Sunday, March 9, 2014

Men's Underwear- The Sexual Desire Debate and Manties

This article about men's underwear on The Lingerie Addict got me thinking recently.
Men's underwear tends to be utilitarian in the extreme. The only debate you ever hear about in the context of men's scanties is boxers vs. briefs. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart as an issue of gender politics and women's sexual desire. At its heart the issue is the age old issue of sexual object versus sexual subject. A man has no need of sexy underwear because he is generally viewed as desiring whereas a woman's role has traditionally been to make herself desired. I don't want to get too deep into the weeds of sexual politics but I am a big supporter of the diversification of the men's underwear industry for several reasons:

a.)     Why should women get all the fun panties? (I kid, I kid.)

b.)     With the blurring of gender lines and the increasing social recognition of sexuality as a spectrum, the old subject vs object debate is getting increasingly muddled. People are people and everyone has the right to chose their role in a relationship.

c.)     In addition to allowing women to be subject and view men with desire, it allows men to break away from the trap that is the traditional masculine role. Men have the same infinite number of aesthetic opinions and desires as women.

d.)     Because by pushing the envelope (and making people giggle uncomfortably), you also make them think about why they're giggling and why that part male sexuality makes them uncomfortable in this day and age.

Anyway, out of tangled weeds of the sexual politics debate and on to the underwear!
I've included a list of some of the biggest names in men's underwear for reference. I'm hoping to have some guest reviews of men's styles on my blog later. 

Photo Courtesy of Pull In

1. Pull In

Pull In is mostly standard men's trunks and boxers in fun patterns. I'm insanely jealous that this Stormtooper trunk doesn't come in women's but some of their women's patterns have been on my lust list for ages.

Photo Courtesy of Calvin Klein

 2. Calvin Klein

It's hard to think of a more classic example of classic example of upscale men's underwear. Calvin Klein has loads of more restrained but still sexy options.

Photo Courtesy of 2XIST

 3. 2XIST

2XIST is another line of more restrained briefs. They make a number of different cuts and use primarily ultrasoft modal and microfibers.
Photo Courtesy of Ginch Gonch

 4. Ginch Gonch

Ginch Gonch specializes in the kind of awesome briefs that men had as kids but sized for adults. Their collections tend to be full of fun patterns like the comic book pattern about and are made of primarily cotton.

Photo Courtesy of Obviously

 5. Obviously for Men

This brand specializes in a of variety of super sexy cuts for men. It uses different styles of pouch to create various desired silhouettes and I have heard nothing but raves about their comfort.

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Christian

6. Andrew Christian

Andrew Christian is marketed very heavily towards the gay community and has probably the largest variety of colors and cuts of all of the listed brands. They do everything from mesh jockstraps to full trunks with a variety of aesthetic modifications.

Photo Courtesy of Mundo Unico

7. Mundo Unico

Mundo Unico is a Brazilian brand that does a variety of cuts in some basic and some fun colorways. My understanding is that they run quite small, so sizing up is recommended.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Badass Lingerie

I love lingerie. I love pretty, lacy, girly things. But sometimes, that isn't what I want. Sometimes, I ask myself WWBWD? (What would Black Widow don?) What is the most appropriate bra for roundhouse kicking someone in the face so hard that their jaw pops off? Inquiring minds want to know.
And so I've compiled this list for all of your superhero/vigilante/assassin needs. For when lacy and pink just won't cut it.

Photo Courtesy of Hopeless Lingerie

1. Nina Top by Hopeless Lingerie

Honestly anything by Hopeless would probably make this list. They specialize in underthings for the vigilante and how sweet would this structural top look with some leather pants? 

Photo Courtesy of Reckless Wolf

2. Howl Body by Reckless Wolf 

Reckless Wolf may be my newest lingerie obsession. The exposed under wire, the cage details, the sheer panels. Perfection.

Photo courtesy of Zayna Bayne

3. Valentina Harness by Zayna Bayne

Harnesses are badass. Zayna Bayne makes the most badass of harnesses. Any questions?

