Functional or Emotional, Buying Underwear or Lingerie?

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I recently took my 19 year old daughter to Paris for some R&R and decided to take her to one of the less known and visited tourist hot spot in Paris. The fourth floor at Galleries Lafayette. The lingerie floor. An entire floor dedicated to the clothing category seen by few and enjoyed by many. Many French women who wear them and the lucky men who get close enough to see them first-hand. It's a bit mind blowing to see such a selection of beautiful intimate pieces in all size, shapes and texture. The dressing room is co-ed. Women trying things on and modeling them (behind the curtains) to their man, mother, sister or friend before investments are made. It appears to be a family affair.

My goal was to impart my knowledge and experience of wearing pretty things to feel beautiful and doing so for yourself. It starts with us and yes, others eventually benefit but that is secondary. We, the women who wear lingerie are at the center of why we buy nice things that match, do what they are supposed to do and make you feel feminine.

french lingerie
"Lingerie" via Shutterstock.

What do the French women know that we don't appreciate here? Sure, our stores carry some assortment, but not nearly the choice and quality these Europeans enjoy. The only time you see a larger assortment in the US or Canada is around Valentine's Day. Even then, you never see the assortment that everyday shoppers see in Paris. Why is that? We do tend to think of them in "romantic" ways, thus the Valentine rush purchases, but the quality of what we get here is nowhere near the quality of the pieces made in France, nor the year round availability.

Victoria's Secret tries to be that destination store for our needs but have you really looked at some of their pieces? Sizes are limited and full figure -- I mean "chesty" women -- have little choice. Their assortment is made for girls, not women. It's designed for short-term ownership, certainly no classic pieces to be found. Certainly not for women just like me (couldn't help myself). Then we have Frederick's of Hollywood which glamorizes lingerie and tries to make all women look like a sex kitten. Nothing wrong with that for those special nights but everyday wear? I don't think so.

North American intimates for the most part are more functional. Some even have straps that remind me of Samsonite luggage. What do we think we are carrying here? Boulders? Do we even try to match our pieces or do we only do this if we think we are going to be in an accident and want the hospital personnel to see matching pieces? Who do we dress for? Ourselves, our mates or the medical professionals waiting for your emergency admission?

I am a frequent gym-goer and can confirm that most of what I see is not matchy matchy. It looks more like random pieces pulled in the darkness of night, simply trying to cover their privates with whatever is found. This approach supports the famed Saturday Night Live line, "It's not how you feel but how you look." I would suggest that the French women care more about how they feel first and look second. Agree, most people don't know what is underneath your clothes, but we the women know and we the women should care.

I read a quote by Issac Mizrahi, "Intimates are the first things a woman thinks of when she gets dressed. They make her feel beautiful and when she feels beautiful she looks beautiful."

It's time to clean out that drawer and unless something can be matched up and looks like it was purchased this century, throw it out. Feeling good and beautiful starts with the simple things and it starts with those things closest to you.

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