Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Lingerie displays past and present

There’s something very special about lingerie - and we’re not the only ones to think so. One lingerie store in Abingdon is sharing its history with the whole town. A display at the County Hall Museum will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the shop which was originally opened in 1936 and has undergone four different ones and a change of location.

The exhibition will include pieces of lingerie dating back to the Victorian era, old underwear advertisements and show how the history of lingerie, nightwear and corsetry has changed over eight decades. The special show runs until September 15.

Lingerie as outer-wear … or not?

Business Insider UK has been consolidating responses to a recent Victoria’s Secret campaign in which models appeared to be wearing lingerie as daywear. In one a model wears a slip like a dress, along with a handbag over her arm. Commentary on the campaign has been quietly ironic through to outright outraged. One person wrote ‘You're off your rocker Victoria's Secret’ while another said ‘Stop it, Victoria's Secret. I love your brand, but your advertising is ridiculous!’ and a third claimed that the advertising must be the brainchild of a man. ‘This must be a man's idea in your leadership team. What's next, walking around in our panties?’ Finally, responding to a picture under the heading ‘The (un)dress code’ showing a model in a burgundy bustier under a coat, one clearly sardonic commentator labelled the look, ’How to get fired,' by Victoria’s Secret.

So what’s our view? Well women have been increasingly wearing lingerie as daywear, especially showing stylish camisoles as streetwear, and that’s likely to be a trend that remains, But for us, one of the joys of underwear is that you can NSFW something into the workplace that you’d never get away with if it wasn’t covered up by your serious workwear or standard uniform.

Our current fave ‘undercover lingerie’ picks for autumn are

1.    The rich red Antinea camisole by Lise Charmel - under a dark top, this lush lingerie gives you a sense of utter abandoned luxury
2.    Gothic elegance as provided by our black mesh and scroll corset - this is such a joy because you can wear it under almost anything and know that your nipped in waist and alluring curves give no hint of the romantic corsetry beneath
3.    Stunningly sexy (and surprisingly comfy) Roza Genizes shorty briefs - even under jeans, these lovely lacy briefs  bring a sense of grown-up joy in the most laid-back situation.

So if you’re in the autumn slump and wondering how to get over the end-of-summer blues, we’d recommend investing in something lovely in lingerie that can give you endless pleasure in the working day. It makes it almost worth putting away your bikini, exfoliating away your tan, and accepting the lure of winter clothing. 

Glamour, power and outrageous panties - October opens with lingerie sizzlers

Underwear that’s not safe to hang out?

It may depend on how old you are. An anonymous (and poorly educated) neighbour has taken a pair of Rosamund Perrin's knickers of her rotary dryer and posted them back through the letterbox with a note reading, It is total inapropiate (sic) for this type of garment to be displayed opposite the village primary school. There are member of this community that would welcome a halting of this.

Ros is 65 and a grandmother, but her chic scanties (black frills with a small white bow, very much like our Coquette retro ruffle shorts) might be expected to belong to a much younger woman which might be one reason that the prude took action. Whatever the motivation, when Ros’s daughter posted the ill-spelt note online, with a picture of the knickers, she received overwhelming support for the idea that women should wear, and hang out, whatever underwear they fancy. As one neighbour put it, Such scandalous behaviour: wearing knickers, washing knickers and then drying knickers on the line! Tut tut. Best go knickerless maybe?” Whilst another resident of the Devon village has been inspired to verse:

Roz hung out a line of her frillies,
But a neighbour had a touch of the sillies,
To complain about knickers,
Quite clearly not the vicar’s,
Twas enough to give a lady the willies.

Of course we’re totally in favour of women wearing whatever they fancy, and hanging it out in public too!

Making a business out of underwear

Elle Macpherson has always been a fan of underwear and she had a 25 year association with Bendon, for whom she designed lingerie under licence. This year she’s launched a new bra and briefs business called Elle Macpherson Body with a friend and business partner Simon De Winter. Elle’s comments on setting up an underwear business are true for all women, which is why we thought they were worth sharing. “I find it incredibly fulfilling to be a co-partner and co-owner in a joint ventures …” she said. "You have to find your co-dreamers. People that understand your vision, share your vision and help bring it to life. I believe in co-operation, I believe in collaboration and I believe in commitment. In any partnership those values are really important. Having great advisers is important but more than anything, having people that are equally inspired by what you're doing is key.”

