Saturday, 31 January 2015

Of laces and intimates...

Image from here
I haven’t posted on this blog for over a year now. Mostly I’ve been using Facebook to post short comments, but never a long one. There’s a reason tho, why I still long for my own personal space, for my FB has been more of a professional page these days. Nothing wrong with it, for it grows my professional life as well. But at times, I do long for a personal space where I can talk about intimate stuffs without having it posted on my wall. Just like when I talk of laces and intimates.

Some random readers might have arrived at this blog looking for shoe size. Some might have then deduced, correctly, that I was a shoe lover. I still am. But these days I’m also an intimate lover. I love wearing matching bras and panties. I love hunting for the pair panties if they are out of stock at the shop. I love washing my bras and panties by hand, taking care that the colours don’t run (it happened earlier this month to my favourite Elle Macpherson plume collection, thanks to a runny pantyhose... and I haven’t forgiven myself for that).
I love installing my bras and panties inside my drawers properly. I love my intimate collections. I now have a policy of keeping the brand tag to remind me what their series name and colour code, so I can look for them again online if they are damaged and I need to replace them.

There’s something lovely and sensual about taking care of your intimate collections. Sexual too, but not necessarily so at all times. It’s like taking care of your most intimate physical self (maybe that’s why they call it “intimates”), which eventually makes you happier and appreciates yourself more. Along with this thought is the proper choice of sizing (many women do not wear the correct bra size) and the proper care of your intimate collection (don’t wash them with runny pantyhose, even of the same colour, for instance...). 

So here I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the proper choice and care of our intimates based on my personal experience and also from online reading. The tips is mostly about the bras, but to some extent, it also applies to panties. I will also share a thought about my favourite brand. I’m not paid by them in any way. I want to write about this brand because I have been wearing it since 2009 and I still wear it now.

Now, sizing first: Buy bras that fit you, not try to fit your ladies into your bras. The British Chiropractic Association warned that wearing the wrong size can ­restrict breathing and cause ­abrasions, breast pain and poor ­posture. Tim Hutchful from the BCA akined bras like “suspension bridges”. He further explained that “[y]ou need a well-engineered bra so your shoulders don’t end up doing all the work. Bras that don’t fit will affect the shoulders and the chest and will almost certainly cause back pain as you get older.”

Many online sites and brick-and-wall stores have offered advice on the best bra fitting; I’d say follow their suggestions. Carrie Hauser who works at Nordstorm has good tips you can follow. I also love the tips from Brasnthings. Bras N Things also have tips for “sister sizes”, which is great to know. 

My own rule of thumb is: if you forget that you actually wear a bra (you don’t fiddle with it, the cups stay hence no need of adjustment, you don’t have to secure the straps again and again), you are wearing the correct size. But on the details, read at least the two sites. They offer good advice. To me, sizing is OF THE UTMOST importance.

Case in the point for sizing: when I was younger, I used to buy bras one size smaller because I wanted to feel slimmer,  and thought unwisely that I could slim down. No fat chance... These days I don’t do it anymore, tho just last week I bought a bra (again, an Elle) that is one size smaller but the same cup size (10D) because 12D (34D) is gone. The 10D still fits (10C would be a no), but I still prefer 12D.

Caring: I never wash my lingerie with washing machine, except cotton ones (the ones for working out). For lace editions, I always wash them by hand. Yes, it’s tedious, and at times my patience made me forgot about colour test and hence destroyed my lovely intimates (see, I still haven’t forgiven myself...). There’s something very satisfying with washing my lingerie by hand and then hanging them outside in the shade. It’s actually almost spiritual to me.... and I think one day soon I will think of it as a spiritual experience. I’m washing something that supports me and my body; so how can it be not spiritual?

After-wash hanging: this is difficult. Some sites would suggest hanging them evenly on a hanger. I don’t do that. And what I definitely don’t do is hanging the bras by clipping one strap only. It stretches it unevenly. What I do usually is hang them by the middle part, so the left cup is hanging at one side of the clothing line, and the right cup is hanging at the other side. I think the best way is to hang them flat on a flat surface to keep them getting out of shape. But that’s difficult to do, hanging on a flat surface, I mean.

Storing: It is, IMO, the most important thing to remember after the sizing (other than using a mesh bag to wash your lingeries if you still prefer washing machine). I used to just fold the bras into one (that is, one cup is spooned into the other cup). It is WRONG. It alters the shape of your cups, and over time, makes your expensive bras uncomfortable to wear. These days (since mid last year actually), I just lay my bras flat on the drawer, one stacked slightly over another. No folding. The flatter, the better. Hence, if your drawer gets too crowded, and hence your bras begin to “stand” instead of lay flat, clear some space. The flatter it is, the better.

Perhaps, perhaps you can store the bras by hanging them on individual bra hanger like what they do in department stores. But it means you need a lot of space. I have 14 bras now that I carefully maintain and store, and it already takes up my whole drawer because I don’t want to stack them too closely. If I hang them, I will need much more space than that.
Elle Macpherson turns 51 this year, and she's still a wise goddess!

Now, to my favourite brand. When I still lived in Indonesia, my favourite were Triumph and Wacoal. They persisted over the test of time. But, in 2009 when I already moved to Australia, I found the Elle Macpherson collection. She’s an Australian supermodel, and she looks like as down to earth as a supermodel can be. Anyway, she had her own brand with Bendon for 25 years (!!) before Bendon decided they needed a new face and hired Heidi Klum instead as the designer and face of the brand. The brand with its wellknown designs is now called ‘Heidi Klum Intimates’, but Elle said that she would keep her own ‘Elle Macpherson’ brand and find a new partner. Elle also said that she would expand to active wear and to plus and petite sizes, which I think is a really good move.

The reason I like Elle’s collection is that it’s strong and durable. I bought two Elle bras in 2009 and I still have both of them now, even tho I stored them in the wrong way (cups spooned to each other). Now that I have learned the correct way of storing bras (laid flat), I hope my newer Elle collections will last longer too! I still buy Triumph or Wacoal whenever I can find a nice pair in Indonesia, but these days, my heart goes to Elle. Not sure how she will design her new products, now that she’s not with Bendon. But dare I say, a 25 years of experience surely has made her an expert of bra engineering (or at least where to look for such engineers and designs). Her respect to women of plus sizes also grows on me, but I shouldn't be surprised, actually, given her vision of life. I think I will buy her new collection once her own store is open.

Not sure about what to do with the Heidi Klum collection. I’ve looked at Myers, and it does not offer the diverse hue of colours that the Elle collection did. It will offer a more accessible-price collection, which is good. But I’m not really fond of Ms Klum’s new vision of more skin = sexier and that she’s not “a huge fan of gigantic cups”. Her idea of ultra specialty bras might be okay, but...her general vision might be the reason why I never really grew fond of Victoria’s Secret anyway. But each to her own. And hey, if Ms Klum is not in favour of the old Elle Macpherson designs, good for me. Just hand over those designs back to Elle so I can still buy them from Elle one day!

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