Briefs

By ELLEN LEWIS

Well folks, I arrived in Cabo late Saturday night. No water, no gas, both cars wouldn’t start. Looks like my friend TIM (This is Mexico) used my house while I was away. But on the bright side: it’s 85° and the desert is resplendent, lush and green. My garden looks wonderful (except that the gardeners trimmed all the flowers off the bougainvillea. They think all gringos like manicured shrubs).  I went riding this morning for the first time in 4 months. And this trip, my bra wardrobe is finally balanced for this Mexican lifestyle.

Bras, believe it or not, are always a bone of contention for me. Why? Because I am extremely active, large breasted and like many other women, large or small, desperate for comfort without jeopardizing support. As you might imagine, I have a lot of options. This presents a conundrum. My bras often occupy a large portion of my suitcase.  Culling down has often presented a problem. I want every  good alternative available. I have finally learned that the choices made should depend on the lifestyle of my destination. Mexico commands an entirely different assortment than Paris. Here, I live in sports bras from Chantelle, Panache, and Anita. For every day wear the go to styles are from Wacoal, Montelle, Curvy Couture, Rosa Faia, Empreinte and Lou.  Even though cut and sew bras are my preference for shape and lift; here it’s all about spacers and unlined t-shirt styles. (the one exception is for a wedding I am attending) I can assure you the content is very different when I travel for work. I am grateful for the selection at my fingertips, each style contributing its unique design character to the sisterhood of my traveling bras.

“I Get Ideas About What’s Essential When Packing My Suitcase”
~Diane Von Furstenberg

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By ELLEN LEWIS

The new Tappan Zee Bridge in New York on Lingerie Briefs

Crossing the Hudson River in New York several times a week to ferry my grandson back and forth, I have watched as the new Tappan Zee Bridge has risen from its concrete foundation to dwarf the original span now destined for demolition.  The existing edifice was 62 years old and never meant to support the growth in commuter traffic that has evolved with time. The new twin bridge is an architectural masterpiece; a structural feat camouflaged by a visual symphony comprised of 14 miles of span cables. The airiness of its spires veils the steel and concrete foundation that forms its infrastructure. On schedule and under budget, the construction team responsible has upgraded a travel experience that one had to endure to … Read more


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By ELLEN LEWIS

Schroon Lake NY on Lingerie Briefs

I had another post planned for today, but it will have to wait. I am at our family vacation retreat on Schroon Lake in upstate NY. The house is going up for sale after 60 years of memories. There is nothing quite like October in the Adirondack Mountains. Usually at this time of year, the trees are ablaze with color, but for some reason (climate change?) they are still very green, a glaze of paprika and cumin is all one can see. The water is crystal clear, void of jet skis and high power motors. Absolute silence prevails as our simple pontoon boat skims over the surface. The sun is out, the sky blue and cloudless; a welcome respite from a depressingly … Read more


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By ELLEN LEWIS

Hanky Panky on Lingerie Briefs

Yesterday was a horrible day in the USA. Evil descended. Las Vegas happened. In a year already fraught with nature’s destruction and divisive prideful anger, this was darkness at its pinnacle. It seems nearly impossible to soldier on. When one is writing about lingerie on days such as this, the mission seems trite. How does one relate such relentless trauma to the business of underwear? It’s not easy.

 

I choose Hanky Panky as my allegory. This brand has defied the pecuniary pressures of an ever demanding marketplace for 40 years. They have balanced the sober realities of a Made in the USA product with the constant pressure of retailers seeking margin, margin, and more margin. Not an easy commission for … Read more


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By ELLEN LEWIS

Some time ago, I received a call from an owner of a very reputable lingerie specialty store decrying the impact of the internet on her business.  As a bra fitting specialist, she was upset at on-line sales from both brands and web-sites that were eating into her bottom line. At the time, she was hoping that I might have sway with some of the industry and help communicate the boutique buyer’s malaise at this growing intrusion into their revenue stream.  First of all, I don’t have that sort of clout and secondly, the dilemma she was facing was not going to dissipate. E-commerce is here to stay.

I believe that obstacles are merely challenges and riding the tides of change is critical … Read more


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A Leg Up ~ Pretty Polly Hosiery

By ELLEN LEWIS

Jumbo Fishnet tights from Pretty Polly legwear on Lingerie Briefs

All this conversation about integrating lingerie into ready to wear wardrobes got me thinking about my years as a legwear buyer and our mission to take hosiery from basic nude to lingerie for the legs. In those days, choices were limited. Finding color, pattern, extended sizes and eccentricity was a fishing expedition. I know I am dating myself, but seeing the Pretty Polly brand, memories flooded back. Leave it to the British to cover the gamut of leg fashion. From Kate Middleton’s comeback nude pantyhose to the trend loving tights and leggings that can make or break an outfit, Pretty Polly has such a plethora of styles; it’s quite difficult to zero in. These fishnets, one example of the breadth of … Read more


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