it just makes you feel good
Have you noticed that clothing can change your mood? You likely have something in your closet (or better yet, that you have on right now) that when you wear it you tend to walk a little taller and saucier. I'm here to attest that clothing, namely lingerie, can not only lift your mood, but change your life as well.
As I've described before, there was a time that I dressed and presented myself (and lived) a bit carelessly to put it mildly. I desired to be more put together and to represent who I felt like I was deep down and what I wanted to be, but I just didn't know how. I felt like luxury items were out of my reach, self-indulgent and that I was both undeserving and too practical to have them. I didn't have the mom or older sister to show me the way growing up and I felt like I didn't have the lifestyle or budget (or mindset) on my side post-college either. Thankfully by the time I reached my thirties (and decided to stop making excuses for myself), I had learned enough about fashion, beauty, and self care that I was looking and feeling better on the outside. Enough so that I often received compliments on my appearance, and I'm sure my old high school classmates wouldn't have recognized me. But I still didn't feel great underneath it all. Something was missing.
That is, until my very generous, thoughtful, and amazing hubtographer decided to go all out for Valentine's Day by gifting me with a set from luxury retailer Agent Provocateur's premium demi-couture soirée line. We usually plan a romantic getaway or an extra special date night around that time of the year since it coincides with the anniversary of our first date, but we were both busy with work and the weather was especially brutal that winter. In the past he had occasionally gifted me with lingerie or I bought a piece or two for myself to surprise him in. Those all were either cheap looking/feeling, didn't fit well, or just plain weren't sexy.
I don't know what possessed him to take the plunge and venture into an Agent Provocateur boutique (hmmm... now that I think about it, maybe it's the provocative window displays, the sexy AP girls in their hot to trot pink uniforms, and the guaranteed thrill you get as soon as you step inside and feel the full throttle flirtation, playfulness, and sexiness oozing from the racks of haute erotic lingerie, swimwear, and accessories...). But thank the lingerie gods and their troupes of nymphs that he did. The wearable work of art he carefully chose and gifted me with was the Mei range pictured above.
The materials (rich silk satin overlaid with gorgeous French Leavers lace), the details (subtle metallic threading and shimmer, eyelash trims and beautiful red Swarovksi crystal drops lavishly decorating the bra and belt), the cut and look (striking, glamorous, theatrical) had me as soon as I opened the signature pink box. I knew right away that this was unlike anything else I had before. Just looking at the gorgeously decadent, well-designed set made me feel like both a sophisticated grown-up woman, giddy, playful ingénue, and bold and bewitching siren all at once. And the real magic happened when I slipped the three piece set and stockings on. Everything fit like a glove and accentuated my good bits, I loved the way the beautiful siam red and black complemented my skin, and I instantaneously felt like a more powerful, sexy version of myself. The self I'd been wanting to reveal herself for years. Had I known all I needed to do to coax her out was to put on some luxuriously sultry satin and lace I would've done it years ago.
I have to admit that as soon I saw that the gift was luxury lingerie my reaction was "what were you thinking / you spent too much / we can't afford this" to my husband. But thankfully that feeling melted away when I considered the amount of money and time spent on the dozens (if not more) pieces I'd had in the past that were never used, worn out of obligation, and/or did not make me feel good. If you added all those "meh" pieces up, the money spent on them could have bought at least one new luxurious ensemble a year. I don't know about you but I'd always choose to have one or two items in my closet that make me feel like a gazillion bucks over a dozen that do nothing for me other than clutter my space and make me feel anything less than great.
Not long after I tried the pieces on I also noticed that "who do you think you are? You don't deserve this” type of thoughts popped in my head when I realized how much I was enjoying the lingerie and myself in it. I come from modest and frugal roots so indulging in anything with even a hint of opulence, especially that likely only I would enjoy, felt ostentatious and hedonistic at best. But thankfully the pleasure I received shut up that stupid excuse for life. Wearing this type of finery made me feel good, which boosted my confidence and sex life, which was good for my self-esteem and relationship. An investment worth making and guilt not worth having.
Right then and there I decided from then on I would begin unapologetically loving what I love and never feel guilty about anything I buy (or am gifted) if I truly love it and it gives multiple levels of satisfaction.
Apparently I'm not the only one who's been transfixed and transformed by head turning cuts and jaw-dropping detailed dainties. In an interview, Creative Director of Agent Provocateur Sarah Shotten says
I see women coming into our store who are a bit like: “Oh, there’s nothing for me here.” And you’re like: “No, come on, let’s go and have a look in the drawer.” Then saying: “Why don’t you try this?” Women have burst into tears with me. They’re just like: “Oh my God, I didn’t think I could look like this. I never thought about trying this on.” Then that’s it, they’ve changed.’ She gives a knowing smile. ‘It’s very addictive, AP. It just makes you feel good.’
I'm not suggesting wiping out bank accounts or racking up debt, dropping thousands on unaffordable opulent goods as a compensatory act to help soothe an ailing ego or signal status, prestige or positive things about yourself to others. I'm saying start making decisions through pleasure, desire, and intuition, don't feel guilty for it, and stop mindlessly buying junk off the rack. Dress the part you want to play in life. Put more thought and investment into you, especially with things that are worn or used every single day, like intimates.
I also realize designer items are not in everyone’s budget. If you can’t or have no interest in buying luxe lingerie, that is absolutely fine and there’s nothing wrong with that. But for me it has been worth the wait and cost to slowly replace my old pieces with the finest designs, materials, and handiwork I can afford, one set at a time. I also hope it goes without saying that buying something luxurious in and of itself is not going to move the needle. It’s not about the price tag or label; it’s about how it makes you feel. Dressing your best doesn’t need to cost a fortune. However, it does need to represent who you are as a woman. Consider the fit, quality, and design before taking the plunge. But if and when you do find a piece (or better yet a set) that checks all those boxes, I can assure you it will be worth it's weight in gold and a good investment in you. My realization that fine lingerie is truly worth the cost (when splurging is an option, thanks to mindfulness, fastidious research, and saving) has been life changing.
If you decide to treat yourself to an extravagant set, if you haven't already, I encourage you to take a picture of yourself so you can record the delight and joy on your face with your boobies all wrapped in luxurious materials. You'll have proof that it really does just make you feel good.