My Lingerie Manifesto, or Why I Love Lingerie

Although I gave an introduction about myself and it must be pretty clear how much I love lingerie, I wanted to share with you a little of the why– so here goes & I would love to hear your feedback:

Essentially, what I love about lingerie is how it can express a part of you that has nothing to do with what everyone else sees. True, your choice of undergarment affects the look of the clothes on top of it (imagine a bullet bra vs. your classic Victoria’s Secret push-up) but within the most basic guidelines, you do have the potential for a lot of freedom. (Both Treacle from The Lingerie Addict and Dani Read as part of Lorna Lorentino‘s The Lingerie Project have talked about this before, and articulated a lot of their views on lingerie– you should definitely read what they said if you haven’t.)

Bordelle Lingerie

Your outerwear does work as a way to express yourself, but it is so often circumscribed by the formality of the occasion, your profession, the weather or what you want other people to think of you, while lingerie is a secret, decided entirely by you.

Lingerie is can be a fantasy and the fact that you usually only share it with your partner (or partners) means that it can be a special part of you, a secret self that totally under your control about when and where you reveal it. They’re called “intimates” for a reason, but I think that if you’re the sort of person whose lingerie means something to them, when you show off your lingerie you’re sharing a little bit of who you are as well as your body.

Photo by Shannon Brooke

Of course, comfort is also essential when it comes to lingerie– as the layer closest to your skin, discomfort can ruin you day. Wearing lingerie that fits (especially bras!) is essential for taking care of yourself, so stop worrying about whether your size is “too big” or “too small.” Uncomfortable underwear can ruin your day– don’t let it.

Also, as a gay woman, I am aware that my version of femininity can be deliberate and transgressive. I’m already outside of the mainstream, so in some ways the pressure to follow the “rules” of gender expression are lessened– including the assumption that women ought to be feminine. So then why do I choose to be and why use lingerie to that end?

Vivienne Mok

The answer is complicated– Sometimes I have my “femme doubts”– I wonder whether I’m doing what I want or I’m caving to the pressure of society. I feel like so often femininity is tied up is “how you should look to attract a man” or “how to have a pleasing appearance so that society will think you look ‘right'” and sometimes I struggle and question my own intentionality. Am I just being femme because it’s a “safe” choice?

That’s where lingerie comes in. Now, I don’t think lingerie should entirely be in the “femme” domain– there is plenty that someone who feels more androgenous or even masculine might embrace. But when I look at my lingerie and my choices, I see the frills and the pinks and the lace and the scalloping that is so very femme and is so very me. And then I know the lingerie marketing bullshit about just wearing lingerie to please your man is just plain wrong and even laughable. When I see my beautiful, precious lingerie collection I know that it can’t just be for “men” or “society,” because this is something they will never see– it’s for me. (And sometimes my girlfriend).

Hopeless Lingerie

This is not to say that you have to be queer to have lingerie or femininity be a key part of your identity or that lingerie is essential to true femininity– just that, for me, it helps remind me of my independence of what people say and what people think. And all my beautiful, frilly, colorful panties and bras are part of a collection that tells me who I am and what makes me feel enteirely like myself.

So, I basically really love lingerie. A lot :). Why do you like lingerie? What does it mean to you? I would really love to hear what you think in the comments.

  1. Such a good read! I’m really glad that there’s a lesbian perspective in the lingerie blogosphere now. It’s really great to hear about the power of lingerie from someone who isn’t in a heterosexual relationship.

    • I’m so glad you liked my post! I agree that diverse voices just make the whole lingerie blogosphere more interesting and so much more multi-faceted. Love your blog, of course :). It’s great to feel so welcomed.

  2. Hey ! I just found this post through Jezebel and I love what I’ve seen on here so far today. I didn’t even know there was a “lingerie blogosphere” and I’m even more excited there is a space for queer/lesbians/bisexuals/whatever to celebrate it, too. Look forward to reading more :)

  3. I’m glad I found this blog. I’m not going to lie, I like women in lingerie and I hope you’ll post pictures of you in another lingerie set every week. Or at least women in lingerie in general. That way I’ll keep coming back to this site. Keep up the good work. xx Cheryl

  4. Thank you very much for this well-written, courageous post. I think it proves once again that lingerie is first and foremost for the person who wears it, regardless if their in a relationship or not, their sexual orientation, and if I may add- hopefully without offending or grossing out anyone out there- their gender as well.
    I’m glad you are shedding a light on the subject from a not-so-common, or at least not commonly acknowledged, angle.

