Undressed at the V&A- An Exhibition for every lingerie lover.

After finally planning a trip to London to go and see the Undressed Exhibition, I was not disappointed. There was so much information and history to take in and I was there for a good length of time reading absolutely everything. I will not give full details of the exhibition as I do not want to undermine the wonderful exhibition that the V&A have put on, and I want you all to go and visit it yourselves.

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I was delighted to arrive at the V&A on a Tuesday where I got a £5 offer. The ticket is normally £12 so this was an unexpected great start to the day.

As I went in to the exhibition the first thing I noticed was the old fashioned petticoats and bustles. This fascinated me because as a child I was intrigued by the dresses of Cinderella’s step sisters, I assumed they had weird shaped bottoms when I was younger but learned a few years later that it was some sort of underskirt that would give them this shape- If they were real characters and not cartoons… The exhibition allowed me to see these hooped petticoats and bustles for the first time in real life and I can’t say that I think they will make a come back any time soon.

 

The other thing that I thought was well presented in the exhibition was the corsets. They showed the health effects through x-rays of corset wearers. I felt like this was important because although corsets aren’t worn as an everyday underwear choice for most people, they still can have negative effects on your rib cage and internal organs that not everyone is aware of. I also found out that they have corsets for pregnancy and breast feeding?! Who knew! I have to say that the idea of wearing a corset whilst you are pregnant does not appeal in the slightest and I did have my concerns about a babies health if you were to wear one. The variety of corsets was incredibly interesting, from fashion to maternity to sportswear, it was a real eye opener to me as I am not a corset person.

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Pregnancy and maternity corset has lacing down the sides to adjust, and opening slips for breast feeding

Upstairs, there was a section on lingerie as outerwear which I really enjoyed. It talked about how designers have pushed the boundaries with lingerie as outerwear and showed some celebrity red carpet looks with the theme of lingerie. This was one of my favourite areas in the modern section of the exhibition.

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A Mr Pearl, crystal embellished corset for Dita Von Teese to wear at her burlesque show.

I was told that Undressed was quite a small exhibition but I thought it was a good size. It wasn’t too small and it wasn’t too large and it was filled with lots of interesting lingerie garments and the history behind them. I certainly felt like my knowledge of lingerie, historically and modern, has broadened. I would recommend Undressed to anyone, male or female, with an interest in lingerie. There is also an inclusion of men’s intimates throughout the exhibition.

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I purchased the book from the V&A for £10.

If you have been, let me know what your thoughts are. And if you haven’t been, you’re missing out and should definitely go.

Book tickets here. You have until March 2017 to go.

Claudia.x

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What your customer really wants.

When shopping for lingerie there are certain things I look for when I want to buy from somewhere. This blog post is to give you a run down on my personal preference to shopping and what makes me step into a store and what does and does not lead me to making a purchase.

First impressions

Walking past a store, you will make a judgement instantly about whether that shop is somewhere you want to step into. If the front of a shop has worn paint and the maintenance is low, I would get the impression that the brand does not care about their reputation, thus making me go elsewhere. If you have a pretty store front, something that is simple yet speaks to multiple people, you will entice more people into entering your store.

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Guilt lingerie shop front

In and out

Once a person has got through the door, they are instantly a potential customer. If your store doesn’t keep in theme with your well kept store front, you will find more and more customers come in and have the “Polite browse”. This is something we have all done, the classic “Can I help you?” “No thank you, I’m just browsing”. Then circles the shop, touching two or three items and walking out. You want to have something you can talk to customers about. Is there a promotion on? Tell them! If you are an independent retailer, ask “How did you hear about us?” Make conversation and learn how people are finding out about your store, this can prove useful in many ways, especially in marketing. If someone is in the store feeling up a product, ask them what size they normally wear and see if you have it in stock and ask what they want from a new bra and make recommendations.

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Madame Bijouxx in Kuwait

Making a sale

Normally I am willing to make a purchase when I have received amazing customer service. This makes such a difference but you should always have enough team members on hand to make it personal to the customer. If you are running a boutique by yourself, you could have a “booking for a fitting” system in place to deal with short staff if you are busy. Ultimately every store should be staffed to cater to the amount of people walking through their doors.

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French Affairs gift wrapping

 

Promotions

I hate season sales. I hate going through boxes of bras tangled together to find my size. Some people love this, and those are the people that will come in and clear your old stock for you. But try and make this as easy as possible and sort sale stock into easy categories. Efficiency will benefit everyone.

I am a promotion girl, but only when I am not being asked to come back in and spend more money. I like a simple “Free X when you buy Y” or “Triple points on your loyalty card” etc… I want to get something back from being a loyal customer without feeling like I am breaking the bank and that my loyalty doesn’t mean that much to you. Remember, it is about building relationships with your customers, make them feel appreciated and they will return.