That’s as true when hanging our your washing as when setting up a business empire - being able to rely upon people who share your point of view and believe is you is crucial, which is one reason that we believe our online lingerie shop is more than just a place to buy underwear, we aim to be a resource for empowered women of every age and size, for men who like to wear underwear with a little pizazz, and for every couple, of every configuration, to have a place to browse lingerie without pressure.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

September in lingerie

We’re thrilled to see Naomi Campbell back in lingerie for her new photo-shoot, and even more thrilled that she’s 46 years old and looking fantastic! It’s her 30th year working as a model which makes her career one of the longest in an extremely competitive and unforgiving industry. The shoot, with famous cameraman Mario Testino, reveals Naomi’s intense body confidence and perhaps a sunnier side to the notoriously short-tempered beauty that we often see. 

Her bra and pants set picks up on the athleisure theme that has become all-embracing in the past year. The combination of comfort, performance and style is every modern lingerie brand’s current grail, and we have our own curated selection of underwear that meets those criteria. Closest to Naomi’s white two piece underwear is the Ulla Dessous Kate Lingerie Bra - beautifully constructed lingerie in jet black or gleaming white, with a wired or non-wired bra to suit your needs, and superbly well-fitting pants that are a delight to wear.

Lingerie thief sentenced

Do you remember the Singaporean man who was caught having stolen over a hundred items of underwear? We wrote about him many months ago. It turns out that he has been sentenced to a year of psychiatric treatment.His obsession with women’s underwear had begun about a year ago and when the police raided his home they found 55 bras and 51 pairs of knickers. It’s an interesting questions whether the theft or the lingerie he stole provided him with the thrill he sought, perhaps it was both. Stealing women’s underwear has long been a fetish for both men and women, although women are almost never prosecuted for it.

This month’s storm in a bra cup

DIM, a French underwear brand, got the Twitter treatment when a mum discovered they were marketing a bra for 12 year olds (70a - the smallest size possible in France) that wanted to ‘erase imperfections’ and ‘smooth out the shape’. Women from all over France and the wider world took to social media to suggest that body shaming a twelve-year-old was a pretty poor performance for a brand that claimed it wanted to ‘support’ women. DIM has clarified that they meant the padded bra would smooth out clothing and remove wrinkles and folds … sounds pretty weak to us! 

It’s a good point, because the one thing we notice is all over the media is bust size. From the lingerie manufacturer who made men wear size E cup bras filled with the same weight as an E cup breast, through to Naomi Campbell’s lissom form, the size, shape, colour and conformation of women’s breasts seems to be a constant preoccupation.  We’re not entirely sure which makes us most uncomfortable, the idea of men being strapped into bras as though it’s some kind of punishment or the suggestion that a twelve year old’s breasts are already not good enough for the wider world. Women and their breasts should be allowed to find their own path - braless, underwired, athleisure or however else suits them.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Lingerie hijacks, hi-jinks and hello boys!

It’s what we British call the ‘silly season’ for news media and to our quiet delight the political world has been a little shaken up. No not Theresa May becoming PM (although we’d love to know what’s in her underwear drawer), nor the Labour party leadership contest. It’s actually Toby Perkins, a Labour MP who had his twitter profile hacked.

For a brief and delightful period, his usually bearded face was superseded by the curvy ‘Anna Nelson’ who described herself as a ‘sexy model’ and offered to give people following the twitter account a private show. Mr Perkins rapidly regained control of the situation but endured several days of online banter about having looked rather different for a while. One tongue-in-cheek tweeter commented that something had changed about Mr Perkins and suggested perhaps he’d shaved his beard. As our photo shows, there was a bit more of a change than that!

By the way, we note that Anna chose a classic pose for her photo. Kneeling up on a sofa or chair and facing away from the camera delivers a very flattering pic, so she clearly knows her business!

Loving Mr Perkins/Anna Nelson’s stunning bra set? Try the Gracya Lucy set in brilliant white to unleash your inner ‘sexy model’ … or perhaps your inner bearded Labour MP?

‘Men’s Fitness’ on women’s lingerie

The men’s magazine has been asking its experts to help a chap who wants to buy his girlfriend some sexy underwear … comments included the suggestion that the couple go shopping together (always a good idea in our view) and that the girlfriend might think her partner doesn’t like the look of her body and is trying to get her to hide it! None of the commentators suggested what we see as the obvious solution - improving his own underwear standards so she can find out why sexy lingerie is worth investing in!

