece swimsuit. Although your favorite character may not be considered pornographic because she has a strip of fabric over her nipples and an armored thong, there are conventions that won’t allow a person dressed that way. It may seem unfair that they’re selling these characters to you, while not letting you dress as them. But keep in mind that many of these conventions are meant to be family-friendly, so they can’t let every M-rated character in (convention staffers might have a problem with this outfit for Ivy Valentine, for example).

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The author in her Poison Ivy costume. Photography by Guy Thomas.

I wish I didn’t have to bring it up, but it is an awful reality that some people use conventions to do terrible things. If you’re wearing a sexy cosplay, there’s a possibility that an awful person will bug you, or try to touch you, or take your picture without permission. This is not acceptable: cosplay does not equal consent. Although some conventions have rules in place that say buying a ticket means you are consenting to having your picture and video taken, I would debate this. Someone taking a panoramic shot of the convention or you happening to be in the frame of a photo at a game developers booth is one thing. However, if you’re bent over looking at Marvel Labbits, and you see someone standing a few feet away with their camera aimed specifically at your butt (true story), that is very different. If someone is harassing you or making you uncomfortable, you are completely justified in telling them to back off as loudly and forcefully as you need to. More and more conventions are putting comprehensive harassment policies in place. Cosplay is about self-expression and celebrating what we love, and you deserve to feel safe while you do it. If someone is acting inappropriately, find a convention staffer, and they will help you.

Of course, the most important rule of cosplay is to have fun! It may sound cliché to say that, but it’s important to remember. You can make your cosplay whatever you want: gladiator Wonder Woman, steampunk Zelda, punk Storm, genderbent League of Legends characters, burlesque Princess Peach. Your cosplay is for you. You can take as many liberties and put in as much time or money as you want to get the maximum return on happiness for you.

I wish all of you luck in making your costumes and happy convention season!

Do any TLA readers cosplay? And if so, what are some of your favorite characters?

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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My 15 Favorite Beauty Products

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links.

Me by Lydia Hudgens

Me by Lydia Hudgens

First of all, no, TLA isn’t turning into a beauty blog! That said, I get quite a few questions, through both social media and email, about what I use on my hair and skin so I thought it’d be useful to just write it up.

I think of my approach to beauty as pretty low maintenance. I don’t spend a lot of time on any particular regimen, but I do believe in investing in products that work. That doesn’t mean the most expensive on the shelf (there is no La Mer in my beauty cabinet, alas), but it does mean buying the best you can afford (which is, honestly, my general approach to life). If cheap hair products make your hair break off, did you really save money? If a cheap facewash makes your skin crack and peel, was it really worth the lower price? I’m inclined to say, “No.”

Because of where I live (the Seattle area), I also try to use local products whenever possible.The Pacific Northwest has a thriving small business community, and you can find most anything, including beauty products, made nearby. Locally made products don’t usually cost less than drug or department store products, but for me, the tradeoff is worth it in knowing I’m supporting my local small business community (which is something I’m much more invested in since becoming a small business owner myself). And as a consumer,  it’s fantastic when you’re able to have a one-on-one conversation with the person who made your product. That’s just not an experience you can get with mass-produced items (though, of course, those have their place too).

Finally, because this blog post is about products I use specifically (and, even more pointedly, products I use most everyday), they will be tailored to my skintone and hair type. I feel like that should go without saying, but just in case there was any confusion, I’ve said it. Now on to the list!

Skincare (Face & Body):

I use almost all local products for cleansing and moisturizing my skin, but if you see anything you like, you can order these online and have them sent to you. Dr. Jen’s House of Beauty a.k.a. Atomic Cosmetics a.k.a. Xerion Skin Science is founded by the eponymous Dr. Jen who has PhD’s in both biophysics and biochemistry. After using her knowledge to assess the contents of her cosmetics bag, she was appalled at the list of ingredients and resolved to make something that was natural, toxin-free, and still effective. My skin feels so good since I’ve started using these products, and I notice a difference when I run out or have to use something else (such as the time my moisturizer exploded in my suitcase). While I’m listing all the things I use on a daily basis below, if you just want to start small, I’d try the calming cleanser and time rewind.

Sweet Pea Baby Lotion

Sweet Pea Baby Lotion (Body Lotion)

On a typical day, I start off with the calming facial cleanser or fruit scrub followed by the time rewind serum. At night, I use the calming facial cleanser (sometimes followed by the toner) and then the night cream. I use the Sweet Pea baby lotion on the rest of my body. I try to moisturize everything as soon as I’m dried off from the shower as that really helps your skin to maintain moisture. During the winter, I switch to a more intensive moisturizer – the Pinkalicious body butter (only without color or the shimmer). Before now, I was never super passionate about my skincare products. I’ve always used a facial cleanser and a face lotion and a body lotion, but I was never excited about them until I started using this line.