4. Chambre des Secrets Body by Maison Close  

The high neck and mesh panels, the leatherette fabric, the garters. Deliciously bad. 

5. Addiction Nouvelle Shorty

Because even a supervillain needs her comfortable boyshorts some days.

6. Voyeur Angela Dress by Bordelle

Ok. So this one may only be for the billionaire dominatrix playgirl, but we can all dream.

7. Skull Camisole by Honeycooler Handmade

Menacing yet comfortable, versatile and sophisticated. 

8. Desire Push Up by Marlies Dekkers

Cleavage is a valid weapon and a woman has to use all tools at her disposal. Plus, how sweet is that chain detail?

9. Matte Suspender Leggings by BlackMilk

Because suspenders are badass and we need something to wear with our fantastic tops.

10. Rest Your Bones PJs from Modcloth

Evil may not have to sleep, and while we still do, there's no reason not to be hardcore while lounging. 

Naked Princess MicroModal Bodysuit

Photo Courtesy of Naked Princess

 Overview and Aesthetics:

This bodysuit was my first foray into bodysuits, something with which I have since become slightly obsessed. I snagged it in the iconic dove gray that it was initially released in but it has since been released in cream and black as well. The gray is not as purple as it looks online, but is a warm, basic concrete gray.  In person, it's a sophisticated and luxurious piece of lounge wear. The lace is delicate and sheer and the fabric incredibly soft. It's available online through and a few other retailers.

Material Quality and Price:

This bodysuit is stunning. The lace on the sleeves and around the legs is one of the most beautiful lingerie laces I've seen. It's also incredibly delicate and sheer, every time I wear it I'm terrified that I'll put a finger through it. The fact that this hasn't happened yet, despite my clumsiness, speaks well to its durability and sturdiness
Sheer and delicate
The construction of this piece is painstaking and gorgeous. The stitching is even and neat and the lace overlay is flat, even and secure. Both the lace and the modal of the body are incredibly soft and stretchy. I purchased this bodysuit in a size Large when I was a dress size 12 and it fit beautifully. I'm now a dress size 8 and the same one still fits beautifully. The forgiving fabric and cut of this bodysuit mean that there's a fair amount of give in it.
The bodysuit cost me $100 on sale a while back when Naked Princess was clearing their inventory. It usually retails for about $140 and I would say that it's worth every penny of full retail price just for the quality of materials and construction.

Fit Notes: 

As I mentioned, this bodysuit has fit my body through a range of sizes. The soft stretchy modal and stretch lace are incredibly forgiving. The princess seaming at the front is very flattering and draws the eye up to the lace plunge neckline or down to the bottom.
The bottom portion of the bodysuit is a thong bottom with high cut lace lined legs. This means that there's no elastic around the leg or posterior to cut in and leave pantie lines. It also elongates the legs and frames the derriere in a VERY flattering manner. One thing that struck me about the aesthetics of this bodysuit is how flattering it is to a portion of me that I usually just minimize or hide. Usually I avoid thongs of any kind like the plague, but this one is extremely comfortable. I don't get the ride up that thongs usually cause. Possibly because the body is holding everything in place.
There are a few small things have made wearing this piece as outerwear slightly troublesome. One is the fact that the fabric of the body is extremely soft and stretchy but not remotely concealing. For those like me who are self conscious about softness around the belly or back fat from a bra band, this can be a bit of a problem.
The lace plunge neckline can also be problematic. It's elegant and sexy and one of my favorite elements of the body, but it makes finding a bra to wear with it more or less impossible. There is no bra that I have found that won't peek out from under the neckline. My solution has been to wear bras that go well with the bodysuit and I know other reviewers have worn crop tops or camis for a little extra coverage.

Please ignore the wrinkling, I'm terrible about ironing.
In summary, this bodysuit is a gorgeous and versatile piece for boudoir or outerwear under slacks or a skirt. The materials make it well worth the price and the fit is flattering and forgiving for a range of sizes. There are some features that make it slightly difficult to style as outerwear but nothing that can't be overcome. I have found it to be comfortable and flattering and worth the money.

