High-waisted panties are in here in a big way (no pun intended) and they’re here to stay. Lingerie Addict columnist Marianne wrote an article all about how to wear hi-waist knickers in her piece “Viva la Sexy Granny Panty!” and I’m following up this month with 13 of my fave high waist bra and panty sets. Like all the best trends, there’s an option for everyone, no matter your style or budget. Which set is your fave?
Welcome back for our second of our two annual “Best of 2011″ articles. A few days ago, we listed the Top 20 Lingerie Addict Blog Posts of 2011, and now it’s time to talk our Top 20 Lingerie Brands of 2011. I’m especially excited about this year’s awards because they include both nominations and commentary from Lingerie Addict readers and columnists. Want to see which of last year’s winners made it onto this year’s list? Take a look at our best lingerie of 2010!
Best Overall: Kiss Me Deadly (Reader’s Choice!)
When I asked my Facebook fans to tell me their fave lingerie brand of 2011, so many of them said Kiss Me Deadly, I literally lost count. Kiss Me Deadly has been one of my personal favorites since the very beginning, and ever since they created the “little black dress of lingerie” (pictured above, phrasing courtesy of reader Amaryllis), their popularity has skyrocketed. Kiss Me Deadly is one of a handful of brands I recommend all the time, and I think 2012 is going to be their year to shine.
Best Overall (luxury): Made by Niki (Reader’s Choice!)
Nominated by both our columnists and readers alike, Made by Niki created one of the most innovative lingerie collections of 2011…the Made by Niki String Collection. Completely original and intensely sensual, Made by Niki raised for the bar for what consumers should expect from luxury lingerie. Not very much takes my breath away anymore, but this did…and it still does.
Best Vintage-Inspired: What Katie Did (Reader’s Choice!)
Pin-up and retro lingerie is a major fashion trend right now, but while there are lots of labels inspired by the past, very few actually use patterns from the past. What Katie Did is one of a handful of lingerie designers that does. Her work was featured in this year’s critically acclaimed biopic My Week with Marilyn, and she also offers one of the most extensive size ranges in the vintage-inspired lingerie niche, with her bras fitting women from 32A to 40G.
Best Everyday Brand: Huit (Reader’s Choice!)
Though I only recently discovered Huit, I’m already a tremendous fan of them. As Lingerie Addict reader Dee put it, Huit offers “classic lines that aren’t too frilly for everyday wear, yet still sexy enough for playtime.” In my opinion, Huit exemplifies wearable but still sophisticated glamour.
Best Luxury Brand: Agent Provocateur (Reader’s Choice!)
For the last 17 years, the name Agent Provocateur has been synonymous with luxury lingerie around the world. Not for the faint of heart (or thin of wallet), Agent Provocateur treats the world of intimates as just another aspect of the fashion industry, releasing on-trend prints, patterns, and colorways every season. This year, they also expanded into the world of jewelry and bed linens, transitioning from “just” a lingerie brand to a comprehensive lifestyle brand.
Best Luxury (Made to Order): Toad Lillie
Toad Lillie is the sort of lingerie designer fashion magazines like to write stories about. Every piece is made to order and hand sewn by the designer herself, Laurie Shapiro, and she works with only the finest silks using only the most couture construction techniques. I’ve always thought Toad Lillie’s pieces were pretty, but then I had the opportunity to view them in person for the first time this year, and I’ve been smitten ever since. The fashion industry feels the same way; legendary photographer Ellen von Unwerth chose to shoot with Toad Lillie’s pieces twice this year.
Best Budget Brand: Ultimo
Another new brand on the list for 2011, Ultimo first caught my attention when I was searching for reasonably priced full bust bras for my readers. I know from personal experience how hard it is to be a lingerie addict on a budget. You still want gorgeous lingerie, but the simple reality is that you can’t drop a hundred dollar bill (or three) every time you need a new bra. Ultimo manages to bridge the gap between beautiful and affordable with bras for A-D cups starting just under $50 and bras for DD-G starting just over $50.
Best New Brand: Marika Vera
One of the great privileges of writing a lingerie blog is that I often get to see new designers before anyone else does, and after the recession of the last few years, it is incredibly exciting to see new talent emerging and thriving within the lingerie industry again. Marika Vera is one such talent. Her debut collection, Venus in Furs, was picked up by the world-famous luxury lingerie boutique Faire Frou Frou, and has received nothing but rave reviews. Marika Vera’s lingerie is earthy, sensual, luxurious, and unique all at once, and I can’t wait to see what she brings in 2012.
Best Hosiery: Commando
Commando is on this year’s list because they solved a problem I didn’t even know I had before…the problem of a hosiery waistband that digs, binds, squeezes, and is otherwise thoroughly uncomfortable. Commando’s ingenious microfiber lasercut waistband gets rid of all that, and stays perfectly in place (and perfectly comfortable!) all day long. Trust me…I was skeptical too until I tried these. Now, I’m a convert.
