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I’ve never been much of a Lingerie Person. It’s not that I don’t thoroughly appreciate the appeal of a strappy lace- or leather-covered number, or that I’m unable to understand why someone might play with their appearance as a form of foreplay. Seduction can be hard work, and I’m generally in support of anything that makes you feel sexy, bold or empowered. What I am not in support of, however, is the idea of dropping hundos on a matching set you wear for a mere few minutes each year. If I could slip my sexiest lingerie under my clothing and get some real wear out of it, I could surely justify the cost. But the reality of the situation has long seemed too expensive, too impractical and often too uncomfortable for me to even attempt to embrace. That is, until recently, when I stumbled upon some Aerie lingerie that upended my entire understanding of the Fancy Underwear Industry.
Early this summer, I attended a promotional event for Aerie’s upcoming collection. It was filled with comfy sweaters, comfier leggings and even comfier panties in every shape and size. My eyes quickly darted to a mannequin that was wearing what I thought was a swimsuit: a satin- and mesh-paneled triangle top with double straps, and matching high-waisted, high-cut bottoms. The satin should’ve been a dead giveaway that my new favorite bikini wasn’t a bikini at all—it was a hyper-cozy lingerie set (Satin Lingerie Set, $26.48 at Aerie). I was in love. Thankfully, Aerie snuck a complementary set into my gift bag. And I’m not kidding when I say I’ve basically worn that bralette every day since.
The bralette is cozy, sexy and worth wearing underneath absolutely everything.
As a small-chested lass, I’ve long been privy to the delights of bralettes. Underwires may work wonders in the cleavage department, but they have a tendency to make me feel poked, prodded and otherwise annoyed. There’s a reason women look forward to tearing their bras off at the end of each day—they’re uncomfortable. And I’m tired of it. I want the tactile experience of my clothing to be delightful—or at the very least, neutral. And I’d like to feel a little cute, while I’m at it. Often, these desires feel mutually exclusive. This Aerie bralette (Satin Strappy Bralette, $11.98 at Aerie) showed me they were anything but.
Though the bralette lacks lingerie mainstays like underwires, structured cups or push-up padding, it still feels decidedly bedroom-appropriate. The luxurious satin drips with romance, while the semi-transparent mesh paneling offers suggestion and innuendo. The result is a bralette that looks all kinds of inviting—and that feels all kinds of inviting, too. The textural combination of the smooth satin and the dynamic mesh feels so lovely to the touch that I often find myself running my fingers over my own bralette. Lingerie so exquisite you can hardly keep your hands off it? It practically invites fantasy.
On a more pragmatic note, the bralette is not only extremely sexy, but extremely versatile, too. Slip it under your favorite T-shirt, and you won’t have to worry about any bra lines showing through. Wear it under your go-to cami, and fret not about visible straps—they’ll only enhance your ensemble’s appeal. Offered in six different shades, the bralette can be as vibrantly visible or absolutely subtle as you want it to. (I personally own the “Red Sand” burnt umber shade, but I’ve humored snagging the “Dusty Mushroom,” “Golden Turmeric,” and “Navy” options, too.)
The only downside? This bralette has the same nipple-outline problem every other bralette seems to; when it gets cold out, your nipples might add a little—shall we say—texture to your top. Own it, slouch your shoulders, wear a cardigan—it’s your call, really. I’ve always opted for the former, but you do you.
The panties are straight out of a vintage fan’s dreams. And they’re just as lovely as the bralette.
Point me in the direction of high-waisted anything, and I’ll either buy it or dream about buying it. I’ve never met a pair of high-waisted trousers I didn’t like, and I’ve recently become equally obsessed with high-waisted underwear. The silhouette feels excessively vintage—in the best way possible. So these panties (Satin High-Cut and Mighty Bikini Underwear, $14.50 at Aerie) didn’t have to do much in the way of impressing me; I fell thoroughly in love the moment I saw the waistline.
Still, they managed to exceed my expectations. As fans of vintage cuts know all too well, high-waisted underwear tends to offer a ton of coverage in the tush arena—perhaps, too much coverage. A wholly covered derriere is a good thing when it comes to wearing skirts and dresses (if a Marilyn Monroe moment comes you way, you can rest assured knowing no one will see all the goodies), but it’s a bad thing if those skirts or dresses are remotely form-fitting. Panty lines abound with full-coverage underwear, which limits the scenarios in which you can wear them.
This Aerie underwear didn’t have that problem. The panties boasted a cheekier, high-leg cut, which rid them of potential panty line woes. (It also left my butt looking super taut and my legs looking super lean—no complaints here.)
The thing I love most about this lingerie set? It felt decidedly female gaze-y.
I’m not going to categorically shit on lingerie here. Like I said, I find it as hot as the next gal, and if it were either less expensive or more comfortable, I’d probably own some. But that’s the thing. It is pretty damn expensive, and a lot of it’s pretty damn uncomfortable, too. It often feels like lingerie isn’t crafted with women in mind—probably because a lot of the time it isn’t. The end user isn’t the person wearing the lingerie, it’s the person looking at the person wearing the lingerie. Through the lens of the gaze, lingerie succeeds. But from the perspective of the wearer, it often disappoints.
This Aerie lingerie, on the other hand, supported and celebrated my body exactly as it was. The bralette didn’t artificially induce cleavage via underwire or excessive padding—its soft cloth captured my boobs exactly as they were (small, to be sure, but beautiful in their own right). The underwear, meanwhile, honored the most traditionally feminine parts of my body. The high-cut legs made abundant space for my hips and thighs. The vintage silhouette paired beautifully with the stretch marks that dotted my legs; it made no effort to hide them, rendering them a thing of beauty, rather than a thing of shame. And the waistline cinched at the smallest part of my figure, highlighting the subtle hourglass of my figure without totally obfuscating the bit of fat that persistently sits at the bottom of my abdomen—and without ever making me feel uncomfortable or constricted, either.
There’s something to be said for lingerie that makes you feel beautiful by capturing you exactly as you are. That Aerie is able to do so both comfortably and affordably suggests a kind of understanding of and compassion for the customer that’s rarer than it is common.
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