Monday, 30 November 2009

What Katie Did in Japanese Vogue

Our worldwide Vogue campaign continues! This week we're in Vogue Nippon who appear to have fallen heavily for our Glamour shapewear. The pictures feature (top to bottom), our Glamour bustier (right hand side), Glamour bra and Glamour corselette. Being based out in the sticks makes keeping up with international press very difficult so I have to thank one of our stockists - Faire Frou Frou in LA - for pointing me in the direction of Fashion Gone Rogue, a website which covers the best fashion shoots from magazines world wide. If you're into fashion make sure you have plenty of time to look at the site as the first time you visit you'll loose an afternoon in a blink!


Friday, 27 November 2009

Confused about shapewear? We tell you everything you need to know!

If you've ever seen one of the pages of wardrobe malfunctions that grace the gossip mags these days, you may have caught a glimpse of shapewear peeking out  from under an A-List celebrity's red-carpet gown as they clamber back into their car. There's no doubt that big pants have been big news in recent years, launched back into the public eye by the infamous Bridget Jones and continued by television style evangelists like Trinny and Susannah. The fact that celebrities wear these items means that it's no longer a fashion faux-pas to do the same; and even the trimmest of us can sometimes benefit from a bit of help in the figure department, particularly those of us who are fans of vintage clothing.


Wearing vintage is a very different experience to wearing modern fashions. You often have to adapt your entire stance in order for it to fit properly – standing tall, sucking in your tummy and pushing out your chest. And what about the often disproportionately small waists of many skirts and dresses? The answer is simple – almost every woman, from the 1930s-1960s wore foundation garments. And that's why they always looked so good! Apart from the obvious smoothing, cinching and supporting benefits, wearing a sturdy girdle or cincher can actually give you better
posture; and they can even make a garment that seems a touch too small, actually fit.


But what's a glamorous girl to do if she wants that streamlined vintage silhouette without resorting to high-street brand, flesh-coloured shorts which personify the nickname 'passion-killers'?


Well, that's where What Katie Did comes in. We wanted for a long time to develop our own line of shapewear after selling a range of international brands over the years; and in Autumn 2008 our dream was realised. It was a labour of love, because we knew our customers would settle for nothing but the very best; and we finally released our long-awaited Glamour shapewear range to great acclaim. Featuring an amazing nine coordinating pieces, we're proud to say that there is a foundation garment to suit every shape, and indeed every outfit within our range. And, thanks to the shades (black and vintage peach) and the fabrics (slinky satin and powermesh) it all looks supremely chic – not a granny pant or cycling short in sight.


The Glamour range contains retro styled bras, both standard and longline; the perfect little girdle to smooth your derriere and skim inches off your hips, whilst holding up your seamed stockings; and a panty girdle that is a far cry from its matronly and restrictive predecessors. We positively encourage you to incorporate these pieces into your usual wardrobe, and feel a million dollars on an daily basis! But there are also some special occasion items that every girl should have in her lingerie drawer.

Find out which Glamour Shapewear item will solve your figure in our Shapewear Guide.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Claudia Schiffer in What Katie Did

Last month I blogged about our successful run of lingerie featured in UK Vogue and said that our luck was sure to run out soon. Sure enough it did, and December's issue contained nothing by What Katie Did (although it does have a very interesting feature by Helena Bonham Carter about corsets).

Thank goodness Vogue is published in other countries as this month we have had our Jane bullet bra in French Vogue (a little late as it was discontinued months ago - but they insisted on having it!) and a girdle on Lara Stone in Italian Vogue (again, discontinued but they were desperate!) but the piece de resistance is our Maitresse bullet bra worn by Claudia Schiffer in Russian Vogue.


We're on the cover of Look magazine!

We're on the cover of Look magazine this week! Or, at least, our Lulu bullet bra is. Inside the magazine they've done a feature on conical bras which are currently fashion flavour of the month. Our Padded bullet bra and Lulu bullet bra are featured next to bullet bra wearing celebs: Lady Gaga and Madonna. If you're lusting after Rigby and Peller's peach version, but aren't so sure about the price tag, then we also make a more affordable peach bullet bra which can be found here.

At What Katie Did we'll be the first to admit that a bullet or conical bra takes a little getting used to. Instead of the modern rounded push up shape modern bras bullet bras push the breasts into a pointy shape. If you're new to conical bras please remember that what you wear on top of your cone bra is just as important as the bra itself (unless, like in the case of  Lady Gaga, the bullet bra is the outfit!)