And women on men’s lingerie

Which leads us to Menagerie - a new underwear line that is making ‘Victor’s Secret’ underwear for guys. Excuse us while we yawn … we’ve been selling large numbers of lovely lingerie items for him for a lot longer than Menagerie has been around!

Top sellers in male underwear include Caraca by Sensualle - a incredibly comfortable backless mens brief (or so we’re told) with an utterly storable fake fur front panel that has stretch sides for a snug and sexy fit. And if that’s a bit too hot for summer, we’re also sending out quite a few of the ‘Robin’ version in ‘real men wear pink’ summer shades and with a jewelled back that makes this a decadent addition to your man’s wardrobe.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Does lingerie increase confidence? Should women wearing mastectomy bras pay tax? What shape should lingerie models be? We answer the burning questions in underwear!

Does lingerie increase confidence?

In short - yes! With a bit more detail, we’d accept that an anecdotal study containing just two people is by no means conclusive, but it’s definitely interesting. HuffPost sent two of its staffers off to try the effects of expensive underwear on their psyches and the results were what we could have predicted. Yes, lovely underwear costs a little more and yes, it makes us feel wonderful. What we wouldn’t necessarily have recognised though, is that both the women who took part in the experiment had quite fixed ideas on what they would wear and what would work for them - and those ideas were completely overturned by trying something new!

The effect of lingerie as a life-changing experience is often underrated - we know, because of the letters and emails we receive - that women find their esteem enhanced, their body confidence increased and their zest for living magnified when they invest in something that is for them, chosen by them, and ultimately - their own personal statement about who they are and who they wish to become.

Should women wearing mastectomy bras pay tax?

In short - no! A recently ruling by the Supreme Court has granted women wearing mastectomy bras the right to buy without paying European customs duty. The case was brought by a specialist bra company which said that its mastectomy bras, specifically created to help women who've had surgery to their breasts, are not normal lingerie and therefore should be exempt from tax. They lost in the Court of Appeal but won this week in the Supreme Court. The argument - that the bra which is despited to offer prosthetic breast support, should function as an artificial body part, not as lingerie. Five Supreme Court judges agreed … a victory for women!

What shape should lingerie models be?

BusinessInsider Australia comments on how Victoria’s Secret is ignoring the growing trend to offer a diverse range of body types, shapes and sizes in lingerie adverts. There is no doubt that VS models are all of a certain type, and it’s not the type that is widely represented in the real world. For example, the average height of a VS angel is 5’ 10”. The average height of British women is 5’ 4”. That six inch difference is massive, because to reach a VS angel height, you need to have a very specific body type - ectomorph, which around on 5% of the female population naturally falls into. So, is it okay to advertise underwear with bodies that 95% of women will never obtain?

We think the question is wrongly phrased - it doesn’t really matter how anybody advertises anything as long as the people seeing those adverts know how realistic (or otherwise) the models are. And we hope the age of women feeling pressured to conform to a certain body type is over. Here’s our evidence, Serena Williams, definitely not an ectomorph, posted a selfie in a white bra and it went viral … women, and men, are capable of recognising that Serena no more represents the average women than a Victoria’s Secret lingerie model does, but that doesn’t stop anybody appreciating both body types for their inherent beauty and charm. Loving Serena’s bra? Us too - why not try the Roza Carmen bra from our online lingerie store - it’s perfect for selfies and self-confidence!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Summer lingerie - the silly season stories you couldn’t make up!

Theft of underwear

In Tennessee a man has been arrested for stealing lingerie. Nothing unusual in that, you may think, but the man, Christopher Wade, didn’t make off with a couple of thongs or slip some stockings into his back pocket - no, he was ambitious!

One night, just after midnight, he walked into a lingerie shop in Old Hickory and made off with an entire mannequin! In fact he failed to get the whole dummy into his truck, knocking her left arm off in the parking lot. When police tracked him to his home, Mr Wade was found to be in bed with the mannequin which was still wearing the lingerie he’d stolen it in. The dummy and underwear together are worth an estimated $5,000.

What boggled our minds there, amongst other things, is that lingerie stores are open until after midnight on a Sunday in Tennessee!

