People are always asking me about my lingerie stash and my shopping methods so I thought I'd suggest a strange kind of undertaking - an online lingerie shop along. What's that?? Well, it's a way that I will assist you, hopefully, in improving your lingerie wardrobe (in terms of fit, function etc.) based on my own (numerous and intense) experiences. You don't have to participate at any specific time - though, no time like the present, I say. If you choose to participate in some way, I'd so appreciate it if you'd tell us about your experience in comments - or on your own blog. Owning lingerie that fits is empowering because it's foundational.
On a more practical note, my feeling is that it's relatively stress-free to undies shop online - and so much fun so...
Let's Go (Online) Shopping
Provisos (I should probably just have a legal disclaimer at the end):
1. This post is to provide you with information about how to buy lingerie online, from reputable sites, not specifically to satisfy whims (though I love whims), but to meet needs. The method is based solely on my own experience. I recognize that my definition of need, when it comes to lingerie sets, might well be different than yours. That's cool. I think, for what it's worth, bare basics "needs" include perfectly-fitted versions of the following:
- 2 neutral bras in your skin tone. These should be seam-free or with minimal fabric profile for maximal use
- 2 black bras - One basic, one sexy
- Neutral and black undies (I recommend that they match in colour, even if not part of a set, the bras above) that fit perfectly in as many styles as you actually wear. I wear thongs, shorts and high cut vintage style lace undies. I'm not big on "briefs" so I tend to give them a miss.
- 2 bra / undies sets in patterns, cuts, colours and styles that THRILL you. Trust me ladies. You'll wear them. And everyone will appreciate it.
- A strapless bra in black or neutral (you may not wear it often, but when you need it, you'll have it)
- A body suit with built in bra. This will serve you well more often than you imagine when you need a smooth line under fitted knits.
- A good bra designed for exercising (the kind you actually do). Runners may need something a bit more robust than those who do Pilates...
2. Not everyone is comfortable shopping for underwear online. Um, hello, these things have to fit perfectly and there's no way to try them before purchase. However, I think we can agree that I am a fit-aholic. And that I don't have a tiny bust that can get away with anything. I still manage to online bra shop rather successfully on the basis that the sites I use have very good return and reship policies. I'm also willing to return things (on my own dime, admittedly). That costs approximately 8 bucks for a set. So, I'm betting on the fit, but I'm willing to absorb that extra cost as necessary. You can't win if you don't play. Trust me, the money you'll save in the long haul - and the quality of merchandise you'll be able to find - more than makes up for a few disappointing returns and reorders.
3. Costs I've incurred, which I'll refer to in my posts, will include all shipping and taxes but not customs. I am rarely charged customs from the UK (where I generally purchase from). I'm dinged on the customs more often than not when I buy from large companies in the US. It's one of the reasons I don't shop online from the States if I can help it. (Example: The yarn I bought from WEBS was on mega sale and yet I was charged an extra 35 bucks at the border. Given the time I waited (2 weeks to 1 month) and the amount I spent on customs and shipping (vs. what I would have paid in a LYS), I might as well not have bothered. Live and learn.)
Start as You Mean to Go On
Go to your lingerie drawer right now (or when you get home from work :-)) and ditch whatever is a) crappy or b) too big or small. If you love a garment that doesn't fit, put it away in a nice, dry spot where it'll be easy to find when and if your size does change. If you morph 3 cup sizes in a month, then make sure all of those sizes are represented in your current lingerie drawer. Axiom: If it doesn't fit and you don't wear it, it's not a valid part of your current lingerie wardrobe. For example: If the only strapless bra you own is one you've had since you were a tween, it's probably time to say goodbye.
Dare I suggest that it's a total waste of time to feel bad about ditching things you haven't used much or to be hateful of yourself for any reason. I'm a bit tough-love, in case you didn't know that about me. Just ask my mother. Keep in mind that you're taking an important first step to improve. Celebrate with a glass of wine while you work. And give the bad-fit bras (only those in perfect shape, obvs) to your best friend or sister or the person you know whom they'll actually fit. Big time note: If you're embarrassed to give them away (I'm talking bras here, not undies which are not regiftable), by all means chuck them faster! Why on earth would you keep those things around?
So, today's questions:
- Are you in? (At least in concept?) You can always start the search for great new things even if you don't have the cash to purchase right away.
- Do you already bra-shop online or is it a radical concept in your opinion?
- What kind of shape is your "basic" lingerie drawer in? What does basic mean to you?