body love

Dressing for MY Pleasure: A New Look at the World of Lingerie

Simone Perele bra, Romance collection

Originally posted June 6, 2011

I’m a simple girl, fashion-wise. Functional. Perhaps it’s the German in me. I mean, I love to play dress up as much as the next starlet. But when it comes to my everyday life, if it’s scratchy, pinches, rides up intimate crevices or just plain hinders my progress in any way, I won’t wear it. This especially goes for lingerie. How can I feel good, sexy and free in something that feels uncomfortable. This also hits upon my notion of being a turned-on, sexual woman. I mean, shouldn’t I want  to like to dress sexy all the time? I mean, if it’s on the outside, of course I want to look nice—but to get all dolled-up with clothing that no one’s going to see?

And that’s where Margaret Shrum comes in. The self-proclaimed “Lingerie Goddess” (who began her personal lingerie journey at 14 with her mother) entered my life a few weeks ago and graciously offered to give me a complimentary consultation. She is a personal lingerie shopper—and with 20 years in the lingerie fashion business, I knew I had to take advantage of her wisdom.

We began by pulling out my collection of “unmentionables.” Bras that were 5 years old, but that still, you know, I might wear at some point in the future. That negligee that I only wore once because someone gave it to me. The mound of underwear that goes from two strings tied together to giant granny panties for when I’m on my period. I have to say, I was a little embarrassed to display how little I really knew and how I don’t really take the best care of those articles I wear closest to my body. But Margaret was extremely understanding and non-judgmental. I felt almost guilty that I had a lovely lingerie set that I had never worn! I thought it was like a tragic waste or something. Be she casually accepted by hesitancy with a gentle “Oh, yeah. Well if it’s not your style, you won’t wear it.” And that’s when I realized my huge judgment: that lingerie only fits into the world of occasionally dressing up to please someone else. But I never really thought to dress to please myself on a daily basis!

And really, my everyday style is pretty simple. Classic lines, delicate, sleek, satiny, seamless…and very little lace. I have to admit, I’ve never liked lace. I feel like a trumped-up, Victorian doily. The Europeans have a relationship with their intimate apparel which for many years baffled me. I can still remember my Francophile grandmother buying me a Wacoal bra at the department store because that was the best brand. I was mystified at how this could be so important to her and just not that much to me. Should I care more? Are bras more than just stretch-mark preventers, as my mom had told me?

In a word, yes. The lingerie you wear has a vital impact on how the rest of the outfit looks on your body. Many a lovely ensemble has been undermined by seams sticking out or an ill-fitting bra that doesn’t hold your shape or squashes you down to an amorphous uni-boob. Plus, you can tell when a woman is wearing something she truly adores…it’s as if she is carrying a sexy secret that glows off her skin and lights up the world. There’s more to it than just pretty underwear. It’s about knowing my worth and consciously and exquisitely adorning my body with pieces that reflect my inner Goddess.

So when we started looking at the pieces she brought based on my style preferences, I discovered a sweet, little French bra that lifted me up, had the classic, sleekness of elegance…and the lightest accent of lace that was feminine, yet young. Another judgment challenged. Lace could feel classy, yet updated (and non-scratchy—BONUS!). I actually liked the shape of my body then. It felt natural and, well…me. It was so satisfying to be seen and met at that moment. Met by elegant, sleek French lace. It totally started to break down all my thoughts about lingerie is somehow different or more elevated than my everyday attire. You can, in fact, feel sexy, comfortable and authentic in your everyday basics—especially when you are dressing for yourpleasure. That’s the mark of a truly turned-on woman—one who let’s her personal taste and desire guide her. And if it looks (for the most part) simple, sweet and comfortable, that’s just perfect.

So if you are looking to cultivate a new relationship with your inner lingerie goddess, check out Margaret’s website. It’s full of advice, recommendations and all sorts of fun finds. I appreciated how she listened to what was important to me and offered me her twists and inspirations on what I liked. She was patient, let me try on lots of different items, but most of all, she guided me towards loving my body, which is already a complicated relationship for me (and no doubt the majority of women).

Now, if only we can get to a place where I discover my love for the boy short…

PS- Margaret is also generously collecting unwanted lingerie items to pass on to low-income girls and women who can not afford high-end pieces. I happily passed on a bagful of garments that were only seeing the inner décor of my dresser.