    Lovers of lingerie- unite!!!

  5. Thank you for writing this. It bums me out that lingerie is marketed towards making men feel a certain way, because it totally ignores how lingerie makes women feel, both as viewers and wearers. Lingerie can be so empowering and so pleasing to the woman who wears it, and that’s so fun and special. I love all of the pictures you included too!

  6. Oh my gosh that first set as a whole! I could not see myself wanting or being particularly interested in the pieces individually, but the entire set is impeccably styled! Of course, it’s Bordelle!

    If you have a femme identity, feel secure in that. I absolutely consider myself a femme, and absolutely do *not adore* ruffles and frills, and have only recently come around to bows (and I will admittedly cut them off if I find them distracting or in conflict with my tastes).

    I’m in the middle of writing a why-I-love-lingerie posts (inspired mostly by Treacle, and some other blogs which I cannot remember the names of), so I also give these things some thoughts. I do not have any romantic interests (yet), but I do find myself smirking: “Oh, what a shame it’s only me here to appreciate this amazing styling I’ve got going on under my outerwear. Poor thing, she just doesn’t know what she’s missing.”

    • I would love to read what you’re writing when you’re finished! Drop me a link or something to remind me :). I totally understand cutting “things you don’t like” off lingerie– there are definitely pieces with unnecessary bows and I have an abiding hatred of those cheap rosettes. I always remove them if I buy a set that I otherwise like completely– they just seem so… adolescent.

      • Yeah, I’ll let you know. :)

        Yeah, I haven’t experienced rosettes (had to look ’em up to see what you meant). I saw a few pieces I like, but in most cases I’d find them unnecessary. I just got an adorable waspie, but (but!) it has some lace accents. I seriously think if I don’t cut them off myself, I’m taking them to the tailor to have it professionally removed (for the least damage). I got it for a steal and I know I won’t return it, but I’m still a bit hesitant. It’ll look sooo much better without the lace! I’ll do it, I just don’t know when.

  7. I came across your blog recently having followed your Tumblr for some time. I am a lingerie design student, so it is great to hear when people love lingerie, and why! I completely agree that lingerie has to first and foremost be for the pleasure of the person wearing it – and if it is shown to a partner, I genuinely feel that the confidence evoked from wearing a beautiful piece is often more attractive to the viewer than the underwear itself. While I understand that there is of course a sector of the lingerie market that is largely designed and marketed towards pleasing men, it is not something I particularly consider when I am designing myself.

    Also, love the Bordelle image that you used! In response to Elegy’s comment above, I too wasn’t as sure about the set as I have been with other previous Bordelle collections, as it is a new direction for them. But the look book is styled beautifully, and the collection is stunning in person (I now really want the bra especially!)

    • Thanks so much for reading my blog! I have to say, I love hearing from lingerie students because I find that they have a wealth of knowledge that I don’t, but a similar level of lingerie addiction :). The Bordelle styling here is marvelous– I feel like they’re back on track after what I considered a couple slightly lack lustre seasons (except for the bondage dresses that were divine).

      • Yes, I suppose it is a different kind of knowledge – but it’s always nice to hear different people’s opinions, no matter what their background or training! The current look book is beautiful – the previous season’s imagery was a very different style for them, which I felt was a little too editorial for a look book. The angela dresses are always stunning, but I agree that they are back on top form now! This is only the second collection that has been designed for women, by a woman, and I think it really shows!

  8. I really like the part about outer clothes being what you want to appear to the world as vs underwear as what you appear to yourself. I don’t begrudge having to wear an almost uniform for my daily life–I think it makes dressing so much simpler, and to a degree my little uniform is also very me–but from time to time I want something different and that’s where lingerie comes in. In the same way we wear layers of clothes, so do our personalities have multiple layers.

    I’ve always been curious about gender, but I don’t have any real knowledge or that many people to talk to about it, so I really appreciate this.

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  13. I love how you call lingerie as a secret, decided entirely by you. Your own fantasy.
    Lingerie is heaven to me! What a great read. Thank you.

