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Wear Happy ~ The Cat’s Pajamas

April 7, 2017

vintage Turner print on Lingerie Briefs

Around 35 years ago, right after my husband and I bought our first house at the beach, we purchased a print of pink flamingos standing in water. It had a mirrored frame. I, in my ignorance, thought it was a unique deco piece, very kitsch, very cool, and hopefully very valuable. Not too long after we hung it in a prominent spot, I was watching the movie “The Right Stuff” and saw the exact piece hanging on the wall of a motel room scene. Kind of a bummer learning that my discovery was a dime a dozen reproduction. But it didn’t stifle my affinity for pink flamingos. It’s a secret I have never really disclosed, particularly having now observed them as lawn ornaments sans discretion. But, I still have this “thing” about them and frankly, I wish I still owned it, especially here in Cabo.

Cats Pajamas on Lingerie Briefs

Recently, I found an alternative solution to my flamingo dilemma; The Cat’s Pajama’s pink flamingo capri PJ set. Cut in super luxe pima woven cotton, this style is an excellent example of the entire collection of whimsical prints that I discovered when re-visiting this 20 year old brand. Under new ownership for the past 2 years, this season they have expanded their collection to include a variety of high quality fabrics generously engineered into updated shapes fitting sizes XS – XL. At under $100 each, they are perfect gifts for any mother who appreciates a bit of caprice.
Contact Joanne@thecatspjs.com

“Now. That’s The Cat’s Pajamas!” ~Thomas A. Dorgan
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Fashion Illustrations ~ Big Little Lies

April 6, 2017

This week, Tina Wilson uses her considerable illustrating talents to articulate her passion for the HBO series Big Little Lies.

“I wasn’t prepared for the impact of Big Little Lives on my Sunday evenings. I was even less prepared for its departure, leaving an entertainment void I don’t know how to fill.

I’m not one to gravitate to films or TV shows centered around entitled people with problems most of us would be happy to have, yet I was captivated for 7 weeks. . . ” READ and SEE more here

 

 

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Sports Bra Mania

April 4, 2017

Anita Momentum Sports bra on Lingerie Briefs

I’ve been mulling over this Sports bra story for several months now. This niche is expanding in the marketplace as companies introduce multiple options every season. But, I believe that unlike the shapewear craze that saturated the lingerie landscape several years ago and then slowly dissipated, this business will continue to evolve in brand inventories. Here’s why. The market explosion in this category speaks volumes about the American lifestyle. The evolution of the wardrobe from buttoned up to laissez-faire won’t go away. Our culture pivots on blue jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. The focus on function, comfort and ease of wear has always dominated our bra wardrobes (the t-shirt bra phenomenon speaks volumes), but now, women are finding out that exercise is critical to their well-being.

Anita dynamixstar cross back sports bra to a G cup on Lingerie BriefsAnita

Not too many years ago, the sports bra was relegated to sporting goods venues, a bandage like commodity that was not available in bra sizes and accommodated women of average bust shapes. Today, there are options spanning 28-46 bands and A-JJ cups. But like shapewear, success in this channel requires technological research, development and manufacturing expertise. I am not suggesting that every company needs to have a sports offer on their line, but I will say this: once a consumer finds a brand she loves, it’s a natural segue to try that company’s sports bra.  For many of us, large or small, sports bras have become an integrated part of our wardrobes, traveling with us through an entire day.

Wacoal underwire sports bra on Lingerie BriefsWacoal

I started Lingerie Briefs in 2009 with an article about Wacoal’s iconic underwire sports bra (855170). If not the first of its kind, it was (still is) an early pioneer. Available to an H cup, it changed my life and began my journey into this space. Today, it remains, along with several other Wacoal choices, a mainstay of bra inventories.

Wacoal Zip uw front and no wire sports bra on lingerie BriefsWacoal

I spoke with several retailers about the sports bra surge and most of the comments were consistent.  Stores ensconced in this classification report that it is a critical part of their business ranging from 5 to 20% of their volume.

Anita Sports Bra on Lingerie BriefsAnita

The stores I consulted that carry sports bras, all carry the Anita brand. The combination of German engineering, longevity in the space and a firm focus on the classification has established Anita as the sports bra maven. With over 10 styles in their collection, they satisfy every niche in the business. I for one, am a fan, owning both 5519 (momentum underwire) and 5544 (air non-wire). Quoting Lida Lisney from Inside Story in Ontario about 5544: “I’m beyond thrilled with the new Anita sports bra – the spacer and mesh is SO attractive and it dried SO quickly!”

