It might be a little late to be posting a ‘New Year’s resolutions’ list in February, but I think it’s never too late to improve your lingerie buying and care habits. So whether you made any lingerie-related New Year’s resolutions or not, here are 9 great things to promise yourself you’ll do in 2013…
1. Quality, Not Quantity
The average lingerie drawer is stuffed with £836 worth of underthings, which for some women will mean around 40 sets worth £20, whilst for others it will mean just 8 luxury, designer lingerie sets costing something like £100 each – that’s one for every day of the week, plus something extra beautiful for special occasions.
Designer lingerie may seem like something you can’t afford, but if you can buy three bras for £20 each then you can buy one for £60. You’ll own less lingerie but every single piece will be something you treasure and love to wear, plus the quality of designer lingerie is typically much higher so your purchase will last for years.
If you really can’t afford high-end lingerie, look out for sales and special offers. End-of-season lingerie is just as beautiful as it was at the start of the season!
2. Don’t Tumble Dry
Whether you hand-wash or machine-wash your smalls, one thing is certain – you should never, ever put your lingerie in the tumble dryer! Lingerie is made from stretchy, elasticated fabric to be form-fitting, but the excess heat when tumble drying breaks down elastic fibres so that those knickers that once fit perfectly start to become baggy and loose around the hips.
If you’re washing anything with bones too, such as a basque or corset, the heat from the tumble dryer can cause them to warp and pull your lingerie out of shape – usually permanently!
3. Add Some Colour
If you tend to stick to the same classic shades of black, white, nude or red when it comes to lingerie buying, make 2013 the year to be a little more adventurous and pick a bright hue you wouldn’t normally go for – you might be surprised at how good it looks on you!
If you’re looking to keep as on-trend as possible, Pantone has named emerald green the colour of the year so check out this beautiful emerald Evangeline bra set by Andrea Billard. If you’re just not keen on full-blown colour, try adding just a splash of it with a brightly-coloured trim or sheer black lace over a vibrant lining.
4. Support Independent Designers
The high-street has some beautiful lingerie choices to pick from, but the vast majority is mass-manufactured and you don’t really know who’s pocketing the profits – usually not the ones making the garments!
This year, make a resolution to buy more of your lingerie from independent designers who profit directly from every sale and who you know have sewn their lingerie ethically, locally and with a lot of love, care and attention to detail.
Plus, you’ll discover tons of new shapes, styles and unique details that simply aren’t available on the high-street, where everything can start to look a little too much the same. After all, when was the last time you popped down to the high-street and saw a licquorice allsorts print bra or pelvis bone knickers?
5. Have a Clear Out
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a bunch of bras lying at the back of your drawer that don’t fit you anymore but you just can’t bring yourself to throw them away because they’re so pretty! Sadly, no matter how great they look in your drawer, they won’t look great on you if the fit is no longer right.
It’s time to be ruthless and have a proper ‘spring clean’ of your lingerie drawer. Do this when you have a couple of hours to spare so you can take the time to try each piece on and judge whether it fits. Don’t like the idea of simply throwing lingerie in the trash? You can donate your old bras to charity or, if you like to sew your own lingerie, you can do what I do and take your old bras apart to salvage great-condition straps, underwires and hardware to upcycle into a brand new bra!
6. Get Professionally Fitted
Our bodies change all the time and everything from having children or losing weight to simply growing older can lead to a change in bra size. That’s why it’s a good idea to get professionally sized every now and then, so if you haven’t had a bra fitting recently it’s time to get one.
Avoid high-street retailers or shops that only sell their own brands (as many of them are likely to fit you into a size they sell, not the size you are) and instead opt for an independent boutique that carries various brands and that’s happy to measure your bra size for free. Don’t like having your bra size measured in store? Check out my bra sizing flowchart to see if the bra you’re wearing right now is the right size.
7. Try a New Shape
Being more adventurous doesn’t just apply to trying new colours and brands. Why not really step outside your comfort zone and try a totally different shape?
If you always wear t-shirt bras, try a longline bra or one with an overwire rather than an underwire. For knickers, swap your usual thong or low-rise knickers for a high-waisted style, or vice versa. Try floaty babydolls and nightgowns if you always wear shapewear.
After all, what’s the worst that can happen? It might look great, or it might not, and if it doesn’t you can simply pop it back on the shelf or return it to the store.
The best – and cheapest – way to get hold of truly unique lingerie is to make it yourself! I’m really excited that we now have a free knicker sewing pattern download by sewing blogger Maddie Flanigan, but if you’re sewing skills aren’t up to par you can still modify store-bought lingerie by adding lace trims, beads, buttons, bows… whatever takes your fancy!
9. Invest in Storage Space
Now that you’ve whittled your lingerie drawer down to just your very favourite pieces, splashed out on some luxury new sets and had a go at customising some garments, you want to make sure you don’t undo all of that great work by storing your lingerie badly. If your smalls are being shoved and crushed into a drawer, chances are something’s going to get damaged sooner or later.
Moulded cup bras will quickly start to lose their shape if not stored correctly, and wherever lace or sheer fabrics are concerned something’s bound to snag and tear. Invest in a few satin or cotton lingerie bags to keep your most treasured sets in, and store your bras neatly lined up in a deep drawer where they don’t touch the top. You can store boned items such as corsets or basques either in a lingerie bag, or on a hanger in your wardrobe (but don’t hang them from the straps – it’ll stretch the elastic out).
Have you made any lingerie-related resolutions? I’d love to know what they are!