There’s been a big call recently for more diversity in the lingerie industry. Our opinion is very strongly that lingerie, particularly beautiful lingerie, is for everyone, no matter what.
We’re starting to see more in roads for people who need a variety of sizes, with DD+ and sub-32 bands being far more available nowadays and plus sizes and older models shown more frequently in ads. In addition to this, models of diversity are being used more and more often, along with bloggers such as The Lingerie Addict and Comic Girls Need Bras representing women of colour in the blogosphere. There is still a huge need for this to be more common, but the foundations are now there.
We’re very aware that as fairly average sized, white young women living in the UK, our position in the industry is somewhat over represented, so we always want to try to represent others where we can. We’ve somehow managed to gain a position of influence in the lingerie industry, small though it may be, and we want to use that to the best of our ability where we can. The group of people we want to help represent today is those with disabilities and limited mobility.
While there are no restrictions on who can wear whatever lingerie they like, some people may find certain pieces more difficult to wear – for example, they may not be able to fasten hooks at the back of a bra or they may have problems removing knickers while seated in a wheelchair.
Fortunately there are brands out there that are catering to some specific needs for this group of people – not many, but those that do exist are really championing this cause.
Slick Chicks are a US brand that create adaptive underwear starting at just $22 (or lower if you order multiple pairs!). They have 3 different styles of underwear that fasten with hooks and eyes at the side: a standard bikini Brief shape, a Hipster style and a Tanga thong. The side fastening allows you to remove and put on the underwear without having to lift a foot – it can even be done in bed or while remaining seated in a wheelchair.
Their goal is to give women back their independence, no matter what their circumstance. They understand that being able to change your own underwear alone shouldn’t have to be a challenge that people are facing, so these knickers aim to empower women. Having the option of different styles is a fantastic way to make the product appealable to people of varied tastes, particularly having a thong style.
Not only are the side fastenings a brilliant idea, but they also use moisture wicking fabric and 100% cotton lining, meaning they’re perfect for a higher level of activity as well as being comfortable. We love what they’re doing – check them out here.
Jasmine Stacey Collection is a UK based range of lingerie designed specifically for women with stoma bags, have scarring on their abdomens or are in need of additional support around their stomachs, while still looking and feeling amazing. Jasmine Stacey, the designer, has Crohns disease herself, and following surgery at the age of 20 which left her with a permanent ileostomy bag, she struggled to find lingerie that was as beautiful as she wore pre-surgery but that would work for her new needs – so she designed her own.
The designs themselves would be stunning alone, but even better they provide coverage and support for those with stomas, colostomies, hernias and more where needed. The collection truly embraces female empowerment in lingerie with strappy bras and briefs, retro inspired deep suspender belts and classic sophisticated sets, with prices starting at just £20. You can shop this collection online here.
Amoena is a UK based brand, but they also have US and AU stores as far as I can tell. They’re primarily known for designing and selling post-surgery and mastectomy bras and inserts. Their front fastening bra designs are also an option for those with limited mobility in their hands, fingers and wrists.
If you have arthritis or any other condition that means that you struggle to reach behind your back to fasten a bra, a front fastening bra is one solution, and Amoena have several options that are both both functional and lovely to wear too. As well as plain black, white and beige designs, they also have grey lace, orchid, blue python and more. In addition to this, they also offer a sports bra which zips at the front – this may be useful to those who find hooks and eyes tricky to fasten. See more from them here.
Wings Intimates is another brand of side fastening underwear based in the US. These were thought up by a recent mother who had undergone a C-section and struggled to bend to put on her underwear so decided to come up with a better solution. Wings can be removed and put on discreetly and easily, even if you struggle to bend to reach down and loop underwear over your feet.
They describe a “Wings Woman” as someone who is self-aware and ambitious, soft and sensual, yet strong and raw. This ethos comes across strongly in their brand which combines pretty yet sexy lace, delicate stretch fabric, minimalist cuts, and functionality with their unique W shaped side fastening clips in gold hardware. They don’t just give people independence, they also give them confidence and allow them to experience gorgeous lingerie that’s far more accessible.
The styles are available as a thong, bikini and brazilian cut and start at just $26. Wings Intimates allows women to fly! Take a look at their collection here.
Finally we’ve got an Etsy store, TOMgirl Apparel. This company is based in California and designs bras that begin at 28 bands that fasten with velcro and elastic rather than hooks and eyes.
The bras are all wireless and adaptable to a range of sizes, but their major selling point is that the velcro is far easier for those with limited mobility in their fingers to fasten. The velcro is on a wide band and isn’t as fiddly as hooks and eyes.
In addition to this, these bras would be ideal for people who have chronic pain such as fibromyalgia or costochondritis thanks to the wide band around the ribs, the lack of a wire and the fact that they can be adjusted throughout the day to make them more comfortable. I personally haven’t tried these but have costochondritis, a condition that gives me painful joints on my ribcage and I can imagine these would work really well for that.
On top of that, the size range is pretty impressive, starting at a 26 band and going up to a G cup. Shop these bras here.
Before we go, let’s spotlight a few more superstars who are already talking about invisible illnesses, disabilities, limited mobility and lingerie, because there are some fantastic articles out there:
- Kiss Me Deadly has just done a WHOLE series on invisible illnesses featuring models with fibromyalgia, MS, Aspergers and more.
- Living with Bob wrote this post about her own experience of entering a lingerie store in an electric wheelchair.
- The Lingerie Addict featured this interview of Catherine Clavering from Kiss Me Deadly about her disability and how it affects her wearing lingerie.