When my best friend got engaged last year, I was so excited when she asked me to be her maid of honor. And to my surprise, I even loved the bridesmaid dress she picked: it was peach—one of my favorite colors—was universally flattering for all the bridesmaids' figures, and had a plunging neckline with a racerback that added a sexy edge. But it also created a huge bra dilemma. I'm a C cup, so I couldn't risk going braless, but I felt like finding something comfortable and supportive to wear under the tricky neckline would be next to impossible. At one of our dress fittings, after struggling to get any of the six bras I'd bought to work with the dress, one of the other bridesmaids told me about LIVELY, a bra and undies lifestyle brand, available online. She was raving about how comfortable the bras were, how good they made her feel, and how they came in such pretty styles and colors.

I'll admit, the idea of skipping yet another fitting room did sound pretty great, but I really didn't think that I could buy lingerie online. I'm pretty particular—I'm a 36C, and I need something that's really supportive without extra padding, but that also doesn't dig in into my back. Finding that perfect mix of support and comfort in a pretty design is something that I had given up on a long time ago. But after taking a look at LIVELY's website after the fitting, I was immediately impressed by all of the different body types and sizes of their models. Usually lingerie websites use over-edited photos of size zero models, and I have no idea how the bras will fit someone who looks like me. But as much as I loved LIVELY's depictions of real women, I still wasn't convinced that I would be able to buy a bra online. How would I know that it would fit well? What if the material was cheap and irritated my sensitive skin?

My fellow bridesmaid reassured me that the line of "Leisurée" had become her go-to underwear. She's a 34DD, and also has a hard time finding cute bras in her size that are actually supportive. But after she tried one of their T-shirt bras, she fell in love with the fit and feel and ordered the no-wire strapless, and even a bralette. Most bustier women have a really hard time finding a bralette that works for them, so I had to check it out. I ordered The T-Shirt Bra in Soft Pink, which had a plunge neckline, to wear with my dress for the wedding, and The Busty Stripe Mesh Bralette in Emerald. They were only $35 each, so I figured it was worth taking the risk.

When my order arrived the next week, I was surprised by how high quality the fabric was. The material was soft and the colors were so pretty. So the LIVELY bras had passed the first test, but how would they fit? I was happy to find they felt supportive, but not restrictive. My favorite was The Deep V No-Wire -- it had a plunging neckline that offered support while still making me feel sexy and a back j-hook that worked perfectly with the racerback style dress. I didn't have to mess around with the straps or constantly pull myself into the cups. The bra molded to my body and was supportive without slipping even when I moved around a lot. Plus, their online sizing was true to form.

The wedding was such a fun and special day, and the plunge bra gave me the perfect amount of cleavage without being too "in your face". Since then, I've ordered The Lace Strapless Bra and The Busty Stripe Mesh Bralette in two more colors! They're my super-comfortable everyday go-to, and give me a great, natural shape. I never thought I'd be able to buy lingerie online, but LIVELY is all I wear now. For the first time, I don't feel like I have to sacrifice style for comfort; I feel like my most confident self!

UPDATE: Follow this link to get 10% off your first LIVELY order today!

Get 10% off your first LIVELY order today!
Culture News

Trans-Model Responds to Victoria's Secret's Anti-Trans Comments with Lingerie Campaign

LGBTQ+ activist Munroe Bergdorf launches her first post-operation modeling campaign.

The Independent

Anyone still disappointed in Victoria's Secret for its lack of diversity should take heart that "The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Is Dead," as The Cut reported in December.

The 2018 event garnered the worst ratings in the brand's history, largely due to the chief marketing officer's intolerant remarks during an ill-received interview with Vogue. Even though Ed Razek issued an apology on Twitter, the consumer and celebrity backlash against the brand continues.

But VS's intolerance has only helped Munroe Bergdorf, LGBTQ+ activist and trans-model, promote her cause—as well as her career. The 31-year-old has collaborated with Bluebella to launch a new ad campaign with the British lingerie line.The Valentine's Day campaign features Bergdorf modeling for the first time since her gender reassignment surgery. The new line by the "female-owned and female-created lingerie brand" debuted yesterday.

Twitter

As an outspoken activist, Bergdorf has been open about beginning her transition at 19 years old, struggling with body image issues, and experiencing discrimination in the fashion industry. She told The Daily Mail, "Lingerie should be something that all women can enjoy. It's something personal, beautiful, and intimate that is a celebration of femininity, something that every woman should have the option of being included in." She added, "True diversity is the future, let's leave any form of discrimination or exclusion in the past."

The model also disagrees with critics who believe that lingerie fashion "upholds a standard of beauty that is infiltrated by the male gaze." In an interview with Out, she emphasized the difference between celebrating femininity and objectifying women: "I would say, if the lingerie isn't picked by a woman, if it's not intended to represent all women, if the lingerie is being created in mind for the benefit of men, then I think that's very different from lingerie celebrating femininity. If it's intended for the consumption of the gaze of men, then that's very different from it being a tool of empowerment."

Describing her first post-op campaign, she told Elle UK, "Bluebella is a lingerie brand created by women and I think that's so important, especially in today's society when we are becoming more conscious of conversations surrounding inclusivity and authenticity." In contrast, Bergdorf has been outspoken against Victoria Secret for stifling diversity in its brand, stating, "It's a big shame Victoria's Secret decided not to be inclusive of trans women within their shows or campaigns."

Her criticism is rooted in Razek's ill-worded response to a question about consumers' expectations. He said. "Do I think about diversity? Yes. Does the brand think about diversity? Yes. Do we offer larger sizes? Yes."