Best Ethical Line: Purrfect Pineapples (Reader’s Choice!)
I love lingerie designers with a unique point of view and Purrfect Pineapples has it in spades. A little bit pin-up, a little bit alternative, and a little bit Lolita, Purrfect Pineapple’s owner Erika Shuhendler prides herself on fair wages, quality craftsmanship, and original designs. Or, as our reader Audra puts it, “gorgeous design, incredible fabric patterning, and of course cruelty-free and vegan!”
Best Full Bust Brand: Curvy Kate (Reader’s Choice!)
Curvy Kate blew onto the lingerie scene in 2009 and they haven’t slowed down since. Curvy Kate is committed to making sure D-K cup women have just as many gorgeous lingerie options as their smaller busted counterparts, and their passion for finding the perfect fit is evident in the rave reviews of their customers. Their Star in a Bra competition is one of the best and most innovative pieces of marketing ever, and I can’t wait to see them take the U.S. by storm. Expect great things from Curvy Kate in 2012.
Best Full Bust (budget): Parfait by Affinitas
Our full bust specialist Holly nominated this brand, and she calls it “the best brand in terms of quality for price, hands down.” The average woman’s bra size today is 36DD, and I get so many e-mails from readers asking me where they can find a full busted bra that 1) supportive, 2) pretty, and 3) affordable. Well Parfait by Affinitas is all three of those and then some. Congratulations…now you’re in on one of the best kept secrets of this year.
Best Small Bust Brand: The Little Bra Company
While there’s been a lot of attention given lately to DD cup and higher bras, small busted women are being very vocal (and rightly so!) in making sure the lingerie industry doesn’t forget about them either. I love The Little Bra Company because their bras are pretty, give believable lift and cleavage, and are available down to a 28A. My personal fave is the Lucia in peony/tangerine (pictured above).
Best Lingerie Boutique (Brick and Mortar): Dollhouse Bettie
The sign of a good lingerie boutique is when it lives up to your expectations. The sign of a great lingerie boutique is when it surpasses them. With many of the same brands available online nowadays, lingerie boutiques stand out by offering a curated selection, personable staff, and expert advice…three things Dollhouse Bettie has in spades. Combining modern brands with vintage pieces and an in-house designed range, Dollhouse Bettie offers a shopping experience like no other.
Best Lingerie Boutique (Online): HerRoom (Reader’s Choice!)
Free Shipping. Easy Returns. Authentic Customer Reviews. 200 brands under one digital roof. HerRoom makes shopping online for lingerie easy. I particularly love how each product is photographed from several angles, and the super detailed product descriptions. HerRoom takes all the guesswork out of lingerie shopping online…which is probably why they were nominated for the list. (Mary Green robe pictured above.)
Best Shapewear: Cass Luxury Shapewear
As my style matures from jeans and t-shirts to pencil skirts and lacy blouses, I find myself relying on shapewear a lot more. And though I’ve tried a ton of brands, the honest truth is that most of them are unremarkable…if not downright uncomfortable. But the shapewear brand I keep coming to again and again is Cass. They’re comfortable. They’re stylish. And they really do slim and refine your curves. They also offer a ton of options, so you’re covered no matter what you’re wearing.
Best Full Bust Shapewear: Charnos
One of the complaints I’ve heard time and again from my readers is that it’s very hard to find shapewear to accomodate all their curves, especially if they’re full-busted. Our columnist Holly nominated Charnos for this year’s list, and had this to say about the line, “Their cups are really generous and the pieces are great. It’s almost impossible to find one piece shapewear for the full bust market.” As an added bonus, this is shapewear you won’t mind showing off; the lace overlay and garter straps make Charnos’ line both pretty and practical.
Best Corsetry (budget): Timeless Trends (Reader’s Choice!)
Make no mistake about it, corsetry is an investment. But a custom made corset will set you back a few hundred dollars (and rightly so!). If you’re new to the world of corsetry and just want to test the waters, or if you’re on a budget and a custom corset is out of reach, then Timeless Trends is for you. Unlike many so-called corsets, Timeless Trends uses authentic steel-boning, and every corset comes with a lifetime guarantee. Best of all, their corsets are available in plus sizes and start at $99. It may not be custom, but it’s the next best thing.
Best Corsetry (made to order): Dark Garden (Reader’s Choice!)
If you do have the money to invest in custom, handmade corsetry however, then you can’t go wrong with the corsetiere to burlesque legends like Dita von Teese and Catherine D’Lish. Founded 20 years ago and based in San Francisco, Dark Garden’s founder, Autumn Adamme uses couture stitching and historical costume techniques to craft her world famous corsets. I keep a running list of corsetieres I’d like to buy from in the future and believe me when I say Dark Garden is on it.
