Posts by Cora

Does This Bra Fitting App Change the Game?: A Review of ThirdLove

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. 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:

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thirdlove_3  thirdlove_1

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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.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 braseither. 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.

 

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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.

vanity fair 5

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.

vanity fair 2

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.

vanity fair 6

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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4 Nude Lingerie Options for a Range of Skintones

cosabella trenta skintone

Let’s talk nude lingerie.

Very often, when people ask me for a “nude” lingerie recommendation, they mean beige (or similarly light skintones). Again and again, in lingerie collections I see every season, it’s taken for granted that “nude” equals light, and some lingerie retailers have even gone so far as to insist that this one shade of nude is suitable for all skin colors! I had one memorable experience in Nordstrom a few months ago where a bra sellers insisted I needed a nude bra…and then offered me a beige one. When I said, “I don’t think that’s a nude for my skintone,” she looked shocked…as though she’d never even considered the possibility that women with different complexions would require different shades of nude. And this wasn’t the only time that’s happened.

wacoal natural nude

In one particularly egregious example of equating “nude” with beige, Wacoal, one of the largest intimate apparel companies in the world, offers a light, creamy tones called “natural nude.” As you’ve probably guessed (and can see from the photo above), “natural nude” refers to a light beige. Wacoal makes amazing bras in a wide range of sizes; I own several of them. But one has to wonder, does Wacoal believe women with dark skin are unnaturally nude? Language matters. An adjective like “natural” appended before a skintone color makes some unsettling implications about the company’s perception of skin color.

Unfortunately, as with many subjects of this nature, this is a topic that’s very rarely discussed in the lingerie industry. My fellow lingerie bloggers, The Lingerie Lesbian and Sweet Nothings, have both written excellent pieces on the topic (and, of course, we’ve talked about it here it before on TLA), but more often than not, the whole “nude does not equal beige” thing is treated as a lesser issue…one that isn’t even worth mentioning, much less seriously considering.

The reason this is important is because centering one skintone as “normal” or “natural” automatically displaces women with darker skintones and others them as unusual or abnormal (trust me when I say women of color are not rare). In the worst instances, as in the case with Wacoal, women with dark skin are implied to be “unnatural.” It’s a steady, constant reminder (one of many) that lingerie companies just aren’t thinking about women of color. A name like “naturally nude” belongs in the same historical trash heap the crayon color “flesh” does. It’s archaic, outdated, and, to be perfectly honest, ignorant. The entire idea behind “nude” lingerie  is that it should fade into your skin and be perfectly invisible. Yet when only one shade is ever defined as nude, you have to ask, “Which skintone are lingerie designers thinking of?” The answer is obvious. Not mine.

One of our previous articles on nude lingerie featuring hosiery options for darker skintones. Click the photo to read.

That said, some companies have gotten the message, and they’ve released beautiful lingerie in a range of skintones. Yes, I said a range. Not just one beige color and one brown color, but a variety of gorgeous tones that can work for women with a variety of complexions. Many of these items were released without much fanfare (or at least, not as much fanfare as other sorts of product releases get); they were just quietly incorporated into the company’s existing offerings.

As a dark-complected woman who also writes about lingerie, I want to mention that it’s vitally important to support lingerie companies when they extend their product ranges in this way. There’s this impression that women of color aren’t an important demographic in the lingerie industry; that their concerns should come second, third, fourth, or fifth to other issues. If you like the items featured in this post, please consider buying them or telling your friends about them (there are no affiliate links here). And if there’s someone for whom you think this article would be particularly useful, please share it with them. I want products like these to be available for years to come.

Besides the lingerie featured below, what are your favorite “nude” pieces that come in a range of skintones? Please share in the comments and help make this post a resource for everyone!

Cosabella Trenta Skintone Panties

cosabella trenta skintone

First things first, I’m not going to suggest any uncomfortable lingerie here. Yes, we’re going to talk about lingerie in a range of skintones, but it’s gonna be good stuff in a range of shades. Things you’ll be happy to own, not dreading to buy. And we’ll start with these Cosabella Trenta Skintone Thongs, which are, in a word, amazing. I don’t even like thongs, but I wear one of these, and I completely forget I have it on. The company offers a 5-pack if you’re not sure which color to buy, but they also sell them individually if you just want to get a baker’s dozen to have on hand. And if thongs aren’t your thing ever, that’s okay too.  The Trenta lace also comes in a hotpant/boyshort with the same range of skintones available (it too, is amazingly comfortable). Fair warning: they do call one of the colors “nude,” which, to be clear, is not okay with me. However, there is no other panty company that has such a wide range of nude colors available right now. I’m going to ask (and keep asking) if they’d be willing to change the color name for that shade. It’s a distressing, unnecessary distraction on an otherwise great product.

 

Hanky Panky BARE Collection

6J1661_neutrals

I love Hanky Panky. I love them so, so much. Not only do they make some of the most comfortable knickers on the planet, they’re now answering another need…seamless lingerie in multiple skintones (I took photos of their BARE collection at the last lingerie market here and here). Hanky Panky’s BARE range offers four nude shades: a very light “vanilla,” a light “taupe,” a mid-range “toffee,” and a deep “mahogany.” Edges are seamless, and the microfiber these undergarments are made from is so soft and light, it’s unreal. Hanky Panky also makes the greatest range of silhouettes in this post: a tank, a bralette, a g-string, a thong, a high-waist thong, and a boyshort. I have a set of samples to try, and I’m looking forward to reporting back with a review later on.

 

Nude Barre Hosiery

nude barre hosiery

We can’t talk about nude lingerie without also talking about hosiery (you understand the struggle if you’ve ever needed a pair of skintone pantyhose), and Nude Barre is making everyone else look bad with 16  – yes, 16! – nude colors. Founded by a professional dancer who had trouble finding tights to match her skin color, Nude Barre sells a wide range of styles, from opaque tights to fishnet tights to crystallized tights (I want these so badly I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t even know where to wear them; I just want ‘em). Nude Barre even sells children’s tights! Point blank: no one has the variety they have does right now. This is a company that I hope makes a serious dent in the legwear market.

Nippies ‘Skin’ Nipple Covers

nippies skin

I go braless a lot. Like, a lot, a lot.  Probably about a third of the time I’m awake if you added it all together, and I never wear a bra when I’m sleeping.  I like bras, love them even, but I also like the feeling of not wearing a bra. It’s just one of several, equally desirable options. That said, there are times I want to go braless but still keep my nipples covered for whatever reason. Nipple petals are one way to do this, but most only come in (you guessed it) one shade. And what’s the point of covering my nipples with the sartorial equivalent of headlights? It’s not as if a beige circle is going to just disappear into my skin. That’s why I love Nippies. Their silicone nipple covers not only come in three shades (light, medium, and dark), they’re made of silicone so you can wash and reuse. These are my go-to when I’m going braless and want a smooth profile. You could definitely say I’m a fan.

 

As I said above, I hope you’ll share your own nude lingerie favorites here, particularly if you know of a bra company that’s really doing awesome things with skintone shades (and especially if they’re going beyond the usual 1 beige/1 brown). It’s always good to know what’s out there!

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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