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. 

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