How Fashion Can Empower Self-Acceptance
Lingerie is probably the most misunderstood fashion category. Long thought of as simply a tool engineered for the male gaze, designed only for attracting the opposite sex and for anything but a woman’s comfort and confidence. Those days are gone; there is a new generation rising up and we are reclaiming ‘sexy’. We want to look and feel good, we want lingerie that’s ethically and sustainably made, and we want to wear it with pride and confidence, not just for others, but for ourselves.
I have a well-tested theory that when we wear something that has been made with love, care and patience, we take those feelings with us throughout the day. Unlike the toxic, exploitative fast fashion alternative, wearing clothing that is hand-crafted by people who are treated and paid fairly and with respect and compassion, from beautiful, responsibly sourced fabrics, bought from brands that embrace the slow, luxurious, intricate craft that fashion was always meant to be; can make us feel bloody amazing - because we don’t just look great, we are supporting great things too.
This theory is at its most pertinent when it comes to lingerie. Lingerie is the most intimate of garments, that sits closest to our skin, and it is not seen by many, so it is too often seen as superficial or self-indulgent or frivolous. But this is not the case - when we wear well-made and beautiful lingerie, we are telling our bodies that we respect and cherish them enough to dress them only with garments that speak to our values, and most importantly make us feel good - which is what we all deserve to feel. We are also telling the world that we are reclaiming the dark history of restrictive underwear that held women back (trust me - I once wrote a 5,000 word essay on that history) - we are propeling ourselves forward to a future of empowerment and a brand new kind of ‘sexy’. All that meaning balled up in some tiny bits of lace and satin sewn together? Yep, lingerie really is that powerful.
This is where Miss Vivienne comes in. Based in the bonnie Scottish Borders, Vivienne Lynch launched her brand on the basis that lingerie can empower women to look and feel fabulous. She crafts every single set by hand to ensure the highest possible quality, on a made-to-order basis to minimise any waste. In fact, she uses surplus fabrics from previous collections to rework into new ones, regardless of trends, and constructs her pieces in a unique way that uses up as much fabric as possible without excessive offcuts.
Vivienne believes that the purpose of lingerie is first and foremost to make YOU feel good, and this belief stands true whatever your body looks like. Her marketing campaigns embrace true size and shape diversity, and her designs centre around the idea of female empowerment but always which a touch of playfulness and fun.
Kindly gifted to me just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Miss Vivienne Valentine set is the embodiment of the brand’s values and looks absolutely divine, even on my #notamodel body, taking poor quality iPhone selfies in my bedroom. Carefully constructed from smooth duchess satin in luscious teal, plush black elastic and gold plated hardware, this limited edition set is unapologetically luxurious, and will make you feel unapologetically sexy.
Going on one of my annoying personal tangents here, but it feels relevant to mention that this year actually marks my first Valentine’s Day as a singleton in a long while, so it would have been easy to exploit this lingerie theme to talk about 2019 being a year of ‘self love’ to try and combat those inevitable lonely feels that popular culture insists all women should experience every 14th February, should they not be showered with chocolates and roses and engagement rings.
However, I am now of the mind that I am under no obligation to love my body. It’s just a body; it is simply a vessel for all the things that really matter - my heart, my mind, my soul. As cheesy as that that sounds, working towards embracing ‘body neutrality’ has actually been a really empowering process - avoiding any ‘extreme’ feelings either way about my body and its countless illogical hangups, and instead fully accepting my body as just that - a body, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing to do with my self-worth.
Self-acceptance or body neutrality might seem highly un-sexy as opposed to the all-encompassing and Instagrammable ‘self-love’ - but it doesn’t have to be. I can feel totally ‘meh’ about my body, but still feel totally sexy in a badass lingerie set like this. I don’t need to love the way my body looks, in order to love myself, to love what I can do, or to love everything that my body can do for me. This notion is empowering because it can allow you to view your body as a neutral, blank canvas, and dress it only with things that make it feel and look good, while minimising harm to people and the planet.
Regardless, maybe one day, in the not-so-distant future, I’ll get to that ‘love my body’ stage that everyone talks about, but for now, there’s always lingerie. And damn, this is good lingerie.
*This set was gifted by Miss Vivienne Lingerie. Details below.
Miss Vivienne Limited Edition Valentine set
(+ get free delivery with all orders by entering code FREEDELIVERYTHNX at checkout!
More information on the body neutrality movement:
If you’re fat, you don’t have to hate yourself | The Guardian
Is Body Neutrality The New Body Positivity? | Refinery29
Please Stop Telling Me to Love My Body | Man Repeller
You Don’t Have To Love Your Body, But You Can Accept It | Marie Claire