Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Real bodies, realistic lingerie, Lingerie Fashion Week New York … the world’s best underwear stories

Aerie wins with real women

When Aerie, a brand that’s part of the American Eagle family said that it would stop airbrushing its lingerie models’ pictures, it made a bit of a splash. Now the results are in - and they’re very interesting indeed. Whilst American Eagle’s sales decreased overall by 7%, Aerie’s sales rose by 9%. The airbrushing alone wouldn’t have delivered this jump; Aerie lingerie has been sold in the same stores as American Eagles’s other clothing, rather than separately and underwear has generally outperformed other clothing sectors as when money is tight women are happy to spend a little on a nice pair of knickers or a pretty bra but not so happy to spend a lot on an outer garment. Even so, the idea of real women in real undies has served the brand well because it has a practical purpose - the average woman can see how the lingerie will look on their own bodies much more clearly than when looking at a perfect, airbrushed, unreal body.

Lingerie Fashion Week - New York style

And Aerie is also right on trend. The catwalks of the New York City Lingerie Fashion Week (LFWNYC) were thronged with gorgeous underwear worn by gorgeous bodies, both male and female. Some of these bodies were utterly unreal, the bodies of those genetic lottery winners who were somehow born with six packs, perky buns and stunning shoulders.

Others though, were more like the average … and while they might be considered ‘normal’ they looked anything but average in their designer underwear. Lingerie brands run the full range of underwear from wedding lingerie to maternity wear, from men’s sportswear to bespoke corsetry and each of those styles and specialist areas was represented on the catwalk.

Choosing the best underwear for your body

Whilst there are hundreds of guides to choosing the best wedding gown, the perfect little black dress, the ideal winter coat, guides to choosing lingerie are rarer and often less inclusive. We know that, just like LFWNYC, underwear is worn by everybody, male and female, young and old, and of every shape, size and colour.  So here are our tips for choosing underwear if you’re not one of those who ‘won’ the genetic lottery.

   Work for fit, not look. While the way a garment looks is important, the way it feels on your body is more so. If the lingerie is too tight, digs in or feels uncomfortable as you move, then it won’t make you feel good about yourself, no matter how glamorous or sophisticated it looks.
   Use your body type. While willowy women can wear most things, curvier bodied females can benefit from choosing one long-line and one short item; so a plunge bra with a long girdle or suspender belt, or a longline bustier with a pair of side-tie panties or a G-string. This prevents any bunching up of the flesh between two long-line garments and flatters the more voluptuous figure.
   Look your age. Rather than trying to hide your age, use it to your advantage. Sheer fabrics flatter older skins and have a sophistication that younger fabrics like animal prints can’t deliver. For older women, elegant robes in rich colours make a cosmopolitan statement, whilst for the mature gentleman, a thong can be a stunning undergarment, flattering the male torso without creating unattractive crease lines.

   Adapt your underwear. For those with mobility issues or with other physical needs, great lingerie need not be a no-no. Side fastening underwear can be easy to get on and off as well as looking stunning, and both men and women’s underwear comes in side-fastening options - we’d recommend the Pistola by Sensualle as a very raunchy garment for a man, with a straightforward velcro fastening that anybody can utilise. Women with mobility issues often find that babydolls are simple to wear and very sensual in appearance. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Counterfeit knickers, bra revivals, spare underwear and caffeinated pants - our week in lingerie


Halle Berry is reviving a lingerie line that was launched in the 1930s in Paris. The line, called Scandale, is redolent of the history of Parisian women and their intimate apparel. According to Ms Berry, the new line will keep intact all the qualities of Parisian style but ensure that femininity, sexiness and self-empowerment are to the fore because, the actor says, ‘… I have a pulse on what American women want what you put under your clothes is the first step in making yourself feel good about yourself.’

There’s no doubt about that! So what do we think of Halle’s ambitions? Well the first thing is that we’re delighted she’s going to be selling her undies through Target, a very mainstream shop that will ensure the products are within the price range of the average woman, not reserved for the super-rich and ultra skinny.

Second it’s great to know that she understands that women mainly buy underwear mainly for themselves, not to please men, although, ‘when they find something they feel good in, and that makes them feel sexy and feminine and empowered, their partners also reap the benefits.’

If you can’t get to a Target but want to enjoy a feminine, sexy and self-empowering bra set just like the ones Halle has designed, we’d opt for the Gracya Szahira bra set, with its grey on black dentelle lace design and elegant white bow details it has all the style of Paris without the French couture price.

Counterfeit underwear

The owners of Birdies Panties in Kansas were shocked when their stock was confiscated by Homeland Security! The Missouri based underwear retailer had printed a line of women knickers bearing the KC of the Kansas City Royals, a baseball team that had just beaten the mighty San Francisco Giants. However, the Major League Baseball organisation found out about the undies and reported them as counterfeit as Birdies Panties didn’t have a licence to print them.