Anita xtreme control and air control sports bra on Lingerie BriefsAnita

Two other established players Panache and Chantelle often compete for OTB. But, according to Sherry Gummow, owner of Busted Ladies Lingerie in Alberta, they are constructed differently. She carries both in full size ranges to accommodate different fit needs.  The Panache sports bra phenomenon upped the ante when they entered the market with their award winning design that fits to a J cup. They continue their climb with their new wireless version and their stunning fashion statements.  But it’s no secret that Chantelle stole my heart a long time ago. This season they have added two more styles to their collection now covering low and medium as well as hi-impact activities.

Panache award winning sports bra on Lingerie BriefsPanache

Chantelle High impact sports bra on Lingerie BriefsChantelle

Chantelle medium and light impact sports bra on Lingerie BriefsChantelle

Then there is the Natori, a brand that came to the party early and now boasts 8 styles in their active assortment. The new Zen Yogi bra is perfect solution for average yogis. Me, I wear the molded tank bra that fits B-G cups.

Natori Zen Yogi bra on Lingerie BriefsNatori

The Eveden group has its fans too: Freya for smaller bands and larger cups, Elomi for larger bands and larger cups. They are accommodating their customer profile and insuring she can satisfy all her needs within their brand position.

Freya sonic sports bra on Lingerie BriefsFreya

Elomi Energise sports bra on Lingerie BriefsElomi

The larger size sports bras available on the market today have surely impacted the viability of this business, but  also, as Danny Koch from Town Shop in NYC stated ““It is a very important category, especially in the larger sizes.  While we have been carrying sports bras for over 25 years we have never had the variety in both soft cup and under wire that we have today.”

Curvy /Couture Ultmate Fit Sports Bra on Lingerie BriefsCurvy Couture

For me personally, I was just introduced to Curvy Couture’s Ultimate Fit design. This bra, which scored some of the highest marks on Invista’s Sports bra wear test, has an award winning design that removes pressure from the neckline, underarm and bottom band. Confession; I have recently betrayed some of my tried and true favorites to wear it horseback riding. I am wearing it now, as I write this blog. This style is available 34-44, C-H cups. It is a great complement to their wirefree and zip front offers.

Curvy Couture zip front and wire free sports bra on Lingerie BriefsCurvy Couture

And coming soon, Prima Donna will introduce their new Sweater Mesh sports collection. It is being tested widely in stores this spring. Stores are anticipating the arrival of this group based on the unique fit that defines the Prima Donna line. (Sorry, no images available yet)

Le Mystere sports bras on Lingerie BriefsLe Mystere

Anyone who has researched this business understands that all breast tissue is at risk when women are not supported and this issue is amplified during exercise. This makes the necessity for sports bras essential for all cup sizes. Brands like Le Mystere, On Gossamer and b.tempt’d have maximized this opportunity by insuring several options in their collections. And, in each case, the DNA of the brand is never compromised.

On Gossamer sports bra on Lingerie BriefsOn Gossamer

b.temt'd sports bras on Lingerie Briefsb.tempt’d

Patti Platt of A la Mode in Annapolis, MD told me: “Sports bras are very important for us. We do a number of sports bra events in our shop. In fact, this has helped our slower bra sales months, i.e. January and October when emphasizing exercise post and pre-holiday speaks to many women.

Patti also mentioned, as did several other stores, that she sells sports bras as an alternative to non-wire bras. In particular, she sites nurses who need 12 hour support with non-stop comfort. This classification has gone from a simple add-on opportunity to a destination in its own right. Yes, their are a great many choices and for sure, one must limit their inventory to the best performers for their customer. But, when a category becomes part of the lingerie infrastructure, as I believe sports bras are, then fit choice matters. No one carries just one brand of bra, not yet, at least not in America

Panache wire-free sports bra on Lingerie Briefs

As Danny Koch said, awareness of the importance of wearing a sports bra is still a missing element for the potential growth of this business. Brands and stores that are investing in the message are reaping the rewards.