If you want another opinion, The Full Figured Chest also reviewed this bodysuit and their review is definitely worth reading.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope you're enjoying Lingerie Day with someone special, particularly if that someone is you. Have fun, rock your sexiest lingerie and get your chocolate on. <3

Photo Courtesy of Agent Provocateur

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Betsey Johnson Stocking Stripe Contour Bra

Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom

Overview and Aesthetics: 

This bra sort of snuck up on me. It was like meeting the love of your life at a college dance at a roller skating rink. Unlikely, but life altering. That may be actually be slightly melodramatic but this is one of the few bras that I have ever loved enough to buy multiples of at full price.

It's one of the staples of the Betsey Johnson lingerie line and is available at Nordstrom and online at Figleaves and Barenecessities. It's always available in the black, cream, and pink colorways and there's a green colorway from last season that's still around as well as a variety of pinks and purples (It is Betsey Johnson.)
Cute right?

Materials and Price:

This bra runs about $50 full priced but various seasonal colorways are always going on sale and can usually be had for roughly $30 if you're not picky about the color. Or if that Shamrock Green from last season is just calling your name.
The cups are a light contoured foam, not super padded but enough to make them appropriate in a chilly office. Cups are covered in a stripe soft stripe lace and wings are made of the same lace. Underwires are sturdy but not extremely heavy. I'd put them between the Mimi Holliday and the Freya Deco that I own. There's no play in the channel for the underwire, so they do have a habit of poking through the ends as the bra ages. The center gore is low but not plunge territory and tops of the cups are lined with a soft, simple lace. The back is a three hook closure and the band is quite soft and stretchy.
Overall, the materials are comfortable but not exceptionally sturdy. In my opinion, the quality of the materials make this bra not worth the full retail price but a worthwhile purchase on sale.

Fit Notes: 

Honestly, this bra isn't one I would have picked out of a lineup. It's cute and basic but the twee bows on the straps were a bit much for me. However, this bra fits me fantastically. The foam contoured cups are fairly wide and shallow and don't offer a ton of forward projection. They do however give your sweater puppies distinctly Daphne-ish contour, very wide and flatteringly rounded. This works well for my soft, wide set breasts. The lace at the top of the cups is wide and soft and doesn't cut in at all and the foam of the cups is soft and comfy.
The band is very soft and stretchy. Honestly, it's a little too soft and stretchy and those who like a firmer band will want to size down. The lace of the band is also a little too delicate. I have managed to put my finger through the lace of the band on more than one occasion.
There is a hook on the back that allows this bra to convert to racerback, which is a nice option and gives a little more support from the straps.
Overall, this is an extremely comfortable basic and there's a good reason that I have owned three of these but I could wish for better materials, particularly on the band.

One important note: The stripe pattern on this bra is made of LASERS! It has a baffling and almost magical ability to show through whatever I'm wearing, even in the cream colorway. I don't know why this is, but it's definitely not one I'd recommend for under a thin t-shirt. 

My faithful black Stocking Stripe

Valentine's Day!

Lock your doors, bar your windows. It's coming....

But in all seriousness, it's a fantastic excuse for me to put up a list of  stunning lingerie no matter what your feelings on the holiday are. And it's more or less the defacto lingerie holiday, so it would be remiss of me NOT to post something.

Photo Courtesy of Tatiana's Threads
I'm not sure how much more perfect you could for get Valentine's Day than this adorable panty by Tatiana's Threads. So heart! Much adorable!

Photo Courtesy of L'Agent
 Danita by L'Agent may not be for the faint of heart but nothing says Valentine's Day like ouvert knickers
Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom
This PJ Salvage set is a  casually adorable option for those who can't  be bothered to sacrifice comfort for anything. Not even Valentine's Day.

Photo Courtesy of Mimi Holliday
My weakness for Mimi Holliday is well documented but just look at this Sticky Toffee Pudding set and tell me it doesn't look creamy and luscious.

