Me, wearing Gilda & Pearl and sipping champagne on my last London visit.
Welcome to my blog, if you have never visited it. Welcome back if you are an old friend.
Under the Unders was created in 2013 after, in a photoshop class, I told a great friend that I discovered some lingerie blogs and wanted to write about it. By then, I was 19 and starting my fashion college adventures. I did create a blog and it was probably one of my best decisions ever. Since then, I have met tons of people, learned plenty of things and now, finishing college, I am slowly starting to become a designer on my own brand: Manoela Marandino.
I stopped writing on Under the Unders a year ago, because I had no time left. I forgot about it for a while and I ended up losing my domain name and some of my posts. It made me sad but that is alright, we can start all over!
I decided to come back with the blog because it feels good to write. Here, I intend to write about my life, my work, my lingerie experiences and whatever I find interesting. I have grown up quite a bit since the last time I was here – so expect much more opinion pieces and much less news pieces (there are many other incredible lingerie websites you can visit if you are looking for news pieces!).
Feel free to come back, comment, tell me what do you want me to write about and send me a nice email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoping you will love to read whatever I talk about and my thoughts on life, I hope you come back. From today on, a new version of Under the Unders is online and I am ready to start it!
When the people at Knock Out! offered me some panties to review, I got quite interested in their technology. Although I love the “common” panties, these ones had something different, and I really wanted to see how that worked.
Knock Out! Smart Panties were invented by a mom, and we can all agree that moms know best. She noticed that a lot of women had problems with the thin cotton layer on the panties. At every age, we face some kind of problem – periods, odor, sweat during exercising… and since she could not find panties with extra protection in the market, she decided to invent new ones. That is truly smart!
I was excited when the package arrived, including three panties and a lot on information. The Lacy Thong, the Lacy Panty and the Lacy Boyshort (can you tell I am a lace lover?) were inside the envelope, along with a lot of information concerning the materials and how does it works.
You probably know that the panties you wear everyday must have cotton, so your body can breathe. This one, though, have a thick layer of cotton, that allows your body to breathe but keep odor and liquids (a bit). It is comfortable, even being thick, and it really does protect you from any of these unpleasant situations. I had the chance to test the panties while on a 12-hour plane flight, 10 thousand feet or so above the ground, and was very pleased with how it worked!
On the media material and on the website of Knock Out!, they include a lot of opinions from real women of all ages, which is really nice! I like and support lingerie brands that do not follow the same directions of making pieces to please young women – of course, we need them too, and of course no brand would please every woman, but it’s really nice to have different options and different opinions from women of all ages!
The opinions on the website could not be more precise – the panties really met my expectations! The do protect you, they are soft and comfortable and they look good! Basic, pretty enough to look yourself in the mirror and strike a pose. “Only a woman could come up with this!” the phrase on the website is true. only a woman could understand the necessities of another – and that is why these panties are so good and useful.
I had internet problems during my vacations, and it made me pretty angry for a while, but since I was in Miami Beach having a nice time, I decided to take vacations from the blog, as I was unable to write, and come back with news later. Now I am back and ready for this new year, which will be Under the Unders’ second year and my 20th year (actually, I turn twenty today, the 13th. Isn’t that exciting?). I hope it will be a great year and I have the intention of keeping the blog updated and with lots of nice pictures and good content.
Back to the main topic, while I was in the city, I took my mother and a friend to get fitted at Intimacy, located on Aventura Mall. They both wanted to shop at Victoria’s Secret, obviously because of the store’s different options and low price (specially on the Semi Annual Sale). Knowing that Victoria’s Secret has probably one of the worst fitting services on the US, even though they got my sizing almost right -I could be a band or two smaller, but I actually feel pretty comfortable in a 32D-, I decided to take both of them to real fitters before they shopped.
Each one went a different day and got fitted with a different person, but they both were middle-40s women that never got fitted. The fitting method was the same, and I got to write one of them down, apart from taking some pictures of the bras and store (since I wanted to preserve the women’s identity, I didn’t take pictures of them), in an experience I am about to describe now, for the ones interested in bra fitting and for the ones who would like to know how a fitter works.
Arriving in the store, we were received with smiles and may-I-help-you? faces, for whom I said we wanted to have a fitting. So, the fitter took us inside to one of the fitting rooms, where the lightning was pleasant, and explained that they did not used measuring tapes. Asking what size the customer usually worn, I helped providing the information on what did a brazilian size meant (42=34B, 44=36B and so on), and the fitter explained to both of us they didn’t use measuring tapes, they would be trying on bras and fixing little problems so that the customer would eventually find the perfect bra.
