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'Lingerie is for Everyone to Enjoy': A Lingerie Bloggers Tea Party

Note: Some photos below may be NSFW.

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Sweets of Sweet Nothings NYC in the Violet Jet Longline Bra by Harlow & Fox, Augusta Jet Classic Brief by Harlow & Fox, and Matchplay Long Robe by Between the Sheets. Photo by Kristen Blush.

Truth be told, I'm not quite sure where to begin with this article. I feel like I should start by thanking Sweets, the lingerie blogger (and awesome human being) who came up with this whole idea, but a simple 'thank you' doesn't quite convey the depth of my feeling here. The photoshoot in this article is one of the most special experiences I've had since starting my blog - and I don't say that lightly because I've done a lot of cool stuff as the face of TLA - but this...this was extraordinary.

I suppose I should actually begin by giving a bit of background and context, so everyone's all caught up. Right around the first of the year, Sweets reached out to ask if I'd be a part of a blogger collab with several indie lingerie brands. She'd noticed quite a few designers coming out with all black or all white looks for Spring/Summer 2016, and thought it would be fun for a few of us to meet up, style some looks, and hang out before the start of market week. Four bloggers participated: Sweets of Sweet Nothings NYC, Me (Cora) of The Lingerie Addict, Elisabeth of The Breast Life, and Rose, also of The Lingerie Addict. The brands invited to take part were Between the Sheets, Evgenia Lingerie and Harlow & Fox. Kristen Blush handled photography, while Lily Sage took care of hair and makeup.

Sweet Nothings Tea Party, photo- Kristen Blush

Treats by Sweet Nothings NYC. Photo by Kristen Blush.

After sharing our size and garment preferences, the designers coordinated one white look and one black look for each blogger. Though I've been a fan of Evgenia, Between the Sheets, and Harlow & Fox for ages, I don't think I'd quite appreciated the versatility inherent in each brand before now. Collectively, we covered a wide ranges of sizes, ages, heights, and body types...yet there was something for each of us. On a practical note, Leanna Williams of Harlow & Fox put it brilliantly when she said, "Showing how styles can be mixed and matched with other independent designers is a great way to see how pieces can fit into your wardrobe and be worn in so many ways."

Yet our teatime shoot, while fun, was also a bit of a statement. The four of us - Sweets, Elisabeth, Rose, and myself - are not models. In fact, we're all, in some way, quite far from what the lingerie industry considers ideal. I asked Sweets her thoughts on this while coordinating the event (since obviously, the four of us together in one room is no accident), and she had this say:

I've been so inspired by some of the fantastic conversations you, Holly, Jeanna, and others have been leading lately about the intersection of issues of diversity in the lingerie world and diversity and social justice in the larger world. I've felt like lingerie is inaccessible or intimidating in the past, but even though I'm larger than many (most?) brands' target customers, surely it's more likely I'm in the majority of consumers, not the minority. I want to see lingerie imagery that better reflects, celebrates, and illuminates the full range of people who wear it. I mean, hell, I turned 30 and immediately started to feel "too old" in the industry, but I plan to continue wearing awesome lingerie for the next 30 years too. So why shouldn't there be imagery out there that reflects all of us at different stages of our lives?

As a fellow thirty-something lingerie blogger (who's also frequently sized about brands, to be perfectly honest), those thoughts resonated with me. Later, I asked Sweets about the designers she chose, and what made them, in particular, a good fit for this project, and she shared these insights:

They are all accomplished artists who work with precision and clarity on bold design choices in beautiful, feel-good fabrics. They pull inspiration from rich and varied sources to create designs that are timeless and uniquely their own. They also practice ethical manufacturing and have actively sought to showcase diversity and support social justice movements, whether in their lookbooks, their social media channels, or their press kits.

The willingness of everyone to leave their comfort zone and work together on a project like this cannot be overemphasized. We all contributed to the cost of the shoot. We all had to make an effort to be there and present during one of the busiest times of the year for the lingerie industry. We all had to take a risk in trying something new and different.

Sweet Nothings Chocolate Pound Cake, Photo- Kristen Blush

And cake! Glorious, glorious cake. Baked by Sweet Nothings NYC. Photo by Kristen Blush.

