We stared at the full-page magazine ad, in awe. The waif-like model, a thousand feet tall in all her glossy glory, was corseted in lace, padded and ” pushed up” in all the right places. She looked like, we thought, what every man must want and what every woman must want to be.
For decades, lingerie was presented to us as the secret weapon to fulfilling the end-all-be-all, the omnipotent heterosexual fantasy. Achieving sexy - the magazine ad seemed to suggest - was our ultimate purpose. It was the missing ingredient in a recipe we’d been trying to replicate our whole lives, which seemed to go like this: women + lingerie = every man’s dream = self-actualization and a life well lived. You’ve achieved “sexy”, congratulations!
Emboldened by the image of us as princess-warrior-angels strutting about town in this lingerie with clear magical powers, we resolved to go to the store the very next day and get us a piece of that sexy pie. Good plan.
Reality, as you may have guessed, was not quite up to expectations. Nervously approaching the lingerie counter, we coyly asked if they’d please have that bra model in a 38D and the shorty that goes with in a Large.
It was there, right there, that we knew the fitting session would not yield the desired results. Avoiding our reflection at all cost, we wrestled ourselves into the lingerie set. We held our breath and strapped ourselves in. Who needs oxygen anyway?
Our once gleaming hope had by then curdled like month old dairy. When we finally faced the mirror, the waif-like model was not there staring back. Instead it was us, “just” us, red faced and clammy, with our bulges, peaks and valleys, and so called imperfections.
“Love yourself, accept yourself just the way you are” we were told in the face of our insecurities. An anthem which, while well meaning, was in fact a mixed message, a departure from the hundreds of lingerie ads selling us a very narrow definition of what a (sexy) woman should look like.
The lingerie did not, of course, have magical powers. It did not change us. And may we say thank goodness?
The truest feminist movement is happening right now. It’s no longer solely focused on reforming what should have been our basic rights all along, but challenging stereotypes, societal pressures, evil forces (?) that make us question ourselves at every turn. It's shifting the conversation. And that, friends, is everything.
Time’s up for the tyranny of feminine products serving other purposes than our own. Women are demanding that our lives belong to ourselves and ourselves only, and this new revolution is trickling down to our undergarments!
Lingerie is at the forefront of the movement, leading with realness rather than merely selling fantasy. French lingerie brands are putting women’s comfort first. They are listening intently, innovating, designing products and creating content that, at long last, look like us. And it’s sexy. It’s sexy as hell - because it’s authentic, empowered, empowering, and very much rooted in how we feel rather than how we look. And we’re feeling pretty damn good, thankyouverymuch.
Chantelle is putting out into the world Softstretch, an innovative line of one-size-fits-all underwear that truly fits all with no ambiguity. Chantelle ’s Instagram account is a parade of all body types all skin colors, all ages and all circumstances under the sun, assuring us that Chantelle is indeed the queen brand of inclusivity and diversity.
Simone Perele is, as we speak, releasing their Spring 2020 collection with an arsenal of pictures of deliriously gorgeous and bodacious women. They’re not flaunting, but they’re not hiding either. And for the first time maybe ever, we see these images and we finally, at long last, see ourselves.
January 31, 2020