Bullet bras first appeared in the late 1940s and remained fashionable right up to the mid 1960s so they work best with fashions from, or inspired, by that era: especially with 1950s style dresses, instantly giving you that sexy 'Mad Men' silhouette. If you're into vintage fashion, you might notice that bust darts in 1940s and 1950s dresses are positioned in the 'wrong' place: this is because they were designed to be worn with a conical bra - once worn with a bullet bra everything starts to make sense! Bullet bras also look good under shirts, worn with a fitted pencil skirt - again channelling that Mad Men office look (incidentally, the actresses in Mad Men all wear period correct lingerie, which is why their outfits look so good!)

Remember to keep your fashion 1950s style and you'll be fine. Bullet bras definitely don't work under tight t shirts and although we have one customer who wears her bullet bra for working out (she finds it more supportive than a sports bra) in fashion terms bullet bras and sportswear were most definitely not made for each other!

Bullet bras are made from non stretch fabric with a minimal amount of elastic so sizing is very critical. If you are wearing the correct bra size then you should be the same when selecting a bullet bra, but please read our sizing notes (found by the product description) to ensure you select the correct size (several customers have told us that if they'd read them before ordering it would have saved the hassle of exchanging). Welcome to a world of vintage glamour!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

What Katie Did boutique news

I had a great afternoon with Nicola in our boutique yesterday busily lacing girls into corsets and poking and prodding in a Gok Wan type fashion! Luckily it all went well and we even managed to help burlesque artiste Vicky Butterfly find some lingerie to go with a new costume (all top secret and hush hush). The only downside is that we didn't get chance to finish our Christmas decorations as it was a little busy. We are definitely going to get them finished for our first late night shopping evening which takes place on Wednesday 25th November (until 9pm). The Portobello Green arcade along with the surrounding area will all be open and there will be burlesque performances and entertainment outside. Even Mr Claus will be making an appearance with his very own grotto in our arcade. Don't worry if it's a little chilly as in our boutique we'll have mulled wine to warm you up!

Last week London's Time Out magazine did a little feature on our boutique. Burlesque artiste Ophelia Bitz explored the lingerie boutiques of London from good old Marks and Spencer to Rigby and Peller - but classed What Katie Did as 'her pick'. Thanks Ophelia!

There will be radio silence as far as blogs are concerned over the next few days as I'm off to the Rhythm Riot tomorrow but if anything exciting happens I'll be sure to update you on

Monday, 16 November 2009

Corsets for beginners

There is a lot of intrigue concerning steel boned corsets and how they will effect your body. I have 15 years experience in working with corsets and whether you're thinking about trying one, or would like to learn a little more about them, you're in the right place! Information on sizing and putting on, can be found here.

The fashion corset wearer - At What Katie Did we class a 'fashion corset wearer' as someone who wears a corset for an evening out once a month, right up to someone who wears one nearly every day. This kind of wear is what our corsets are designed for.

The 'Dita Von Teese' shape -
If you are looking at trying a corset for the first time, please remember that your current figure will effect the outcome. Whilst you might think that Dita Von Teese has the most famous trained waist in the world today - it isn't really trained at all, and Dita is the first to admit it!

Dita is in the enviable position of having a classic hourglass figure with an unnaturally small waist. She also has access to the finest bespoke corsetiers in the world and if you look closely you'll see that the majority of the waist reduction is confined to a small section around her waist. This allows her waist to be clearly defined without undue pressure on her ribs enabling her to wear a corset with dramatic results, whilst not waist training.

To achieve similar results to Dita you will need to have, what we call, a Vintage Figure: one where the waist is a good 10 inches (or more) smaller than the hips. Figures like this do exist but they are becoming less common. I have a friend who is lucky enough to have an extreme vintage figure: 19" waist, 35" hips. She wears a 17" corset daily which, although looks extreme, really isn't much of a reduction. If you have a more modern figure (with a waist less than 10 inches smaller than the hips) then it will be hard for you to gain such dramatic results, especially if you only want to wear a corset on the odd occasion. Harsh words I know.

That's my personal opinion anyway. Women in our boutique always seem thrilled at their corseted shape! Talking of which, always allow at least half an hour for a corset fitting as although you might have decided which corset you'd like in advance, a different style might be more suitable (and we can make our corsets in any of the fabrics we carry so you don't have to worry about missing out on a certain fabric or colour).

Above: Morticia is our most
popular underbust style

The right What Katie Did corset for you -
If you have a Vintage Figure: try one of our styles with gored hips - Laurie, Mae, Morticia, Antoinette or Baby.
If you have a Modern Figure: try a style without gored hips - Gina, Sophia or Dolly.

