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Grapey Book Club: In Intimate Detail by Cora Harrington

Do you know how to find the best bra for your body type? Or the things to look for when buying vintage lingerie? Or what the best loungewear for your needs are?

Lingerie is such a big part of a woman’s life, and yet it is kept under wraps. It’s something we engage with daily, from the functional to the ornamental. From wearing bras during the day, to wearing pyjamas at night. To the hosiery we wear to keep the chill off our legs, shapewear we use to define our figure or that babydoll usually tucked away in a drawer and only taken out on certain nights.

In Intimate Detail was written by Cora Harrington, the founder of The Lingerie Addict which is the world’s largest lingerie blog and is a recognised authority on all things lingerie. I hadn’t heard about Harrington or The Lingerie Addict before reading this book; I stumbled upon it from a review on Youtube, and I was intrigued enough to give it a read – although I have to admit a large part of my curiosity was based on the impressive illustrations I got a sneak peak of online and its punny name.

In Intimate Detail was a unique experience and one that I wasn’t expecting. The illustrations are gorgeous, each section and each of the descriptions are accompanied by delicate but detailed watercolour renditions of everything from bras, to hosiery, to corsets, to various loungewear. The writing style is simple and easily digestible.

I’m always hesitant to read a non-fiction book—even one as beautiful as this. I thought I was going to be bored or I was going to read encyclopaedic information on bras, undies and camisoles. But I was wonderfully surprised by the mixture of history, fact and advice Harrington has put into this book. She doesn’t focus on either part long enough for it to become tedious. She moved through each section at a fast pace, giving the necessary information while keeping it entertaining. I quickly fell in love with Harrington’s writing style. She writes accessibly, so that anyone can understand, but the plainness never bores. Harrington mostly avoids using jargon, but when she does, she explains it simply enough that even a man could understand it.

The depth of the information Harrington provided also surprised me. For a book of less than 150 pages, there is a wealth of information packed into it. Each section explains a type of lingerie or experience, and is rich with nuanced information of each body type and situation. Another detail I like about this book is its inclusivity. Harrington has provided specific advice for a plethora of women and their concerns, including plus size-, maternity-, mastectomy-, skin sensitive-, augmented breast-, physical disability-, bridal-, and trans-concerns.

After reading In Intimate Detail, I decided I hadn’t the faintest clue of lingerie before, past the basic function of a bra. But since I’ve been enlightened, my experience with lingerie has been less daunting, and more fun.

I recommend this book for all women. It’s an incredible resource; I have it tabbed and will definitely return to it in years to come. It’s a rarity that issues relating to differences in women’s bodies are talked about as if they’re normal. Overall, Harrington handles lingerie and related topics with directness yet grace, making In Intimate Detail an addictive read.

Rate 5/5


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