    • I wholeheartedly agree- not to bash the men who buy those lacy frilly delicates for their wives or girlfriends but when women take first-hand at it that means something, a lot of something! Most jobs do not condone showcasing a lacy peek-a-boo under the suit nor a silky thin strap cami therefore, that little secret underneath serves as an important component to expressing the sensual creative part of every women’s soul.

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  15. This post is so great. I never thought of lingerie that way, but it’s completely true. Do you have any advice on designers/stores to find reasonably priced, 50’s pin-up type lingerie? I’ve been obsessed with polka dots lately. Thanks, and thanks for the great blog!

  16. I am a cross dressing male. I just found your blog this morning through Lingerie Briefs. I love what I have read so far. Lingerie is my love and my passion. I started my cross dressing by wearing panties. It has grown into a great love. I have over 100 bra’s and panties. I wear nothing but ladies underwear. Ladies lingerie is so BEAUTIFUL and so many choice to choose from.

    I have to admit most of my lingerie is Wacoal and Chantelle. I have just finished going through 7 weeks of radiation treatments for cancer. The ladies doing my treatments were just wonderful. I had the ladies telling me what lingerie to wear for my next treatment. There were several days when I was asked to wear my garter belt and stocking sets. All the ladies seemed to have a good time with it all.

    Look forward to reading more.

  17. I love lingerie the same reason I love lipstick and jewelry. I am a woman, act like one and want to be treated like one. Why should I dress like a man? I think femininity is a rare quality these days, especially in cultures like ours, where women are expected to do all the same things men do (plus “womans work”). I get a little embarrased sometimes when men treat me so nice, all I have to do is wear a skirt and heels. The main reason is that I feel I am giving me and my body the respect is needs.

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  19. I stumbled across this site just the other day and I have been reading it nonstop. I really do enjoy it. I love lingerie the way it makes me feel and the way it looks, but my perspective is a bit different that some others. I am a male cross dresser. I have always had a fascination with lingerie and now that I but my own I am very choosey in my selections. My bras and panties are more basic in color, white, black and beige, but I have over 30 style of bras in each color so nearly 100 bras alone. I find bras to be a very interesting garment to wear. The one thing that I love about lingerie is the way it makes me feel. Fine lingerie can make you feel very pretty and I think that is what I love. The colors and fabrics are just fantastic, better than anything that normal men wear. Anyway just thought I would share that with you.

  20. I say the most important thing is to be yourself and not be concerned about whether you’re being programmed into social norms of femininity. Heterosexual or Homosexual or anything in between, some folks like lingerie and some find it to be ridiculous.

  21. Hey! First visit of your blog, was intrigued to see another perspective on lingerie, especially from someone that is not trying to seduce the men. I don’t know why ( minimalism, frugality, personal taste, lazyness, lack of self-love?!?) but I don’t like lingerie. I find it unnecessary due the small size of my bust and my affection for white cotton undies. I stopped wearing bras at 15, only problem was that my then cheap t-shirts where thin and showing the color of my areolas. I then started wearing tank tops underneath. Having pretty high and pointy breasts, the shape and nipples are often visible through any kind of fabric, but I refuse to press them into shapes that are not their own. So I walk my pointy points with a straight back.
    ‘Cause honestly, anyone that doesn’t love breasts has lost the link to life itself :)

  22. You are a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone who supports and expresses lingerie as a way of empowering women of all shapes and sizes. When women feel good about themselves and are accepting of themselves the sky is truly the limit. I recently tried to do some freelance work for a really innovative intimate apparel company (I won’t say who) and they turned me down because my voice was more geared towards women and they wanted it to be towards men! This whole time I’m thinking they were supporting a little gift for women to buy for themselves when, in fact, they were trying to attract their man to buy for them. It was very discouraging and wanted to give them a piece of my feminist mind but decided not to.

    Once again your loving support for all things beautiful and delicate just as “we are” is sincerely appreciated.

  23. Hi,
    I was google-ing about for Ellen Von Unwerth, came across an article of yours on Jezebel, and followed it back here to your blog. How wonderful. Now I’m perusing your Pinterest pages.

  24. I truly love nice lingerie (and your brilliant blog), and for me lingerie is an awesome way of accepting my feminine nature. As you so elegantly put it, no one sees it but yourself and your partner.

    But with regards to your love of lingerie, I’m curious as to how your lesbian orientation reflects and manifests itself in your lingerie choices, ie. style, colors, fabrics, brands, collections, etc.? I hope this question is not too broad or personal.

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