Photo Courtesy of Luvahuva
For those whose V-Day plans include curling up on the sofa with a movie and a cup of hot cocoa, you can't get any better than this adorable chemise by Luvahuva.

Photo Courtesy of ASOS
This Elle Macpherson Soie set may be last season's colorway, but it's still apropos.

Photo Courtesy of Sonata

Sonata is one of those brands that embodies romance and class to me, making this Mirage robe a perfect fit for this list. 

Photo Courtesy of La Lilouche
Ruffles, pink silk and a racy quarter cup. Say no more! La Lilouche nails it yet again with this Britt set.

Photo Courtesy of Nearer the Moon
And for your grand finale, you can't wind up stronger than with this sequin nipple tassels by Nearer the Moon...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sexy/Cozy/Grownup Loungewear

I skipped my yoga class tonight because the weather was cold and miserable and I just didn't feel like getting my Om Shanti on. (In my defense, I commute by bike, so cold and miserable is REALLY cold and miserable.) But my loss is your gain! One of my New Year's resolutions this year is to start dressing like the sophisticated adult that I am. At least the adult. Er.
One of the results of this has been my renewed interest in sophisticated and cozy loungewear and the weather lately has had me scouring the internet desperately in search of things that are warm. While there is a plethora, nay a veritable cornucopia of adorable loungewear out there, sexy camis and drapey rompers aren't all that appealing when it's colder than Jack Frost's posterior outside. My ratty sweats and fleecy jammies may not be sophisticated, but they're toasty.

However, I did manage to dig up some deliciously warm and sexy lounge-wear that are a step up from the oversize sweats your last boyfriend left under the bed. (Also, slightly less sad.) Enjoy! 

Photo Courtesy of Eberjey
1. Eberjey makes some positively luscious lounge wear for the warmer months, but the Sadie Slouchy Tee and Cinched Pant have been calling my name since the new Ice Age hit.

Photo Courtesy of Between The Sheets
2. Between the Sheets is one of those brands that I've always lusted after but never been able to justify purchasing. The Venus in Play lounge set was just so irresistible however that I actually did try to buy it, only to be cruelly thwarted by weirdness in the online purchasing system. The black is currently on sale but it's also available in number of other colors.

3. While Alternative Apparel is not a loungewear or lingerie brand, and the sophistication of a sweatshirt may be arguable, the Maniac Fleece Sweatshirt wins its way onto my list by a) being 80's FABULOUS! and b) being so goddamn comfortable that I ordered one a while back and have not yet taken it off. It's incredibly soft and toasty and the off the shoulder detail keeps it sexy.

4. I'm not generally the biggest fan of Calvin Klein in general as I am handily sized out of all of their bras, but the Essentials Pull On "Yoga" Pant was a definite win for me. It's soft and drapey and incredibly comfortable.
5. If this Cashmere Robe by Shimera is not the epitome of all things cozy and sophisticated, then I am at a complete loss. Also expensive. See "cashmere."
Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom
6. I don't generally like classic style notch collar pajamas, but these adorable Modal Pajamas by PJ Luxe might make me change my mind. I'm a total sucker for modal and these look utterly snuggly.

Photo Courtesy of Luvahuva
7. Luvahuva is an Etsy store based in London and I adore all of their loungewear. The Plum Bamboo lounge pant is a particular temptation in that beautiful purple with the gorgeous oversize tie. * le sigh*

Photo Courtesy of Tatiana's Threads
8. This Fleece Boyshort by Tatiana's Threads may not  be the most cozy option for your knees, but for those of us with chilly backsides, it's a godsend. (Warning: may cause uncontrollable frigidity jokes)
Photo Courtesy of Sandmaiden Sleepwear
9. Finally, Sandmaiden Sleepwear's full length merino robe is a great wrap up to this post. Chic, stunning and so sophisticated that it's custom made for you.

Until next time, stay warm and lounge on! (Bonbons optional)