The history of lingerie is inexorably linked to female intimacy and societal norms, from its role as a tool for seduction in the bedroom to its hygienic function. Although lingerie is the closest thing to a woman’s body and she wears it every single day, it has long been a product marketed for male consumption. But in recent years we’ve entered a new era of lingerie. Not solely functional or to play the role of seductress but as a way to inspire self-love and celebrate our bodies and our femininity.
My name is Sabrina Cassis and I’m the founder of Alice Kass, a Montreal based online retailer of curated designer lingerie made by women for women. I started Alice Kass because I wanted to provide the modern, independent woman with stylish yet comfortable lingerie that makes her feel confident, sexy and empowered inspiring her to connect to her femininity and sensuality every single day.
But I have a confession to make: I was never into lingerie. I literally bought my first thong at the age of 24 and used to be afraid of my femininity. I always found comfort in dressing boyishly; leather jackets, combat boots, oversized clothes. I believed that I needed to be strong at all times and wear armour, hide under layers and layers of black eyeliner and a tough guy attitude. The thought of exuding sex and femininity made me feel weak, powerless, embarrassed. As though I couldn't be taken seriously if I exposed my emotions and my female body. I bought into the myth of masculinity, believing that I had to behave more like a "man" if I wanted to be taken seriously and succeed in a man's world, especially the male dominated business world.
What I didn't realize was that there is power in being different and embracing both the feminine and the masculine. Alice Kass has been a ground-breaking personal experience not solely because I've accomplished my professional dream of wanting to work for myself, but because it freed me from my fear of embracing the feminine. People often assume that I've always been obsessed with lingerie. Truth is, I was always intimidated by this world that seemed so out of my reach. I didn’t identify with the Victoria’s Secret Angels, I was none of those women presented in mainstream lingerie advertising with their push up bras and over the top getups.
But when I started to discover brands like Lonely lingerie and Bully Boy, Bluebella and Hot-as-Hell, that emphasized a woman’s natural shape something changed. These female run lingerie companies placed style and comfort above just being outwardly attractive to a man. When I put on this lingerie, I looked in the mirror and I recognized myself, yet I couldn’t believe that this was me! For the first time, I felt feminine, sexy, comfortable. Something lit up inside me, I finally understood the magic of lingerie and that I didn’t need to feel like I was wearing a costume. Needless to say this was game-changing and I was excited for other women to experience this too. I wanted women to feel good about how they looked, comfortable in their skin, proud of their bodies and most importantly FEEL LIKE THEMSELVES. And it's so accessible, even if you're not what society typically promotes as a sex bomb or femme fatale. You don't have to buy into the prescribed way of looking to feel attractive and sexy. You just really need to find what speaks to you. Step outside your comfort zone but always be true to yourself. Confidence makes all the difference.
When you find the right lingerie, it helps you get in touch with your body. The delicate intricate lace, the subtle sheerness of the mesh, the strategically placed straps all create an erotic and sensual charge reminding us of our beauty and femininity. Lingerie instantly boosts your confidence; just the knowledge of wearing it even if no one else sees it. The second you put it on you see yourself differently, it is one of the most powerful reminders of our womanhood. Just ask all the women that slip into sexy, quality, comfy lingerie that speaks to them. I can still remember my first time. I felt empowered and lit up by my beauty and femininity. I felt more confident and self-assured. I saw myself differently, I saw myself as a woman.
It took me a long time to learn all this. It took Alice Kass and all the amazing women I've met along the way, from my clients to collaborators to supporters and friends. Even the men that encouraged and admired this newfound strength and confidence I inspired in myself and other women. Through lingerie and exploring my feminine side I learnt women can be both masculine and feminine, vulnerable and tough, sensual and smart. We can indulge in our appearance and simultaneously kick ass at our jobs. None of these things prevent the other, they are not mutually exclusive. Women are multifaceted and these dualities are actually our secret weapons and allow us to experience life more wholly. We shouldn’t feel as though we need to deny a part of ourselves. By embracing our femininity we allow ourselves to be fully expressed, as women and as human beings, and can take pleasure in every day. We are more confident, in touch, aligned. We are able to stand in our power, flourish, accomplish our goals and fulfill our mission. We become magnetic and attract the life we know we deserve.