Welcome to Queering Cosmo, our newest column, wherein one of our writers takes a common woman’s magazine trope—and writing style—and remakes it as they wish to see it. Kara Lessin authors our first, on the perennial woman’s mag favorite: lingerie.
1) Love and accept your body. Growing up, I always dreamed of wearing a 32C. I couldn’t wait for perfect, perky breasts to sprout from my chest, complete with an enviable profile and enough cleavage to hold a pencil (a concept I read in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice series that I simply could not let go). I spent years buying bras for this type of body, despite the fact that my bra size is closer to a 36A. The entire experience was miserable: my chest ended up lumpy and my back was constantly creased with painful red lines. Eventually, I learned to buy lingerie that showcased the body I had, rather than painfully force myself into the body I wanted. We often view lingerie as the cookie cutter that shapes us into who we want to be seen as – but what if we, instead, let it be the icing on the cake?
2) Be who you are. Here’s a fun dichotomy: respect your body – but feel free to change it, too. Corsets, breast-binding, packing, and padding are great options for exploring your gender expression. Chrysalis Lingerie, for one, is the first ever lingerie line that is made by and for trans women and is hopefully the herald of days to come of a further diversified market that leaves less pressure on DIY and allows for professionals to help you articulate what you want.
3) Comfort is key. Some lace is comfortable. Much of it is not. I’ll keep this one short: as sexy as that lace bra might look in a catalog, it’s a lot less sexy in real life if it irritates your skin and makes you itch all night. Remember to shop with your hands, not just your eyes.
4) Fuck industry norms. The Victoria’s Secret fashion show tells us that sexy involves a certain shape of woman, a general lack of clothing, and maybe a cultural misappropriation or two. Not necessarily so. While lingerie can certainly be sexy, so can t-shirts, boxers, and button-downs. You don’t have to destroy your bank account buying out Agent Provocateur and La Perla lingerie (beautiful though they may be). Ultimately, sexy is as sexy does. And if that polar fleece onesie of yours makes you feel hot – you are the luckiest woman on the earth and should wear it always.
5) Be egocentric. Take an active role in your sexuality and remember: it’s not about finding lingerie “for your man” or that will “drive her crazy” – it’s about you, feeling as beautiful and as sexy as you are.