· By Team PLEASE
From a women who barely owns any
I’ll be completely honest with you, I’m now 32 and barely own any lingerie. My underwear drawer is packed to the brim with seamless, stretchy and the most comfy basics. Sure I own one or 2 pieces that have made an appearance, on the extremely rare occasion, only to be admired for a few short moments before being taken off in a hurry, but those are few and far in between. Maybe it’s because I’m not a lace girlie, and typically, lingerie is pretty lacey. But let’s get to the reason I’m here. When it comes to Lingerie I find myself with many questions and circling thoughts. What place does lingerie have today, here in 2023.
With a rather misogynistic (and rather recent) past that still lingers, are we currently in a state of reclaiming lingerie? It certainly does feel like it.
Like most industries these days, lingerie has definitely grown and grown up over the years. Between mainstream stores, and smaller businesses, there’s no shortage of lingerie brands available to us.
Rihanna’s Savage Fenty has been leading the way and setting trends with their innovative and inclusive designs and outstanding marketing. While Victoria Secret, which was synonymous with the word lingerie, was cancelled a few years back, (which is a whole other conversation / article) but has since rebranded, seemingly taking notes from Riri’s success.
So where are we today on the matter? How do we feel about lingerie?
If we take a look back at (a very brief) history of lingerie and look at how far it’s come, we can form more of an opinion, well at least I think this is what will help me answer some of my own questions. Questions like : Why do we wear lingerie? How many women genuinely love to buy and wear it for themselves? Where is it going? Have we overcome its patriarchal past?
Lingerie goes way back to ancient times, the earliest recording being in Ancient Greece and Rome where women would wear a simple band under their garments for support, as well as a short under-tunic for underwear.
In the middle ages and the Renaissance, undergarments became more decorative, made in silks and hand embroidered. They were almost just another layer of clothing, loose fitting dresses that were worn underneath an out garment.
In the 18th and 19th century, a time of ostentatious wealth, we began to see a real shift in undergarments being made to shape the female body drastically. With corsetry, layers of petticoats, hoop under skirts, hip padding and bustles and split drawers or bloomers worn under dresses, if ever there was an era for under garments, this was it.
Lingerie started to take a more relaxed turn in the 20th century, with a more relaxed approach to corsets, the new designs of silky slips and skirts, the invention of garter straps to hold longer socks up and the introduction of the brassiere by Mary Phelps Jacob, leading to the once again shapely trends of underwear in the 1950’s. Brassieres made to enhance women’s breasts and girdles to minimise the waist, the New Look by Dior set this trend.
Heading into the 21st century, with the invention of spandex and lycra lingerie became a lot more comfortable.
And then came brands like Victoria’s Secret and Wonderbra. Mainstream patriarchal America in all its hedonism and capitalism birthed these brands with the aim to sell sex, and from the male gaze, that’s exactly what they did. It’s a known fact that Victoria’s Secret was a company that was built by a man, whose aim was to give men a place to feel comfortable shopping for lingerie. And undeniably lingerie men would like to see.
This era of lingerie certainly made a huge impact on women. Some feeling empowered, some feeling sexualized and objectified. I could write an entirely new article just on the topic of sexualization of marketing in the 90’s - maybe I should? Let’s not get side tracked.
But it’s an interesting conversation to have, especially as a female entrepreneur in the Sex industry. As you know, what we’re aiming to achieve with Please is essentially giving you, giving everyone the space to explore and enjoy, as we curate a playful, exciting and overall pleasing experience.
And so I suppose it should be no different for lingerie brands today. After all, lingerie and the sex industry are close relatives. Just like sex shops, there was once a time when lingerie stores were seen as taboo. I know that when we first started the Please, lingerie was definitely on our radar as a possibility - something to consider as a sub-brand or a possible collab.
Just like intimate products such as sex toys etc. lingerie is incredibly intimate. It’s so important for people to understand what they are buying into, why they are buying into it. If I had to answer the why, would be the one that Please aims to fulfil too, pleasure.
At the end of the day, we can each make up our own minds, given we know and understand the history and our own feelings, it’s up to us, how we want to feel about it.
So you love the pink lacey set even though it itches. Perhaps you prefer a stretchy comfy thong. Today we have the luxury of choice and get to choose what we put on our bodies that will make us feel good.
And so what if you end up wearing that extremely expensive but silky soft mesh set for only 10 minutes, but those 10 minutes were worth the pleasure, right? The pleasure it brought you putting it on? Wearing It? Feeling it? Possibly showing it off with a partner? Taking it off? It’s a sensory experience. Which can add a whole new element to a sexual experience.
And so after all this research, and reflection, this truly is a love letter as I find myself no longer on the fence, and rather concluding and have just talked myself into going lingerie shopping a bit more often. Who knows maybe Please will one day have it’s own lingerie brand.