Pirouette_Soap_HoneyJasmine

Pirouette Honey Jasmine Soap

For the actual cleansing of the body, I’m a fan of the local soap company Pirouette, specifically their Honey Jasmine bar soap. I think it’s important to start off your day with something that makes you feel good, and the scent of honey and jasmine feels like a luxurious indulgence before I get to work. I also find this soap to be more moisturizing and less “stripping” than other brands. I don’t think of myself as having exceptionally dry skin, but it will start to feel tight and stretched if I use too harsh a soap. That’s definitely more of an issue during the winter than the summer. Less frequently, I use Sara Happ’s Vanilla Bean Body Scrub. It’s good for just sloughing off those dead skincells and making you feel reborn.

Haircare:

I am very particular about my hair products. I’ve tried so many different things from so many different companies and a lot of them just don’t work for my hair. I’m also really sensitive to the scent of what’s on my hair all day and the texture. Moisturizing creams that smells like rancid milk or a hair oils that never soak in and just stays slick and greasy for days? Nope. As of right now, my favorite shampoo and conditioner combo is by Loma Organics, which is also made in Washington.

Like many women with natural hair, I co-wash, which means I use a conditioner to “wash” my hair on a daily basis and a shampoo only every couple weeks or so. If you have curly, dry, kinky hair, co-washing helps with retaining moisture and keeping your hair soft and healthy.

To keep my scalp moisturized, I love Josie Maran Argan Oil. It’s intense enough to really make my scalp feel well oiled, but not so heavy and slick that I’m annoyed with my hair for the rest of the day. It also makes an excellent moisturizer. I tend to smear it on my face and body when I’m traveling as it’s more intense than a lotion but not as thick as a body balm (wouldn’t do to be greasy at the airport after all).

My all-time favorite Sephora detangling comb was discontinued a couple of years ago (grrrrr…), but this one is an okay replacement. I prefer to finger comb my hair in the shower while it’s conditioning, and only intensely detangle a couple of days a week. That helps with avoiding breakage, which can be a huge problem for my hair texture. Fair warning: this is an intense comb. If your hair isn’t thick and curly and prone to ferocious tangles, you probably won’t like it.

I don’t have a leave-in treatment or deep conditioner as part of my 15 faves here, and that’s because I haven’t found one I’m in love with yet. I’m going through a tube of Tigi Time Extend Moisture Lotion, and it’s pretty good, but I don’t know if I like it enough to buy again. I also use Keratase’s Hair Masques to deep condition on occasion, but again, not falling head over heels for ‘em. I’m always keeping an eye out for something better though, so if you have any recommendations, please let me know.

Makeup:

Finally, let’s talk makeup. I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis, and while I can put on a “full face,” it’s not my preferred look. If I need to toss on some makeup quickly, I just use a handful of products to even me out and call it a day.

This waterproof eye pencil is technically an eye liner, but I wear it like a shadow over the whole lid. It gives evenness and a bit of depth when worn alone, and makes a good base for powders when worn with other shadows. It also lasts all day, which is so important in the summer. I have this pencil in a few other colors like purple and turquoise, but I wear the brown most often by far.

If you’ve read any fashion magazine ever, you’ve probably heard of YSL Touche Éclat, but I didn’t believe the hype until I tried it myself. For me, a few strategic swipes is all it takes to look like I’m wearing tinted moisturizer or a light coverage foundation. It adds a little brightness and evenness to the complexion without the feeling of a face full of makeup. And it’s incredibly easy to apply – no extra brushes needed.

I wear this blush all the time. Summer…winter…the seasons in between. It’s so easy to apply (press your fingers in the blush, then press your fingers on your cheeks), and one pot lasts for ages. It also makes a good lip color in a pinch. Finally, if you happen to leave your blush at home, you can pick this up cheaply almost anywhere. I’ve tried a few blushes, but I always come back to using this one.

I had a hard time choosing my favorite lip product. I probably buy more lipstick/lip balm than anything else, and I rotate wearing them all (gotta have well moisturized lips). I have a couple of tubes of Chantecaille that I’m nursing as I think they’ve discontinued the color, and I’ve always liked Fresh Sugar’s lip balm. But I think I’m most enamored of Dior Lip Glow right now. It moisturizes well and adds subtle color and shine.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have a favorite mascara. I’ve tried a bunch (Smashbox Hyperlash is the one I have the fondest memories of), but none that’ve made me go, “This is it forever and ever.” But if you’ve got a fave mascara you think I should try, please do let me know.