Coffee in your pants?

Also in the USA, two companies have fallen foul of the law. Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacol America, marketed some caffeinated underwear, rather like leggings or long johns, that were impregnated with caffeine that should, they claimed, assist ‘fat destruction. The Federal Trade Commission said that the claims were based on inaccurate science and could not deliver on the promise that wears could lose two inches off their hips and an inch of their thighs in a month.

Knickers in a twist?

3,000 women were recently surveyed to fid out what they carried in their handbags. The facts are staggering. First, the average handbag weighs 5.5lbs - more than a cat, and about the same as a small dog! Second, 36% of women carry spare underwear in their bags. Now at that point we’d have had to ask some supplementary questions like:

1.    Are the spare knickers sexy upgrades in case a woman gets lucky or comfy big pants to jump into when the evenings over and they’re heading home?
2.    Do women transport their alternative underwear loud and proud or tuck it away in a little pouch or make up bag?
3.    How many women actually use their spare knickers on a regular basis?

But amazingly, the surveyors didn’t enquire, so we’re left to wonder …? Perhaps we should launch a survey of our own!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Lingerie pillage, word power and pin-up style - a roundup of the best in lingerie …

Underwear transgressions

A New Zealand estate agent has appealed a misconduct case which cost him his job and his licence. What’s this got to do with sexy underwear? Well, he was caught going through the lingerie drawer of a client during an open house called to try and sell their property … not once, but twice.

On the first occasion the man had apparently taken knickers and a brassiere from the drawer and was holding them in his hands - he was asked to leave the room to talk to potential buyers and then, later in the day, returned to the drawer and again took items from it and handled them.

His defence was ‘I looked in the drawer more out of curiosity and intrigue than out of malicious intent’ but the tribunal found his behaviour to be ‘a gross invasion of privacy and a severe breach of trust.’  Now he’s appealing the suspension of his licence for six months saying that he feels his human rights have been abused and his privacy breached … which is quite a claim, from a chap who had his mitts on somebody else’s lingerie!  But there’s an interesting point here - if, like us, you’re building a nice collection of special underwear, and you’ve got people regularly visiting your home, think about just how enticing your lovely undies are and perhaps keep them somewhere a little secluded, to remove the temptation for others to rifle through your lingerie!

Lingerie Exhibition

Zoe Buckman is a feminist artist, and she’s also a fan of hip-hop who’s used her love of the genre to create a groundbreaking exhibition called EVERY CURVE, which links vintage underwear and hip-hop lyrics to highlight the contrasting roles of women as sexual objects, love objects and creative beings.
Her work, which has lyrics from The Notorious B.I.G and Tupak Shakur machine embroidered onto vintage lingerie, makes a fascinating and thought-provoking exhibition, currently on show at the Allen Koppel Gallery in Chicago until 31 October.

Whilst Buckman’s approach is deliberately to challenge preconceptions, the idea of personalising lingerie is one that we’re totally in tune with. Much of the beautiful underwear we sell is already personalised, like the Gilda and Pearl Goddess babydoll* which is made to order, but any item of underwear could be further personalised, for example by adding ribbons, trims, and even personalised items of jewellery to create a completely unique and personal look. If you’re handy with your needle you could even monogram your lingerie or embroider a special message on it, for your loved one’s eyes only!

Lingerie tips for the Pin-Up Look

If vintage underwear and the Pin-Up era are your passion, we’ve got a couple of tips to help you achieve the Pin-Up look.

   Work on your hair. While it’s traditional to have long hair, it’s not essential and a bandana or fascinator can be a great way to ‘vintage up’ a short modern hairstyle. Alternatively there are fantastic vintage wigs that are comfortable to wear. If your hair is long enough, pincurls and Victory rolls are the classic hairstyles.
   Classic make up. The Pin-Up face has flawless pale skin, structured brows, strong lips and natural cheeks. Choose a foundation with medium to high coverage, and as pale a colour as you can wear. A simple natural blush in soft pink (cool toned skin) or soft peach (warm toned skin) should be gently brushed just over the cheekbones. Brows are well shaped and relatively dark … the Scouse brow is too far one way, the Cher tattooed line too far the other! Use an eyebrow pencil to maintain definition, and a really good eyeliner to get a smoky, sultry look. Lips should be soft bubblegum pink or strong red and well defined - use a lip liner and blot the first coat before adding another to get long-lasting colour.

   Underwear. You knew we we’re coming to it, didn’t you! Great glamour comes from the best underpinnings and that means perfect undies for you. Not for anybody else, or for the public gaze, but so that you feel like a star whenever you wear them. From silk stockings to hand-made corsetry, your lingerie should give you the boost that allows you to walk into every room like the star you are.