Following that logic, the fitter brought to the customer a 30E bra, a Marie Jo ‘Avero’, which was clearly too tight on the back, but just a tad big on the cups. She went away and brought a 32D, another Marie Jo ‘Avero’. The fitter on my first visit was keen to explain every step to us, but the one on the second seemed a little tired, so I was the one that explained to the customer, my friend, that she brought a different size, bigger on the back but a little smaller on the cups, and the letter changed because when we go up a number on the back, we must go down a letter on the cup, although she did went a letter down, because after the D, there is the DD bra. I thought this second woman could have had a little more care when talking to someone that never got fitted (I stated that on the beginning of the talk), but maybe she just forgot about it or assumed we knew it.
After concluding that a 32D was a good size for her (she was wearing a 34B when arriving, which is the Brazilian 42 size), the fitter proceeded to ask what kind of bras the customer would like to try. Since she was not looking for anything specific, the fitter was requested to bring something sexy that could be worn on a regular basis. Then, as the customer said she liked the model with push up, the fitter brought two Chantelle bras, the ‘Opera’ and the ‘Merci’. The Opera was her favorite, because of the lace details – and I agreed it looked really good.
They did have matching panties, which was good, and the color of the bra was a pretty easy color to match with other ones. Overall, I really like the experience in taking family and friends to get fitted. In addition to that, I guess that being inside the fitting room while that happened helped me understand a lot more about the process of fitting, which I intend to know more and more each time, since it’s exactly what the brazilian lingerie market need the most.
Now my friend could easily buy at Victoria’s Secret. By having the correct number of her perfect bra, she can choose which model will she take, being comfortable in many styles, in a wide range of prices. It just took us a little step to another store, one with real experienced fitters – or at least some with knowledge of that subject!
Disclaimer: another post in portuguese for my brazilian readers about bra fit! Thank you, Anna, for letting me translate the flowchart.
Tento sempre abordar o assunto do tamanho correto de sutiãs entre os meus textos em português. A razão disso, vocês devem saber, é que um enorme número de brasileiras não sabe muito sobre tamanhos de taça, costas ou os problemas que podem ser vistos em um sutiã do tamanho errado.
Algumas lojas oferecem, atualmente, o “sutiã ideal”, ou “perfeito”, porém, além de oferecerem poucos tamanhos (você sabia que o tamanho das taças pode ir até a letra M ou ainda mais? E que o tamanho das costas pode ser menor que 40 e maior que 50?) o método utilizado para medir tamanhos consiste somente no uso da fita métrica e uma tabela. Por mais exato que isso possa parecer, cada corpo tem uma forma e um volume diferente, ainda mais quando estamos tratando de partes tão específicas, como os seios! Após uma medição, deve-se checar se os seios estão corretamente colocados e, se há algum problema, tentar consertá-lo. Mas muitas vezes, não sabemos como proceder ao verificar um problema no sutiã – ou mesmo nem sabemos quais problemas são esses!
Pensando nisso, traduzi o fluxograma feito pela Anna, do blog Bras and Body Image, que entende muito de fitting! O original pode ser encontrado nesse post, assim como um texto enorme sobre como proceder detalhadamente em cada um dos casos (post em inglês).
Após encontrar seu tamanho realmente ideal, que tal começar a notar as diferenças de forma entre sutiãs e marcas e descobrir o melhor pra você? Assim é ainda mais fácil ficar confortável e se sentir bem com seu corpo!
Qualquer dúvida encontrada, ou se você ainda está com problemas mesmo depois de seguir o fluxograma, deixe sua pergunta nos comentários!
You see, I am aware of my behavior, that is why I decided to write you this letter. I was not a good girl, and as a matter of fact, I am not a good girl. I knew what it took to be a nice lady and I just failed it on purpose.
Santa, being a good girl meant that I should have cleaned my room. I should have washed the dishes, maybe, and I should have dressed as a lady. I should have stood quiet when facing controversial situations, I should have agreed when everybody said that revenge porn is a girl’s fault, because real ladies never them themselves be filmed or photographed during intimate situations. I should have called them sluts because they made clear that they have sex, but obviously I should not have watched any of those films – and not because I think they are a crime or unfair, but because ladies don’t watch porn, not at all!
I should not have said bad words, I should have tried to keep thin – and should have made fun of those who are fat, because if a woman is fat, she clearly is not trying hard enough. She is lazy and real ladies are not lazy, they must put their beauty in the first place, otherwise how can they please men? I should have pleased men, every men.