Fragrance:

I wanted a signature fragrance for years…and couldn’t find one. As a young adult around the age of 20/21, I wore Valentino Absolu (the one in the red bottle) and that was my first “real” perfume. It was a very mature scent, but I adored it. It was woodsy, musky, and sweet all at once against my skin. I’ve tried a few things since, but none of them have really felt like “me.” Until I find that signature scent, I wear C.O. Bigelow’s Vanilla Fragrance Oil on a daily basis. It’s one note, but it mixes with the natural scent of my skin to give me unique fragrance. It’s pretty potent stuff so you don’t need a lot, and I think the price is excellent (around $15.00).

And those are my 15 favorite beauty products! Were there any surprises for you? Anything you’d like to try? And are there certain beauty products you’re really loving right now?

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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Our 25 Most Popular Blog Posts Ever

bra

Today’s post is one I’d planned to write around my 6-year blogaversary, but I reckon I got distracted by something else (which happens often, I’m sorry to say) and forgot. Though April’s come and gone, I decided to go ahead and publish this article anyway as we get so many new readers to TLA that I think it just makes sense to have a quick guide to some of our most popular articles. The Lingerie Addict archives have over 2,100 published blog posts…which is wayyyy to much for anyone new to the blog to wade through. But if you want to get a sense of what TLA is about in a metaphorical nutshell, here’s the place to start. I also feel like the list below is a nice mix of what we do here: information, reviews, commentary, and pretty pictures.

Note: Some of the brands and styles in these articles may be outdated or obsolete. As a general rule, we don’t delete old content on TLA. Not only do I find it a bit disingenous (why pretend I was the same person 5 years ago that I am now?), I think there’s value in knowing what was available several years ago…especially since many brands don’t make their archives public and since so many of the older lingerie blogs I started with have since gone defunct. You may also find the formatting of older posts to be different than the formatting we use now; much of that is due to our transition for Blogger to WordPress.

Whether you’ve been reading TLA for awhile or you’ve just started, I’d love to hear what your favorite blog post of ours is. Please share it in the comments!

  1. The Top 10 Bra Brands for Full Bust and Plus Size Women
  2. Tightlacing 101: 4 Myths About Waist Training with a Corset
  3. The 5 Most Expensive Lingerie Brands in the World
  4. 51 Places to Buy Your Next Corset
  5. What (You Didn’t Know) to Look for in a Corset: 5 Popular Myths Debunked
  6. Ask the Addict: Quarter and Half Cup Bras for Less
  7. An Adore Me Lingerie Review
  8. Why Full Busted Women Are Buying Their Bras in Poland (And Why You Should Too)
  9. Does This Pearl Front Thong Shock You? My Encounter with Bracli Pearl Thongs
  10. 10 Lingerie Brands That Are Made in the USA
  11. The Lingerie Addict Awards: The 15 Best Lingerie Brands of 2013
  12. Yes, It’s Okay to Not Wear a Bra
  13. 10 Pieces of Lingerie Every Woman Must Own
  14. Where to Buy a Garter Belt: Our Favorite Shops
  15. For the Last Time, “Tribal African Women” Do Not Prove That Bras Prevent Breast Sag
  16. Real Corsets vs. Fake Corsets: How to Spot the Difference
  17. Body Image: It Doesn’t Matter What Size You Are…Stop The Body Snark
  18. How to Buy a Garter Belt
  19. How to Dress Like Dita von Teese
  20. The 7 Deadly Lingerie Sins
  21. Ask the Addict: Panties with Cut-Out or Open Backs?
  22. Do Bras Prevent Breast Sagging?: Why We’re Having the Wrong Conversation
  23. Phases: Hopeless Lingerie 2013
  24. Bra Care: How Often Should You Wash Your Bra
  25. Nylon Stockings Day: Our Favorite Pairs of Stockings & Where to Buy Them
Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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ThirdLove BraFit App Review: Does This Lingerie Startup Change The Game?

Disclosure: ThirdLove sent me this lingerie for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Editor’s Note: According to a recent email from ThirdLove’s co-founder in response to this article, the company did not send me 34Cs but sample sizes of 34Bs and 34Ds instead. The bras have no size tags (ThirdLove does not sell bras with size tags). The fit portion of this review has been removed until I can try ThirdLove’s products in the correct size.

third love fit app review

ThirdLove is one of several lingerie startups (the others being True & Co. and Adore Me) that have taken the worlds of tech and fashion by storm. Despite numerous (and overwhelmingly positive) features in publications like Fast Company, Refinery29, The Business of Fashion, and Vogue, the intimate apparel industry has had a notably cool response to these new companies.

