Intimate Intelligence

The post-baby body has become the ultimate celebrity status symbol

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for poor Jessica Simpson. The singer/fashion brand/reality TV star is accustomed to being picked on by the tabloid press, but these days she is getting the kind of attention that should make women around the world shudder.

Jessica’s offense? Emerging from her first pregnancy with something other than the kind of sleek, toned, ripple-free physique that we’ve come to expect from celebrity new moms.

Weight control issues have plagued Jessica for years, but never more so than in the weeks before and after the May delivery of her daughter Maxwell. Jessica embraced her pregnancy gleefully, posing for magazine shoots and keeping up promotional appearances well into her final month — despite having gained a reported 70+ pounds.

In the weeks since giving birth, that unusually large weight gain has proved stubbornly hard to … ...Read more

by Richard Vincente

I attended my first LPGA tournament in Canada last week and, although I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, it reminded me of a sadly enduring truth: people can be pigs.

I presumed the fairways would be lined with serious golf fans, but it seemed like many people thought they were really attending a fashion show or a bachelor party. I spent much of the day eavesdropping on whispered crowd chatter. And much of what I overheard was shockingly, regressively sexist.

Many men in the crowd were less interested in a golfer’s skills (which were seriously impressive) than in her legs, boobs, butt, hair and overall do-ability. I lost track of how many times I heard someone mutter a predictable pun about scoring or balls or shafts.

But it wasn’t just men doing the sniping from the sidelines. I listened in as female spectators swapped opinions on the players’ … ...Read more

Seeing Double

By Richard Vincente

You don’t have to look very hard these days to find examples of how the evolving universe of fashion lingerie — the undiverse, as I call it — conflicts with public standards and exposes our mixed feelings about how, when and where we display our bodies.

We live in a society that celebrates and peddles sexuality with an increasing lack of restraint … but that same society also has a collective comfort level that is easily offended, even when it seems hypocritical.

Double standard? Or just the eternal tension between the progressive liberals we’d all like to be and conservative conformists we really are?

You can get a sense of this tension by looking at our attitudes toward celebrities and their fashion choices. For example, all-American supermodel Kate Upton (above) is going to sell a ton of magazines this summer thanks to her red-white-and-blue cover for … ...Read more

The Queen’s Knickers

Bestselling kids’ book has a special place in Jubilee celebrations

When the Queen visited a nursery school last winter near her Sandringham estate as part of her diamond anniversary activities, the giddy 3- and 4-year-old pupils had a surprise for her: they hung up hand-made replicas of her underwear for a display called ‘The Royal Laundry’.

“Oh,” the amused monarch commented, “they’re doing the washing.”

This sort of cheeky display might have earned you a stay in the Tower of London a few centuries ago, but in today’s Britain the subject of Her Majesty’s bloomers is standard chatter among commoners from age 3 to 93.

So much so, in fact, that when HRH steps out this weekend for her Diamond Jubilee festivities, a lot of onlookers will be wondering: What’s she wearing under there? The ‘At Home‘ briefs printed with corgis? Or the Union Jack pair reserved … ...Read more

by Richard Vincente

We seldom think of the lingerie industry as a microcosm of the fashion world or of society in general. But in France, at least, it’s both.

A recent poll showed that 91% of French women and 83% of men believe that lingerie is an important part of life and l’amour. But who knew that spirit would spill over into the historic election that returned the Socialists under François Hollande to power this week?

It’s no exaggeration to say that Nicolas Sarkozy, the once-popular French president who was humiliated at the polls, might still be in office if it weren’t for his clumsy handling of women’s lingerie.

No, it wasn’t a Berlusconi-style sex romp that brought Sarkozy down, or trouble in the bedroom with his superstar wife, or something seedier like his rumored manipulation of the Dominic Strauss-Kahn scandal that has captured headlines for the past … ...Read more

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