Bridal lingerie: something a little different

John accepted my marriage proposal back in March, and our wedding’s in July. We’re just going to the courthouse with our families, and I’m wearing a cocktail dress from Nordstrom by Ivy & Blu. I think it was on sale for $60, I bought it a year ago to wear for weddings in general. I don’t feel like going wedding dress shopping, so here we go.

Under it I don’t know what I’ll wear. Probably my Dita set, since it has a low neckline but isn’t too bulky. I like the way white looks on me, but I don’t see the point in hunting for a white set when I’m not doing much else traditionally.

I did buy something I’ll call wedding lingerie to wear around for my honeymoon in August, though: an assembled outfit from Christine Lingerie. Basic silk cami, lounge pant, and the Smoky Rose short robe. I picked these pieces up at their headquarters in Vancouver, where they have sale samples in the front. Although you cannot be assured of getting specific patterns or colors, the discount is pretty amazing: the set came to less than half the retail price. Here’s the robe:

rosekimono

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to taking this baby from A Sophisticated Pair on my honeymoon for easy travel:

Floralcrop

I’ve gained weight since the photo was taken. So a size large was a bit large, now I think it’ll be fine. Bolero Beachwear is washing-machine and dryer safe, it says.

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Budgeting for space and money

Last year I bought too much lingerie.

The past half year has been more Hanky Panky camis and underpants than I really needed, with some of it in storage. Ah well. It’s not like black stretch thongs go bad if I don’t wear them, and they’re more forgiving of size changes than, say, bras. The never-worn still-tagged ones can be resold or donated if I don’t find myself reaching for them.

hanky panky batik cami and short
but seriously that batik print is so unusual

I also went a bit crazy buying tap pants, pajamas, and chemises. Mary Green was going out of business, so I bought whatever I could in winter 2015. I also bought two Julianne of London knickers and a pajama set for…reasons. The pajama set is so cool, though! Then I visited Christine’s shop in Vancouver and couldn’t resist another chemise and a robe since they were so pretty in person and inexpensive in-store.

julianne
wicked smaht, right? also on sale

There was my luscious Pillowbook purchase. That was just worth it. More about later, I keep promising, once I figure out how to get the demonic yellow eyes out of the photos. That’s not what I think of as doing justice to the pieces.

Bra-wise, I’ve been buying more of the same. Replacing my slightly un-sized Dahlia, Dessous, Decos. Taking some bras out of storage and putting others in because I go back and forth with size! More sports bras, because some are a little small. At the end of the year I purchased some discontinued styles: another elomi Caitlyn because the previous is a bit small and an elomi Rita for its convertibility. Should I review Rita, since it’s being discontinued? Eep.

It’s been a year of discovering more unpadded bras for me. I go back and forth on what I want. I like the lines I get with some padded bras, and unpadded ones are just better for traveling, which I do a bunch (they pack smaller and dry faster when I don’t have drying rack access).

I want to be conscious of what I buy because I don’t have all the space in the world, and I want to stick to a clothing budget. Last year I went over, which I could, but I now know that I don’t need that many clothes/underwear. Cora Harrington of The Lingerie Addict made a resolution to buy 16 pieces of lingerie for herself. I don’t know if I can do that, but I think I may start by keeping count of what I acquire and keep. I’ve already bought three pieces to try on for this month, four if you count pajamas. Do pajamas count? I will try not to buy any more camis or chemises or tap pants for the time being…until something falls apart, anyway. Or swimsuits.

At the end of last year, I also purchased an elomi Bijou and Kris Line Marilou. Reviews for those should come. I’ve also got some PlayOut, PACT and Dear Kate underpants. Anything you want to read about first?

If you’re curious as why there’s been less blogging the past half year, it’s because I’ve put more of my spare time into science fiction romance: writing, reviewing, and blogging about that. As long as I have anything useful to contribute, though, I’ll continue.

 

 

The Middle Class, Buying Habits, and ‘Luxury’ Lingerie

I see the term luxury tossed around for pretty much everything these days, as has The Lingerie Addict. Figleaves calls its vast library of clothes and foundations luxury, when they carry some low-cost brands. Huh? What does that mean, I asked?