But I didn’t.
This year, Santa, I stood up for myself and for other women who needed help. This year I sent motivation to a friend that had her article denied at college because it’s subject was about how illegal it was when women got raped while drunk (most women don’t even know it counts as rape, because society tell them “they deserved it”). This year I learnt what real sorority means, opening my heart to someone I used to hate when she asked for help in a situation of psychological and sexual abuse (and made a great, great friend, because of it). This year I have stood up when they told me I should be quiet facing cat calls, when they told me that “if I dressed well, it’s because I wanted to be admired”, because I don’t think admiration has nothing to do with sexual assault. This year I have spend a lot of time studying human body, habits and emotions anthropologies, so that I could understand more of the definitions of feminine and masculine in today’s society.
But wait – I have cleaned my room (although my mother thinks it was still a mess). I washed the dishes, I helped people in need, I was polite. Not because being a girl requires me to do such things, but because these are things that make good human beings. I have decided to face sexist/homophobic/prejudicial situations with kindness, trying to explain why the person should not say something like that, because fighting this way brought me peace and good results. I have not questioned the way my sisters fight for their rights and inner peace, too.
Dear Santa, this year I have not been a good girl, I admit. I haven’t stood the way a sexist society think I should have stood, but I did fight for a better world for everyone around me. I did the best I could not to hurt anyone and to help every single person I could, expecting nothing but their happiness. I became my own hero, I became comfortable in my body, I loved being a woman and a feminist. I know that good ladies should not write about underpinnings, let alone get photographed wearing them, but I know that I have helped a lot of women this year with my writing, because they came to tell me this.
I understand, Santa, if you decide not to come to my house this christmas, if you think I don’t deserve a present. I did the best I could, but I understand that I haven’t met society’s standards. However, I would really appreciate if you read this letter and considering giving me at least a little something for being nice to the planet I live on. I understand if you don’t think I deserve it.
This wednesday, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is filmed. I was waiting for this moment since I’ve started the blog, because I knew I should share with you all my greatest lingerie-related history, of how Victoria’s Secret turned me into who I am today. It’s very personal, and I am not used to be this personal on the blog, but I feel the urge to share my life with you all, now, so I hope you enjoy reading a bit about me, too.
Brazilians are crazy about Victoria’s Secret. I don’t know exactly why, but I reckon that they do something we don’t have over here. When young, I didn’t like fashion and didn’t care about underwear, just wanted something that made me feel comfortable. However, when I was 14, in a trip to NYC, I asked my mother if we could go to VS. After arriving in the city and eating something in the (cheap) hotel we were, she took me to the huge store at 5th Av. It was closed.
As we asked someone inside the store, we got told that it was because of something I learned to love later: the Semi Annual Sale. Next morning, my family and hundreds of other women were inside the store, and while I was getting measured as a 34B (Spoiler: I wasn’t a 34B, but I had no idea what bra fitting was, by then), my father was buying me pink luggage, my grandma spotted a coat full of hearts and my mother found out that we could buy cheap small gifts that would be very useful, later. It was a great mess, I was in love with that store. The love continued to grow as I came home and kept looking at the website and watching videos from the shows, waiting for the next one.
A couple years later, I decided that being a model was a good idea. It would be a lie if I said that it was, after all, a completely bad idea, considering all the good things I learned about professionalism and how the fashion industry worked, but it surely brought me a lot of sadness. Combining my love for that store and my desire to become as successful as possible in my new career, I decided that I wanted to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel. I was pretty naïve, and by that time thought everyone was going to be nice with me because I had this objective, and that I was one of the few that wanted to be
Obviously wrong, I found out that almost every girl on the modeling world wanted to be one. Found out, also, that working as a model was not easy and made me very uncomfortable inside my body. I’ve passed through some bad experiences, one in special in which I traveled to the greatest metropole in Brazil and got told by the heads of some big modeling agencies that I was not suitable. There I was, skinny as I could, with a tiny tiny waist and some big dreams, away from home, crying because they told me a lot of girls made it… but not me.
As a model, you never know exactly what the client is looking for when you are in a casting. There is not an exact reason why you were not chosen, but the girl by your side did. You get told by everyone -models, clients, agents…- that skinny is good, and before you notice, your diet changes, you are eating less and less. I kept home, after school, drinking lots of water, working my abs and walking in high heels, so that I could “earn my wings”. I cried too, a lot, because every “no” sounded like “you are not good enough. not pretty enough. not thin enough”.