Our corset shapes with gored hips are specifically designed for hourglass figures and will not fit a very Modern Figure (with the exception of Baby). Our corsets without gores are suitable for both Modern and Vintage figures.

By the way, we have found a lot of companies using our pictures illegally: if a corset doesn't say it's What Katie Did, even if it uses our picture (and especially if it's cheap!) it will be counterfeit.

An evening out -

If you decide to wear a steel boned corset for an evening out it's really not going to have any effect on your torso, apart from giving you a delicious waistline of course! With anything new it's always best to have a trial run and this is especially important when wearing a corset for the first time. Please 'practice' wearing it for a few hours before your big event. Whilst it might have felt comfortable for the few minutes you initially tried it on for, it might start to become uncomfortable after a couple of hours. By having a trial run or two, your body will have time to get used to the feel of being corseted and you'll know how tightly you can comfortably lace making amendments if necessary (for example, if you think you will become uncomfortable then don't lace your corset tightly until you arrive at the event - and remember you can always loosen the laces later in the evening as long as your dress allows it!)

Sophia is our most popular overbust style, ideal for modern figures

A little light training -
If you would like to define your waistline a little then this is possible by wearing a corset on a regular daily basis. Your body will soon get used to the feel of being tightly hugged and you will be gradually be able to pull your corset in tighter. If you are looking to wear a corset on a regular basis we recommend you select an underbust style as this is less restrictive on torso movement. We also highly recommend our Baby corset which cinches the waist but, due to it's small size, doesn't restrict the rib cage and is ideal for modern lifestyles. If you do wear a corset daily then your waistline will gradually reduce although it will return to 'normal' disappointingly quickly when you stop wearing.

Your rib cage -
All corsets will put some pressure on the rib cage and there are some rather extreme diagrams from the 19th century showing how the rib cage can be distorted. Whilst this is not a myth (modern day tight lacer Cathie Jung has been x-rayed in her corset and yes, her ribs are distorted) you have to tight lace seriously and over time for your ribs to be effected. It is also worth remembering that the skeletal system is very adaptable. The rib cage expands during pregnancy, with some of the internal organs being pushed upwards to allow room for the baby. After pregnancy, over a period of months, the skeleton returns to normal.

Your muscles -
If you have a bad back then a corset can be great as it supports the back bone meaning that your muscles are under less stress: but this also has it's disadvantages. If you are intending to wear a corset on a daily or near daily basis then you do need to consider your back muscles which will require extra exercise to keep them strong. Ask your gym/yoga/pilates instructor to recommend some exercises to work on your back muscles. If you do not have a gym/yoga/pilates instructor and are considering light body modification (which is what regular corset wearing is) then maybe you should think seriously about finding one.

Serious Corset Training -
To achieve the most dramatic result takes time and discipline. We're talking wearing a corset 23 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the dedication required to attain a waistline like that of Mr Pearl and Cathie Jung (both current day tight lacers). Serious corset training is not to be taken lightly and What Katie Did corsets are most definitely not suitable for serious corset training. If you are even considering serious waist training you need to seek out others who have tight laced (Google Spook and Cathie Jung who tight laced for a few years with dramatic results, unfortunately there's not much about Mr Pearl who is a very private person) and read about their experiences. A made to measure corset is a must for waist training. Do not even consider using an 'off the peg' corset to waist train as you need one tailored to your exact measurements. I am happy to recommend a bespoke corsetier on request (

Further Reading -
Find out more about Dita Von Teese and her love of corsets in her book: Burlesque and the Art of the Teese / Fetish and the Art of the Teese which is packed with fabulous pictures and advice.

For more serious reading check out The Corset: A Cultural History by Valerie Steele. There might not be as many pretty pictures as in Dita's book, but you'll find out everything you ever wanted to know about corsets.


The Dannii Minogue pic

Here's the pic of Dannii as promised yesterday!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Dannii Minogue in What Katie Did

The girl of Autumn 2009 has to be Dannii Minogue. She's defied all her critics and is beating Cheryl Cole hands down in the X Factor style wars. Not that we don't adore Cheryl, but it is nice to see the underdog claim her crown! She's interviewed by Christa D'Souza (one of my favourite journalists) in today's Sunday Times Style magazine. The accompanying pictures show her in Dolce & Gabbana vintage style lingerie and could it be? Yes they are - our Retro Seamed Stockings! We market our Retro Seams as affordable, everyday stockings (at £5 they add a little sparkle to the dreariest day) but they've now been given the X Factor! Unfortunately the image isn't online yet so you'll have to make do with our product image below - I'll upload Dannii's picture tomorrow.

