Language of Lingerie

Lingerie is a risky purchase. It’s an intimate item, intensely personal. Whether the buyer is a man shopping for a gift or a woman looking to create a special occasion, its introduction into almost any equation raises the stakes and brings with it a titillating element of sexiness. With the advent of Valentine’s Day, lingerie purchases always spike. Pulse spoke to Jos Berry, creative director of Triumph International, a 128-year-old British lingerie company making inroads in the US. She offered some valuable advice on the sensual underworld of lingerie that both men and women will be better off for knowing.

Long Island Pulse: What is the big color for Valentine’s Day this year?
Jos Berry:
The color of love is red and peony red works best for Valentine’s.

LIP: What big style is trending right now?
JB:
Luxurious yet lightweight lace with a real lingerie feel. Gracious and seductive. Fit is also a cultural or fashion matter. We are now moving from a prominent “push” period into a softer more natural silhouette.

LIP: What body type does this work well for?
JB:
Every woman who loves lingerie. This trend is universal. A well-made “cut & sew” bra in a stretch lace has the best fit. Triumph’s Amourette style is proof—and a bestseller worldwide!

LIP: How does a woman achieve the perfect fit?
JB:
By having her measurements taken by a lingerie specialist. Over the bust, under the bust and the best fitters also measure the width of the breast base. Believing that measurements produce the perfect size is wrong. A good fitter has the woman trying different brands, fits and sizes. There is not such a thing as “universal” sizing. Different brands have different size “handwritings” and that helps to find the individual size that fits you. When a woman is fitted by a specialist, she needs to express how she would like to look under garments or how she wants her cleavage to look under a décolleté. We have different shoes for different occasions, the same goes for bras.

LIP: How can a woman recognize she’s wearing the wrong size?
JB:
A general feeling of discomfort. Falling straps, double breasts, a rising back strap, etc. Lingerie should empower women not restrain them.

LIP: Should a woman wear lingerie to suit the occasion or let the lingerie inspire her?
JB:
I call lingerie an emotional accessory. What we wear at which moment depends on the mood we are in. Sometimes we want to have a secretive sexy or romantic outfit under our strict career outfit, sometimes we want more controlled streamlining to be perfect. Fashion is for pleasure. It helps for better self-esteem.

LIP: What is the one undergarment every woman should own?
JB:
A perfect fitting luxury black bra that makes you feel desirable every time you wear it. Guaranteed value, like the little black dress.

LIP: What is your feeling about lingerie as outerwear?
JB:
The lingerie attitude feminizes a wardrobe, lots of women discover its enriching element. I love a silky PJ pant under a knitted top. A gorgeous lace camisole under a strict jacket is also very casual chic. And a lace-trimmed slip dress is a party wear classic.

LIP: Why is the “pinup” look such a classic? What keeps it current?
JB:
Some women love to play roles. Pinup is one of the icons in the language of seduction. Pinup stands for sexy and strong, with a sense of fun.

LIP: Is the garter belt obsolete?
JB:
We are wearing panty hose for everyday, but as a gift for a special occasion, a garter belt is a seductive classic with its own story to tell.

LIP: What should someone know when buying lingerie as a gift?
JB:
Knowing her size is a must for lovers. What always works is something lacy and silky. It’s also a good idea to understand the symbolic meaning of color. A lingerie gift is a message.

Jos’ Picks for Top 3 Sexiest Lingerie Moments in Movies:
1. Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut
2. Liz Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
3. Sophia Loren in Una Giornata Particolare