25 May 2011

French Women And Lingerie

I read that French women are the biggest buyers of lingerie.

What does that mean?

Other than that women in general love their pretties, it simply means that some women like lingerie more than others.

There are all sorts of assumptions made from this data about nationality and sexiness…a difficult one to determine and not one that I am going to try and figure out.

What I do know is that for French women lingerie is a staple in their wardrobe.

Pretty underwear is not something that is at the bottom of the shopping list or neglected like a long overdue manicure.

Lingerie is as important as the well cut dress that covers it. Lingerie is part of the ensemble; like the handbag and heels, it all has to work.

One of the reasons I know that French girls are big spenders on lingerie is that in every village, town and major city there are more lingerie boutiques than any other. In our small village there are several boutiques selling top brands of lingerie.

These boutiques are the ones that seem to endure despite seasonal trade and downturns in the economy.

Lingerie is a win/win purchase and maybe French girls have that figured out.

Emotionally, if we feel good on the inside then we feel better on the outside. This is something we all strive for and this same logic should apply to how we dress.

Knowing that what is underneath is just as fabulous (if not more) as what is on show gives a spike to the morale and a boost to the confidence….and we all know that confidence is the key to looking fabulous and appealing to others.

Dressing is so often not about ourselves; women dress to please the loves in their lives or more often than not their girlfriends.

Lingerie does not have to be exclusively for others, it doesn’t have to be about our partners, lingerie can be selfish.

Wearing gorgeous underwear should not only be for seduction, lingerie should be a weapon of self esteem.

Buying underwear is a bit like buying jeans we need to be in the best mood, we need to have time and we need to be forgiving of our flaws.

French girls are not perfect, they have lumps and bumps like the rest of us, but perhaps they are kinder to themselves.

Our bodies will never be as we want them, that is a curse (rightly or wrongly) that women live with, but wearing pretty lingerie is not reserved for the perfect body; pretty lingerie can be worn by all.

In France I have noticed that the most exquisite pieces of lingerie come in all sizes and unlike fashion, underwear does not enforce unspoken rules about who can and who can’t.

There is a sense of liberation in knowing that you can buy exactly what you like in the size you need; French girls know this, we should too. xv

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Dustjacket Attic

A fabulous post…you have inspired me! Would love to see the wonderful lingerie boutiques of France.
xxx DJ
ps thank you so much for the comment yesterday, I did appreciate it.


Maybe that is why French women feel the sexiest and we see them as such… it is their sexy lingerie.

I myself have times that I love wearing sexy lingerie, but most times I'd love to sleep wearing comfy shorts and tops…


Such a great post, Vicki! I guess I have a little bit of a French girl in me (why? I have no idea) because lingerie is one of two things I asbolutely cannot resist (the other one being shoes – so that's a typical woman in me). It just makes me feel beautiful, even if I have simple jeans+top on to cover the secret. :) Somehow, most of my lingerie is French because they really seem to know how to seduce, both the customer and the woman in me.


Angie Muresan

I love lingerie! And I love that about France. Unfortunately, where I live in the United States, there is only one shop which sells exquisite European creations, and I'm not referring to Victoria's Secret. While Victoria's Secret does have some pretty pieces, the quality and comfort of them are poor.


hi Vicki, We could all learn a lesson from the French Women. I remember all the lingerie shops, everywhere from small towns to big cities. My husband noticed them too……….

The French Hutch

Tish Jett

Brilliant, Vicki, and oh so true. I agree, Frenchwomen do accept themselves and want every detail to be perfect.

Hope all is well in all ways in your world, dear Vicki.



Oh, so true! The French girl that I am could not agree more with you. Have you even seen the Aubade commercials called "les lecons"? so beautiful, they are pure art!


Oh, I like that "weapon of self-esteem"–and we do all need one for those off moments when we are just a little off center. Thanks, Vicki–have a wonderful week. Mary

hostess of the humble bungalow

I have read this too…and having a friend in France who agrees it makes me believe it is true.
Acceptance of our bodies is a lot easier when wearing a lovely lace ensemble that fit and flatters…at least that's what I tell myself every time I go lingerie shopping!

Dumbwit Tellher

Marvelous post Vicki. Can you imagine if all women were more 'forgiving' of their flaws what a more joyful, thoughtful and kind race we would be? I watched a program on our Sunday a.m. television that had a segment on French lingerie. It was fascinating how the French incorporate little ties and such that promote 'play' between the man & the woman. This is one more reason to admire the French!! I hope all is very well? I'm looking so very forward to including you, your photo(s) in the upcoming issue of House of Fifty. Have a very lovely week Vicki.