In recent months a lot of designers have been featuring vintage style lingerie in their shows and I've been asked a few times if I find it annoying that people are 'copying' our style. The answer is no. The fashion houses in question all have a long history of using vintage style lingerie from time to time in their collections and if anything, I'm guilty of being overly influenced by them. The picture below shows Cindy Crawford modelling for Dolce & Gabanna way back in 1995. I guess this post is just an excuse to post the picture below as it is one of my favourites! The collection was released a good few years before I founded What Katie Did but looking back at it now you can see how I've been influenced the styling (long satin gloves, flower in hair, opaque seamed stockings etc).

Friday, 13 November 2009

What Katie Did 2010 Christmas Card

Our 2010 Christmas card has just arrived and one will be included free of charge with orders and boutique purchases from now until Christmas. The image for the card is taken by Tony Nylons who is responsible for most of the photography on our website. It features model Olivia and a rather naughty snowman! Tony had the idea for the card 3 years ago but in true British Rail fashion then had to wait for the right type of snow! Further copies of the card, which is A5 in size, can be purchased here. If you like Tony's images but are after something a little more risque than can be seen on our site, you'll be pleased to learn that he also runs 'Nylon Flash' a zine devoted to vintage lingerie. When I say more risque, I'm not talking nudity risque but good old fashioned English seaside humour risque. If you are purchasing one of our calendars or books and would like a half size (32 page) preview copy of Nylon Flash please request one in the comments box of our online order form.

We were bang on trend in yesterday's Guardian newspaper which has picked out our saucy sailor bra. They say (sic) has a wardrobe's worth of sexy vintage-effect lingerie, which is perfect for wearing under sheer tops or peeking out under lace. We especially like the sailor bra (£44.50) and the glamour longline bra for £35. For the adventurous reader, there's also the bullet bra (£32.50): just in case your imagination isn't filling in the gaps effectively, when wearing this one you'll need to be careful about poking people's eyes out.





Wednesday, 11 November 2009

What Katie Did in Classic Military Vehicle Magazine

You might have gathered that What Katie Did isn't the average lingerie company and tend to get attention from publications which definitely can't be classed as 'fashion'. Our 2010 calendar is featured in Classic Military Vehicle who appreciate us putting a 'jimmie' in it!

Tuesday is one of my favourite days as the weekly fashion magazines hit the shelves. I always take a peek at Look magazine to see if we've had anything featured and was excited to see that we were listed on the stockists page. On flicking through the magazine I couldn't see anything of ours - so I guess something might be in next week (or last week) but did notice a little feature on Besame lipsticks which are now available in our boutique (and can be mailed from our boutique if you ask nicely!)

Monday, 9 November 2009

What Katie Did in Fabulous Magazine

I'm so pleased I was nice about Fabulous magazine last week - as they've used our lingerie again this week! Yesterdays edition included a 1940s inspired shoot titled 'Fashion Sirens' which focused on figure hugging dresses and nipped in waists. They featured our Glamour Merry Widow which includes power mesh waist shaping bands for that vintage hourglass silhouette (the straps are detachable making it ideal for wearing with strapless evening gowns).

Friday, 6 November 2009

Besame cosmetics now available at What Katie Did

It's hard to escape the incessant doom and gloom of recession when it's plastered all over the newspapers and beaming out from every television set. The good news is that there are a few products which can truly be deemed 'recession proof', and one that is a legendary morale booster... lipstick! The idea of using makeup to 'put on a brave face' has seen us through two World Wars and several recessions. And the 'Lipstick Effect' is clearly in force today, where, despite many luxury brands suffering, makeup sales are still going strong.

Once, as well as cheering us up, lipsticks and compacts themselves were true art forms. But over the years, the stylish designs of yesteryear have given way to dull, mass-produced plastic, although the formula and staying power of cosmetics have of course vastly improved. However, there is one modern makeupcompany trying to revive the art of beautiful vintage packaging: America's Besame Cosmetics. How very apt, then, that lingerie designer house What Katie Did, who are already highly regarded for reproducing gorgeous period underpinnings with all the benefit of modern comfort, are now stocking Besame, their cosmetic counterparts, in their Portobello Road Boutique!

