For The Love of Lingerie

By Samantha Priestley

I was doing my job as the eldest sibling and making sure my heavily pregnant sister had everything she needed for both now and when the baby arrived. Walking through a department store, we’d already covered the nursery section and the racks of teeny tiny clothing which would soon dress the baby, still known as “the bump” by us. We’d just passed through maternity wear, when I was surprised to see my sister heading straight for the lingerie section. Maternity bras and even nursing bras are not something I ever took any pleasure in buying when I needed them, but my sister seemed to be quite excited as she weaved her way around rails of push-ups, balcony bras, French knickers and thongs.

I stood on tip toes and peered over the displays to see if I could locate the standard white maternity section for her, but I needn’t have bothered. My sister wasn’t interested in those. Instead, she was lovingly caressing the silken material of a smoky grey set of bra and briefs with an alarming price tag.

“Aren’t these gorgeous?” she said.

I glanced at the matching set, with tucked and ruffled fabric on the cups and pretty pink bows at each corner of the skimpy briefs.

“Well, yes,” I said. “But don’t you need maternity bras?” I glanced down at her seven month pregnant stomach. “Or nursing bras probably?”

“Yes yes, I know.” she said, wafting her hand at me. “It’s just that these are so pretty.”

I remembered when I was heavily pregnant with my second baby and trying to find a suitable dress for a Christmas dinner dance I was going to that year. It was almost impossible to find anything that made me feel the slightest bit feminine. The poor assistants tried to help me, but I just stood there in the fitting room with my shoulders sagging in everything they offered me, feeling like a huge blob who would never be attractive again. I assumed my sister was experiencing something similar, and the beautiful sets of lingerie were pulling her in because she wanted to feel feminine again.

I leaned over and touched the edge of the softly padded bra. “Pretty price as well.” I said. “I’ve never really bothered with anything like this. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever owned a matching set.”

My sister looked quite horrified by my admission. “Really?” she asked. “I wear matching underwear every day. It’s my thing.”

“Every day?” I asked.

“Every day.” she answered, in a very serious tone.

I have to admit, I’ve never really seen the point. If all I’m doing is working or cleaning the house, why would I bother putting on beautiful and pricey underwear that no one is going to see? But my sister seemed to be suggesting that she did this simply to make herself feel good, because she liked it, because lingerie was “her thing.” It didn’t matter if no one else saw it.

I had honestly never seen it that way before. I’d always thought of lingerie as something I would wear for someone else’s benefit rather than my own. As I stood there gazing at these undergarments intricately made with silk and lace, wires and bows, I wondered what that said about my own self worth. I had never considered buying lingerie just because I liked it. Beautiful underwear was something I bought either because it was functional, or because I thought the person who was going to see me wearing it would appreciate it. And yet, here was my sister, not letting the fact that she was hugely pregnant get in the way of her desire to wear pretty lingerie, simply because she liked it.

I finally managed to locate the maternity section where rows of thick-strapped, plain white boring bras hung limply on their hangers. My sister was unimpressed, and even when I demonstrated the nifty hooks and secret sections of the nursing bras, she failed to raise much enthusiasm. In her mind, she was already wearing that luscious smoky grey bra with the silken ruffled fabric and the matching pretty little briefs. And, for the first time ever, I was right there with her. At last I could see the allure of wearing beautiful underwear simply for its own sake.

Neither of us bought anything that day, but the following week I went back to the department store and purchased that smoky grey set of bra and briefs. I still don’t wear a matching set of pricey lingerie every day. I spend my working days in the same boring old underwear I did before, but I do now own more matching sets than I ever have, and I understand why my sister does it. It makes us feel good. It even makes my clothes appear to fit me better. Lingerie might still be specifically my sister’s “thing,” but a little bit has rubbed off on me, and I don’t intend on giving it up.

About this writer

  • Samantha Priestley Samantha Priestley is a UK based writer of fiction and articles on various subjects. Her first novel, Despite Losing it on Finkle Street, is published by Fygleaves Publishing. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines and placed in fiction competitions around the world.

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One Response to “For The Love of Lingerie”

  1. Susan Bearder says:

    Interesting piece Samantha. and a tad familiar. I was put in my place by my daughter in law who is of the same school of thought as your sister when I pointed out some pretty but practical knickers at a spanish market. Mind you spanish women know a thing or two about matching sexy underwear.

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