Best of 2012 (projected): Love Claudette
Their tagline is “Your new favorite bra has arrived,” and I believe it. Though Love Claudette is new to the lingerie world, they’re already getting rave reviews and rightly so. I tried two of their ranges, the mesh and the cotton, this last year, and they’re already in my regular rotation of everyday bras. Holly calls them the most-innovative range for full-busted women, especially since they offer a sheer mesh bra that super sexy and super supportive all at once. Love Claudette proves that there’s still room for new players in the lingerie industry, and I expect this brand to explode in 2012.
I hope you enjoyed reading this year’s round-up of the very best of what 2011 had to offer. Did we leave your favorite brand off the list? Tell us what you love in the comments!
About a week ago, I flew to San Francisco to attend my very first Vintage Fashion Expo and to pay a visit to Dollhouse Bettie. I heard about the Expo several years ago when Dita von Teese mentioned it as one of her favorite places to shop, and ever since then, I’ve been determined see for myself just how awesome it is. And let’s just say the Expo did not disappoint.
There was vintage fashion on the trade show floor from each of the past 14 decades, and almost every piece was in pristine, wearable condition. Jewelry, shoes, dresses, suits…the expo had it all, but what I was looking for (unsurprisingly) was lingerie.
Compared to all the other fashion available there was very little lingerie, and I understand why (after all, do you save your old underwear?). But the pieces that were at the show were simply exquisite. I’m talking delicate lace bedjackets from the 1880′s, luminous silk camis and tap panties from the 1920′s, and, of course, the ever-present 1950s nylon slip. Most surprising was how reasonably priced all the lingerie was. For example, that 1920s cami and tap panty set I mentioned was only $55. It seriously made me consider getting into the vintage lingerie selling business.
After a long day of walking around the show (where I picked up this gorgeous little slip for only $16), I traveled downtown to Dollhouse Bettie, my other scheduled stop. I’ve mentioned Dollhouse Bettie on the blog several times before, and I have wanted to visit their brick-and-mortar location since it first opened. Much to my delight, they did not disappoint.
I’m a big fan of lingerie stores with a personality, and I love boutiques where it’s obvious the owner has selected the merchandise with love and care. And Dollhouse Bettie has personality, love, and care in abundance. The vintage lingerie was gorgeous. The contemporary lingerie equally beautiful. As for their their in-house designed line…well, let’s just say I have some new additions to the Lust List. All in all, I’d call the trip a smashing, lingerie-filled, success!
What do you think of the sights in San Francisco? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
I am absolutely thrilled to be guest posting here on Confessions of a Lingerie Addict! My name is Kristin and I am the writer over at Vintage Frugalista, where vintage style is given a budget friendly twist.
Vintage inspired lingerie is everywhere right now and with the gorgeous Christina Hendricks wearing lingerie on the cover of New York Magazine and the classic pinup look more popular than ever, it’s really no surprise. If you’re a fan of the vintage look, not only is their ample vintage inspired lingerie, but with a little hunting you can easily find authentic vintage lingerie to add to your collection. Here’s what you need to know:
- There are many great places to buy vintage lingerie online. For your first purchase, you might want to start with shops like Dollhouse Bettie, Heavenly Vintage Lingerie, and Blue Velvet Vintage. Both carry a lovely assortment of lingerie and the condition and measurements are clearly stated for the buyer. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you should also try the vintage lingerie listings on Etsy. With Etsy, you are going to be doing more hunting; scouting for the right items, the right color, and making sure that the fit and condition are perfect for you, but the advantage to Etsy is that the majority of the lingerie is listed at very budget friendly prices.
- Look for Dead Stock or Old Stock (sometimes referred to as New Old Stock). Dead / Old Stock refers to vintage items that have never been worn. Often, these items include their original tags or packaging. Obviously, this is the best choice if you want your vintage lingerie to be in the best possible condition. Dead Stock is also a great way to buy vintage lingerie if wearing other people’s skivvies makes you at all nervous.
- Double and triple check your measurements. This is true with any vintage clothing purchase, but is especially true with the purchase of lingerie. Blue Velvet Vintage provides some great guidelines for measuring yourself to ensure the best fit. Remember, this is not the time to subtract an inch here and there or to assume that you know your measurements without actually pulling out the measuring tape. For your lingerie purchase to be comfortable correct measurements are crucial.
