For the love of lingerie

I’ve been dragging my heels regarding this confession. But here it goes…[deep breath in….gusty exhalation]. I love lingerie. I mean, I may as well wear a tee shirt that says, “will work for shoes and lingerie.” I pay bills, contribute to our retirement accounts, some groceries and gas for my car, but every extra cent is saved for shoes and lingerie.

“Real elegance is everywhere, especially in the things we do not show.” -Christian Dior

“Lingerie is NOT about seducing men. It’s about embracing womanhood.” -Dita Von Teese

“Without foundation, there can be no fashion.” -Christian Dior

There are four lingerie companies that I feel passionate about, Cosabella, Aniela Parys, Fleur du mal and Cadolle.

Aniela Parys, originally from Portland, Oregon is now based primarily out of Barcelona, Spain. She hand makes many of her articles from dead stock (leftover fabric that goes unused by the mill or brand that fabricated it. Be it because the fabric turned out blue when it was meant to be purple, the brand ordered more than they could use or they simply decided it wasn’t right for the piece for which they intended it, deadstock fabric is any textile that’s sitting around as a leftover without plans for future use.).

Now Cosabella is more mainstream. An Italian couple relocated for work from their homeland to Miami, Florida. While her husband was away at work, Valeria needed something to do! She started exporting a selection of Italian made garments to sell in Miami. As other European companies started outsourcing their manufacturing to cheaper countries, Cosabella began producing their own line of lingerie (thus eliminating the middle man) in Italy. Where they are to this day!

Fleur du mal is about dressing up and undressing (that’s their tag line!) . A little edgier then the other two, an e-commerce business with a studio in Soho NYC. I also love their description of goods, “Feminine, chic and slightly subversive.” The founder, Jennifer Zuccarini used to be the design director at Victoria’s Secret before going off on her own. I have never bought a piece of hers yet, but I like looking at them.

Another company I draw inspiration from is Cadolle. Cadolle is THE Parisian lingerie house, Herminie Cadolle literally invented the bra in 1889.

“Lingerie is a woman’s inner, secret glamour.” -Alice Temperley

This is the start to my exploration in lingerie making. There is so much specialty “equipment” ! Look at those tiny pins (game changer right there). I found sewsassy.com as a resource for special elastic, stretch lace, stretch satin, hardware and software. I picked a few things up at Joann’s but selection was limited.

Alabama Chanin baby doll top. Imagine this in different materials: leather, satin, lace trim, a black sequined bodice with a light weight flowy leather “skirt”.

“The first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you take off at night, make it good!” -unknown

I love being a woman, what feminism means to me

I had an awkward adolescence. Filled with the desire to appear more capable, I adopted a masculine demeanor. I was a “Tom-boy” to the extreme. I dressed in boys clothes, I buzzed my hair, and played tackle football at recess. People were always asking if I was a girl or a boy.

It has only been recently that I came to realize the power in being a woman. Because self confidence and self love is an evolutionary process. I still HATE being short. I’m frustrated that despite my training I can’t jog any faster than a 10 minute mile. I hate my food cravings, and slips of will power regarding food. I wish I could lose 5-10 more pounds. I still have a hard time accepting compliments.

Despite all that….

What I love most about being a woman is how men treat me. Most men look at me with a mixture of amusement and admiration, and treat me with an uncanny respect.

“It is a man’s job to respect a woman, but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect.” -unknown

I used to get annoyed when a man would help carry something, or open a door for me, etc… like it was an insult, like they thought I was weak and helpless. I’ve come to realize it’s just a sign of respect, akin to bowing to a queen.

“An independent woman doesn’t need a man, but still prefers a gentleman who could take care of her, ravage her in bed, and put her in her place once in a while. And watch how she’ll move mountains and make room for you in her life. “. -britta.who

My best friend KelLee always wears long skirts, and almost always wears a head piece because she is a devote Catholic. She has been amongst some nefarious looking folks, people she was initially frightened to walk by. She was put in an unavoidable situation where she had to speak to them and ask for help, it was all “yes ma’am…your welcome ma’am…anything else I can do for you ma’am?” This is a perfect example of a woman being feminine and some public’s response to her.

I have met a few misogynistic males and I don’t try to change their opinion of me or women in general. I just ignore them and refuse to interact with them, they are not worth my time. Men that don’t respect or like me I don’t associate with, their loss, not mine.

“Truly powerful women don’t explain why they want respect. They simply don’t engage those who don’t give it to them.” – extramadness.com

I feel blessed to have such healthy, positive relationships with men.

“I love men, for all the ways they are different from women.” -Veronique Vial

It seems strange that an essay titled I love being a woman would be mostly about men but it’s like the Foreigner song “I guess it’s just the man in you that brings out the woman in me. ” ( pronouns switched for my purposes)