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What I Wish I Could Tell My Teenage Self About Lingerie

1 - shopping girl looking at bra

"Ugh... I have to wear that?" was my knee-jerk reaction to being told it was time to go shopping for my first bra. At 13 years old, I was a late bloomer compared to my friends and not at all in a hurry to grow up. But puberty waits for no one, and in an attempt to retain my childhood for as long as possible, I begrudgingly settled for a cropped undershirt covered in tiny bears and picot elastic. A "training bra" they called it, as if I was gearing up for the bra marathon that lay ahead of me for the rest of my adult life.

However, it really only took about two years before I matured and was officially hooked on my newfound passion for fashion and the mystical world of undergarments. I found myself intrigued by all these clasps, hooks, and hardware that I didn't even have a need for with my small frame. I marveled at lace and mesh that covered the body yet still showed hints of the skin that lay underneath. I was curious about the functions of corsets, garter belts, and push up bras as I simultaneously navigated the intricacies of teenager-hood in my own awkward and clumsy way.

It didn't take long before I became a fashion rebel and began experimenting with these risqué pieces in my everyday outfits. I layered them over my school clothes, offsetting their sex appeal with quirky, innocent pairings that got me a lot of attention --- but still kept me covered enough to not get expelled from school! It was a lot of fun to push the boundaries of fashion and lingerie as a naive teenager but I had no idea of the depth, history, or meaning behind these taboo pieces, and still had a lot to learn when I got to fashion school a couple years later.

Once I began majoring in lingerie design and living in New York City, I realized there was more to fashion than the mall, St. Marks Place, and thrift shops. Quality was a word I only ever associated with bedding and electronics --- I never thought about the quality of my clothing before. But soon enough the door was opened, and I was exposed to the art of garment making. I learned about luxury fabrics and expert craftsmanship, and I discovered luxury designers and what made them so special. Who knew fun and sexy lingerie could look so great, hold up so well, and last so long? That’s when I realized what I had been missing all these years and I quickly picked up additional pieces of lingerie wisdom my teenaged self would’ve been shocked to learn. Here are a few tidbits I wish I could’ve told her.

“Quality over quantity.”

As I had mentioned, quality soon became my hot-button word as a new obsession was born in me to strive for the best of the best in my shopping and my designs. As I learned about couture and the history of undergarments, my standards raised and so did my appreciation of lingerie. Instead of just serving as sexy packaging for a woman's body, I started to see these new designs as works of art enhancing the wearer’s natural beauty. Instead of functional foundations to contain the female form, I saw innovative solutions that were able to successfully meld fashion and function. The importance of good quality really can make a difference, and today it has become something that I am no longer willing to compromise on.

La Perla Neoprene Long-Line Bra

La Perla Neoprene Long-Line Bra

“Broaden your horizons.”

Around the same time, I finally learned that there was more to lingerie shopping than Victoria's Secret. Living in one of the biggest shopping meccas of the world, my options were now bountiful! I discovered lingerie boutiques and high-end department stores, which I frequented, looking for deals on my new favorite lingerie labels... and soon enough VS became a distant memory. I also began to travel more and got to experience the thrill of cheeky knickers in London and the excitement of unrivaled luxury in Paris. These stores inspired me and gave me a reason to keep shopping and experimenting with my designs. I credit them with the reason my lingerie collection grew exponentially as I broke free from that one-style-fits-most mentality and let the lingerie obsession really take ahold of me.

4 - washing machine in lingerie

“Handle with care.”

Which brings me to another lesson that I learned rather quickly: it pays to take care of your lingerie. They are called delicates for a reason and require extra special treatment. Gone were the days of casually throwing my bras in the washing machine and stuffing them into my dresser drawer! Once I started investing in quality lingerie and viewing them as pieces of art, I wanted to make sure they withstood the test of time. I found that hand washing is a necessity, and using a special gentle detergent will dramatically improve the lifespan of many pieces. I always hang dry my delicates, store them in their original shape, and avoid bleaching or ironing at all costs. Now that my collection includes an abundance of investment pieces, I plan to keep them around for a long time and hope to pass them down to future generations!

“The power is in your hands.”

Another important thing I came to realize is that lingerie is empowering. While it serves as an integral part of many peoples’ wardrobes, keeping us hygienic, warm, and supported, it also can make a difference in the wearer’s outlook. Yes, comfort is a big factor for daily wear, but it's those special pieces of lingerie that have the ability to shift one's mood (hopefully) for the better.

