Ethical Lingerie and the Slow Acceptance of My Body
Beauty is, as I've written before, a fluid concept. I'm quicker to notice the beauty in other women than I am to celebrate my own, but as I've "gotten older" (I can say that at 24, right?) I've slowly and surely learned to accept my own "inevitable flaws" and, if not love them, appreciate them for what they are.
Today is International Women's Day. A day that symbolizes empowerment, progress, and the many (many) flaws in the "system" that women face in the workplace, home, and world at large. And while all of these things are incredibly important and need to be discussed, I want to use today as an excuse to share about a topic that I've written on several times, but never felt comfortable "donning" for the world wide web. Lingerie, yes, but more than that, insecurity. And, in turn, the way a beautifully made piece of clothing, even one that no one else sees (unless you're silly enough to post it on the internet...), can empower you in its own small way.
When I've shopped for lingerie in the past, it's usually been for one of two reasons:
1. for practicality's sake, usually while I was breastfeeding (easy access and comfort are key...everything else can go to underthings' hell).
2. for enhancement's sake. In an effort to "disguise" my reality. (Ie. you've had two kids and still have no boobs to speak of).
Shopping ethically, for either of those reasons, is difficult in its own way. The first, for sheer lack of options and, because, nursing bras, well, they get destroyed.
The second, because most non-Victoria's-Secret slow fashion shops don't rely heavily on "enhancement". More clearly stated, my days of push up bras comprised of two-inches of sheer non-boob foam were coming to an end and I'd have to accept my body for the way it really was if I wanted to support brands who were doing things in a truly empowering (and ethical) way.
Of course, not all ethically made bras have to be un-padded bralettes for A and B cups, but by and large, the majority of brands I've come across focus on celebrating, protecting, and appreciating a woman's natural form, not her enhanced "socially accepted" form.
And although it has been a hard acceptance on my end, the correlation between my own self-esteem and the types of clothes I choose to buy isn't lost on me. That's not to say that you can't rock a Victoria's Secret push-up bra (because I still do from time to time), but when I feel the need to wear pieces that don't honestly reflect my body, I've learned to re-evaluate my "why". Is it because I'm unhappy with my body? Is it because I feel like I need to be "enhanced"?
And so I've begun the slow process of accepting my body - disproportions, stretch marks, acne, hairy arms, small boobs and all. See that "stomach roll" in the next photo? I accept that too.
I've learned that acceptance can be both practical and beautiful. Un-enhanced and feminine. Beauty doesn't have a definition or "type", so why should my underwear?
A few brands I've been wearing (and genuinely loving) lately that have helped me feel beautiful in my skin:
Hara the Label:
Hara is an Austrailia-based lingerie company selling body-positive, organic, unbelieveably comfortable underwear and bras made from bamboo. I'm wearing their Stella low cut bra in Ivory and I forget that I'm even wearing a bra when I have it on.
AmaElla sells underwear, bras, and nightwear made from organic cotton. Their bras (both bralettes and non-bralette) and underwear are all made from OEKO TEX STANDARD cotton. I have their Organic Cotton Brazillian Knickers and they're the perfect amount of sexy and comfortable (the perfect combination, if you ask me).
Aikyou is a label designing specifically for women with small busts (hallelujah, right?) Their pieces perfectly blend femininity, uniqueness, and comfort, without compromising support or fit. I'm wearing their Milla Triangle bra in mint/white.
Click here for a larger list of ethical lingerie retailers.
**This post was sponsored by Hara the Label, Aikyou Lingerie, and AmaElla Lingerie. I received product for review but wasn't compensated. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this site running!**