Economically speaking, luxury goods are high markup and high prestige. The designer label is important. Some of them are veblem goods, meaning that demand for them is proportional to a high price, which contradicts the law of demand. Humans have funny psychology concerning prestige, exclusivity, and quality, and how they relate to our self-worth. Conspicuous consumption is desired or commended in many social circles or circumstances no matter our income bracket. In the United States, both ‘luxury’ and ‘middle class’ have become stretchy terms. Several models agree that ‘middle class’ means at least some level of college. I’ve heard the term apply to adults whose personal income is anywhere between $30,000 to $200,000 annually. Cost of living varies widely across the country, but I think the idea is to indicate some financial security. However, there are many smart, college educated people working full-time or more and living month-to-month.

The Baby Boomers (and probably earlier Americans) that had lived in the United States for more than a generation tended to have material goods of consistent grade. If you had hand-me-down furniture, chances were you didn’t eat out much unless it was fast food, wore hand-me-down clothing, went to public schools, and if you had a car, drove a small Chevy, GM, or Ford (before the nineties Japanese cars had high tariffs) and kept it until it stopped working. If you were ‘comfortable’, you probably had had decent quality furniture, some technological gadgets, maybe some music or dance lessons or sports for the kids, a mid-size or minivan, and went out to dinner once a week. If you were more than comfortable, my impression is everything in your house was supposed to be expensive unless it had sentimental value.

Today, many young people are opting to ‘trade up.’ Within our budgets, we choose what’s emotionally important to us and invest proportionally more in that good or service and cut on other things. A well-to-do person can have a smartphone, a Roomba, a semi-pro camera, two computers and a tablet, a big entertainment center…and IKEA furniture and no pants that cost more than $30. Another person might take singing lessons, nice audio speakers for the home, $80 bras, and share a place with many roommates, get $20 haircuts, and always brew their own coffee which they bought at the grocery store instead of stopping in a coffee shop.

This applies to lingerie buying as well. You can buy Parfait by Affinitas, Lepel, Pour Moi? and sale lingerie most of the time (or just not have a ton of bras) to save for one Angela Friedman or Christine (often considered luxury) piece. Or like the person above, spend money on pricier bras and have roommates who may hate you. Many people who wear lingerie are on a budget. I tend to buy big brand bras, underpants from $8-20, and simple chemises, pajamas, and loungewear. I go for variety rather than mega high end garments in my bra drawer. (One could argue that the Masquerade bras are high end, but $80 rather than $60 does not seem to be super luxe to me compared to La Perla, Agent Provocateur, Lise Charmel…)

Photography by Matjaz Tancic
Photography by Matjaz Tancic

This year was the first time I indulged in made-to-measure (often considered a luxury) lingerie: pieces from Pillowbook: two dudou, a pair of pants, and slip. I’m super impressed and love the results (more on that in future posts). However, I feel like buying luxury/couture will not become a regular habit. I’m not a fashionista and regular offerings from the Eveden group, Panache, Parfait, Hanky Panky, Wacoal, and Josie satisfy me most of the time.

What are your priorities when buying lingerie? Do you get a few expensive items, or a larger quantity of economical ones? Do you put aside money in case something you dream of comes to light, or is there a special something you’re saving up for?

In Rainbows

June is Pride month. This Saturday starts Seattle PrideFest complete with rally, Trans* Pride event, Queer Art Walk, film festival, many vendors, food, and Seattle’s biggest parade. A UCC minister told me that several churches were squabbling one year about what order they went in during the Pride parade and then he snapped “why don’t we all march together, do you know how many communities in other parts of the country would love to have this problem?” Dan Savage is a local luminary. Seattle elected an openly gay mayor, Ed Murray (who put gay rights as part of his platform), a few years ago. Big corporate sponsors such as T-mobile, Microsoft, Starbucks, Walmart, Alaska Airlines, Macys, and many more show up to put their names on things and be associated with Pride. Microsoft and Starbucks are local companies who have been involved for many years, but seriously, Walmart?! The almighty dollar triumphs again.

