Take pleasure in what’s beneath

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Illustration by Nimi Einstein

When I was 12 years old Judy Blume taught me, along with countless other pre-teens, the ins and outs of buying our own underwear.

It was fairly simple: find the nearest Target and hope that no store clerk would loudly ask if you needed their assistance, as if wandering around the racks of cotton training bras wasn’t embarrassing enough.

Having an older sister in those times meant that I viewed Victoria’s Secret as the Holy Grail. Buying panties in anything but a 10-pack seemed foreign and exhilarating to me.

When we’re young we’re taught that buying underwear is just another everyday task that needs to get done with no thought beyond making sure it fits. However, as I matured I discovered that you could buy lingerie just as you bought clothing: with care, joy and style.

Suddenly we’ve discovered that a matching underwear set is just as rewarding and empowering as a new pair of Mary Jane pumps. Nowadays, I can’t imagine my life without extending that sartorial freedom of expression to territories below my shift dress.

Burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese explained it best: “I think that no matter what one’s fashion style is, there’s always a place for luxe lingerie underneath it all.”

Why lingerie? Why are we so attracted to the delicate beading on a bralette? Why are there days we sometimes pick that La Perla thong over the safe conformity of a Calvin Klein brief?

As average women, we see top sellers like Victoria’s Secret or Agent Provocateur selling their products with the intention that women will wear them to please their partners.

There is nothing wrong with dressing up for someone else and looking good, but lingerie is about a great deal more than looking good. It’s also all about how it makes you feel.

In an age where social media has started to dominate our lives, pleasures of delicate privacy are sometimes limited.

The sensation of wearing ruby red lace under your skirt without possessing any obligation to show it to someone else is such an influential feeling.

No matter the location or attire, you could be sitting in a cubicle clothed in beige slacks but still feel on top of the world because of the beautiful surprise you have for yourself underneath.

Lingerie gives us that extra boost when we most need it. It gives us a reason to stand a little straighter and love a little deeper. It’s almost like having a secret and romantic tryst with your underwear drawer, and sometimes keeping that relationship to yourself produces the sweetest feeling.

A common misconception about lingerie is that it remains exclusive to certain body types with a 32C bra size and a size two dress figure. This, however, is very wrong.

Victoria’s Secret only carries 32A through 38DD sizes, but there are so many other body types that are not represented in that range. It is extremely difficult for such large carriers to cater to everyone’s needs, so there are smaller companies that specialize in a wider range of sizes.

Companies like Fauve and Curvy Kate cover women with full busts (DD and cup sizes) and plus sizes (38 and band sizes) without sacrificing beautiful and delicate designs. French newcomer Yse specializes in A-B cups only, trying to give smaller-busted women confidence without giving them a push-up bra.

Cora Harrington of the Lingerie Addict website stated it perfectly: “I firmly believe every woman deserves beautiful, comfortable and affordable lingerie. And I don’t believe that needing a full bust or plus-size bra means you have to resign yourself to plain styles in boring shades of beige.”

No matter your size and shape, you deserve beautiful lingerie.

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