As my blog is becoming more than a hobby, I also feel the need to bring more to the table than lingerie reviews. The lingerie industry is so broad and interesting. It’s much more than shopping and bra fitting. It’s also about history and art. So I decided to start a little lingerie/fashion book series.
There are so many lingerie books out there. Depending on your budget, on how involved and interested in this industry, you can definitely find something for you.
For this first article, I decided to start by the latest release, and probably one of the most popular right now: In Intimate detail by Cora Harrington.
I am sure you guys already know that Cora Harrington is currently the most successful and influential lingerie blogger. I actually don’t think anybody has ever had this position before her in the industry. I have actually been reading Cora’s blog consistently for about 3 or 4 years. Before that, although I knew about it, it felt like the ultimate lingerie geek blog but in a way that I considered a bit out of reach for me. It was probably just an impression but, there was this feeling that it was a very serious blog compared to the ones I was used to read.
[This article contains affiliate links. However, this review was not requested by Cora Harrington. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Anyway, I grew up and my passion for lingerie grew too. At the same time, TLA also became more and more inclusive in every way possible and I started to feel like I could “have a sit at the table”. Slowly but surely, TLA felt less intimidating and more relevant to my new perspective. In fact, I learnt so much from reading it.
I also think that Cora is a big part of why I can feel legit in this industry. Some of you may not find it relevant but she is a black woman doing her thing in an industry which is known to be conservative and even condescendent sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I love the lingerie industry, but I also know it from a full bust customer and young black woman perspective. It didn’t become the way it is now in one day and there is still so much to do. Anyway in this regard Cora made me feel welcomed and I know a lot of people coming from different backgrounds also feel that way.
So when she announced that she was writing a book I couldn’t wait to see what would come out of all her work. Really, I was curious. Was it about her experience in the lingerie industry? Was it about lingerie itself? What else could we learn from her?
And then it actually happened. August, the 28th. It was released. I had pre-ordered it so it arrived the same day. What a great day! I arrived from home after my very last day of school and on my desk, a beautiful, heavy pink book was waiting for me. In Intimate detail. This title reminded me of Jill Field’s book ” An intimate affair: Women, lingerie and sexuality.” Though Cora’s book feels completely different from the other books I have read about lingerie. I would say, it’s more polyvalent.
Aesthetically, it looks modern, approchable, and really pedagogical. I mean, who doesn’t like watercolour illustrations? This book is just so pleasant to look at. I think just for its appearance it could attract so many lingerie newbies. Plus, the foreword is by the iconic Dita Von Teese and this already sounds exciting. [OMG what an HONOR *_* ]
One of the things that stood out to me, while reading the book, was that it wasn’t like a holy bible. No rigid fashion rules or statements. Of course, that was to be expected if you are already a TLA reader but it is still good to notice that point. Everybody is welcome to the party. This book says ” you can totally sit with us, please have fun.”
The book contains 7 chapters and some more information in the different appendix. It’s written in a simple way that won’t make you feel dizzy if you have never heard of any lingerie technical terms before. Instead, tons of advice, relevant explanations, and even a bit of history. I am actually so pleased that she included info about lingerie history. Not everybody wants to read a big book written in small characters about fashion history, but knowing at least a little bit of it can be interesting for anyone, I believe.
While I didn’t fully agree with a few statements about full bust bras (for example that plunges work best for full on bottom breasts. Though I may be wrong, it’s simply not what I have seen or experienced), I also learned some interesting things that I wasn’t aware of.
I also realized that some terms used nowadays in the English lingerie vocabulary are more of a popularization of the actual technical terms. This is something I first noticed when I started writing in English. The word “balconnet” for example, is used very commonly in the Anglophone lingerie blogosphere to describe 3-parts bras which have one vertical seam and one horizontal seam. In French, this term describes what anglophones call half-cup bras.This is something that used to confuse me but that I have put aside for simplicity sake. This book clarifies such notions. I love that it gives the reader a richer vocabulary, which obviously could result in easier understanding and conversations about lingerie.
Another great part was that the TLA inclusivity can also be found within this book. I enjoyed reading about different lingerie concerns, like mastectomy or vulvodynia, advices for trans and non-binary people…
A nod to the experienced lingerie addict is the beautiful designer pieces that you’ll recognize in the illustrations, though the author didn’t mention any brand to avoid being outdated eventually.
Overall, this book is a great read that you can enjoy like a little encyclopedia. No need to read it all at once, you can simply open it at any page and surely you’ll find something interesting to read or just to see. It’s not pretentious or complicated and I hope one day it will be translated to French so I can share it with more people.
Have you read this book? If yes, what are your thoughts about it?