It’s no secret. Holiday gift guides are not my favorite posts to write. I find myself counting down the minutes until I am finished mostly because the writing feels like a tedious not-so-subtle marketing ploy. This year I put aside my personal feelings to write a couple posts for our shop because we often struggle to attract holiday shoppers in the era of online meccas and big box discounts. Of course, our small business isn’t unique in feeling forgotten, so today, I want to close the series with a final buying guide spreading the love to other retailers, manufactures, and designers with totally cool gifts for everyone on your nice (or naughty) list.
Angela Friedman “Kitties are the best medicine” Knickers
Last year, when Mordecai DuCat was dumped in my yard, Angela Friedman and Sweet Nothings went above and beyond with resources to find him a safe and happy home . . . other than mine. Ultimately, no one wanted him, and with no shelters guaranteeing he wouldn’t be euthanized, I adopted a second cat. However, their kindness and dedication to helping Mordy find a home warmed my heart. In addition to being a cat lover, Angela is also an incredibly talented lingerie designer, and perusing her website is like shopping for art. The details, the passion, the luxury—they shine through in every piece she creates, making it challenging to pick only one for our guide. Given our prior history with kitties, this adorable everyday bikini seemed the most appropriate with its classic fit, pink accents, and cute graphic print from Quinne Myers. Did I mention the underwear is made and sourced locally in Durham AND that each purchase nets a 5% donation to the ASPCA?
Foxers Lace Boxers at Bluestockings Boutique
Earlier this year, I snagged a pair of Foxers Lace Boxers in light blue for myself from Bluestockings Boutique, and they have become one of my favorite purchases of 2016. The semi-sheer lace is exceptionally soft to the touch, and the wide elastic band does not dig into the squishy tissue at my hips. A boxer-inspired design flatters curves without riding up when I move or sit, and I love how the blue color nearly matches my Tarheels shirts. I love these so much that I think I need another pair in classic black!
Playful Promises Mariela Black & Chartreuse Set
Playful Promises is a brand which has been on my radar for the shop ever since I first saw reviews in the lingerie blogosphere. They blend a wonderful vintage vibe with completely modern details for an aesthetic unlike many of the established fuller-bust brands. My top pick from their ultra cool collection is the Mariela Set in Black/Chartreuse. Seriously, how often do you even see the color chartreuse coming up in lingerie? Green, in general, is a bit under-represented with most brands focusing on crowd-pleasing favorites like emerald, forest, or even lime. This funky shade pops against the black fabric, and the juxtaposition of soft lace with caged details is a perfect twist on a holiday lingerie set.
Buttress & Snatch Curvy Maria Bra & High Waist Brief
UK lingerie import Buttress & Snatch can best be summarized as the most gloriously over-the-top bras and underwear you will ever buy, and with tulle draping, velvet bows, and sheer English lace, the Maria is the crowning jewel in their collection. This is not an everyday bra, but who cares? When you have this much attention to detail coming together with a variety of textures and ornamental details, the piece ultimately becomes more fashion than foundation. And those bow-back knickers? The inner lingerie geek inside of me squeals with delight! When I saw Sweet Nothings reviewed this very same bra, I knew it had to be on our holiday wish list! Sometimes being practical is overrated.
Bolero “Besame Mucho” Dress
Designed after the ultra popular “Besame Mucho” bolero, Patricia’s latest vintage-inspired creation combines a gorgeous sweetheart neckline, paneled skirt, red lip accents, and a sexy peek-a-boo back for a sassy but totally wearable dress. Per usual, Besame Mucho is made-to-order in the USA using only high quality materials which never wrinkle, dry quickly, and are perfect for travel. I love Patricia’s sublte nod to the lyrics as well as her ability to draw on both cultural-inspiration and personal remembrances for her garments. “Besame mucho // como si fuera ésta noche // La última vez.” .
A nifty, inexpensive accessory, the Strap Saver is the perfect low budget purchase for anyone struggling to keep the straps tight enough on bras, bathing suits, or camisoles. Available in multiple widths and metallic shades, the Strap Saver is a no-sew option to reduce the length of any strap, thus improving the fit and longevity of your favorite items. Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing this genius acccessory, which worked like a charm even on textured straps. The metal clips are designed to hold the weight of larger cup sizes, and once you learn how to use it, applying them to all of your straps is easy and pain-free!
Harlow & Fox Augusta Teal Set
When you’ve been in a retail industry for over five years, I think it’s natural to become jaded. You start to develop a “been there, done that” kind of feeling when you see new seasons or even new brands. After all, part of your job is literally to stare at bras and underwear all day. The two things which excite me the most at this point in my career are existing manufacturers addressing consumer demands either for improved fits or a better size ranges and the luxury lingerie market. It’s hard to appreciate upscale pieces from photos because transforming them into a two-dimensional object inevitably loses the luster of the original, leaving a nice enough garment with a whopper of a price tag. This is where independent reviews bridge the gap. I’ve been a fan of Harlow & Fox, a UK company intent on offering fuller-bust customers the luxury experience by using high quality silks, gold hardware, and delicate laces, since I first saw the press releases. Then, when Elisabeth Dale totally rocked the Eleanor set in her photos for the Lingerie Tea Party, I came to appreciate how special they are. Again, it was hard to choose a favorite here, but Augusta was so gorgeous with its beautiful teal silk, black embroidery, and fringed suspender belt and robe, I knew it was my top choice for the holidays.
Shadowline Black Lace Bust Peignoir from Fortuna Femme
Fortuna Femme is a new online boutique catering to the inner vintage vixen in all of us, and as such, they have lovingly assembled a beautiful selection of lingerie, foundation garments, hosiery, and sleepwear. My top choice is the Black Lace Bust Peignoir from Shadowline with its ultra-soft nylon, beautiful floral lace, and lovely open-front drape. Perfect for anyone wanting to add a little drama and glamour to their boudoir!
Karolina Laskowska Katja Bow Choker
Another talented independent lingerie designer and curator of the new Underpinnings Museum, Karolina Laskowska offers customers a decadent range of lingerie accessories, including harnesses, corsets, bralettes, suspender belts, and choker necklaces. Growing up in the late 90s/early 2000s, my female peers and I frequently wore those stretchy chokers designed to look a little like tattoos on the throat (they were so popular, I swear!). When I came to my senses, I was put off by chokers entirely until I saw the Katja Bow Choker. It’s simple, sophisticated, and a little edgy with its crisp black satin base, gold-plated bow pendant, and an adjustable neck. If bows aren’t your thing, I was equally torn between the Katja and this fabulous bee pendant!
Happy Holidays Everyone!
P.S. For stuff you can buy directly from us, check out our $100 or Less Giveaway Guides: For the Young (or Young at Heart), For the Traditionalist, For the Practically Perfect, and For the Timelessly Elegant.