Friday, 10 October 2014

3D, Royalty and Pregnancy - a week of lingerie news

We’ve seen the future of lingerie - and it’s printed

Remember that a few weeks ago, we reported on a strict new ruling about lingerie that insists that in Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, nothing lacy could be sold. The theory was to stop retailers selling poor-quality synthetic underwear that could harm women’s reproductive health. Well, a German lingerie brand, Lascana, has just developed a new lingerie line that is definitely synthetic but will escape the ban. Why? Because it’s not woven or sewn - it’s printed on a 3D printer! The clamshell lingerie set was inspired by Botticell’s ‘Birth of Venus’ and features a clamshell bra and panties.

The Russian lingerie market is around £3 billion in value, which means that any company that can find a way to get its sexy undies to Russia legally is likely to make an absolute killing. It’s not even out of people’s price range, although you might have to save up for it - the bra and knicker set will probably retail at around £60.

A future royal in Britney’s knickers?

No, not a scandal about her love life, rather, a bit of astute marketing. When Britney Spears was in London last week to launch her new underwear collection, she is reported to have said that she would love to see Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, in her designs, and to that end she’s going to send every single item in the new lingerie line to the Duchess. Kate, who’s currently expecting her second child and wrestling with terrible morning sickness, just as she did when carrying Prince George, hasn’t commented on the offer and we don’t expect to see any underwear selfies of the Duchess in Britney’s scanties any time soon!

Oddly, Britney chose to comment on the role of men in her life when she was interviewed in Denmark, suggesting that women don’t necessarily need a man - just a good bath and some nice underwear! Of course she’s got to sell her line, but it’s a bit of an odd approach, we think. Perhaps she’s just a bit jet lagged.

Perfect underwear for pregnant women

Dita von Teese has been pondering the pregnant form and its underwear needs too, apparently. She has designed some undies that work for expectant women, based on the experience of friends of hers who wanted sexy but comfortable lingerie. Of course every woman wants to look good when she’s expecting, and many men find this an alluring and appealing stage of a woman’s life, But finding underwear that works can be difficult. Our recommendation for an investment lingerie item that will take you from your first weeks to beyond childbirth is the Lise Charmel Splendeur Inca robe which rides magnificently over any size of bump and has a rich pattern that flatters any shape or size.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Lingerie controversy - undies in the news this week!

Ladies in lingerie

It’s been a week of hot heads and high words around women’s underwear this week!  Perhaps the hottest - and least controversial - story is the one that featured Lindsay Lohan out partying with E.L. James of Fifty Shades of Grey fame. Yes, one of the wildest ladies on the planet was out and about with the leading erotica writer … not only that, Lindsay was wearing black lace lingerie and E.L. sported a mask. Can we be totally honest? We think our Princesse Suabi mask is prettier by far than the one E.L. wore … the delicate touches of gold in our design are really flattering and the lace detailing is more feminine and mysterious than a solid mask, which, when worn in public can give off more of a Zorro vibe than a sensual one!

As for Lindsay, her cute underwear was part of a London Fashion Week jaunt, not a failure to remember to put her outwear on. One of the most intriguing rumours emerging earlier this year was the Lindsay might be asking E.L. James to write her memoir - we can’t imagine anybody better to bring us the scandals and excitements of Lindsay’s life so far!

Lingerie is not a crime

Franchise brand Tezenis came under fire on Twitter this week, after an Oxford Street shop window displayed a pair of Tezenis knickers with the message ‘crime scene’ printed on them, as if they were draped with yellow police tape. The backlash was fast and furious, with many people taking to social media to comment on the connotations of rape that the panties suggested, and also saying that they found the underwear ‘gross’ and ‘sexist’.  Many commentators highlighted the way that sexual violence appeared to be condoned by the slogan.

While the company has refused to talk about the garment, in a statement it released soon after the uproar began it said that the item had been removed from the store and would not be available to purchase online.

Hi jinks on high!

Good old VietJet are at it again. A ‘test’ advertising campaign featured Vietnamese beauty queens in yellow and red bikinis, thigh highs and red high heels, acting as cabin crew. Stills leaked from the ad caused an outcry, not least because of last year’s VietJet stunt which led to a £100,000 fine for the airline. On that occasion a bunch of bikini sporting beauty queens promenaded down the aisle of a packed plane - in the air - and handing out teddies to delighted looking male passengers.

One reason for the kerfuffle was the the song to which the beauty queens were strutting had the lyric ‘I’m crazy for banana’ which is suggestive to say the least, more seriously, there were concerns about whether safety regulations had been breached. Whatever else you say about VietJet, they’re really good at gaining publicity - and choosing underwear!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Women and men and underwear - our week of weird and wonderful lingerie stories

Saudi lingerie swoop

Months ago we reported on a story about lingerie shops being forced to hire Saudi female shop assistants. This week, 27 (yes, 27!) lingerie shops were closed in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia because they had failed to employ local women.