The lingerie industry has always been a bit resistant to change and reluctant to adopt new technologies. Just yesterday, I read an article on The Lingerie Journal waxing poetic about the “good old days” of pre-internet retail. And every season, I speak to brands and retailers at market that are proud of not having a website, email list, or social media prescence (often with the refrain, “Our customers aren’t online.”) While that kind of posturing may endear them to their other soon-to-obsolete peers, there’s an entire generation – which is soon to be 2 or 3 generations – that’s used to buying things online and may even prefer to buy things online. The lingerie industry’s almost glacial response to online marketing and their larger resistance to technological integration has created a void that other companies are all too eager to fill. Furthermore, the rise in mobile technology has created another gap, particularly for brands who’ve opted not to create apps or mobile-friendly websites. This is the gap ThirdLove is attempting to fill.

thirdlove logo

ThirdLove is explicitly about disrupting the traditional approach to lingerie, removing both brick and mortar boutiques and mainstream brands from the lingerie shopping experience. Their app sizes you using image recognition technologies and then recommends bras from their in-house collection for purchase. It’s a virtual fitting and shopping experience, requiring no person-to-person interaction at any stage in the process. ThirdLove’s bra selection includes balconet, plunge, and t-shirt styles in both regular cup sizes and “half cup sizes.” The company also offers a limited selection of loungewear/daywear.

I confess, I felt a bit skeptical about the whole app fitting process. So much of bra fitting is “fuzzy.” There’s no single formula that works for every body, and even when you know your preferred size, changing brands or styles could mean wearing another size. Despite many people’s best efforts, it’s hard to set anything approaching strict parameters around something as subjective as bra fit. For this article, the review is split into two parts: 1) a review of the app and 2) a review of the lingerie.

 

ThirdLove App Review:

thirdlove_brafitting_app_lingerie_review

Before I get started, let me just say that I do like the idea of being able to handle all your bra fitting at home. While the “traditional” lingerie industry always recommends seeking out a professional bra fitter at a boutique, it’s worth noting that 1) this recommendation is in the best interests of boutiques and 2) not every person has access to a lingerie boutique (or a Nordstrom). The suggestion to “only go pro” is great if you’re a major city like New York, but lots of people live far from a major metropolitan areas. It’s just not reasonable to suggest that someone drive 50 or 100 or 200 miles to get a professional fitting. I didn’t grow up in a terribly small town, but I lived over 100 miles away from the closest Nordstrom or lingerie boutique…and that is not unusual.

It’s also true that people have circumstances unrelated to distance which may make a boutique bra fitting impossible or at least very difficult. Someone with an anxiety disorder or a physical disability may find that getting to a boutique represents a tremendous obstacle. And unfortunately, some customers face discrimination even when they get to a boutique (as the recent Petticoat Fair incident showed). So there’s definitely a market and justification for solutions like this. People for whom the traditional paradigm is a poor fit needs options too.

That said, as I mentioned before, bra fit is complex. It’s not an exact science, no matter how much some people would like it to be. There’s simply too much variation in bodies.

To use ThirdLove’s bra fitting feature, you first have to download the app (available now to iphone and coming soon to Android) and register. When I first logged in, I was directed to the bra shopping page, but if you to go the top menu and scroll across (towards the left), the bra fitting portion of the app is the first option. From a usability standpoint, it would have been nice, as a first time user, to have the bra app available immediately to me or, barring that, to have it accessible from the dropdown menu, especially since a core piece of ThirdLove’s marketing is bra fit.

Once you get started with the fit app, you’re shown a detailed step-by-step video, which I’ve taken screenshots of below:

thirdlove_2

thirdlove_3  thirdlove_1

thirdlove_4  thirdlove_5

third love fit app review

As you can see, I chose to wear a tank top while testing the app. I also tested the app using three different bras (Natori Feathers in 34D, Claudette Mesh Dessous in 34C, one of ThirdLove’s sample bras in 34C) and braless. I was interested in seeing if the shape of a bra or the fact that it was lined might affect the reading. Once you’re finished with the video presentation and ready to take the photos, ThirdLove gets one shot each from the front and the side. If you’re not holding your phone correctly (for example, if it’s angled up or down or rotated to far), the app instructs you to self-correct before taking the shot. I did have some issues with getting a photo at first (which is why I’ve included the error screen), and it was because of the mirror I was using wasn’t wall-mounted. The app will only work in a wall mounted mirror, such as the one in your bathroom.

third love bra fitting app resultsIn addition to testing the app with different bras and with no bra, I also played around with slightly different arm positions (holding them a bit closer in, holding them a bit further out, etc.) and with slightly different iPhone scaling (for some tests, I filled up the scaling frame; for others, I didn’t, and so on.). For all of my tests, I received the same bra size calculation of 34C (interestingly, the app didn’t used to give sizes at all, so this appears to be a fairly recent development). As you can see for the sample above, even when the individual measurements vary slightly because of “user error,” the fit result is the same. I admit to being impressed by that. An app is useless if it has to be used 100% perfectly all the time, and ThirdLove’s app appears to not only be able to absorb some user imperfections, it also lets you know (through a voice on your phone) if you’re doing something which will render your results useless. That’s smart and I like it.