Bra sizes in animals

This really is a story that you couldn’t make up … a Japanese lingerie firm has decided to help its clients work out which bra cup size they require by creating a poster that reveals which animals weigh the same as breasts.

Yes, breast equivalence in animals. What’s most puzzling about the chart, to us, is that there is a clear sense in which the company believes A and B cup customers will be happy, as shown by smiling women with chipmunks and cockatiels as their breast weight equivalents while C to F cup sized women have downturned mouths … poor old F cup is also being half smothered by a giant Persian kitten, which might explain her miserable expression. It’s just bizarre.

Summer underwear trends - the not so silly season 

TickerTags is a clever monitoring system that follows tag trends such as treats and social media captions. And it’s produced some interesting data about how our lingerie trends are changing. So, for example, push-up bra mentions are down 35% while bralette tags in the social media have risen 14% in the first six months of the year. The claim is that this is a result of the Athleisure phenomenon which is the process of turning sportswear into daywear and the tendencies to seek comfortable clothing that permits athletic activity at all times.  Bralettes are also ‘peek’ clothing, which looks great when emerging from outerwear.

We’re pretty interested in this statistic … and we wonder whether it’s less to do with changes in lingerie purchasing or interests (we haven’t noticed any decline in push-up bra sales) but something to do with the age of people who use social media and are willing to talk about/selfie themselves in their undies. Perhaps it’s younger women (who are more used to bralettes) who use the tag more on social media? Anyway, we think the rise of the bralette is a wonderful thing and we’d like to bring the Coquette lace bralette to your attention … it’s a gorgeous little lingerie item at pocket money prices and one sizes fits pretty well everyone from chipmunk to Persian kitten sizes!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Soft, strong and very very long … underwear, not toilet roll!

Let’s start with the strong - three British female athletes have taken part in a lingerie shoot to ‘empower young women’. The three, Bryony Shaw (windsurfer), Amber Hill (skeet shooter) and Paralympic long jumper Stefanie Reid, are involved in a campaign to keep girls doing sport after the age of 13. Research has shown that this is the key age at which girls often give up sports and that they do so because of issues around their bodies.

The aim of the photographs is to reveal how strong and powerful bodies are also beautiful and to encourage long women not to feel ashamed of being physically strong. Bryony Shaw, a bronze medallist in Beijing an the current European champion says act she hid her body at school because she was worried other children would say she looked like a boy.

While we think that the intention is good, we can’t help feeling that photographs of three strong and superbly fit young women are unlikely to achieve the stated aim. While fearing getting too muscular might demotivate some teenage girls from sporting exercise, we think that many more young women feel they are too fat and too ‘flabby’ to reveal their figures - and being shown how toned and slim female athletes can be won’t do much for their self image. If one of the three had been from a different sport, perhaps shot-putting or the hammer, it might have given a wider range of body types with which more of us could have identified.

We’re very taken with Amber Hill’s outfit in this shoot though … we went hunting through our own stock to see what would look just as good on somebody who wasn’t a sporting superstar and we came up with the Charlotte set with its lovely half bra which is flattering in all sizes.

So, soft and long … how to conserve your underwear

Underwear is always soft when we get it - utterly wonderful against the skin, but all too often we find that after a while it’s no longer so soft and doesn’t always last as long as we’d like. So what can we do to preserve the quality and length of our new lingerie?

Rotate your undies

Both bras and knickers need a regular rest - this is because the elastic in underwear needs a day or so to get back to its designed shape - if you wear something and then give it a couple of days off duty, it will hold its shape better for longer.

 Wash with care

Use gentle detergent, preferably a liquid wash. Some powders can contain agents that are too aggressive for the fragile fabrics from which lingerie is made and biological washes can contain strong chemicals that dry out elastic and flatten the gentle weave of silks and satins. Hand washing is also highly recommended - but if you do need to machine wash, close clasps on suspenders and hook up bras before putting them in a lingerie bag or even a cotton pillowcase before putting them in the washing machine. This ensures that your underwear isn’t beaten about by other garments and that hooks and clasps don’t catch on other fabrics and get stretched.

Dry outdoors

Wherever possible line dry your lingerie - tumble drying destroys the careful construction of underwear, especially where underwires are concerned and can degrade elasticated areas of the garment causing sags that make it less nice to wear.