Valentine's Day lingerie: Take the sexy back

So Valentine's Day is upon us. I know this because every commercial on TV seems to be  1) advertising sparkly sparkly jewelery for that "special lady", 2) a food porn montage of chocolate indulgences, and 3) a creepy KY 30 second spot of a pasty English couple winking suggestively over breakfast. Not to mention the grotesque displays of cards, flowers, stuffed animals, and heart-printed crap dominating store windows.

But I have to admit that I love the holiday. I adore any excuse to be wined and dined and receive extravagant floral displays.
I love hearing Valentine's day engagement stories, and catching a Lifetime Move Network marathon of cheesy romantic movie, and helping my kids construct cards out of stickers and Elmer's Glue. I even love those chalky conversation hearts.

Unfortunately, Valentine's day is also marketed as an occasion for us to dress like underage sex-workers. The holiday brings about an overabundance of polyester-blend, satiny, scratchy-lace embellished lingerie to department stores, discount stores, mall stores and catalogs. Seemingly every day for the last month, my inbox (and mailbox) has been flooded with lurid images of lingerie - pink French Maid's outfits, red and black teddy sets, and see-through negligees. There are "outfits" so complicated they practically require a master's degree in engineering just to put on, with open backs, halter tops, satin ties and wrist cuffs.

Let's take a closer look at some of these fetching ensembles:

This cut-out teddy is a study in geometry, perfect for that architecture or graphic design major.
Truss both yourself and that cornish game hen in this little concoction. Non-functional apron included.
This one is just plain confusing. What are we supposed to do with that continuous line from cleavage to crotch? Is it some kind of instructional device for men who cannot otherwise find their way to a lady's bits?

I understand that, for some of us, Valentine's is merely a day we're supposed to get laid. Pre-fornication trinkets in the way of perfume and candy and lacy strips of material are purchased specifically for this reason. I'm not opposed to spending money on a pretty bra and panties for the occasion. But when I do, I am clear that my comfort and taste comes first. Personally, I hate the idea that women are supposed to dress solely for the pleasure of men, in a uniform of black and red, sheer and lacy. I am sure men are as susceptible to social pressures as anyone, but, in my opinion, it's basically useless to consider what a man's lingerie preferences are. Mostly they just don't care, unless they're entertaining an adolescent fantasy inspired by late-night programming on Cinemax.

Here's my proposal: This Valentine's Day, wear what you want and makes you feel best. Maybe you prefer cotton boy-shorts and a white tank. Or perhaps you're more into silk negligees and thigh-highs. Whatever your taste, wear what makes you feel good - whether that means sexy, or comfortable, or ultra-feminine. Let's dress for ourselves first. Call it empowerment, or self-love. While it's good to pay attention to your partner's needs, it's even more important to incorporate your own. Because when you feel confident and beautiful, everyone wins.

You know what makes me feel my best? Not having plastic/metal/other stiff things poking me in weird places. Not having straps digging into my shoulders. Not having red marks on my skin from elastic bands. And feminine, soft, pretty outfits like today's. What I'm wearing underneath is for only me and my husband to know.

One Girl Who cashmere sweater; Gap camisole; Anthropologie skirt; Target belt; thrifted vintage boots; Nordstrom necklace


  1. Beautifully put. I have taken a little while to find, and wear the underwear that makes me feel sexy and special, rather than just buying the typical 'sexy' stuff. Now I have though, what a difference, in comfort and confidence!

  2. I always love to wear pink or red on Valentine's day, so I think your outfit is spot-on!

  3. So pretty! I love that cashmere sweater! I'm a cashmere the first signs of cool weather, I live in the stuff. And I like that brand (One Girl Who) as well...I have a couple of sweaters from the line, and they are super cute, and fitted, which I love too. I like that you went with black boots for this outfit! If I don't stop commenting on so many of your older posts, I know I'll never get to the new posts, but I truly love your blog and I'm tickled pink that I found it. :-)

  4. I have been doing some early shopping for Valentine's day! I already have some things picked out to spice things up, but I have been looking for unique valentines lingerie just to add extra umph to the romantic day. I looked at your pieces and I loved everything that I saw. It has a touch of delicate yet sexy.


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