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My New Year's Resolution: The 16 Piece Lingerie Challenge

As I mentioned just before the holiday break, my husband and I are recent transplants to Southern California. Though I feel like I should be used to moving by now, it's always a source of major anxiety for me. Most other situations in life I feel like I can tackle with a list and a plan, but when it's time to pack up and move, I'm practically paralyzed with stress.

One reason for that, I imagine, is because I work from home, so moving isn't just about relocating where I live, it also means packing up my entire office, including the collection of samples I (sort of) jokingly call my editor's closet.

Over the last seven years or so, I've amassed a substantial lingerie collection, but within the past year especially my lingerie wardrobe started looking more like a lingerie hoard. Every piece had a memory, a sentiment, and even when I tried to get rid of things, I'd feel I was tossing out an old friend or trashing some integral part of my personal history. I don't know. It's weird.

Anyway, I used this most recent move as an opportunity to really and truly clear out a few things. Lots of donations were made to the local Goodwill, and one thing I noticed while itemizing and boxing things up was that so much of my lingerie was unworn. I'm talking tags on, still in the packaging, brand new items.

Of course, a lot of it was samples or gifts, but a good chunk of that donation pile was stuff I just bought (often on sale) and never wore. Some of them were what I'd call "legit" purchases (i.e. brands I bought to add to the body of knowledge for TLA), but other items were things I bought because I was feeling tired or burnt out or blah and thought a new bra would pick up my mood.

I don't like that. Aside from feeling like I was drowning bras and panties (I just finished reading the Harry Potter series, and it was like that chapter in Gringotts where the treasure keeps multiplying until you're buried by the thing you love), I also just felt wasteful. Incredibly, senselessly wasteful.

While there's still a bit of sorting left to do, for 2016, I want to reframe my whole approach to buying lingerie. I tripped and fell, without even realizing it, into a kind of that was all to easy to justify because yes, my actual job does involve buying lingerie. But this year I want to be a more conscious consumer, and I don't mean "conscious" in terms of ethics in this particular case. Rather, I'm thinking conscious in terms of deliberate. In terms of valuing and appreciating every single piece I buy, rather than just adding more and more and more.

Years ago, I went through a lingerie diet of sorts, and, in retrospect, it was an inflection point for my appreciation of underwear. It marked a transition in how I saw intimate apparel; the simple act of delaying gratification made me seek out more interesting pieces to make the "sacrifice" worthwhile, and several of my first truly luxury lingerie purchases happened around this time. While I don't expect a similar revelation here, I do want to feel more connected to what I'm buying, what I'm wearing, and what I'm sharing here with you.

So...I'm challenging myself to only buy 16 pieces of lingerie this year. I thought about doing 12, but that sounds like a very small number (I'm not trying not set myself up for failure here), then I thought about doing 24...but that's quite a lot, isn't it? And since it's 2016, there's a nice bit of symmetry with only choosing 16 pieces.

I have a couple of caveats, or rules for myself, for this challenge:

  1. matching bra and panty sets count as one piece
  2. the 16 includes all lingerie, from everyday bras and knickers to luxury items
  3. purchases can be made at any time (i.e. I don't have to make a minimum of 1 per month or anything like that)
  4. once the 16 pieces are gone, they're gone (this sounds like the hardest part, honestly, but also the most exciting)
  5. samples, gifts, and other items I receive gratis as part of running TLA don't count towards the total

The images in this blog post are all of items I'd like to make of that 2016. I can already feel myself leaning towards those brands I've been wanting to try for ages, and I'm excited - really, genuinely excited - about the possibility of stretching beyond my lingerie comfort zone. I'd also like to do a blog post about each of the 16 purchases this year, just to keep everyone updated.

What do you think? Do you have any lingerie resolutions? Things you're hoping to do more or less of this year? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


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Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

14 Comments on this post

  1. Marina says:

    I dont buy lingeries since august 2015. Its hard but my wardrobe was empty. Now I see I have lots of old panties ands bras and this year I want to recycle most of them!
    Maybe we, lingerie lovers, have this in common!
    (sorry the bad english Im brazilian and love your blog <3)

  2. Emily says:

    I’m really glad you posted this! It inspired me to set myself a limit as well, and I’ve started a new pinterest board of things I’m considering for the year. I immediately noticed that I started viewing pieces differently, like if I saw something and really liked it I wouldn’t immediately think “I have to buy this” but would be like “well do I have something similar?” I’ve also started thinking about rounding out my collection; like finally investing in a good corset and getting a few luxurious pieces instead of more regular ones.

  3. Going Full Thottle says:

    I’m distressed too- I would have totally bought from you had you had a store boo!

  4. legal is fun says:

    I dont envy you…although i probably should do the same.
    The idea of only getting 16 pieces a year is scary…will you be counting legwear and accessories?

    • Cora Cora says:

      Oooh…I hadn’t thought about that, but I guess so. So far, so good…I’m being quite a bit more deliberate what I really want and what’s just an impulse buy. It’s kind of interesting.

  5. Heather Lord says:

    Great post – thank you. Thought-provoking. I (unknowingly) wore the wrong size bra for years. This was also partly because my correct size probably hadn’t been manufactured at the time. (I wear a UK size 30GG or 32G). Once I found my correct size, and could buy pretty bras, I went a bit berserk and bought every pretty set I saw! My lingerie drawer(s!) are stuffed to bursting and I’ve got some sets still in the boxes they arrived in (ordered from overseas, as I live in Australia and bras in my size usually cost around $100.00 Australian Dollars here (around $70 US at current exchange rates)).

    • Cora Cora says:

      Right!!! I think whenever you have a new hobby or interest or passion, it’s totally natural to go overboard. I think I would have done the same if I was a harder to find size.

  6. laurie van jonsson says:

    I’ve already sorted out my shoes and clothes to 37 pieces, I need to start with my lingerie as well! That will be a tough one.

    • Cora Cora says:

      I confess I’ve never had that many shoes. Wearing a size 11N, they’re always a bit hard to find. But if I was a smaller size, there’d probably be a closet full!

  7. I was (am) considering doing something very similar this year. I’m sure my collection is way tinier than yours, but it’s certainly grown too big for my limited storage space so my 2016 resolution is to really, REALLY stick to buying just what I absolutely love – by which I mean things I’ve been thinking about repeatedly for months, not things I want to buy on the spot when I see them.

    I know we’re only 12 days in but so far, so good haha. I’ve resisted a LOT of sales already that I would totally have impulse purchased from before. I’m considering setting myself a strict number (I read an article Avigayil from Lingerie Detective linked to, about a woman who limited herself to 15 fashion items, and it sparked the idea) but haven’t quite decided what.

    I’m finding making a list of what I plan to buy is helping resist those impulse buys, because I know specifically where I want that money to go and that it’ll be something better.

  8. psychotropek says:

    That’s awesome. I think I’ll do the same!

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