A selection of panties during a trunk show in Washington, DC. (Photo by Amanda Voisard/The Washington Post). (Amanda Voisard/THE WASHINGTON POST)


A Q&A with Treacle of The Lingerie Addict

What are some trends for fall and winter lingerie this year?
Fall/Winter 2011 lingerie is all about elegant and refined simplicity. The season before (Spring/Summer 2011) saw a lot of lace and ruffles and pleating but this season combines simple shapes with rich colors. Peacock, coral, teal, amethyst, and sapphire all major colors for this season.

The retro/pinup look is also still here in a big way. Items like high-waisted knickers, garter belts, and vintage-inspired longline bras flatter all body types so I’m happy this trend has continued for another season.

How can you tell if lingerie is of a high quality?
(Think) fabric, finish and fit. High quality lingerie is often made from silk or silk blends, as well as super soft types of nylon, jersey, cotton or bamboo. If the material feels scratchy or stiff, it’s not high quality. For finish, you want to see if the hems are cleanly sewn, if the underwires are securely sewn in, and if the stitching is clean and flat.

If the manufactuer takes shortcuts with the construction, the piece simply won’t last as long. Finally, take a look at fit. Is the garment cut too small? Does it skimp on fabric and tug in all the wrong places? That’s another sign of poor quality lingerie.

When is the best time to buy lingerie on sale?
Lingerie runs in seasons just like the mainstream fashion industry, and most sales happen in January and July, respectively. However, large boutiques and e-commerce stores (like Bare Necessities and Figleaves) tend to have a regular selection of sale merchandise for fashionistas on a budget.

How can we get the best deal on lingerie? What stores have the best deals? Any tips?
There’s no shortage of cheap lingerie companies, so it’s easy to get a “good deal” on lingerie. But I think when you’re talking about a garment that you wear so close to skin for such long periods of time, it’s more important to talk about buying the best quality for the best price you can afford. Because lingerie manufactuers don’t want to undercut their brick and mortar boutiques, prices are pretty much the same no matter if you buy online or in store.

I’m a huge fan of using sample sale sites, such as Rue La La, to purchase high ends brands on a tight budget. I’ve tried brands like Hanro, Wacoal, La Perla, Wolford, and Natori through sample sales and it’s a good way to test out a line that might be otherwise out of your budget.

The only caveat though, is that intimates purchased from a sample sale are non-returnable so definitely make sure you only buy what you’re interested in. For that matter, you want to double check the return policy no matter where you buy as there’s nothing worse than getting stuck with lingerie you can’t wear and can’t return.

Finally, lingerie companies often give out discount codes and early sale notices to their newsletter subscribers so it’s worth signing up for their newsletter to get those special offers.

If you are plus sized, can you get any deals on undergarments?
Yes. More companies than ever before make and stock plus-sized lingerie. However, because of the extra construction that goes into making plus sized lingerie (particularly bras) curvy women should be prepared to spend a little bit more than their small-busted counterparts. I recommend Hips and Curves for plus-sized lingerie addicts on a budget.

What are some of your favorite brands and why?
I love brands that combine comfort and sex appeal. I’m a huge fan of fabrics like mesh, lace, and bamboo so a lot of my lingerie is made from those materials. My fave lingerie brands for everyday are Hanky Panky, OnGossamer, Cosabella, Kiss Me Deadly and Betsey Johnson.

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