Cheers xo Deb


Vicki a wonderful post that exemplifies that as women we need to be good to ourselves; starting from the inside and out!

Pretty lingerie always makes me feel pretty and more confident.

Art by Karena

Alcira Molina-Ali

Oooh, this rings so true, Vicki.
One of the first places I stopped as a younger girl of nineteen in Paris was Aubade — something about the ritual of buying lingerie there signaled an important rite of passage.
Lovely post, Alcira



Quite simply, amen, and this is why I buy my lingerie from Europe and have it shipped to Southern California. Somethings just do not bare the trouble of translation.

Lost in Provence

Oh I love this post, Vicki–it's so true. Not only are there a forgiving range of sizes (something that I am very grateful for of late) but you don't have to go to the best to get something pretty, even Monoprix has adorable things for everywoman prices (even if the materials aren't the same, the effect still does the job!).


As a French women living in the US I love your post about lingerie!

As a teenager I saved all my money to buy beautiful lingerie, not to please anyone, but myself. French woman are taught to dress to make themselves feel good. Beginning and ending the day by seeing a reflection of yourself looking great in fabulous lingerie helps give any woman the allure French women are known for.


The French certainly have a great attitude to so many things not the least being care of how they feel about themselves.How sensible to wear pretty lingerie and not old, tired, drab things. Is it an anglo-saxon hangover to be frugal when it comes to mums's underclothes? I wonder. To spend more than the minimal on underclothes (we didn't' even call them lingerie) is certainly not an idea that I was brought up with but one that I can very easily take on board.

3 Windows

A lovely read … thanks …… having a little boutique in an Australian rural village … I often long for that European appreciation for life & things.

Blue Fruit

Yes, but what is interesting is why other western nations do not have the same philosophy. Oh yes, quite possible to buy beautiful lingerie in any western culture/ country, I am not saying that. And lots of women around the world have the same philosophy themselves.
Rather, wondering why the attitude to beautiful lingerie being accepted as an everyday indulgence is not one that is more common. It is such a simple way of bringing beauty into the everyday ~ and it doesn't even have to be about money. You can spend the same amount on beautiful lingerie as ugly stuff.


Beautifully put! I still can feel the awe of passing the lingerie shops in Strasbourg. To this day, I wish I had gone in and bought a piece or two. Thanks for the inspiration.


This is such an intriguing post, Vicki. I totally agree with the French approach. I fondly remember Mr PB buying me some gorgeous Simone Perele lingerie for a birthday – I immediately feel different when wearing it! J x

d e l i g h t

I had heard that French women spent their money on skin care and lingerie. When I was in Paris and went to Galleries LaFayette there were more bras than I have ever seen in my life…and beautiful lacy and colorful ones. Having been in Paris I know how that they do love their lingerie! It is true!


What a lovely blog. I'm your newest follower, follow back if you'd like! :)



Mademoiselle Frou-Frou

What a perfect post! As a lingerie boutique owner, it's refreshing to hear someone with your take on intimate apparel.
I will share with my Twitter readers!
xoxo Alison
Frou Frou Fashionista

Ali Randall

I currently live in Paris, exploring the city and studying, and while I have found many lingerie stores throughout the city, I have been quite displeased with the selections. I thought that I would find beautiful boutiques throughout, but the best lingerie, unfortunately, comes from the large department stores (Galleries LaFayette, Le Bon Marche, Bazaar de l'Hotel de Ville) or serial chains (Princesse Tam Tam, Calvin Klein). I have visited the Chantal Thomas, Marlies Dekkers, and La Perla stores, but wish to see more small boutiques in Paris. Any ideas?


I loved this post! When my daughter was fifteen, she spent the Summer living with a family in Provance as part of a Sister Cities student exchange program. Before she left, I stocked her bag with new all white cotton underwear . . . thinking that the Mother of the family would likely be doing her laundry, and I wanted it to be school girl perfect. {Mom's think of these things.} My lesson came during one of her calls home in which she related that the family females had been appalled at the "ugliness" of her dainties, and had promptly taken her shopping for more feminine and beautiful replacements. :)
{I wish you safe travels and a pleasant night's sleep!}


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