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Icing on the Cake

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

Picking out the right lingerie for yourself can often feel overwhelming. If you don’t already have a favorite it’s like being asked what cake you want for your birthday. Chocolate? Vanilla? Ice cream? Red velvet? Cheesecake? Do you want frosting and sprinkles or maybe a message and candles?

What’s most crucial here is that you enjoy it and feel good about it more than anyone else.

Knowing what styles are best suited to you can make a world of difference.

Better than any lingerie he could have ever gotten me, my partner gifted me a book a while back called In Intimate Detail in which the author, Cora Harrington, illustrates how to choose, wear, and love lingerie. The book is broken into seven chapters with a few appendixes for good measure.

In case you didn’t already know, lingerie is a French word for underwear, sleepwear, and other items of intimate apparel worn by women that can also be split into five groups: bras, underwear, shape-wear, hosiery, and loungewear. Within those groups are multiple styles that accentuate different parts of your body and finding the right one can take some practice. Even the bra, for example, is made up of several parts like the band, straps, underwire, cups, and those can all be altered to your preference. Cups can cover half your breast, the whole, be made of mesh or lace or fabric, and you can add layers as you please for more push. You can add straps, remove them, cross them, tighten, or extend and shorten them, and your bra band may be more comfortable in elastic, thicker or thinner, with wire in the cups, or no wire at all.

In order to find your correct size, you should have another person check your measurements. However, you can measure your bust and underbust on your own as a start.

You’d think it ends there but there’s more to it! Depending on your breast shape and the silhouette that you prefer, some pieces of lingerie may sit better on you than others. You always want your bra band to have space for two fingers two fit in between your shoulder blades and your straps not to be pulled too tight.

Most forms of lingerie are intended to support you more than sculpting you. They should compliment you, so you want to make sure it fits properly from the start and that you take good care of it. The same goes for other pieces like shape-wear that come in more varieties than I could have ever imagined. Don’t get me started on hosiery.

It’s important to avoid wearing any of your lingerie for too many days in a row. Otherwise, the elastic and other materials can wear out. They need time to recover.

You’ll also want to hand-wash as much of it as you can or invest in a laundry bag just for your delicates so you can separate them out and always air dry.

I cannot recommend Harrington’s book enough. I’ve yet to find another piece of literature on the subject matter that is so thorough yet simplistic. In fact, I’ve loaned my copy to all of my friends because I want everyone to feel amazing in their skin. It’s interesting to learn how much of the lingerie we think of as being “for women” today originated by men. Now inclusive and forward-thinking companies like Thistle & Spire and Fenty x Savage have brought it all back around to create lines of intimate wear for all.

This time of year is actually one of the best times to shop for lingerie as most of these brands start hosting their Semi-Annual sale. Typically you can find the best sales in June and January when companies are turning over their last season’s merchandise to start a new. Victoria’s Secret’s semi-annual sale, like many others, is a far better time to purchase your garments than holidays like Black Friday. Other, more sustainable brands worth keeping an eye out for, include Parade, Veronica Velvet (a small business that handmakes each order from scrap fabric), TomboyX, Cuup, and Girlfriend Collective. If you tend to be more into leather goods, latex, and a strappy moment then I would suggest Alina Muha, Marie Mur, Busted Brand, and Anoeses. If you prefer satins and lace, brands such as Edge o’ Beyond, Studio Pia, and Agent Provocateur may be more for you. However, since those are more intricate pieces they can tend to cost more and not everyone can afford to invest at this time. If you’re looking for something equally detailed but more budget-friendly, then you may want to try Adore Me, Fenty x Savage, and, my new personal favorite, Target’s newer line Auden. They all offer reasonable prices from the get-go, frequent sales, and typically some sort of payment plan or subscription service. This last year all I heard was rave reviews about Lounge, Aerie, and Skims but I’ve yet to try them myself.

My greatest advice is to take your shot at thrifting what you can because quite honestly, they just don’t make them like they used to. It can be difficult to find your size or shape as often when going the second-hand route therefore using a platform like Depop, Thredup, or Poshmark may be easier. Regardless, the satisfaction when you do come across that perfect piece is like finding hidden treasure. At the end of the day, it’s important to consider it an investment in yourself and find something that makes you feel your best. Don’t forget to listen to the wise words someone great once said and “Treat yo’ self!”

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