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Boux Avenue Promotion

Things to remember

Interior to a shop is important.If your carpets have stains and your dressing rooms are dark and dingy, it isn’t a positive place for someone to come and try on bras. Taking off your underwear in basically a public place should be done in a comfortable environment. If you can afford doors that lock instead of curtains, then you should have these installed. No one wants to feel vulnerable whilst shopping for intimates.

Fit your customers properly and make sure all of your staff know how to as well. If they don’t make sure they get a member of the team who does know how to fit properly. Customers should not be sent home with a poorly fitted bra.

Colleagues build your business. If a member of your team has made me feel like a burden, uncomfortable or is just in general rude, I am gone forever, especially if this is my first experience in your store. I do not have the time or money to put myself in negative situations and pay for them.

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To summarise, the key to creating customers is giving a positive experience within everything you do from outside of the store to being inside the store to making a sale.

Claudia.x

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A standard gift guide to buying lingerie

Buying lingerie can be quite a tedious task when you are buying for others. Lots of questions leave people feeling very confused and a loss at where to start which is why I have created this guide on the three key things you should consider; size, style and colour.

Size

The best way to determine your partners bra size is to look at the bra labels of their mostly worn bras. You should also look to see what the styles are if there is a difference in sizing. For example, if your partner is a 34B in a balconette bra, they might be a 32C in a plunge bra. This is called sister sizing which often occurs across brands and bra styles. If your partner has a particular brand they normally buy from or if they have a bra they wear particularly a lot, go with the size of that bra and buy a bra from that same place.

To determine your partners underwear size, again, a rummage through their draw when you’ve “popped to the loo” shall tell you if they are a size XS S M L XL or 8, 10, 12, 14 etc… If your partner is a size 12 but the shop sells in sizes S M L then ask the shop assistant or check the online size guide to convert the size.

Bodies and night slips are often in clothing sizes or XS S M L XL. Check your partners tighter fitting clothes for a help guide to buy a body suit and check a dress for night slip sizes. However, some lingerie is measured in cup sizes and therefore go by the guide for the bra sizing.

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Style

In bra and knickers, going off similar styles to what you partner already has is a safe move. You want them to like the gift. They also will know that styles suit and flatter them the best so you should encourage their decisions. Do not buy for your wants if it is a gift for them. If your partner doesn’t have a thong in their drawer, do not buy a thong, this gift will not be happily received if you do- Unless you have discussed with your partner that they want to try wearing a thong or any other kind of underwear they are not used to wearing.

As far as actual lingerie goes, your partner might not have any and therefore your best option is to buy a night slip as it is still pretty, sexy but also more modest then items such as babydolls and bodysuits. If you partner already has lots of lingerie, pick something you think they will like.

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Colours

One of the worst mistakes you can make is buying something in a colour your partner hates. You should know their favourite colour and the colour of the lingerie they have worn before. If they have a few bright coloured bras in their drawer but normally stick to wearing their darks and pales, this means you should go for a practical colour. Although your intentions might be to just have the matching set worn in the bedroom, your partner will be far more grateful if they can wear something under clothes as well and you will get to see the underwear more than once if they enjoy wearing it. 

Night slips etc.. Can be brought in bolder colours, but again, be considerate in the choice. If you partner doesn’t own any lingerie and wears black all of the time, buy something dark. If they wear bold colours in pyjamas you could get away with picking an exciting colour, but always refer to their current wardrobe.

 

Things to remember

  • If they have sensitive skin, know what fabrics they can’t wear. Materials like netting can cause some irritation.
  • Keep the receipt. Never ever throw it away. If they need an exchange in size or want to return an item to buy something else, then you do not want to find yourself out of pocket and a partner who hates their gift.
  • Also purchase the gift with enough time to return it either via post or to a physical shop. Most companies will allow 28 days on returns, so don’t buy the gift months in advance.
  • If your partner has absolutely no interest in pretty or sexy underwear, you should probably discuss buying lingerie as a gift first.
  • When you buy a gift for someone, you will always buy something you think they will like. Lingerie should be no different, it is still about them and not about you, you just might like this gift as well.
  • Shop assistants and online support are available when you are buying. Don’t be shy to use them and ask for help.

 Happy thoughtful lingerie shopping!

Claudia.x

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Don’t get your knickers in a twist: A quick guide to your underthings.

There is an overwhelming amount of knickers on the market, all serving their own purpose and cater to different women and their needs. Here is your quick guide on knickers and what sorts of clothes you can wear them under.

Full Brief

Your classic underwear is the brief. A slightly high waistband offers full coverage and lots of women tend to find that these are the most comfortable underwear option. As the brief offers a high waistband, it is hard to wear under low cut trousers. If you tuck a top into your bottoms you will probably be okay. I would recommend wearing briefs under loosely fitted skirts and dresses to avoid a visible panty line (VPL). You can get no VPL briefs which would be worth investing in, if you love your briefs and your tight fitting trousers. Briefs are also perfect for wearing under lounge wear.

