While in London, I just had to go shopping at Harrod’s in Knightsbridge. Needing more, I walked across Hans Road to Rigby and Peller to check out the lingerie that bears the Queen’s Royal Warrant. While they had some beautiful things, the sad truth became clear that the Queen and I are proportioned differently — well, not entirely sad for me, but clearly another brand would be better.
Here you are again, gentlemen, lights twinkling and carols caroling, wondering what Santa could possibly bring your honey that she hasn’t already bought for herself on those weekly excursions to the mall, or that you weren’t clever enough (you little devil, you) to think of suggesting to Santa the last time the jolly old elf dropped by. What, indeed, does one give to the woman who has everything? Jewelry and furs, you say? Well, she already has those, and last year’s jewelry will be pretty hard to top. But how about … European lingerie? And when I say, “European lingerie,” I mean genuinely from the continent of Europe; please don’t go to that loud, pink, overly fragrant store at the mall with its store logos emblazoned on every item it sells (you know the one I mean), imagining that at those prices – and with those models, and those commercial voiceover accents — their garments MUST be as luxurious — or luxurious enough, anyway. They are not. European lingerie is what your honey must have — even if she already has other “fancy” undergarments, even if she thinks she isn’t a lingerie person, even if YOU don’t care what her lingerie looks like (but I know that’s not possible).
What’s so special about European lingerie, you ask? Well, as with most garments, European designers know quality. They know how clothing should fit, and they know how undergarments must be made to ensure that the clothes covering them appear to fit well. Thus, brassieres by brands like Chantelle or La Perla will provide support without wires that dig into her skin, will create a smooth line beneath even the clingiest sweater, and will perform both of these functions without excess wiring or padding and with a delicate, feminine fabric that is flattering without looking either matronly (see R&P, above) or trashy (see V.S., above). The styles most frequently displayed tend to be brightly-colored or extremely lacy or intricately patterned, all of which can be quite pretty for the woman who prefers extremely frilly undergarments, but the great discovery about European lingerie is that it also comes in styles that are basic and perfectly serviceable, but still pretty enough to make one stand a bit taller and feel more elegant without excessive detail that every woman won’t appreciate (and that won’t necessarily work under one’s every-day professional wardrobe).
Are these “unmentionables” unspeakably expensive? Well, they certainly cost more than average department store lingerie, but the purchase of European lingerie isn’t simply about spending the money. The value of European lingerie is in its high quality, invisible elegance and the confidence she projects knowing she’s wearing it. With those intangible benefits, it’s a bargain at any price.