In a sign that comfort in apparel continues to prevail even as the pandemic eases and inclusive sizing is becoming more standard, ThirdLove has introduced a collection of seamless bras and underwear in sizes XS to 3X.
The collection includes six styles, ranging in price from $14 to $45 and is available online as of Friday.
The lingerie pure-player earlier this year introduced a line of loungewear, one of the best performing categories during the pandemic at a time when clothing sales in general tanked.
This release arrives amid fierce competition in lingerie. Category dominator Victoria's Secret has recently changed its marketing to defend against criticism of sexism lobbed against it for years — sometimes by ThirdLove executives.
Two years ago, ThirdLove took out a full-page ad in the New York Times, an open letter to its larger rival challenging its highly sexualized marketing. "You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women," the letter read in part. "Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country."
The L Brands label, soon to be spun off as a separate company, appears to have received the message. It's now replacing its infamous "angels" with a set of influential women to be known as the "VS Collective."
It's not clear that will work, but Victoria's Secret had to do something about the backlash, and the competition. Consumers have led the market shift away from the sex-glam approach that brought Victoria's Secret billions in sales for eons and toward more comfortable styles and more empowering messaging. But it's been upstarts like ThirdLove and other DTC brands that have capitalized on it.
Drawing hard lines between sexy and strong may not be a winning formula, however. While the popularity of wireless bra styles has hurt push-up sales — in the U.S. and U.K. combined over the last three months, bralettes outsold push-ups by 382%, for example — lacy and padded styles were in the top 10, "suggesting there is still interest in pretty and feminine details to complement no-fuss functional shapes," according to a report from retail analytics firm Edited.