The regulations, brought in at the beginning of the year, state that only Saudi women can sell women’s items and that a failure to replace male staff with female in lingerie shops could mean both shutting the shops and taking action against the men working in them. As a result of a series of raids, twenty shops in Jeddah were also shut down for violating the ‘ladies only’ lingerie rule. The new legislation is designed to try and ensure employment for local graduates and particularly for women, so as to reduce dependence on foreign workers.

Man pants not hero wear!

No, it’s not just an excuse to show you Dwayne Johnson in his pants - we don’t need any excuse to do that, we just do it anyway! So, back to the point. The UK advertising watchdog has stopped an underwear brand from running an advert, despite the hi tech pants having the backing of Sir Richard Branson. Wireless Armour says its ‘mesh of pure silver’ encases the wearer in a ‘cage of metal’ that apparently protects male fertility by blocking electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices carried in the male pocket.

The brand was called ‘underpants for superhereos’ by Sir Richard (hence Dwayne, who is currently  in cinemas as Hercules, a super hero - see, there is a reason for that picture!) but the ASA says the cited research doesn’t back up the claim that mobile phone radiation can negatively impact male fertility. Therefore, it says, the campaign must be withdrawn until adequate evidence is produced to substantiate the claims Wireless Armour make.

Bearded lady underwear

That warbling Eurovision winner, Conchita Wurst, has debuted in the underwear industry in a big way! She began by taking the catwalk with Jean Paul Gaultier in the summer, and now the 25 year old has appeared in a shoot with Karl Lagerfeld and Ashleigh Good, who is currently pregnant.

The shots show that Conchita has no problem getting into racy undies and, in one shot, is entwined with Lagerfeld himself who describes the singer as 'really hav[ing] a voice…’ he also said, ‘She has done something that's never been done before. We have all heard of "bearded ladies" but no one has ever seen a bearded man posing as a lady. This brings new meaning to the term “drag”’

And if you’re loving the Conchita look, we recommend the fabulous Magic Instinct body by Antinea … sleek, svelte and with beautiful lace panel inserts, this body is a real winner - a bit like Conchita herself!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Sue, Sue and blue - lingerie in the news!


The underwear designers and manufacturers, Zephyrs, expected to be famous for their ground-breaking (or rather boob-shaping) kidney shaped bra inserts, shaped to increase volume and cleavage in a natural fashion. Instead they are suing their law firm, McDermott, Will & Emery for approximately $6 million! years of design on the part of Zephyrs founder Debra MacKinnon led to a patent application in 2008, but according to the claim, when the actual patent was granted in 2012, serious flaws were found in the claim document, allowing giants like Amazon and Victorias Secret to create similar systems without breaking patent law. As a result, Zephyrs has been fighting a rearguard action to protect intellectual property and bring their lawyers to book by claiming damages because they havent been able to collect royalties on their design. A ruling isnt expected before the end of the year.


Whatever your view of Lingerie Football, Im sure you assumed that the players were getting well paid for their skills - and for wearing a little less than the average footballer whilst playing! But it seems thats not necessarily the case - a  former Las Vegas Sin player, Robin Johnson, is suing the Lingerie Football League for which she played. Her claim is that the league, now known as the Legends Football League, failed to pay the necessary  minimum wage and overtime to hundreds of its employees.

Johnson played for the league for two years and says that she and many other employees were classified as independent contractors who werent entitled to minimum wage payments and overtime, which she claims is hard to believe, given that players must both play as part of a team and obey team and league rulings, which denies their independent status. The Lingerie League began as a half time skit but is now a ten team USA league, a five team Australian one and a four team league in Canada. Minimum should apply to clothing, not pay, says Robin Johnson!

Blue is the new black!

At least for intimate apparel. From regularly kingfisher-haired Nicole Richies revelations (she spends around £15,000 on underwear every year) to Bar Refaelis most recent photos, revealed as part of Top Model, being filmed in Warsaw, Poland, every shade of blue is turning up in underwear.

Wearing blue lingerie can be complex - its a cool colour which can drain the life from a warm complexion and is prone to bring out blue elsewhere, so if you have blue eyes (or hair) it can be a sophisticated look - although its not great if you have leg veins youd rather not draw attention to.

Blue undies arent impossible though. Blue works well with peach and white, as seen in the Reve de PeintureAntinea nightie by Lise Charmel, and this is a particularly good choice for warm-toned skins and for blondes and redheads. If you want to conceal leg veins, made more obvious by blue undies, a pair of flirty fishnets like our LegAvenue lace-topped stockings will do the job perfectly, whilst ramping up your sex appeal!