Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Diversity in Lingerie - Diversity in Life

On Tuesday August 21st 2013 June, from Braless in Brasil, launched a campaign called #DiversityinLingerie. Posting a picture of herself in her beautiful post-babies--over 30--a life fully led--stretch marks--and--skin glory June reminds us that we don't see enough physical diversity in lingerie. This means lingerie brands, catwalk shows and retailers don't use a diverse range of models to promote and demonstrate their styles which means millions of women are not represented in an industry for women. We are gradually seeing more plus size models as part of mainstream lingerie marketing but what about women of colour, varying abilities, gender, stretch marks/scars, tattoos, amputees, heights?

I'm not qualified to speak on most of these subjects, however, trail blazers like The Lingerie Addict and The Lingerie Lesbian are creating forums in which women can learn, empathize and be empowered. By challenging preconceptions and highlighting pioneering brands like Kiss Me Deadly and Chrysalis Lingerie, these bloggers aim to make diversity in lingerie a reality. This is not going to be an overnight achievement and from consumer expectations to marketing execution there is a long way to go to bring about true diversity in lingerie promotion.

I wanted to contribute to this conversation about what Diversity in Lingerie means to me. My primary interest as both a bra fitter and blogger is understanding a busty woman's relationship with her body/breasts and giving her the knowledge to feel confident, beautiful and peaceful. What I've come to know is that the diversity of women's relationships with lingerie is vast. How women identify with lingerie, how they use it, what they want from it, how it makes them feel, these are the diversities that I am keenly focused on. 

I am 100% behind the purpose to encourage more physical representation and diversity in lingerie promotion. I would add to this that I would love to see more diversity in the portrayal of women's relationships with lingerie (I elaborated on this in a recent article for The Lingerie Addict). The majority of advertising and marketing we see around lingerie positions it as a delicacy, a thing to be enjoyed in isolation, but lingerie is for life! Lingerie is not an option for some, it's essential for many women to lead their lives confidently and comfortably.

I would love to see a greater diversity in the portrayal of life in lingerie. Here of some of my clients' relationships with lingerie:

1) Roller Derby girls who want bold patterns in designs that can withstand extreme sports.
2) Post-surgery women (some of whom are facing months of recovery) who want more sizes and variation in post operative bras.
3) Nursing Moms who are learning how to fend off social commentary, gain confidence in their new role and body as well as physically manage the rigors of breastfeeding.
4) Professional sports women who are defying the big boob stereotypes and sexism they encounter to pursue their profession with breast support and confidence.
5) Emergency workers who need extreme support during their days but want the diversity of colour and design that lesser impact bras take for granted.
6) Women over 75 with heavy busts whose bone density has changed considerably. Their desire for elegant and beautiful lingerie has not changed but the design and support of their bras is very different from a 22 year old's.

The #DiversityinLingerie campaign is insightful, powerful and inspiring and I hope you take time to read some, if not all, of these posts. Women are as diverse in nature and purpose as we are in looks and physicality. Our diversity is fascinating and beautiful and we can learn a great deal from it. xx

Braless in Brasil
The Breast Life
The Lingerie Addict
Thin and Curvy
Bras and Body Image
Les Gros Bonnets
Wide Curves
Fussy Busty
Under the Unders
Curvy Wordy
The Absurd Curvy Nerd
The Full Figured Chest
Muscular Hourglass


  1. Thank you for joining in, and especially thank you for discussing how women use and need lingerie differently, throughout our lives. It's a great way for lingerie designers/manufacturers to look at improving their offerings for the diverse needs of people with breasts.

    1. It's been incredible to see such a united and diverse approach to this subject. Just as we've begun to see sports bras being promoted with women actually doing sports (this wasn't always the case) I would love to see bras being promoted and showcased in diverse ways to represent the walks of life of the women who use them. I'm delighted to be able to contribute to the conversation xx

  2. In addition to being empowering, diversity in lingerie modeling would be helpful to customers. It's frustrating to shop for bras online when most of the models are wearing like the 32B size, with lots of cleavage / volume above the cup, and it's photoshopped to look like she's not spilling out the sides. These photos don't give me any idea of how the bra would fit my size and shape. So I end up searching bratabase and ebay photos just to figure out what the bra looks like in my size. Showing larger models, older models, models with different skin tones, etc, would help customers to visualize themselves in the bras -- and we could make more informed decisions about what will work.

    1. I totally agree that to see bras in motion rather than just staged would help consumers understand whether it's right for their body and life xx

  3. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for writing!

  4. I think this is a great contribution to the discussion, I hadn't even thought of diversity that way. I know that I can get kind of sweaty at work sometimes even though it isn't an athletic job. If there was a bra with wicking material or coton lining I would probably benefit from it!

    I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog (and that I can take advantage of the free shipping on Enell bras)