Can You Really Buy Lingerie "For Yourself?"
"5 Tips for Wearing Sexy Lingerie for Your Man"
"Make Your Man Go Crazy with Sexy Lingerie"
"Turn Him on with Sexy Lingerie"
"How to be a Good Girlfriend: Wear Sexy Lingerie for Your Boyfriend"
Notice a trend here? Why are there dozens (if not hundreds) of articles on buying nice lingerie for your partner, but next to none on buying nice lingerie for yourself? I get that lingerie can add some extra excitement in the boudoir, and that's a wonderful thing. But to reduce lingerie to just a bedroom accessory ignores the power of lingerie, and, in my opinion, it's a bit like making red lipstick or high heels just a bedroom thing. Yeah, some people only wear red lipstick behind closed doors, but a lot more people wear it out and about, so why not talk about that too?
Today's article was inspired by this piece I read on Glamour a couple of months ago. In it, the author says she's "so over wearing lingerie." She says she's lost her motivation to wear sexy lingerie because not it just seems like so much work. She asks several of her girlfriends their thoughts on sexy lingerie, and they all respond in about the same way with comments like, "I'd rather buy a new pair of shoes than spend $80 on something that's only staying on for 3.2 minutes and I feel silly in."
Why is lingerie so intimidating? Why is it seen as something to wear for everyone except yourself? Why do people feel so comfortable talking about Spanx and t-shirt bras, but so uncomfortable talking about anything else?
One of the things I'm really passionate about is the notion that lingerie can be (and should be!) about more than sex. It should be something women buy and wear for themselves. Yes, being eye candy for someone else is nice sometimes, but so is wearing something that makes you look and feel as good as you deserve. Lingerie is bras and panties, but it's also corsets and stockings and tights and teddies and bodysuits and slips and chemises and pajamas and robes and gowns and so much more. Lingerie is a vast world, and it's time we started discussing it in the same way we talk fashion or accessories or beauty.
I wonder if that has something to do with the way we cover lingerie, at least in America. Most of the articles I read about lingerie elsewhere only talk about one of three things: shapewear (often of the dull Spanx variety), bras (a subject I love, but, let's be honest, lingerie is way more than bras), and the sexy stuff (which is all push-ups and thongs and windblown hair). There's a huge gulf --- a massive chasm of non-information --- between the "How to Use Lingerie to Make Yourself Look 10 Pounds Lighter" articles and the "Wear Lingerie to Turn Your Man On" articles. So I guess it's no wonder so many women never even think about their lingerie, much less how lingerie is another aspect of fashion and another means of self-expression.
One of the great ironies of my life is that I'm engaged to a man who doesn't really care about lingerie. He doesn't hate it. He just doesn't much like it either. Unless I'm wearing something he can see through, he prefers me without it because it's just not his thing. I remember I once asked him what he thought of a piece, and after looking it over intensely for a few moments, he said, "It's pink." Which still makes me smile because as far as I know, that's a color, not an opinion.
But even moving beyond that, I was single for a good chunk of the time I wrote TLA. I was even deliberately celibate for a whole year (July 2008 to July 2009) where I didn't date or kiss or anything else. Yet I didn't stop blogging. Nor did I stop wearing lingerie. In fact, my interest in lingerie increased because it was an intimate aspect of my identity that I could explore. I was able to see what I really liked and what I really enjoyed without the pressure of making my man "go crazy."
I learned that comfort and confidence in what you're wearing not only makes you feel good, it attracts people who appreciate those qualities. I learned I genuinely love lacy camisoles and balconette bras and vintage slips and black mesh knickers. And while I'm not saying every woman should have a year-long dry spell to connect with her lingerie, I am saying we should move beyond always connecting lingerie with either bland, boring shapewear or hot, steamy sex. There's a middle ground in there, and it's about feeling great because you're wearing something you love.
Buy something to treat yourself. Buy something because it makes you feel good. Buy something that sends your heart aflutter even if that advice column in the magazine said it wasn't "right" for your body type. Your romantic partner (who, let's face, doesn't have it to be male) will probably get more from the twinkle in your eye than any "sexy" style or color (especially since there's no such thing as a style or color everyone prefers). Lingerie is about feeling connected with your body, not detached from it. It's about wearing something that helps you love the way you look.
Reclaim your lingerie. Own it. Buy what makes you feel amazing. And let's stop acting like lingerie is just something for the bedroom when it can be so much more.
How do you feel about lingerie? Is it something you mostly see as bedroom wear? Do you usually buy it for yourself? I'd love to get your thoughts in the comments.