Why intimate apparel? Well, I always loved beautiful lingerie (ok, technically only since the age of 17-18). There's also SO much more to the world of lingerie than Victoria's Secret! Why do they seem to have such a monopoly here in the US? Huge advertising/marketing budgets, I suppose.
The brands below actually put VS to shame. It's a matter of taste, style and quality, I think. Although I still occasionally shop there (for bottoms, mostly), I much prefer to shop at Bloomingdales (59th St.) huge lingerie department any day. It's also a less garish environment to shop in and, generally speaking, have more helpful and knowledgeable staff.
The other reason? Let's just say I've been particularly inspired...
1. PRINCESSE TAM TAM (France)
At the top of my list is French brand Princesse Tam Tam. I freaked out when I walked into their store for the first time in Paris. I was hooked. THE most beautiful, stylish and elegantly sexy intimate apparel line I've ever seen. Hands down. It's not unreasonably priced either. I was thrilled they carried my size at all! I didn't notice many, um, curves... in Paris ;) Thankfully, I've spotted a few US retailers that carry some of their items.
All images from princesstamtam.com
2. ELLE MCPHERSON INTIMATES (USA)
Definitely the most beautiful styles I've seen here in the US are by Elle McPherson Intimates. The gorgeous photography is pretty hard to ignore too. Mind you, their bras fit very small. I was shocked by what size I was!
Right behind Elle McPherson's line is probably Donna Karan Intimates. From personal experience, the fit of Donna Karan's lingerie is really unbeatable. The styles are understated and elegant too. I'm a fan.
All images from ellemcphersonintimates.com
3. KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE (UK/USA)
Definitely closer to the naughtier end of the spectrum than the brands above as well as unreasonably expensive is Kiki De Montparnasse. I just enjoy looking at what has to be the most stylish brand in the world of naughty lingerie. They're less trashy than Agent Provocateur. There are many others out there that just cater to trash way more than style and taste. Proving the point that very sexy does not have to only mean trashy (though I'm sure some may disagree). KDM has gorgeous stuff and their promotional campaigns are so beautifully photographed as well. Their stores are definitely worth a visit – even if it's just for visual surprise and inspiration...