An excerpt from Paris Undressed by Kathryn Kemp-Griffin October 18 2016
French women seem inherently more confident in their bodies, able to embrace the sensuality of life and love. What’s their secret? Lingerie.
The following is an excerpt from Paris Undressed written by Kathryn Kemp-Griffin and illustrated by Paloma Casile, forthcoming from House of Anansi on November 12, 2016.
Special and Comfortable: How to Have Both
Lingerie should feel accessible, not abstract and precious. It’s all about triggering sensations and creating new habits so that you thrill to your lingerie instead of making excuses for it. I wondered what else might change if my perspective shifted. I began to jot down lingerie vocabulary and expressions and reflections on what lingerie meant to me. My journal became my lingerie journal. An evolution was in progress. I could feel it.
For the French, good lingerie is always visually pleasing, and always comfortable — so comfortable that you wouldn’t think of wearing anything else. Here are six reflections that helped me integrate both comfort and aesthetics into my lingerie wardrobe:
- 1. Start using the word lingerie instead of the truly uninspiring underwear. You have a lingerie drawer and you’re wearing lingerie right now.
2. Reserve the words indulge and empower for describing chocolate and equal rights — anything except your lingerie! Instead, try to cultivate and curate when making lingerie decisions, and describe your collection as lovely, exquisite, soft, or sublime.
3. If you don’t already have a scented sachet in your lingerie drawer, try adding wrapped guest soap for an inexpensive and elegant olfactory touch. The scent will encourage a vivid emotional association with your lingerie.
4. Wear everything in your lingerie drawer (but not all at once!). Do it over the next couple of weeks, without cheating by going back to your favourites. Anything you can’t bring yourself to wear has no place in your drawer, or your life. Time to toss, donate, or start charging rent. (You’ll learn how to build your lingerie collection later in the book.)
5. Buy a single flower in the colour of your favourite bra. Notice that there are no flowers in beige! If that’s the only colour in your lingerie selection, buy a flower in your favourite colour, and buy a bra in that colour, too.
6. Say goodbye to “everyday” lingerie. There’s nothing “everyday” about every day of your life. Remember how important you felt when you penned your signature for the first time, and how unique you feel every time you sign it? Developing your own lingerie signature feels the same way. Lingerie by definition is special and so are you.
French women seem inherently more confident in their bodies, able to embrace the sensuality of life and love. What’s their secret?
Yet, despite an insatiable curiosity for all things French, most women still find lingerie an enigma, a tangled mélange of silk and lace, and are confused about how, when, and where to wear it. (Hint: it’s not just for special occasions.) Many aspire to having a drawer full of silky, lacy undergarments, but have no idea where to start: How should my bra fit? How exactly do I wear a garter belt? Do bras and panties always have to match?
With illustrations by French lingerie designer Paloma Casile, Paris Undressed: The Secrets of French Lingerie will help women feel at ease with their figures and show them how to integrate a lingerie lifestyle à la française to enhance their own femininity, confidence, and joie de vivre. It will transform the way women perceive their undergarments — and their bodies — and reveal how to co-ordinate a lingerie wardrobe to reflect personality and to meet lifestyle needs with the right dose of reverie. The book also includes a hand-selected guide to the most confidential addresses and lingerie boutiques in Paris, and discloses where to find the perfect bra, couture camisole, or cheeky panty.
Paris Undressed goes behind the seams, combining cultural references, expertise, and practical advice to inspire every woman to reconsider her underwear drawer.