 

French Cut Knickers (High cut briefs)

The french cut knickers are similar to a brief but they are cut higher on the legs/hips whilst still covering your bottom. This is a good alternative for those who don’t like the fabric cutting in on their skin. They can be worn in the same situation as a classic full brief, or you can wear them with high cut leotards and shorts for that 80’s look.

 

Boy shorts

Boy shorts are based of of men’s boxers. They cover the hips and more often come in rectangle or square shapes depending on how they sit on the leg. They are low cut on the hips and cover your bottom. Properly fitted boy shorts in the right fabric, can be worn under tight fitted clothes such as jeans, for that no VPL look. Baggier boy shorts are often worn as lounge wear rather than under specific garments.

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Sloggi boy shorts

 

Hipsters

Your hip hugging underwear does exactly that. These are similar to boy shorts but they don’t go as far down on the leg. They sit low on your hips and still give you full coverage. They are ideal to wear under low rising garments such as jeans, trousers and skirts.

 

Bikini

The bikini cut was modelled off a woman’s behind, and are therefore meant to flatter the bottom. The waistband sits about three inches below the natural waist and has high cut leg holes for comfort. It has little coverage and therefore can be worn under most garments. They are a popular choice for everyday wear.

 

 

Tanga

A tanga has moderate to minimal coverage, often covering little of the bottom. It has more coverage than a thong but less than a brief. They can be used to get used to smaller amounts of coverage before wearing a thong. These can we worn under most clothes including tighter fits and are perfect for those who don’t like thongs, or for their bottom to be fully covered.

 

Thong

Lots of people dread wearing thongs. The back of these is a piece of material that sits between your cheeks, therefore leaving your bottom uncovered. They often sit just above or on your hip bone. They take a wear or two to get used too, but they can be worn under virtually anything as there is no material on your bottom to give off a VPL. Your tightest jeans, your pencil skirt, almost everything that is a tight fit works when wearing a thong. Wearing a thong under leggings is also recommended if you plan to wear leggings as a pair of bottoms and not a form of hosiery.

 

G-String

G-strings are your “Go there or go bare” option. The front panel is very minimal and the back is created with two strings. One that sits on the hip bone to keep the underwear up, and one down the back, between your cheeks, that attaches to the front material. Don’t worry your actual vagina is covered by material and not a string.  If you have an item of clothing that sits so close to your skin, then a G-String is your answer.

 

Most underwear these days comes in a no VPL option which is really helpful for women as fashion increases in tighter fitting clothes. There is no right or wrong way to wear these underthings, as long as you are comfortable and nothing is on show that you don’t want on show. Remember that light coloured clothes can show even the smallest dark and brightly coloured underwear, so please take that into consideration when you choose your underwear for your white jeans.

Claudia.x

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Chloe Lace Balconette Bra Review

Boux Avenue turned 5 not too long ago, so a huge congratulations to the company as it continues to build a reputation for themselves. Boux sells bras for a good price that cater to a large range of sizes, and with easy access on the high street they appeal to most people seeking a quick lingerie fix.

The most reoccurring promotion is on their Chloe bra sets. I brought my first Chloe bra a few years ago in white and in the balconette style in a size 30E. I can say that it has lasted a really long time with little discolouration and the elastic has hardly given in.

The bra is simple with a delicate and pretty lace pattern. It is perfect for everyday wear. I personally wear them under tight fitting tops because I don’t mind a bit of lace poking through the top, but this bra won’t give you a smooth cup if that is what you are looking for.

In the summer of 2015 I needed a lace nude bra to fit under a transparent nude top. The decision to wear that top was very last minute so I quickly popped into Boux with the top and grabbed the Chloe bra in nude in a size 32DD. The top fit perfectly under the top and I was fortunate enough that the promotion for the matching bottoms was on meaning I paid £1 extra to have the set, saving me £9. This nude bra has also served me well and still feels new when I wear it despite wearing it quite often for nearly a year.

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It doesn’t surprise me that Chloe sets are their best selling when I have tried lots of bras from Boux. Their Chloe sets have lasted longer than my previously loved and completely outworn Georgia sets which are now discontinued and replaced with “Rita” which I have yet to try.

The bras fit really well and are true to size and are comfortable.

 

The V shape to the strap did catch my skin a bit with the white one but it looks like they made the V smaller by the time I brought the nude one. I have not had any catching issues in the nude and I haven’t in the white one for a long time.

Whilst looking at the bras to review I noticed that the linings were different. The white one is “softer” on the inside, the fabric used for the lining is flimsier. In the nude bra it is firmer, yet still soft. I decided to see if the bra fabric had changed and unsurprisingly they had. The white bra from a few years ago contains 86% polyamide and 14% elastane. The nude bra contains 93% polyamide and 7% elastane. Both are soft on the skin but the quality of the lining in the bra has definitely got better over the years.

I would recommend this bra from Boux, they are simple, pretty as well as comfortable and they don’t wear as quickly as some of my other bras have done and for only £25 for the set when it’s on offer it is a complete bargain. I will be upgrading my white one soon just to freshen up.

Claudia.x

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