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!