By KIM CALDWELL
Christmas and Hanukkah are here. The biggest gift giving events of the year. As an underwear lover and someone who says Hurray for Lingerie, I adore giving undies to my pals. But a recent Fruit of the Loom underwear ad posed a potent question: what are the rules for giving underwear? Who can you give it to? And furthermore, what’s appropriate to give?
Here are a few ideas, but you decide. Underwear & Lingerie: To Give or Not to Give? That is the question.
I have a strong memory of getting underwear at a family holiday party when I was very young. At the time, I thought it was a very lazy, boring, and somewhat embarrassing gift. Now, I’m actually nostalgic for the days of Underoos and cartoon undies under the tree, but very happy to have graduated to a more sophisticated type of underwear.
This may surprise you: my husband has never given me underwear or lingerie as a gift. Not at Christmas, not for my birthday, not for Valentine’s Day or our anniversary. In our 8 years together, he has seen lots and lots of beautiful underthings – all picked out and purchased by yours truly. Why? Because I told him so. In our first years of dating, I was working for La Perla and, as a trained fitter, had already learned how important fit and quality was to feeling fabulous. Afraid that his lingerie experience may not be as fine-tuned as my own (trust me, it wasn’t) I asked him to never to buy me any lingerie. And he hasn’t.
Maybe one day this will change. Because now I believe in the art of picking out what you want, writing down the exact color, size, make – even including the URL to the exact item – and asking for what you want. Stay tuned.
It’s understandable that I’ve given underwear to many of my female family members. Working in the lingerie and bra fitting business for 10 years, my sister, Mom, sisters-in-law, mother-in-law, step-mom-in-law, and more have come to rely on me as their bra-blem solver and bra style advisor. In fact, my sister-in-law straight up asks for bras, while the others I’ve tempted with a Hanky Panky thong here or a bra wash there.
So sure, family members are OK. . . but what about strangers? Twice already this year, I’ve gifted strangers with underwear for Christmas. First, I sent a cute floral hipster brief to a member in a women’s entrepreneur online Facebook networking group as her Secret Santa. I’ve never met her, but I got a good sense of her style and size through her (stalker alert) Facebook page. I hemmed and hawed, wondering if adding in a pair of underwear to her gifts would border on creepy, and finally wrapped them up and sent them along with the rest. (It’s currently in the mail. I’ll let you know how it goes on Twitter. Also, at a BIG: Believe Inspire Grow pod meeting the other day, I gifted some Affinitas thongs (one size fits most), Elila Bust Cream, and Fashion Forms nipple covers in a gift exchange. Because, why not? They were a hit.
I know, I know, I know you’re saying “But Kimmay, you work in lingerie for a living. Of course you can give underwear!” And you’re right. I truly have a leg up on the “is it ok to give underwear to someone” conundrum. But there are a few times when it is 100% OK for you to give underwear, too.
When they ask for it. I’ve helped many-a-men buy underwear for their wives when they’ve requested it. Sometimes they request something sassy, most of the time they want replenishments of their favorite bras. If she asks for it? Get it! Do a little research, ask her what she likes, and ask for help. I recently helped a man all the way across the country pick out a bra for his wife. He was so proud of his purchase! Not sure exactly what to get? You can NOT go wrong with a gift certificate. It gives her the power to pick out exactly what she wants.
Note: if you’re giving someone something sexy that is meant for your eyes only, do not give it to them to open on Christmas morning in front of everyone else. I feel like this should go without saying. . . but I’ve heard stories.
Men ask for underwear, too. My husband asks for underwear and socks pretty much every year at Christmas. It’s the last thing he thinks about buying and the one thing he wears every day. Now that’s a great gift.
When you know they deserve it. One of my favorite gifts is a bra fitting. Even if you get someone a gorgeous or well-made bra, if it doesn’t fit it doesn’t matter. In my years in the retail shops, I loved helping women who received a gift certificate from a loved one, a boss, or a friend. So many times women put themselves last on the list. They never make the time or allot the funds toward a fitting. Helping a woman find her confidence, her comfort and her joy through undergarments is a true honor. Don’t you think she deserves it?
There are several reputable shops and fitters in the NYC area like Linda’s, Bra-Tenders, Intimacy, Journelle – and that’s just to name a few. And for those who want the all-star treatment, for a limited amount time, I’m offering in-home Bra Drawer Audits and Bra Lessons, as well as Personal Bra Shopping Now that’s truly saying Hurray for Lingerie.
Have you ever given or received underwear or lingerie for the holidays? What are the rules to you? Tell me in the comments below or shoot me a tweet @hurraykimmay. Hurray for the holidays and Hurray for Lingerie!