Following up on that sentiment, what would make a brand take the tremendous step of putting their garments on such a wide range of sizes, bodies, and people, especially when such representation is not the norm? Well, as Leanna so simply said, it's about showing lingerie is for "everyone to enjoy." Stephanie Bodnar of Evgenia Lingerie revealed her motivations in our post-shoot interview by stating, "I hope that this shoot helps to show that indie designers are capable of creating pieces that work for a variety of body types and personal styles." And I love what Layla L'obatti of Between the Sheets said about how this collaboration intersected with her own identity as a woman of color who's also a lingerie designer:

As a brand owner I've been really vocal and actively trying to select models that are not as visible within the industry, the fact that we had such a diverse range of women modeling in this shoot totally aligned with that. Growing up I did not see a lot of myself represented in fashion industry ads, the diversity that I did see (Benetton ads) excited me and as I've developed my own line has become a cornerstone of what it means to be socially aware. Young girls who do not see themselves represented grow into women who do not understand their own value and beauty. Women who have passed a certain age are also rendered nearly invisible by an industry that chases youth and ableism-- you rarely even see glasses in ad campaigns. I think this shoot is an opportunity for women to be inspired by other women, to see themselves represented, and for brands to be inspired to think outside of the box for marketing if they aren't already.

While Sweets and I are "old-hands" in the sense we've both done several editorials for our respective blogs, this was the first professional lingerie shoot for both Elisabeth and Rose. Lest anyone think that's easy, please remember: it's no small feat to pose in your underwear on the internet, especially when you're genderqueer (as Rose is) or over the age of 50 (as Elisabeth is). Rose wrote a beautiful long-form piece on this photoshoot and her queer identity which you should absolutely read, while Elisabeth had this to say about the experience in her interview:

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t all that excited about doing the shoot. But as a more mature woman (turning 60 in a few months) who adores lovely lingerie, I felt it important to represent my generation. Older women are mostly invisible in today’s fashion world. That’s why I decided to participate. But I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t know and trust everyone involved.

Leanna of Harlow & Fox, who dressed Elisabeth exclusively, followed up with similar sentiments:

I was so excited to shoot with Elisabeth, as she’s very much the woman we want to show wearing our collection. As your recent article (by C.Bigelow, on age in the lingerie industry) showed, there’s such a lack of age diversity in mainstream lingerie advertising, and to have the chance to illustrate how beautiful she looked to other women, who may think more luxurious lingerie isn’t for them, or who are so used to seeing only younger women portrayed in this way, was a great honour.

The final tally? A fuller-figured woman, a woman of color, a genderqueer person, and an older woman. Three luxury lingerie brands volunteering their time and garments and expertise all free of charge. An amazing photographer and a brilliant makeup artist who both understood and were able to complement our vision. And countless memories that will last a lifetime.

While I agree with Elisabeth who said, "I’m not sure if one shoot can do anything to change commercial ideals of beauty, especially in the mainstream lingerie world," I think shoots like this are a start.

In my final interview question, I asked Sweets what she hoped the takeaway for this shoot if be, if there was a message she hoped to send to other brands and bloggers and industry professionals, and she said:

I hope it encourages more and more people to make their own imagery! The more cool, smart, interesting people I meet and whose work I read, the odder it seems that brands and advertisers seem to design for such an absurdly narrow demographic. I'd love to see the definition of what's "commercially appealing" expand exponentially.

So say we all.

Credits for each item shown are on the individual photo. Do you have a favorite look? And what did you think of our first ever collaboration?

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Cora of The Lingerie Addict. Janus Short Gown by Evgenia Lingerie. Photo by Kristen Blush.

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Sweets of Sweet Nothings NYC. Janus Bed Jacket, Janus Ribbon Corset, and Janus Modern Knicker, all by Evgenia Lingerie. Photo by Kristen Blush.

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Rose of The Lingerie Addict. Petal Play Bralette, Petal Play Bikini, Venus in Play Robe, and Cotton Over the Knee Socks, all by Between the Sheets. Photo by Kristen Blush.

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Elisabeth of The Breast Life. Eleanor Almond Full Cup Bra, Eleanor Almond French Knicker, and Eleanor Almond Robe, all by Harlow & Fox. Photo by Kristen Blush.

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From left to right, Cora in Evgenia Lingerie, Rose in Between the Sheets, Elisabeth in Harlow & Fox, Sweets in Evgenia Lingerie. Photo by Kristen Blush.

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From left to right, Elisabeth in Harlow & Fox, Cora in Layla L'obatti for Between the Sheets, Sweets in Harlow & Fox and Between the Sheets, Rose in Evgenia Lingerie.

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From left to right, Elisabeth in Harlow & Fox, Cora in Layla L'obatti for Between the Sheets, Sweets in Harlow & Fox and Between the Sheets, Rose in Evgenia Lingerie.