That said, I don’t know how generalizable these results are. They work for me, but I’m also one of those rare “unicorns” who prefers the Plus Four method of bra fit. I don’t like a tight band. I don’t have much squish. My breasts are on the firmer/self-supporting end of things, and I’m more or less just looking for a bra that hangs out comfortably on my chest. I’m very curious about how this calculator would work for women with smaller breasts (for example A or B cups) and how it would work for women with full busts (specifically in the F cup and above range). I’d also want to know what kind of recommendations it gives for plus size women. As someone who’s fairly close to the fit model standard for the lingerie industry (which is about a 34B), it makes sense that this app would work for me; it may very well be tailored for women with similar proportions to me. However, I want to know how it works with other body types and how successful it is.

I’m also concerned that the algorithm requires wearing an underwired bra (though not a push up bra or sports bra). If a person is very off with their bra size, to the point that the bra is compressing and/or manipulating the flesh, wouldn’t it throw off the measurements? In my case, I wore bras I knew I loved that fit me well, but I’m (obviously) not a typical consumer. How well does the app perform for people who aren’t such an easy case?

Finally, I’m interested in how the algorithm determines who needs half sizes. As you can see from the four fit tests above, my overbust and underbust measures vary by about 1.5″ between the minimum and maximum tests shown. An inch and a half difference should be enough to put me in a half size, I would think. Yet half sizes were never suggested. I’d like to know more about how the calculator decides that particular size placement. However, that’s probably also a trade secret, so…let’s move on to the lingerie review.

ThirdLove Lingerie Review:

Editor’s Note: ThirdLove states they sent sample sizes in 34B and 34D as opposed to fit samples in my size of 34C. The bras did not contain size tags as ThirdLove does not believe in size tags. The fit portion of this review has been removed until the correct size is sent and I can try it on.

ThirdLove sent me several pieces to examine. For bras, I received the Mesh Demi, the Microfiber T-Shirt Bra, the Lace Balconet (in both black and white), and the Mesh Plunge. For knickers, I received the Microfiber Bikini, Mesh Boyshort, and Mesh Thong. ThirdLove’s copy advertises lingerie that’s “both luxurious and affordable” with “high end fabrics and laces that are usually reserved for boutique brands.” They also speak to “help[ing] every woman find a flawless fit without the crazy price tags.” However, as someone who buys a lot of lingerie, I didn’t find the pricing to be exceptionally budget-friendly or affordable. The bras I tried ranged in price from $39 to $64 and the knickers from $10 to $15. While those aren’t Empreinte and La Perla level prices, they’re definitely on par with industry standbys like Natori, Freya, Wacoal, Elle Macpherson, Le Mystere, and Triumph. Put simply, the price point ThirdLove sells at is typical of many mainstream lingerie brands.

I’d also say the materials and silhouettes ThirdLove are not especially fashion-forward or unique. They’re nice enough, but not as nice (in either quality or appearance) as bras I can already buy at this price point from the brands I mentioned. If anything, the collection looks like something I’d find at a Target. And that’s not a dig at Target; plenty of people buy their bras there and that’s okay. However, they don’t usually spend $60 on Target bras either. The materials just don’t feel as good to the touch as what I expect and am used to getting at this price range. The Lace Balconet and Mesh Demi styles in particular felt more like they were in the Felina price range as opposed to Elle Macpherson one. And again, that’s not a dig on Felina…but Felina costs about $20 less than ThirdLove. So the question as a customer is, does the value match the price?

I imagine some of this disparity is because ThirdLove isn’t working at the same volumes that a company like Wacoal is, and so they can’t get a deal on exceptional fabrics and laces. The power raw material price points that come with a large scale operation may not be available. And as a lingerie blogger and someone who works with brands, I’m empathetic to that potential situation. It’s very hard to break into intimate apparel and become a major player (that’s why the big lingerie companies now are the same as they were 10 years ago). But as a consumer, if I’m paying $60 for a bra, I have already certain quality expectations in mind. As of right now, ThirdLove cannot adequately compete with those expectations in terms of style or price. I want to see more sophistication, in both design and material, from this company.

That said, ThirdLove’s bras have some nice touches like a tagless band and padded bra clasps. I also thought the microfiber they use is incredibly soft. For that style, the band and the cups are interior lined with microfiber so that softness is right against your skin. For all the bras, I found the seaming and stitching to be just fine; there’s not much to talk about there.

