If anyone could convince you to throw out all of your old t-shirt bras and cotton underwear and replace them with piles of fancy, super-sexy lingerie, it's Dita Von Teese.
Sitting across from the burlesque star (who is all hyper-feminine curves) at Journelle's intimate atelier as she walks a small crowd through her lingerie collection would be enough to get even the most die-hard lingerie-phobe to slip into a garter belt. Her attention to detail makes clear that this is more than just her name on a product; with references to 1930s detailing here, 1950s cup shape there, this is a longtime passion project for Von Teese.
"One of my first, earliest memories was sneaking into my mother's lingerie drawer and looking at these mysterious things," she says. "For me it's always been symbolic of femininity and womanhood, and I always wanted more than anything to be a part of that."
That's why it's important for Von Teese, who got her start selling lingerie, to get every woman involved in that experience. She knows that many women nowadays think that the basic t-shirt bras are more economical and practical. "We're trying to change people's minds about that and hope that women will be a little more adventurous in their lingerie selection," she says, adding that the current market is friendlier than ever for women looking to explore the lingerie category.
So if you're just getting started with a lingerie collection, Von Teese recommends a no-fail set in black. "Black lace lingerie is timeless, it's elegant, it's erotic, it's sophisticated; it's really everything, so I always say buying a really beautiful set of black lace lingerie — the bra, two pairs of underwear so you have the versatility, and try a garter belt — would be the perfect first thing to buy."
Winter is the best time to experiment with wearing lingerie since we're already bundled up. Von Teese likes to wear surprisingly bright colors underneath her dark cold-weather clothes, and she's also deeply committed to the stocking, even in the dead of winter. (Her tip? Warm, sweater-like thigh-highs in cashmere.) She also likes finding ways to expose her pretty things, like the delicate lace edging of her Marlene bra.
Just don't ever ask her to narrow her own lingerie collection down. "I can't live without a drawer full of pieces! I'm lingerie obsessed," Von Teese says with a laugh. "It's hard for me to even relate to people who don't see lingerie the same way I do."