Red ribbon bows hang like harbingers from the lamp posts, holiday music blares through every speaker, and pine tree lots beckon early shoppers to select the perfect tree for their festivities. With these traditions also comes the glitzy, glamorous, and sometimes boozy soiree season filled with sequined party dresses, spiked eggnog, the annual company holiday party, and more than a few undergarment woes. Every year, lingerie professionals across the globe are tasked with finding the right solutions to holiday attire problems ranging from selecting the right shapewear to finding the perfect bra for a beautiful dress. All of us become the ultimate intimates fixers—whipping out accessories, miracle products, and double-sided tape to help you look your best and enjoy the party season without stress, and today I am sharing some of our secrets with our readers to give you a jump start in preparing for the season! (Click images to purchase.)
Say what you will about over-commercialization, Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and a crazy feeding frenzy for the best deals, but the holidays are one of my favorite times of year. For our family, it is not without its pain as well, but I like to focus on a how many of us put aside our own needs and focus on giving to someone else, whether that’s a loved one or a local charity. Unfortunately, for some small businesses, this can also be a time of year when things are the hardest. For us, customers pinch pennies to increase their spending budgets for presents for their friends and family and forgo buying something new for themselves. As a result, I am putting aside my personal ambivalence regarding buying guides and have created one exclusively for the products we carry in the shop. Even if you are not in the market for yourself right now, we still have some great present ideas all of which are under $100! Click on the picture to purchase at our online store, or click the name in the description section to read past reviews to help with your buying decisions.
I’m brimming over with ideas to write about for this column, but I wanted to start with the basics. Over the years I’ve tried a ton of bras and I’m constantly asked about which ones are my favorites. This list represents bras that have washed and worn well, are still in my regular rotation and that I’ve invested in multiple versions of (or would have if they existed). If you’re looking for a winner to fill a hole in your lingerie wardrobe for the holidays, these are all good bras to start with. I’m generally a 34HH/36HH in UK sizes and anything from an L to a 1X panty, depending on the brand. Erica can special order most of these for you – as she’s done for me over the years!
Hot wings might be a slight undersell. However, 5 Alarm Habanero-Cayenne Spontaneous Internal (*Intestinal) Combustion Hot Wings just seemed like too long of a title. For the purpose of this post, I am just going to scale down the pepper amounts. You can always make them with BBQ sauce**, which I’ll include a recipe for, omit the peppers, or make them hotter to suit your tastes.
While bra fitting is my primary field of expertise, I frequently field questions from customers about which everyday panties I personally recommend, and I realized I have enough opinions on the subject for an entire blog post. Ages ago on the blog, I referenced the Great Underwear Quest of 2009. At the time, I recently finished losing weight and had purchased some lovely dresses and pencil skirts which showcased every seam, elasticized waist, and all manner of decorative feature adorning my current underwear. Whenever I tried on new clothes on in the fitting room, I mistakenly believed I had underwear at home which would disappear with nary a visible line in sight. Nothing worked. Ultimately, I began scooping up miscellaneous knickers from retailers ranging from Walmart to Nordstrom, but if I could find a discreet pair, they would roll, move, or creep upward—to say nothing of scratchy materials or fraying edges. Eventually, I wondered if my only choice was to buy thongs or simply go commando, but I did not want to risk flashing cheek (more more) when I moved or sat. Just as my frustration peaked, a friendly sales rep in the Nordstrom lingerie department recommended On Gossamer. They were perfect! They did not show under even my least forgiving bottoms, were fairly comfortable, and reasonably durable. And so the Greay Panty Quest ended.
We have finally arrived at my favorite post to compile in the series: our best-sellers. While knowing which cup sizes, band sizes, and bra sizes sell the best is an extremely important element to maintaining inventory, it’s also smart to keep track of what products perform well and in what sizes. My strategy with purchasing new inventory is to create a well-rounded set of options per size cluster, which includes carrying multiple styles, colors, and brands designed to suit a variety of customer breast shapes and preferences. Analyzing our best-sellers can be a key way to select future core styles, determine the best colors to choose, and even analyze the optimum size configuration per style.
Since we have discussed the band sizes and cup sizes separately now, it’s time to combine them and analyze the breakdown of sales by bra size. To best accomplish this, I have created graphs of sales within each band size, and I also determined our best-selling sizes. Remember to read through our demographics post as well. (Note: All sizes are in UK sizing.)
We are moving forward with our annual sales discussion to examine the sales of each cup size. Be sure to check out both our demographics post as well as our band size breakdown. Keep in mind, cup size means nothing without a band to give it context, but for the purposes of our analysis, I want to compare how sales across cup sizes differ. Below is a graph for the sales distribution of each cup size. (Note: For my discussion, I will refer to cup sizes using the UK sizing system.)
With demographics giving our sales context, today I am analyzing the sales distribution of band sizes. Per usual, I will omit cup size and instead examine how much of our sales is concentrated per size. Check out the graph below to see the percentage of total sales represented by each band size:
For a while now, I have toyed with idea of sharing some recipes on the blog related to my lactose-free lifestyle, and even though they embody the definition of “off topic,” I figured it would be a fun and tasty break from our regular posts. When I first became lactose intolerant a couple years ago, the symptoms were manageable with lactose enzyme pills, but after a vicious stomach virus wreaked havoc on my system, the mere hint of lactose rendered me a balled up mess of pain. I ultimately gave up all lactose complete, which does not seem terrible until you realize that everything from spaghetti sauce to hamburger buns to crackers to potato chips can contain dairy. I along with anyone unfortunate enough to be picking up food I would need to eat were forced to become obsessive label readers at the grocery store. My patience wore thin with this lifestyle pretty quick, and I scheduled doctors’ appointments to determine what caused the issue in the first place. After a battery of tests, including blood work, a colonoscopy, and stomach lining biopsies, my doctor told me I was in amazing shape and probably had the catch-all diagnosis of “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” I was also offered to be tested specifically for lactose intolerance, but the test is expensive and not always covered by insurance. Needless to say, I declined and moved on with my life.