In the fall of 2012, I hosted the online Lingerie Shop Along, a very enjoyable community experience that saw me into a pretty bad health moment. Alas, it was most definitely the worst online lingerie-purchasing experience I've ever had (largely because of suboptimal fitting and shipping experiences - not because the products or vendors were in any way lacking). In truth, I was not at my most emotionally resilient at that time, and I was somewhat dismayed by my failure to fit into basically anything I ordered, due to poor sizing in every direction.
I was in a challenging place. Much of my pre-owned lingerie was either: at the edge of over-worn, too-small (and put away in the "not now" drawer), not quite supportive enough, or just not exciting anymore. Yeah, I do own 3 sizes of lingerie at any given time, and in the fall, I had 40-odd sets, but many of those bras were my "continuity" styles. I'd bought them a couple of times over or had a couple of the same styles in my stash. I was verging on a rut, somehow.
Add to this that my body had lost a lot of weight (from sickness) - and now it's rebounded from that due to constant eating of delicious food, thank you very much - plus the fact that I'm almost 43 and I have a teenager, whom I birthed... Well, my body has gone (and is going) through some changes.
Over the years, I'd used online shopping mainly to repurchase bras I'd owned (via trying them on first in boutiques) or those made by my core brand (that always fit well), Freya. By last winter, it had been so long since I'd been to a real shop to try something on - not to mention that Freya's not at a high point from the quality or fit perspective these days - that I was wondering what the fuck had happened to all of the good bras.
Many of you know, since I talk about it compulsively, that I went for a fitting (not my first, by a long shot, but my first in a couple of years) in a bricks and mortar shop. This experience was very useful in as much as it introduced me to the fit of Empreinte (a brand I'd always wanted to try but couldn't find at a reasonable price, so I'd avoided it) and reminded me about a few others I'd forgotten about (Fantasie, Prima Donna, Fauve). I discovered that there are many good bras out there for me. Somehow, though, they all appear to be in the mega-pricey category. What a shock.
So how have I embraced the adventure?
- First off, I left the bra boutique with 650.00 bucks-worth of lingerie (3 bras and a pair of undies) and a renewed sense of purpose.
- I found wonderful new homes for 15 bras, via my recent sale. I also deconstructed 3 bras for wires and other materials. Then I moved a couple of bras I do love, but which are moving towards too loose due to overwear, into the "not now" drawer. This left me with 18 bras (10 fashion sets and 8 basics).
- I started reading my myriad daily lingerie blogs, not just for interesting discussion but possible product discovery.
- I decided that Freya is off limits unless a) I can try the bra on in a shop and b) only if it compels me. Last time that happened was with the Arabella, quite a long while ago.
- I realized that lingerie flips my switch like just about nothing else so I'd better indulge that. You only live once and your tits aren't getting any perkier.
- I recognized that many of you appreciate my endless ramblings about bras and fit and decided to rename my bra habit "public service". Just goes to show you that I can convince myself of anything :-)
- Really, though, to buy a bra online - esp. if it's on sale - can be a very affordable experience. If it's returnable, the likelihood is that I'll be out 20 bucks in shipping and a lunch trip to the post office. And given that getting parcels is the most freakin' fun thing ever, I decided that online bra shopping is my version of going to the movies. Entertainment.
In this spirit, I've purchased 5 sets online recently (all at very good prices) and gone to bricks and mortar shops 4 times (no purchases, but lots of info gathering). So far 2 sets have arrived and I've sent both of them back. You're going to hear about those experiences in detail - about all of the experimental sets and the brands with their various biases. I'm just finding it challenging to knit shawls, make muslins and jackets and blog about lingerie - all at the same time!
The new brands I've tried recently are: Empreinte, Cleo (well, I'd tried it before, but not recently), Fauve and Claudette. I'm waiting on delivery of new styles of Empreinte, Cleo and (that boobs-on-a-plate maestro) Ewa Michalak.
For sure, I've integrated my recent acceptance of Bratabase with this experience in the hopes that I'll be able to verify how accurate the database is (fairly accurate, I suspect) - and so that I won't be buying "blind". I'll chat about this more in upcoming posts, but I was amazed - when entering info into Bratabase - to discover that practically every bra I own has the same fundamental dimensions (regardless of tag size, brand or style). This gives me some awesome info to work with. Especially if I use that sizing against reviews of bras on Bratabase and blogs before I purchase online.
I really don't know what's going to come of this but I'm energized to see if there's a better way to determine fit before buying sight unseen. In a worst case scenario, I'll go into b&m boutiques, try everything on, buy one of something (as a show of support), and then find the items that work for a third to half the price online.
Today's questions: What lingerie brand is piquing your interest lately? Have you had the chance to try it or are you waiting to learn more first? Who knows, maybe I'll do a little review. Let's talk!