Just like What Katie Did, Besame produces products with a real old Hollywood flair. The beautifully crafted metal containers, etched with art deco flourishescontain period perfect lipstick shades like Carmine and Noir Red and blusher that would produce cheeks as peachy as Rita Hayworth's. The chic little Classic Enchanting Lipsticks come in a 1940s style bullet-shaped tube (perfect for a small evening bag), and are specially shaped to help you create a film star pout. The newly introduced Voluptuous Lip Colour sets contain a full-sized, black enamel-clad lipstick, along with a matching lip pencil and ergonomically designed brush... the ultimate gift for a glamorous girlfriend! The rest of the line features equally stunning products with evocative names: Enriching Lip Glaze, Vintage Boudoir Rouge, Vintage Alluring Eye Shadows, Classic Masterliner Pencil and the Signature Compact with Cashmere Pressed Powder – which looks equally at home on a dressing table or being pulled out of your vintage handbag! If that wasn't enough to tempt you, Besame pride themselves on only using the purest, natural ingredients, and never test on animals meaning their products are as ethical as they are elegant.

The What Katie Did boutique is stocking a wide range of the luxurious Besame products, all of which are not only highly collectible, but take the art of perfect grooming from carefully covert to an overt fashion statement. And if you fancy a pillar-box red pout, but don't know where to start, you'll be delighted to hear that almost every staff member at the boutique is a trained makeup artist! We guarantee you won't find any better vintage makeup advice anywhere else!


Victoria Beckham in What Katie Did

I've a bone to pick with that Perez Hilton. He's not being very complimentary about the new fashion for 'cone bras'. He says that he's never seen anyone in LA wear one. I think he's just jealous that they don't look good on boys! Victoria Beckham (currently a resident of LA) is December's Harper's Bazaar cover girl and pictured wearing our Padded Bullet Bra on the opening page of a shoot which uses a lot of vintage inspired lingerie and the odd 'cone bra' (still with us Perez?!) I wish that Harpers had done one of those super-posh folding out covers as the cover picture is the one that features our bullet bra - but poor old Victoria has been decapitated so we can't see it! Here at What Katie Did we're so pleased that Victoria has found her niche. The fashion journalists were waiting to scratch her first collection to pieces with their perfectly manicured nails. Victoria kept calm and concentrated on what was then her secret talent, and  now has them swooning at her Louboutin heels!

We've been waiting with baited breath for December's Harpers as it was our 'big call-in' of the season but you never know if anything makes the final edit until the magazine is published. It's the first time we've had any editorial in Harpers and as an avid admirer of their fashion shoots it's a privilege to see What Katie Did featured in one.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Pin Up For Heroes Calendar

We launched our 2010 calendar way back in September so now that everyone has a copy it's safe to let you know about a few others (after all, even if you live in a studio apartment you've still got enough wall space for more that one calendar!) Wholesale manager Richard headed down to the Hard Rock Cafe on Tuesday evening for the launch of the Pin Up For Heroes Calendar. Pin Up for Heroes is a charity which supports the armed forces and is one we feel very strongly about. The calendar was styled by What Katie Did stockists Pandora's Choice and you'll see a range of our lingerie, as well as that of other retro lingerie designers in the calendar. The calendar can be purchased here.

Our second recommendation Sabina Kelley's pin up calendar. In case you didn't know, Sabina is a very well known American pin up model who resides in Las Vegas. You might be able to tell by looking at her legs that she's an ex showgirl! She's been on the cover of just about every alternative magazine around and also finds time to write a column for Car Kulture Deluxe. She's selected our Striptease ballet knickers and bralette to wear for the December page of her calender (if you want to see more of Sabina then don't forget to check out her pin up playing cards: edition 2 is now available).

Nicole and the girls at The Hourglass must be some of the friendliest pin ups around. Nicole runs a photographic make over service for aspiring pin ups and this is their third calendar. Even if you're all 'calendared out' be sure to check out the Hourglass forum which is full of interesting advice on vintage glamour.

What Katie Did bullet bras are the best!

couple of days ago John Lewis announced that the sales of their 'cone bra' (by which they mean a soft cup bra - nothing to do with what we class as a cone bra!) were up 10% on the preceding week. For some reason this has resulted in a press frenzy and today's Daily Mail has put three of them to the test. Guess which one they decided was the best? Well, we do have nearly 10 years experience! The 3 brands they featured were What Katie Did (our Lulu bullet bra below), Rigby and Peller (who's bra was returned to us by mistake and is identical to ours apart from a little padding) and in third place, John Lewis.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

What Katie Did Corsets in Fabulous magazine

Today's Fabulous magazine includes a rather delicious fashion shoot inspired by Cabaret - all ostrich feathers and faded glamour. We're lucky enough to have our Mortica corset in peach, and Sophia corset in black, featured. It's been a tough week in the What Katie Did press office as we've had to deal with a few difficult stylists: you would expect the bigger publications to be a bit snooty, but the opposite is true - so I'm sure this coverage will cheer everyone up! If only all stylists could be as fabulous as those who work for Fabulous!