In the past, I thought lingerie was designed more for your significant other and that it was mainly purchased as a gift for them more than the wearer. But nowadays that's no longer the case. I see women every day investing in lingerie for themselves because it makes them feel good --- despite whether or not they have someone to share it with. The wearer is the only person who decides who sees this intimate part of their wardrobe --- and that in itself is power. It is the power of choice and of controlling one's own sexuality. And knowing that they are clad in beautiful lingerie under their clothing can often be a source of confidence and control for many people, myself included. When you think about it, lingerie can be used as both a weapon and a shield, and I think that is pretty cool!

When did you first discover the power of lingerie? Do you have other insights you would offer lingerie novices?


Lingerie designer and founder of WonderLust Lingerie. I specialize in fashion and trend pertaining to lingerie, sleepwear, hosiery and everything in between. I believe that the right kind of underwear can change your entire outlook for the day so finding a balance between fashion and function is key.

3 Comments on this post

  1. DDtop says:

    Hi as a male that’s joined the increasing group of males that need support!
    Have found a lot out and worked many things out with sizing/fit/styles etc(like a minefield)
    Been wearing fulltime for over a year now as have a hormone&p tumor problem with Tgels(testosterone) causing many problems not to mention big increase in breast tissue growth(firm/textured under skin)and started at 46D/44DD but now loosing weight so now gone to 44E down to 42F/G so not an easy life these days but as i say could be worse could be ugly!
    Just waiting to see if test find it’s down to glyphosate poisoning!
    But like as you say quality is far better than quantity ive stuck with main brands so know what im getting like Elomi/Goddess(always been helpful to me)but also have Anita/Glamorise 1166 sports bras which are great esp as can wear just under tshirts as discrete ‘ish! but also have Empreinte and Prima Donna (Deauville in my pic)Plus got some Eprise le charmel so steer clear of cheap/store brands as ones like Prima Donna will see out half a dozen store brands.
    Bought many new/with tags etc but also some used if look ok to try a size/style out without costing too much if not good.
    And yes you can alter them like some ive read do nip n tuck there bra’s as just like a dress/skirt/shirt/trousers etc etc something made from fabric so some thread and a needle can do wonders.
    Plus it is nice that there are becoming more people that are designing/making more non mainstream lingerie as even see for males now!
    Plus do take good care of them as only wear for one day and rotate plus always hand wash in luke warm water.
    So great not stuck in the past and an industry that is moving forward unlike many plus notice that many more places are becoming more open/helpful to TG/males etc but also thinking realise a £/$ lost over here is a £/$ gained by someone else over there!
    Plus being a more open broadens the choice for all as im sure have noticed there is a lot more better designs in lingerie/bra’s etc.
    The internet as also opened up the world to many as can see what is made in any country and for sale/offered at click of a few keys plus you realise that you are not alone there is many like you out there! it has also allowed so many great websites and forums to find out/get info and chat to others about many things which people like you designing things can get info and feedback so easily which enables greater designs so a win win situation for all.

    And at the end of the day bra’s are made for breasts we both have them just some have more some have less and all need support and we all should take great care of them as breast cancer for either females or males is no joke even flat chested males! i know a guy in his 20’s that had breast cancer so no laughing matter plus had a few good female friends that have had scares!
    So please do get them checked.

    All the best.

  2. Emily says:

    I think I was 12 or 13 when I got my first training bra. My mom got me a set of two, one in white and one in pink, and I thought they were the prettiest things I’d ever seen. They were from Walmart, just some lace and beads and flowers on stretchy cotton fabric, but I think I fell in love with lingerie at that moment.

    Once my boobs got bigger, I felt that pretty lingerie wasn’t for me because they were so big, but in my early 20s I discovered this blog and some really great brands that did carry my size.

    One thing I love to do is, when I see a piece that really speaks to me, even if it doesn’t come in my size (or I can’t afford it), I’ll pin it to my lingerie board. It kind of helps me accumulate an idea of what I like in lingerie. I like to go through it and just look at everything. Sometimes I’ll realize that a certain style isn’t really working for me anymore so I’ll move it off my board. There’s nothing wrong with your tastes evolving. It’s fun to curate though, and eventually trends emerge and you have more cohesive idea of what you like.

    • Kristina says:

      I’m glad you found this blog because everyone deserves pretty lingerie! I also have a Pinterest account dedicated to lingerie and a board specifically for bras that I’m in crazy in love with. I agree that it’s a fun way to curate your tastes and watch how they evolve throughout the years. Our bodies change all the time which can often be frustrating but on the bright side it also gives us an opportunity to try something new!

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