WELCOME TO BRA WEEK! This week and next, the Autostraddle writers and some special guests will be giving you the scoop on over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders and otherwise-inclined chest-covering situations — fashion, history, feelings and so much more.
Given that my blog is called The Lingerie Lesbian it should be no surprise to anyone that I think that lingerie is the loveliest, shiniest thing in the whole world and I like nothing more than acquiring much too much of it. However, the truth is that it can be more than a bit intimidating to shop for, especially if you are just starting out. To get you started, here are 6 things that I always try to think about when I’m lingerie shopping.
1. Keep an open mind.
Lingerie shopping can be hard because it’s such an intimate, personal piece of clothing that it can bring out a lot of difficult feelings. However, unless it’s way outside your budget, it never hurts to just try something on to see if you’re the kind of person who definitely needs a black lacy slip. Or ouvert knickers. Or a strappy bra. (Or you may discover that you need all of these things and you can join me on the dark side, i.e. people who care way too much about their underthings.)
2. Beware of briefs with garter attachments because they seem awesome but they can be the worst.
This may seem bizarrely specific, but I have made this mistake before and it has led to circumstances so dire that I had to remove my stockings in the middle of the street in freezing January because I couldn’t bear it any longer. It was not pleasant. This may seem like common sense, but if you buy anything that pulls downward (like a garter belt/ suspender knickers) make 100% sure that it is successfully anchored at your waist or you will regret it and your knickers will end up bunched around your knees in public.
3. Don’t assume that because something isn’t in your local boutique, it doesn’t exist.
As many of you know, the internet is a weird and wonderful place full of things you don’t even know you’ve been missing and many of those things are lingerie. If you are outside the size range you see in your nearby stores, don’t despair! Actually, if you are looking for something specific, shoot me an email and I can help. As Hamlet would put it, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your Victoria’s Secrets.”
4. If you are buying something to go with a certain outfit, bring that outfit with you.
This may seem like common sense, but I have made this mistake way too often to count and am left with things that are really pretty but are the wrong shape/color/texture. If you are into the whole trousseau/bridal lingerie concept, this is an especially good plan!
5. Be comfortable.
Comfort means different things to different people, so whether it’s choosing materials that feel good, shapes that make you look amazing or something that affirms your gender identity, don’t let a pushy salesperson, a partner or a shopping buddy push you into anything you don’t want to do. Underwear is a private, individual thing — so make sure it’s something that makes you feel awesome.
6. Have fun!
I know, I know, this is such a cliché thing to write. But honestly, what exactly is the point of ‘lingerie’ if not to have fun? Yes, there are utilitarian purposes to bras and briefs, but when you get into the fancy, unusual stuff, you get to be the egomaniac that you’ve always wanted to be and choose exactly what tickles your fancy.
Header by Rory Midhani
Feature images by Robin Roemer