Every time I saw the video in which Chanel Iman got her first wings, I cried. I could say this was the saddest time in my life, crying with shame every time I tried to find out why I was not on my way to becoming an Angel, yet.
Meanwhile, I developed even more my love for underwear. I was a huge buyer of panties and bras, since I didn’t know how more complicated things like suspender belts, stockings or corsets worked. It was just a passion, I was a proud owner of over 100 panties and that’s all. I entered fashion design college, imagining I would work with fashion editorials or something related to wedding dresses.
By this time, two not-VS-related events happened: the first, I stood weeks eating the less I could and saw myself acting like a small trained animal, in line for ours for someone to choose, in a hurry, the most suitable of the girls (Hey, wait – this is what a casting looked like, every time I passed through one. But this was the first time I realized it.). The second, I got fooled by someone, ended up working for free. After some more crying, I decided this would stop. I gave up being a model, and my last words on it were a text message to a friend (we can call him Mr. Unders) asking if I could still be his VS Angel. He said I could and so that’s it, my dream was over.
So, I was left out in a fashion design school, trying to find new objectives and dreams, allowing myself to eat everything I loved eating, in a process of acceptance of my own body (thank you, feminism, for helping me with that) and with a growing passion for lingerie. I should start focusing on studying for being a lingerie designer, then!
Trying to put together every thought on lingerie I had, and after I found out that people blog about everything -including lingerie!- I decided to establish myself as a blogger while in college, so I could learn more and more everyday, being in contact with tons of amazing people inside the industry. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Alone, I could never rise again.
Nowadays, I have risen. I could say I am happy, without putting all my expectations into a certain objective, but facing a direction in which I feel satisfied. I belong in this world, I love to be part of it, to be able to see, read and write about underwear. I still own and wear the VSFS robes, and sometimes -specially when the year is ending- I still feel I would be happy if I got there. But I remember how saddening the road was, and how I search for peace, now, and feel pleased by my decisions.
I thank you all. The ones who read, the ones who share, the ones who make. This blog is part of my life – one of my favorite parts, and I must thank you from the bottom of my heart. I surely am not a Victoria’s Secret Angel, today, but I can shine like one and even without wings, I found new ways to fly.
Tomorrow is Halloween, at least in some places around the world. Well, October 31st may be the day that people around some countries trick or treat (which I’ve done once and I guarantee it was pretty amazing – got tons of candies), but not all over the world. However, it’s known by all of us that this is the day to get your costumes out of the closet or make new ones. I had one costume party and will have another on the next days, and I am wearing my Cheshire Cat costume!
But, well, if you have a costume party, I imagine that you have already chose your clothing… So it would not make sense to suggest it. But maybe, if you don’t want to dress up for the common things of the day, you could wear Halloween inspired lingerie! Seems like a good idea for me, and I already know I’m about to wear a purple set I own and love. But here are some ideas for you to get spooky, sexy or just to feel funny – after all, fun is what Halloween night is all about!
The Karlie set, by KissKill Lingerie, would be perfect for a Catwoman costume (or just a fierce look under your clothing). It looks like leather, but it’s made of stretch coated jersey, which may be the perfect combination between look and comfort. I’ve been in love with this set for quite a while, to be honest, so I had to put it on the list!
When I came across this piece of art, available at Journelle, I couldn’t help but think it could be part of a sweet and sassy Tinker Bell costume, even if it’s only for the boudoir. I like Tink’s personality as much as I like this undergarment, because they are both unique. I have dressed as her when I was a child, and it’s always a nice option for those who have no idea what to put on a costume party – or a bra!
Everytime I decided to dress as a witch, when young, my costume was either purple or orange, always combined with black. And though my understanding of what a witch is changed from Snow White’s bad witch to Morgan le Fay -due to my early Mists of Avlon passion- Halloween’s witches are always purple/orange with black and have a pointy hat. So, this Playful Promises set may have a heartbreaking spell, or it will just allow you to use the power of your seduction – but it certainly fits for the night!
Mermaids may be cute when we are talking about Ariel (and quite stupid, too… why would she trade her amazing voice and life on the sea to chase a man that she doesn’t even know?), but they have not always been portrayed like that. Actually, mermaids were supposed to be evil creatures that seduced poor sailors to their death, always beautiful and mean. This is pretty fierce, right? And this Made by Niki string playsuit (available at Pleasurements) comes in jade and black, creating a mysterious under the sea aura that will surely be the reason why the person that shares the night with you will fall into your enchantment.
I wish you all an amazing Halloween, with lot’s of fun and -possibly- candy!