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Sweets of Sweet Nothings NYC in the Violet Jet Longline Bra by Harlow & Fox and Matchplay Long Robe by Between the Sheets. Photo by Kristen Blush.

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Elisabeth of The Breast Life in Violet Jet Longline Bra, Violet Jet Draped Back Gown, and Violet Jet Robe, all by Harlow & Fox. Photo by Kristen Blush.

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Rose of The Lingerie Addict in Janus Bralette, Janus Ribbon Corset, and Janus Modern Knicker, all by Evgenia Lingerie. Photo by Kristen Blush.

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Cora of The Lingerie Addict in Layla L'obatti for Between the Sheets Andromeda Gown (not yet released). Photo by Kristen Blush.

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Cora of The Lingerie Addict in Layla L'obatti for Between the Sheets Andromeda Gown (not yet released). Photo by Kristen Blush.

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.

24 Comments on this post

  1. LV says:

    Thank you! It’s empowering! Real beauty transcends runway expectations! Bravo!

  2. Rah-Rah says:

    I literally stalked the internet to find the black gown you’re wearing only to get to the actual article and see that it hasn’t been released yet….. :,( seriously I had to download the pic off click bait and tineye it… But it is stunning and you look stunning in it (Actually everyone looks absolutely stunning) , and I am so happy that I’ve found this site. ^.^

  3. Brenda says:

    What an amazing photo shoot. As an older women who struggles daily to find beautiful lingerie in my size i was grateful to see how glamorous and lovely all of these women looked in the range of sizes. I hope one day there will be more choices for every size out there. Right now there are still very few choices for those in between sizes such as myself who don’t fit main stream (too small) or plus size (too large). Wonderful work everyone involved!!

  4. Joepet Macariola says:


  5. El says:

    love these ..real images of real bodies. So we all want to have – well I do and did for many years a VS model figure but as time goes by I am relaxing my standard and discipline . But love for beautiful lingerie remains . Would love to have own portfolio . Looking great ladies . Enjoy .

  6. Y says:

    Incredible. I am just speechless and so pleased to see this! Thank you to all four of you. All the looks are so sexy and gorgeous. But I adore that andromeda gown.

  7. Rebecca Mills says:

    These are gorgeous. Being a woman of 42 (nearing 43), I often feel “too-old”, “too-young”, “too-short”, “too-fat”. I beg to see women with curves and rolls and dimples. I want to see real…not perfection. Each of the women represented in these photos are beautiful in their own special way and the lingerie is a reflection of that beauty. Bravo!!!

  8. Barbra Hart says:

    Love these images so natural and the ambiance of the shoot is friendship and togetherness of proud women who have confidence in themselves. This proves that beautiful lingerie suits all ages, shapes and sizes.

  9. Ariel says:

    I can’t deal with this perfection.

  10. Karen Roman says:

    I hope you got to eat the goodies when they weren’t needed for photos any longer. :D

  11. Emma says:

    Awesome idea, gorgeous execution. Well done all of you, you look stunning and the feel of the shoot is sumptuous and special. More please! ?

  12. Lee Rivers says:

    This was a wonderful idea. The smiles are so real! Thanks for inspiring more of us to create our own imagery.

  13. Sophie says:

    This is amazing!! Killer underwear, beautiful people :) I would absolutely love to be part of the next shoot!

  14. Ana says:

    This is so awesome, it would be great if it could be repeated every season. Perhaps selecting a few designers to show their summer/winter collections every 6 months or so.
    As for the looks I am obsessed with Harlow & Fox, their pieces are lingerie perfection, however what stole my attention this time was that awesome Andromeda Gown, it looks like something out of a painting, so gorgeous.
    Also, kudos to Elisabeth for taking on the task of representing older women, she did a great job and we do need more of it.

  15. Ellie says:

    Don’t do this to me on the first day of my period! So many happy tears.

  16. sophia williams says:

    this is surely what ANY business is about, serving anyone and everyone full stop!! Super well done Ladies, you look stunning.

  17. Evija says:

    Yaaaaassssssssssssssssssss. You all look so amazing.

  18. denocte says:

    thank you, all of you, for this. I have tears in my eyes. From an objective point of view it’s amazing work from allof you, but what moves me is all the little things, all the diversity, what these pics mean to me. thank you. *blows kisses to everyone involved*

  19. Y’all. I cannot. You looked so gorgeous on that day, and the energy was so amazing. The way Kristen captured the energy, the camaraderie, and all of your beautiful spirits in these pictures. It’s just wonderful. I’m like, crying. So, there you go.

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