As I mentioned in the editors’ notes, ThirdLove’s bras have no size tags. At first, I thought that was because I received factory samples, which can sometimes differ from what’s sold. However, one of the founders of ThirdLove has informed me they don’t include sizing on their products deliberately. Their reasoning is because “we believe woman [sic] are more than just a number, and we want our customers to focus on the fit rather than the size.

Maybe I’m just terribly uncool, but I want to know the size of the garment I’ve ordered At the very least, I need to make sure the size I have in hand is the size I’ve actually paid for (I know no one likes to think about fulfillment errors, but they do happen sometimes). In this case, knowing the size of the garments I was sent would also have prevented the earlier confusion and misunderstanding re: this review. Withholding sizing information from women, ostensibly because it’s in their own best interests, strikes me as more than a little paternalistic…as though there’s no other way women could focus on fit. Aside from being amateurish, it also strikes me as being deliberately opaque. If an individual receives a garment that’s a poor fit, can the company just insist “the size was wrong?” The customer has no way to prove or disprove that claim. And how does the company handle factory sizing errors or fulfillment sizing errors? No one likes to think about these two things happening, but they do. And the lack of a sizing tag means errors like this can go on unchecked. I just don’t like this idea.

 

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Final Thoughts:

ThirdLove shows some of the same issues I’m seeing with other lingerie startups right now: a great idea, but underwhelming execution. While the proof of concept appeals to investors and attracts a lot of buzz from the tech community (likely due, at least in part, to lingerie being a “sexy” subject), the follow through falls flat for me. It takes more than algorithms to make and sell lingerie. As a consumer, I don’t care about how nifty the concept is, how many funding dollars have been raised, or how many positive press releases have been generated. What I care about it is the product.

Yes, a great story helps to captivate interest, but it can also be a breeding ground for disappointment when the product doesn’t meet expectations. As I mentioned before, the intimate apparel industry, specifically the bra industry, is difficult to break into. And that’s because making bras is hard. The only way to make any meaningful market penetration in intimates (aside from a massive advertising blitz on the scale of Aerie and Victoria’s Secret) is to make a good product that gets people excited…and has them coming back and telling their friends. From what I’ve seen so far (and this review will be amended once I’m sent a fit sample), I’m not sure ThirdLove is there yet. I just have too many questions.

What do you think of ThirdLove concept? Would you rely on an app to size you correctly? And if you’ve tried ThirdLove’s products, what did you think?

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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Swimwear of the Week: Buttress & Snatch Mermaid Bikini

buttress and snatch ariel mermaid swimsuit

The official name of this swimsuit refers to a Disney character, but since I’m wary of trademark infringement (at least more than Buttress & Snatch appears to be), we’re just going to call this the ‘Mermaid Swimsuit’ to be safe.

This bikini is obviously a bit kitschy for TLA (and it’s definitely not in the vein of my personal style), but it’s also unique and fun and different. I know for a fact that there are people out there who really, really, really want to be mermaids on the beach this summer, and this swimsuit is perfect for that.

The scallop shell top is printed onto sheer mesh and has a beige powermesh backing with adjustable ties at the back. The fishscale print boyshort bikini bottoms are trimmed with a handcut scallop edge and shiny gold foil. Sizing for the top is S/M and M/L. Sizing for the bottoms is S, M, L. If the size chart for their swimwear is the same as the one for their lingerie, then this suit maxes out around a 10 US (though since swimwear usually runs a bit small, the max may be an 8 US). However, if you’re outside their official size range and want it anyway, Buttress and Snatch also offers bespoke sizing (including mastectomy swimsuits), so it’d be worth dropping them a line to see if you can get something custom made.

As with the rest of the company’s products, this set is very much a luxury item. The swimsuit (top and bottom together) retails for £180 or $307.30USD. For me, that’s a bit much, especially for a niche product, but I imagine this is a brand that knows their target customer.

What do you think? Would you wear a suit like this? Would you buy a suit like this? And what your feelings about the rest of Buttress & Snatch’s new swimwear range?

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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Lingerie of the Week: Allegra Bodysuit

ainsliewear-allegra-navy

This week’s “Lingerie of the Week” isn’t quite lingerie. It’s dancewear though, and a bodysuit, so I suppose that makes it activewear?

I went through a big bodysuit/leotard phase about five years ago, but I grew out of it pretty quickly. One-pieces were just a bit too cumbersome to deal with a regular basis. Who wants to disrobe completely to use the bathroom, after all? This Allegra bodysuit from AinslieWear has me reconsidering that position, however. The obvious draw of this piece is, well, obvious. That deep-V mesh back is perfect. I want to wear this with long, loose maxi skirts and short shorts and black jeans because this is the kind of piece that makes any outfit roughly 1,000% more elegant. At $58.00, it’s also a much more reasonable price than I’d expected.