- Once you get your purchase home, know how to care for it so that your vintage lingerie will last a lifetime. If you were lucky enough to get dead stock, your lingerie may have a care tag. If so, follow those instructions. If not, here are a few rules of thumb. If there is anything (straps, buttons, etc.) that you can remove before washing, do so. This will help prevent snags. Wash by hand, being careful to use a detergent made specifically for delicates and to wash each item individually to help avoid colors bleeding into each other. When rinsing, never wring out or twist the lingerie. Gently squeeze instead and rinse repeatedly until the water runs clear. Lay flat or hang on plastic hangers to dry. If you have a particularly delicate item, once dry, you may want to store it in tissue paper in your drawers to help prevent it from rubbing against or getting caught on other pieces of lingerie. Also, you can use tissue paper to help retain the shape of bras and other items.
I hope these tips help you select and maintain your vintage lingerie. Here are a few selections to get you started filling your drawers with pinup girl undergarments.
When these winter tights debuted a couple of months ago, it was love at first sight. Sisi manages to combine three of my favorite legwear trends–backseams, faux knee highs, and faux fishnets– all into one perfect set of nylons. They’re chic, fashionable, and elegant…three qualities that represent the essence of European hosiery.
The Sisi tights are composed of an 88% nylon, 22% elastic blend, have a sandalfoot toe, cotton gusset, and some reinforcement at the crotch. According to the size chart, they fit a maximum height/weight measurement of 6’1, 132 lbs or 5’5″ 187 lbs. They sell for $37.50 on Dollhouse Bettie (where I purchased) and for $30 on Hosieree. These are the only two American retailers I know of who stock them.
First things first, these tights feel amazing. Had I not checked the composition, I would have thought they were composed of 100% nylon. For people unfamiliar with the feel of 100% nylon, think of a sheer, silky, skintight glove…except on your legs. It’s quite nice. The pattern was just as pretty on my legs as it was on the model, and I particularly enjoyed the detail of the thick lace band that separates the knee-high effect from the fishnet effect.
I wore these tights for several hours, and they were comfortable all the way through . They’re also very durable. I sat on a hardwood floor for part of that time (bad idea, I know), and they didn’t once ladder, snag, or tear. I also didn’t notice any bagging or sagging when I removed the tights; they held their shape very well.
There is a slight sizing issue. If you’re a little tall and/or a little curvy (like me), the sock part of the tights won’t quite reach your knee. If you’re very curvy and/or very tall, these tights may not have enough two-way stretch to accommodate you so definitely look at the sizing chart before you buy.
Overall, I liked these. They’re a bit on the pricey side, but a nice splurge. Now if I can just get those Sisi Embellished stockings, I’ll be good to go!
Back in February, I reviewed the Kiki de Montparnasse Garter Tank and, without going into too much detail, was left terribly dissapointed.
I still really like the casually sexy look of a garter tank though, and I’ve been looking for a suitable replacement ever since. Now I’ve found two.
Etsy designer Clarebare makes an Organic Bamboo Jersey Garter Tank which is cuter than hell, sells for only $48, and comes in 4 different colors…not to mention being custom made.
Dollhouse Bettie also designs a Ribbed Cotton Garter Dress modeled off a classic Hanes tank. Available in black or grey, their version retails for $62.50.
Whatever you decide, either one is an infinitely better option than spending $150 on KdM’s “luxury” version. Click on the look for less tag to see more of these money-saving features!
This nightgown used to cost $129, but S.P.A.N.K. is marking it down as a special Christmas promotion. I’d snap one of these up A.S.A.P!
Another budget item, I love the bows and ruffle trim at the cleavage on this piece, and purple is such a flattering color on everyone.
Louella Bloom Organic Nighty
You know I can’t have one of these posts without featuring an Etsy designer, and I love the clean, simple lines of this basic nighty from
Because you can’t wear silk every night, this nighty is a cozy, comfy alternative with just the right amount of allure and sex-appeal thanks to the trim at the bust.
Want to feel like Dita von Teese in the bedroom? Then this chemise is for you. I love the retro pleating, and this slip is available up to size XL.
I just discovered this designer this morning, but she’s so awesome I’m featuring two of her nighties in this article. I’m a sucker for lace, and I particularly like the placement here.
Another modern take on vintage styling, I not only enjoy the shape and cut of this gown, but also the unusual gunmetal/burgundy colorway.
Who does glamour better than Dolce & Gabbana? No one, that’s who. This is everything a gown should be…slinky, sexy, sultry, and seductive.
My second selection from Lisa’s Folly, this is a more “mature” version of the gown featured earlier. The lace insert and thigh high slit seal the deal.
And now…the vintage piece!
I love, love, love the old Vanity Fair leopard print. Lots of times leopard print can look cheap and tawdry, but Vanity Fair did it right. These are true collector’s piece, and the one above looks nice enough to wear. I highly recommend picking up anything in this collection if you happen to see it!