In 1996 I made a website with a rainbow spectrum of triangles because I loved rainbows. An acquaintance of mine (a brave teenager who came out in what I think was Northern Florida) told me that was pretty cool and supportive. I was confused. He told me about the Pride connotations of rainbows. “Huh,” I said. I had to be honest with him- I hadn’t thought about it, but now that I knew I’d keep them up there as a message of support. At the time it could be considered daring, as I lived in a conservative Catholic town — our public high school had one openly gay student out of about eight hundred — and my website had my name on it. I considered it low-risk because my peers already thought I was ‘weird.’

Some apparel companies have shown their support in rainbows. As Jeanna of Bluestockings Boutique said, few lingerie companies have given shout-outs about Pride month, but Hanky Panky are spot on:

Image by Hanky Panky. I recommend the retail website.

I will go buy some of their underpants right now to work on making my own rainbow. They have every color I can think of. My personal experience is that they are rather comfortable and roll up well for traveling (bikini or thong, haven’t tried the other cuts). They used to have a proper rainbow colorway in and of itself, but I can’t find it anymore. Have you found any rainbow or Pride-appropriate lingerie?

American Apparel didn’t make rainbow shirts, but they do have a line called Equality Forward with the Human Rights Campaign. They partnered with GLAAD to make a lovely OUT! unisex shirt a few years ago, too. Some proceeds from these tops go to the organizations. I’ve been historically suspicious of some of AA’s ads, but these shirts look cool to me, and the OUT! one is currently $14.

Nike have also embraced the rainbows with their Be True 2015 selection. Sneakers, shoes, tanks, and hats show a rainbow, a hashtag on black. adidas counters with its Pride Pack, sneakers and a slide with rainbow paint and effects. I’m pleasantly surprised that sportswear companies are acknowledging and marketing Pride Month: athletes, especially those who play on team sports, have very few out professionals.

I think every month should be Pride month. Companies should always have inclusive ad campaigns. Our mayor is awesome and should blink more often. Things have changed in the United States, but there’s a lot more to be done in a lot of places before queer (using the term to mean non-cis non-heterosexual) people can be themselves without getting shamed, that they may be murdered at the same rate as the rest of us, and that they have all the rights of non-queer humans. I try to use P-FLAG as a starting point for how to be supportive. If you have better resources, please direct me to them.

Addendum: holy Lego Man the Supreme Court decided to time their decision on same-sex marriage. Extra Happy Pride!

Due to a move with getting out of shape, an enforced period of inactivity after surgery, medication changes, and vacation in several places, I’ve replaced muscle with fat. This means over half my bras don’t fit. Too tight or too small in the cup. I’ve been putting bras in storage (some which I was waiting on wearing until others stretched out) and had to buy a few new ones. Some of them I will give away, and some I might try reselling. It’s been a while since I measured myself anyway. The older bras will be on standby if I get into a different shape. I changed gyms since the move and now go to the Y for weights and stationary cycle at home while reading.

I made myself a new rule: anything that doesn’t fit right now goes in a suitcase. Looking at it in the drawer is just depressing. I do this monthly. The new arrivals I’m rocking include Curvy Kate’s Dita and the Masquerade Antoinette. The new arrivals that did not rock with me were two Claudette Dessous. I will review them all for you as life slows down a bit.

I received my order from Pillowbook and am floored by the lovely silks. Before I get pictures of the treasures on I recommend you check out their site for Far East lingerie with geometric flair. Their showcase garment is the dudou, an evolution of a tied top dating back to the Ming dynasty. Also, check out the Mondrian capsule collection (thanks Caro!). I never thought I’d enthuse over the use of corners in lingerie, but life has taken me stranger places.

Over vacation I went to the Taza chocolate factory and I must say I ate the chocolate covered cashews too fast. Worth it, though. They’re out of stock in the online store right now:

promo photo from tazachocolate.com