The Allegra bodysuit is available in 3 colors (black, white, navy) and 5 sizes (petite, small, medium, large, extra large). According to AinslieWear’s size chart, the extra large fits maximum measurements of 40-35-45.” That said, the weight maxes out at 150 lbs., which seems…light? Regardless, this is a beautiful piece and from a corner of the industry I rarely remember to check.

What do you think of the Ainslie bodysuit? Is this something you would wear?

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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Sale Lingerie of the Week: Panache Confetti Underwire Bodysuit

panache confetti thong bodysuit

Lately, I have been loving Panache. They’re a full bust brand, so I don’t own very much from them (just the one leopard print bra), but they have been killing it with trendy prints, fun patterns, and beautiful laces. In the past few months, they’ve gone from being a brand I hardly ever check to one I’m mildly obsessed with. I’m hoping I have a chance to visit their booth during the next lingerie market and see what’s next.

This week’s lingerie sales feature has been discontinued for awhile (since March 2011 according to HerRoom). However, I only recently discovered it. I adore this piece, and I’m not usually a huge fan of either thongs or bodysuits. The embroidery…the mesh…the keyhole back…it’s perfect.

Unfortunately, I’ll never get to own this extraordinary undergarment. Panache doesn’t really make my size, and my closest sister size (32D) appears to be all sold out. But if you are full-busted and if your size is available, I think you should totally get this. And because it’s such an old item, it’s available at a pretty steep discount at – almost 50% off. Breakout Bras has both the black and the white in a range of sizes from 30D through 38H.

Seriously though. Somebody buy this and tell me how awesome it is. I want to live vicariously through you.

What do you think of the Panache Confetti Bodysuit? Fingers crossed Panache decides to do a re-release.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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The Lingerie That Got Away: 5 Pieces I Wish I’d Bought

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

kiss me deadly emerald jezebel knicker

Every once in awhile, I like to reflect on certain undergarments I wish I’d purchased. There’s so much new lingerie coming out all the time that unless you have an unlimited budget, some of it is bound to slip through your fingers. Most of what I miss out on, I’m okay with. But every once in awhile, I find myself looking wistfully at Pinterest or Google Image Search and wishing I’d done things differently. Here are the five most recent pieces I should have bought.

Ari Dein ‘Song Dynasty’ Chemise

ari dein song dynasty chemise

I didn’t know what to make Ari Dein when they first debuted. I thought the line was pretty, but I didn’t understand luxury lingerie. And I couldn’t fathom why someone would spend hundreds of dollars on a chemise. Over the last few years however, my tastes have changed, and I now have a greater appreciation for and understanding of certain luxury lingerie brands (though some of them remain just plain confusing). I’ve literally had dreams about this chemise; it visits me at night and taunts me with what could have been. While this entire collection is sold out most everywhere by now, Faire Frou Frou does have at least one of these chemises left in a size Small…and it’s on sale. (though still a splurge). I recommend picking it up if you’re just as enamored at the interplay of gold leaf on sheer silk as I am.

 

Emerson Fry Rose Silk Camiknicker

emerson fry camiknicker

I first stumbled across the Emerson Fry Silk Camiknicker on Pinterest and it was love at first sight. Lately, I’ve been smitten with all things blush, tea rose, or peach, and who doesn’t love the feel of soft, smooth silk against their skin? This vintage-inspired camiknicker seemed perfect for lounging, whether you were in a fancy hotel or a bare bones studio apartment. It’s the kind of garment that makes you feel like you’re on vacation, no matter where you actually are. Alas, lots of other people felt the same way and this luxurious camiknicker is no more. Even worse, it appears that Emerson Fry has discontinued their entire lingerie collection. Words cannot adequately express my sorrow.

 

Kiss Me Deadly Jezebel Knicker in Emerald

kiss me deadly emerald jezebel knicker

By now, everyone knows how much I adore Kiss Me Deadly. I love the brand. I love the models. I love the styling. I love their stance on diversity and body snark and ethical manufacturing. I love everything about them. Not surprisingly, I also own almost everything they make. However, this gorgeous high-waisted knicker somehow escaped my notice. I don’t even remember when it was released, and I follow Kiss Me Deadly obsessively. That diamond dot mesh. The gorgeous shimmery taffeta. The improbably large (but oh-so-amazing) bow at the back. I weep for what might have been. As with many small brands, pieces like this are only made in limited runs…so once it’s gone, it’s gone. Forever. And now I’m crying again.

