The obsession started with a set of three lacy bralettes — one red, one cream, and my favorite, a deep navy blue. They were from American Apparel, purchased for $20 each on a whim during my first year of college. I think I was just looking for something to buy (the popular retailer was located around the corner from my dorm), and after enrolling in our freshman courses, New York invited us to do little else but shop.
The lingerie would fit seamlessly into my well-curated, slightly smaller wardrobe — the one that allowed me to redefine myself in a new city and help me feel sexy and independent — even if I was the only one who knew about it.
Throughout high school, I’d always loved the classic Hanky Panky low-rise thongs. In fact, I had collected just about every color, but I didn’t care about matching my bottoms and tops or accruing sets. But enter the college years, and suddenly, every time I slipped into my new bras, I found myself wanting to complete the look.
Since I don’t have large breasts, the unstructured design of the American Apparel pieces didn’t bother me. Instead, I appreciated their delicacy. I made the firm decision not to throw my prized possessions in the temperamental washers and dryers that lined the back wall in the basement. I folded them neatly in the plastic drawers beneath my bed and rotated between each color, sighing every morning as I rummaged through my underwear drawer, searching for material that matched in hue.