Beija London – a lingerie destination

Trying on lingerie is a deeply sensuous process. What other type of purchase involves you being so aware of your physicality and forces you to be grounded in your body? I love buying lingerie in independent stores, where I am surrounded by beautiful things that awaken my sensuality and womanliness. Imagine: being surrounded by soft materials, touching the fabrics that will soon be against your skin, being  advised by a lingerie expert who will help you find a style and fit it to you. No two women are the same shape, and finding the right lingerie  is therefore a bespoke experience, even if the product is not tailor-made for you. To me, buying lingerie online is a vastly inferior experience. There is great excitement in opening a package but for a truly satisfying shopping experience, I want to feel like a queen, to be pampered, to have people making a fuss over me. This type of customer service is only available in a shop, studio or atelier. 

IMG_20190418_114329.jpgAnother reason to be in a shop is that sometimes you just don’t notice a brand’s uniqueness until you see it up close. I was aware of Beija London and I love their quirky campaigns on Instagram, but I wasn’t immediately struck by the lingerie styles as being “me”. However, Julie, the manager of the new Beija store in funky new shopping destination, Coal Drops Yard, invited me to come in for a visit and I am so glad that I did. I now have more lingerie to recommend to women of the world: the women who are not lingerie bloggers or exhibitionists – the 99% of women who want to wear comfortable, stylish, high-quality underwear every day. 

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Lara Intimates – Style and Sustainability

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Ava Bra and briefs

I’ve been roadtesting the Ava bra by Lara Intimates for 2 long days and I can honestly say this is the only bra I’ve not wanted to shed at the end of a day. In fact, I truly forgot I was wearing a bra at all. Soft, double-layered mesh, no under-wiring, but yet you definitely wouldn’t call this a bralet because it is far too supportive and well-constructed.

Lara Intimates, a small independent lingerie brand, reached out to me to collaborate with them. I immediately fell in love with the sustainable ethos of the brand. Continue reading “Lara Intimates – Style and Sustainability”

Race and Lace

Why is the Lingerie Community so white?

I spent 2018 reading lots of books about feminism, intersectionality and race. A big shout-out to my top read of the year – The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-Wright.

I also spent a bit of time wondering why the lingerie community is so white. Lots of shapes and sizes, but yeah, mainly white bodies. There are some notable high profile lingerie bloggers of colour (looking at Cora Harrington and @comicgirlsneedbras), and whilst I do not put myself in the same exalted category as them, together we form a small group who are putting ourselves out there in our underwear and saying, “look at me celebrating my minimally-clad body for myself.”

But why are there so few of us? Continue reading “Race and Lace”

Slow Fashion Fightback

For some years I’ve been consciously shunning big fashion brands, whether luxury or high street, and actively seeking out small independent labels. There are many reasons for this, not least the ability to find stuff that no one else will be wearing. But reading again last week about Burberry and their disgusting practice of burning millions of pounds worth of old stock (which they say they have now stopped), brings to the fore the horrific amount of waste in the fashion industry, which is both environmentally harmful as well as ethically abhorrent. Maintaining the value in their brand and preventing their brand from entering the discount market is the rationale behind this Bonfire of the Luxuries.  For the fast fashion retailers, the blazing mountains of fabric are simply the end result of over-production and a criminally wasteful supply chain model.  Continue reading “Slow Fashion Fightback”

Peek-a-booty

Lingerie advice for sexy times: Part 2

I know I have earned my stripes as a sex AND lingerie blogger when women ask for advice on lingerie to wear during sex. I’ve already written about lingerie to get laid in a previous post. Recently however, a follower specifically wanted to get the best type of undies to wear whilst being penetrated from behind, aka, doggy-style. Her husband particularly wanted a good view of her butt and she wanted something special to wear whilst she was on all fours.

Continue reading “Peek-a-booty”

It’s just a dress, you can appropriate it

Who gets to wear my cheongsam?

When you’re 17 years old and choosing your prom dress, the last thing you might think is that a picture of you in a modest high necked, full length dress could go viral and ignite a frenzied, febrile war of words on cultural theft, racism and the colonialism. You probably just think that the silky Chinese cheongsam will make you stand out from those predictable gowns that all the other white girls will be wearing. But may this be a lesson to you, young lady, to do your cultural studies research and may you never, ever again, dare to wear an item of clothing that does not belong to you. And by ‘you’, I mean ‘your race’, ‘your culture’, ‘your heritage’. For a précis of the insanity I’m referring to, read about poor Keziah Daum in this news article.

When doing research for this article I came to realise that the topic of cultural appropriation is wide and deep; a topic that has been interrogated ad nauseum by academics and cultural historians in the fields of art, music, food, fashion, ideas, and just about everything else. I cannot offer no more than some circular musings from my own narrow experience, but I do feel the need to speak up and say: A WHITE WOMAN WEARING A CHINESE DRESS IS NOT OFFENSIVE TO CHINESE PEOPLE.

Of course, there are nuances and qualifications. These days, our discourse does not allow for such things. Extreme outrage is the only currency on social media. The flames are fanned by clickbaiters and Twitter is the accelerant. Such is our society where the wise, funny, imaginative, educational and clever perspectives are tainted by wilful stupidity and angry, shouty people. But hopefully there are still some people who want to engage in thoughtful dialogue and a rounded debate.

I am of Singaporean Chinese heritage. My home country, Singapore, was a jewel in the crown of the British Empire during the time of my great-grandparents and grandparents. I’ve been to many a fancy-dress party where we dressed up as Native Americans. I’ve worn saris to work parties. I’ve worn kimonos in photo shoots. I’ve painted my face as a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull. Until last year, I had never worn a cheongsam or qipao, the supposedly traditional dress of a Chinese woman. This is partly because I am drawn to contradictions, and for a Chinese woman to wear a cheongsam, to me, seems lazy and unimaginative. I feel it also promotes the stereotype of the demure and exotic Asian woman (see my earlier post on The Asian Woman Fetish). You could say that I’m a ‘bad Chinese’, a banana – yellow on the outside…. I’m the one who has to ask other people when Chinese New year is. Don’t ask me the origin of Chinese customs. I can count to 10 in Mandarin but not much more. I can’t eat spicy food, can’t cook any “oriental cuisine” except a stir-fry and my favourite food as a child was a sandwich. This is not just deficient. It’s almost a visceral and deliberate rejection of my roots. When I came to England as a teenager, I embraced Western and European culture. Literature, movies, philosophy. fashion, music. I know many Indian and Asian friends who have done the same. Isn’t it funny how my race gives me a free pass to wear a traditional Chinese garment even though I’m the biggest banana in the fruit bowl? Continue reading “It’s just a dress, you can appropriate it”

Lingerie advice for sexy times

Like most lingerie bloggers on Instagram I get some weird direct messages. The other day a lady contacted me and asked me whether the set I was wearing was good for sex. I was a little taken aback and wondered if I was being cat-fished by a sleazy guy trying to start a creepy conversation. But it was actually a genuine and very frank enquiry from a woman who said she was going to have a M/M/M/M/F – that’s 4 guys and a girl, in case you’re wondering – and wanted to wear some lingerie that would be sizzling hot and … ‘functional’ for the occasion.

Continue reading “Lingerie advice for sexy times”