 

What Katie Did ‘Josephine’ Corselette

what katie did josephine corselette

When it comes to What Katie Did’s leopard print Josephine corselette, the word that best describes what I’m feeling is anger. Anger at myself for letting this item slip away again and again and again. I knew it was limited edition. I knew it was being phased out. I knew that the pieces on sale were the final run. And I dillied and dallied and twiddled my thumbs and I told myself I didn’t need anything else in leopard print and that I didn’t need another retro girdle. Then I finally made up my mind and committed to buy the darned thing, but it was too late. The Josephine was gone. The end. No more. Bye bye. And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able forgive myself. This corselette reappears at least once per week on my social media accounts due to the many pinup profiles I follow. I can see it’s always going to be out there…a constant reminder of my folly. Edit: I got a wild hair to check Girdlebound, and they still have the Josephine corselette in stock. Rejoice!

 

 Velda Lauder Corset

velda lauder bex paul

While the tone for most of this post has been pretty tongue-in-cheek, I want to get serious for a moment with the last name on this list. A little more than a year ago, Velda Lauder, master corsetiere, passed away suddenly. Her work was world-renowned, and I had the privilege of seeing it in person when I visited the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris. I told myself that one day, I’d eventually save enough to own a corset from her. I didn’t see the need to be in a rush. I thought there was plenty of time. And then she was gone. And she is irreplaceable. I saw some of Velda’s work for sale on eBay for awhile, but it seemed a bit risky to buy. Now I wish I’d gone ahead and taken the risk. Because there will never be another Velda Lauder.

 

What do you think of the five names on this list? Are there any pieces out there you wish you’d bought? Let us commiserate and weep together in the comments.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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Introducing Vanity Fair’s “Women Who Do” Campaign!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Vanity Fair.

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I have very exciting news today, fellow addicts! It gives me great pleasure to announce that Vanity Fair is kicking off their nationwide “Women Who Do” initiative, and The Lingerie Addict is working with them on this campaign for the next six months as an official brand ambassador.

Vanity Fair’s “Women Who Do” campaign is about a lot of different things, and I’ll be talking about several of them in more detail over the next six months, but I wanted this first post to be about introducing you to the campaign, what it’s about, and what you can expect here at The Lingerie Addict.

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First of all, the entire “Women Who Do” concept is built upon the idea that women are uniquely situated in history right now. As a group, women have access to so many opportunities and so many ways to act upon the world, from the microlevel within the family and home to the macrolevel as heads of corporations and representatives in government. Vanity Fair’s “Women Who Do” campaign is about celebrating those accomplishments and praising women for being forces of change, whether locally or globally.

As part of that initiative, Vanity Fair is also joining forces with Dress for Success to bring the joy of comfortable lingerie to even more women. If you haven’t heard of Dress for Success, they’re an organization dedicated to providing professional attire and business resources to disadvantaged women who are entering or re-entering the job market.  While people often think of garments like jackets, blouses, and slacks as “professional attire,” lingerie matters as well.

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Not only do undergarments influence the way your clothing fits, they also affect the way you feel. An unsupportive bra…knickers that bind and dig…a slip that refuses to stay up, all of these lingerie mishaps can negatively affect both the way a woman appears at a job interview, and internal factors…like her self-image, self-esteem, and self-confidence.

As a way of getting their bras into the hands of as many women as possible,  Vanity Fair is also kicking off their LiftTOUR, a nationwide bus tour that will visit 70 locations in 12 different cities: Dallas, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Miami.  At each tour stop, women will have the opportunity to participate in a bra fitting and receive a coupon for a discount on Vanity Fair bras. In addition, for each woman fitted, Vanity Fair will donate a bra to Dress for Success.

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Here on TLA, we’ll talk about incorporating Vanity Fair’s lingerie into your wardrobe, and how their garments sync up with larger fashion and trend patterns. And, of course, considering Vanity Fair’s history of amazing lingerie (leopard print, anyone?), I hope to to share some of their classic pieces and ad campaigns with you.

Vanity Fair’s affordable price point allows millions of women to experience the uplift that comes from quality lingerie. The “Women Who Do” campaign, the LiftTOUR, and the Dress for Success Partnership are all ways of reinforcing and re-energizing Vanity Fair’s 100 year legacy and their commitment to the power of sophisticated lingerie.

vanity fair 3

To learn more about the campaign, you can visit the “Women Who Do” section of their website here. You can also keep up with Vanity Fair on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Finally, if you prefer watching videos, take a look at their official campaign launch video, embedded below.

What do you think of Vanity Fair’s “Women Who Do” campaign? Is this a brand you’re familiar with or have tried before? What does the phrase “Women Who Do” mean to you?

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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