“Champions Keep Playing Until They Get It Right” ~Billy Jean King
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Hanky Panky Celebrates Its Heritage

March 31, 2017

Hanky Panky handkerchief bra and panties on Lingerie Briefs

I remember my mother’s 40th surprise birthday party. I was 11 and I thought my mom was so old. The banner at the entrance read “Life begins at 40”. I presumed that my aunt had hung it there to make her feel better about this provocative milestone. I loved my mother something fierce, but alas, I only had 40 years myself before she was gone. But 40 years is a long time and the building blocks of a person’s character constructed during such an enduring relationship are formidable. Small details prevail, floating through our memories, defining the individual and embedding their meaning into our psyches. One such vignette was my mother’s handkerchiefs. She seemed a bit quaint to me with those embroidered hankies in her handbag. But years later, I recognize that they were part of who she was; a warm and gracious lady whose loyalty, pursuit of excellence and respect for individuality defined her as one of the classiest women I have ever known.

Hanky Panky 40th birthday handkerchief lingerie on Lingerie Briefs

Every time I see an embroidered cotton handkerchief, I think of my mom. So when Hanky Panky decided to commemorate their 40th anniversary this year with the resurrection of the iconic intimates that forged the Hanky Panky brand, I was all in. It’s a well-known industry story; 40 years ago Gale Epstein gave her friend Lida Orzeck a bra and panty set that she designed from handkerchiefs. This simple gesture sparked a partnership that has given the market a powerhouse lingerie company.  Although this current collection, made from actual cotton hankies, are precious examples of the brands aesthetic, it is the Hanky Panky ethos that is worthy of reflection. Remaining loyal to their heritage of flirty, quality lingerie made in the USA, they have managed to sustain their liaison with their suppliers and customers without compromise. Just as my mom’s influence on me has lived on, I have no doubt they will endure for years to come.

“Life Begins At Forty” ~Walter B. Pitkin

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A Whale of a Bra ~ Empreinte Cassiopée Spacer

March 28, 2017

Whale watching in Cabo San Lucas on Lingerie Briefs

I went whale watching this past weekend determined to see one in the wild, since I have not had the pleasure since I began living here in 2011. That’s because the season peaks in early winter, good for tourism, bad for me. I am always away, in Paris, NY and the rest of the lingerie market, hunting and gathering product information while the rest of my friends take countless sojourns into the ocean to site these magnificent beasts. The water’s around Cabo San Lucas are a migratory destination and breeding ground for many species. Witnessing these humpbacks in the wild breaching the ocean’s surface, swimming with their young or just rising for air before the inevitable dive is poetic. These 40 ton mammals are incredibly graceful, but did you know that to merely propel through the water requires energy equivalent to a 550 horsepower machine. Now that’s engineering.

Empreinte Cassiopee spacer bra on Lingerie Briefs

This fact is what brings me to Empreinte’s new Cassiopée spacer bra, which by the way I was wearing throughout my whale watch. This style is the first spacer bra I have ever successfully worn all day. Usually, spacer cups just don’t have the necessary leverage to defy larger breast gravity during an active day. That’s not a criticism of the few I’ve tried. It’s merely a statement regarding the challenge of supporting a G cup with lighter weight materials. This bra, which took Empreinte 2 ½ years to perfect, is a combination of a breathable feather light fabric that is invisible under my clothes while it sustains front and center lift. To accomplish this is for 30-42, C-G cups is, in my opinion, a feat of artful construction. Nature’s dynamics and a bra so comfortable that I forgot about it; that’s a whale of grateful experience.

“The Poetry of Earth is Never Dead” John Keats
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Featured Designer ~ Murmer Lingerie

March 27, 2017

Murmer lingerie on Lingerie Briefs

Today, in our Gallery, Alison is showcasing the Romanian designer Andreea Bădală and her showstopping Avant-Garde brand, Murmer. I saw this collection in Paris and was mesmerized by the way in which Andreea has merged lingerie and RTW.  SEE and READ more here.

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Mission Statement

Lingerie Briefs is multi-faceted Lingerie and Fashion Blog for consumers and industry insiders written by Ellen Lewis and other experts from the Intimate Apparel world. Ellen created Lingerie Briefs as her virtual Lingerie boutique.”The merchandise that I feature are all products I have personally reviewed and which I would be proud to carry in my own shop. It’s an artistic and literary destination providing insight to both the Lingerie Industry and Lingerie Consumer.” …Ellen Lewis