But then the 70-year-old added: "So it's like, why don't you do 50? Why don't you do 60? Why don't you do 24? It's like, why doesn't your show do this? Shouldn't you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don't think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It's a 42-minute entertainment special. That's what it is. It is the only one of it's kind in the world and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we're the leader."

Despite later acknowledging that his remarks were "insensitive," Razek still implied that transsexual models would ruin the constructed feminine "fantasy" that Victoria's Secret profits from. This week, Bergdorf told Out that she hopes the heads of Victoria's Secret sees images of Bluebella's line, saying, "[The campaign is] a great reaction to a really sad situation. I mean, ultimately, any woman can sell the fantasy. These images show that trans people aren't an exception to that statement." She added, "I'm not trying to look like a Victoria's Secret model. I'm not trying to look like anybody else apart from myself."


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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Bios

Kendall Jenner

All you need to know.

Full Name: Kendall Nicole Jenner

Date of Birth: November 3, 1995

Born: Los Angeles, CA

Occupation: Model, TV personality

Status: Single

Children: 0

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H&M's sister brand & Other Stories has launched a campaign for its lingerie that celebrates real women with armpit hair and scars, refuting stereotypes of female perfection.

The brand's For Women, By Women campaign was shot by female photographer Hedvig Jenning and features women who are not professional models, whose bodies are shown unretouched. The campaign is meant to counter the images of standardized beauty promoted by Victoria's Secret, and is part of the larger movement toward body acceptance.

But are these photos really going to change attitudes?

One might argue that the prominent underarm hair is more of a ploy for publicity than a demand for acceptance. It seems likely to evoke horrified titters, and in fact is doing just that in media outlet like the Daily Mail.

It seems like every time a campaign professes to widen our concept of female beauty, it mostly serves to annoy women who rightly feel they're being pandered to.

The Dove campaign that featured women of all sizes declaring their beauty ended up annoying everybody.

Plus-size retailer Lane Bryant did a good job with its #ImNoAngel lingerie project earlier this year. The ads featured gorgeous plus-sized models reveling in their curves, and I do mean curves rather than 'fat.'

Women with scars, birthmarks and unusual body shapes are unlikely to sell lingerie or anything else, since they do nothing to entice women's desire to look attractive and sexy.

We already know we have imperfections. We don't want to see ourselves in ads, but father an idealized version of ourselves.

While Victoria's Secret does screw up our confidence by featuring models with unattainable proportions, the socially aware campaigns touting 'normalness' still come off as gimmicks.

Maybe H&M deserves credit for its efforts to be inclusive, but considering its more widespread use of models like Miranda Kerr and Gigi Hadid in its advertisements, we can't help but question their sincerity.

victorias secret angels money

Victoria's Secret pays its models well for appearing in catalogs and walking in its annual fashion show, but its 'Angels' have special contracts.

The company pays out seven-figure salaries to its longtime Angels, while newer models earn much less.

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According to The Fashion Law, the Angel contract includes these provisions:

Angels have to commit 50 days a year or more to VS, which prohibits them from participating in other fashion and fragrance campaigns. This translates into guaranteed work, a perk most models don't have.

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There are also commitments to promote the brand, such as appearances at special events, in commercials, and/or in print publications, and travel commitments.

Angels tend to generally give up the high fashion runway, thanks to contractual obligations to keep some weight on: The typical high fashion skin-and-bones arsthetic is not acceptable for a VS Angel.

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Over the past couple of years, several big-name Angels have abandoned their wings to pursue even more lucrative deals (e.g., Karlie Kloss), but the benefits of an Angel contract include a massive level of fame and 'brand' recognition.

The current list of Angels includes: Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Behati Prinsloo, Candice Swanepoel, Elsa Hosk, Jasmine Tookes, Kate Grigorieva, Lais Ribeiro, Lily Aldridge, Martha Hunt, Jac Jagaciak, Romee Strijd, Sara Sampaio, Stella Maxwell, and Taylor Hill.

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Five of the 47 models on the VS catwalk Tuesday night rank on Forbes Highest-Paid Models list.

Ed Razek, chief marketing office of Victoria’s Secret, says that its annual televised fashion show is watched more than all other fashion shows combined, The exposure gives the models an edge that money alone can't buy. They are fantasy figures for both men and women, perfect and unattainable.

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If only the actual lingerie weren't so fucking shoddy, right ladies?

Victoria's Secret may be synonymous with Sexy Babes, but the brand adds a surtax on lager bra sizes of up to $4 extra for a double-D cup.

Does it actually cost that much for the extra fabric, and if so, why does a size 0 pair of jeans cost the same as a size 8?

A nice Wacoal bra at Nordstrom costs the same for a 32D and a 42H. Yes, you heard me, cups come in H, which translates to a 5D if you must know.

Anyway, this secret of Victoria's is not good and it's not fair. There is also more than a bit of irony in a brand that celebrates sexy women in sexy lingerie, to penalize bodies that are curvier.

And the penalties seem directed specifically to breasts, since a fishnet Cheekini panty costs the same for extra-small through large.

I hope you will appreciate my sacrifice to bring you this consumer shocker, ladies, because now I will be followed all over the Internet by ads for fishnet Cheekini's for the rest of my life. It's just one of those risks I take for you, as a muckraking journalist.

If you're not happy about Victoria's Secret pricing policy, take heart: Last year, a petition convinced Old Navy to stop charging more for it's plus-size jeans.

Change can happen if you're willing to be heard and demand it. If you can't stand up for big breasts, really, what can you stand for? Remember: They may come for small boobs next.