How Gossip Girl Kindled My Love of Lingerie

It may sound odd to say that a TV show brought about a love of lingerie. Especially a drama about spoiled New York City teenagers’ involved sexual escapades (although this description may not sound like it, I do like the show a lot).

I watched Gossip Girl because I myself was a senior in high school going to a private all-girls school in New York City. Not watching Gossip Girl would have been missing a key cultural zeitgeist and a chance to laugh at all the things that didn’t resemble my life. Truth is, I love the first half of the first season of the show–  there was a weird amount of truth in there.From there it went entirely haywire and I stopped being invested in it. But my love of lingerie just grew stronger.

Blair dresses up to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Nate– all does not go well.

If you don’t watch the show, or you don’t love lingerie, you might not realize how big a part it plays in the costumes of the first season. The two central female characters, Blair and Serena, both wore lingerie and loungewear so much and so beautifully that it made a deep impression on me.

Up until then, the only lingerie I knew about was Victoria’s Secret– a place I considered both slightly intimidating and rather exaggerated in its overt sexuality. Gossip Girl was really my first introduction to loungewear and the concept that what you wore underneath your clothes could be as beautiful as the clothes themselves.

My most favorite lingerie set that Blair wears

Sometimes, lingerie is worn for men– but mostly to ill effects, as Blair continuously tries to prepare to sleep with her boyfriend Nate and yet it always seems to go wrong. More often than not, it seems to be simply the natural representation of someone who loves luxury and beauty and has almost unlimited means to acquire them.

Blair in only her slip

In one episode, Blair visits a burlesque club after some absurdly complicated emotional turmoil (if you watch or watched the show you’ll know what I’m talking about– if not, watch it or simply imagine). Feeling tired of her “good girl” image, she’s goes up on stage and sheds her dress– revealing a gorgeous slip underneath. The motion was a classic one of liberation– casting off of the old, etc. But the fact that she was wearing a slip underneath was a surprising and enjoyable touch; even as the dress goes, she is still impeccably turned out and gives off her classic, retro air.

Funnily enough, I actually bought two lingerie pieces that I saw in the show as two of my first lingerie purchases. One was a Victoria’s Secret teddy and the other an Elle Macpherson Coranto bra, both of which I still adore (although the bra is now too small).

I also own this exact teddy– because I love polka dots.

It actually took me a while to pin down that this was the exact catalyst that sent me tumbling down the path of lingerie obsession that I am on now. I know some of you must have your own “how I found lingerie” stories– I feel like so often it is about finding the right fit or exploring your sexuality. To me, I saw this magical idea of beauty, detail and luxury that just felt like perfection and I just wanted to dive right into it. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

5 Comments
  1. Your story does sound familiar even though I never watched Gossip Girl. I grew up in a small place in a “lingerie-deprived” country, at least back then. Those were the days of pre internet, not even cable TV or VCR if you can imagine that… Luckily I could still see lots of imported movies on the big screen as well as TV programs and magazines, and every once in a while I caught a glimpse that indicated the existence of a wonderful world of lingerie out there that I need to explore. I especially remember the fancy peignoir set worn by Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, and for some reason the one worn by Jessica Lange in “The Postman Always Knocks Twice” also comes to mind.

    There were many other movies and TV programs that were worth suffering through just to watch few seconds of some beautiful lingerie. Those images were so strong and vivid that some times made me go and watch the same show again just for those magical scenes.

  2. That’s funny because when I saw Blair’s lingerie, I thought they looked evidently chosen by a costume designer and not a 16 y.o. I mean I understand that the character Blair is supposed to be rich and spoiled, but they seemed a little too much. Are New York private school kids that spoiled? Very beautiful though, pine worthy even, like they would fall under the “bridal” lingerie category. (Although the red and white polka dot one is an exception, can’t remember seeing this, I kinda stopped halfway through season 2 because I felt the show, much like Blair’s lingerie choices were a surfeit) Serena’s and Jenny’s were more believable I think.

    On the other hand lingerie epiphany was also on a teen TV drama produced by Josh Scwartz: The OC! Early in the first season, Marissa and her family ran out of their house late at night in their sleep clothes, and both Marissa and Julie, her mom, were wearing silk chemises and bathrobes, with Marissa pairing them with UGGS. I thought that was weird, like you’re wearing lingerie in front of your parents, and they don’t mind, and in fact you’re wearing something almost identical to your mom’s, but then it makes sense when considering the characters: Julie looks like the type of mom who would like to feel, look and dress as young as her daughter and maybe see in her daughter a reflection of herself and as such would pamper and spoil her daughter.

      • Um, I don’t think there was…I kind of stopped watching The OC after the first season. Oops, sorry! But I think a big reason why that scene made such a big impression on me was because I was young and everyone at school was buzzing about the show.

        I mean I can see how lingerie choice can also go the other way, and be very Blair–she’s very prim and fastidious, and I remember the New Yorker’s review for the Gossip Girl books and it said began by saying something like teenagers like to talk and think that they know about things that are a little more mature than they are and don’t grasp fully. I think there’s that quality in Blair’s lingerie. She’s wearing lingerie that’s probably a little too mature for a 16 y.o., but she probably would disagree with me there.

        But either way, the lingerie was gorgeous. I’m probably a little jealous that’s why I react strongly to it!

  3. Pingback: Lingerie is Different: Why Victoria’s Secret and Agent Provocateur are Winning the Marketing Game | The Lingerie Lesbian

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