I was recently dragged (kicking and screaming) to Twitter by some of the wonderful bloggers and designers I met at CurveNY and Lingerie Fashion Week (jk, all it took was brunch, and I was putty in their hands). I’m glad I joined, because without Twitter and Instagram I wouldn’t have met Layla L’obatti, founder and designer of Between the Sheets Lingerie and Layla L’obatti, fellow cat-lover, and intrepid baker.
I mentioned in one of my recap posts that the prominence of loungewear at the trade shows surprised me. After talking with other bloggers, I think my surprise stemmed from the fact that I had my full-bust blinders on. My focus in the lingerie world has always been bras-first, everything-else-second, so my loungewear tended towards the basic: nighties, tank tops, t-shirts, boxer shorts. It took some of the major full-bust brands like Parfait, Cleo, and Curvy Kate introducing babydolls and chemises for me to realize that hell yes, I would INDEED like some pretty loungewear. Comfy doesn’t have to mean ratty, and sometimes I want to wear something a little special, a little more stylish.
Layla invited me over Twitter to stop by her showroom to preview her upcoming collections, and I arrived, somewhat breathless, as the last stop on the last day of Curve. I walked into a room full of soft, drapey jersey, flowing silk, and delicate lace and velvet trim. Layla herself wore her own lush blue Arabesque robe as a wrap dress, greeted me with a hug, and allowed me to sit in on a presentation of her upcoming collection.
She offers two distinct lines: Between the Sheets (the soft jersey loungewear) and Layla L’obatti (Specimens of SeductionTM), her namesake designer line of elegant silk, satin, and velvet lingerie and loungewear. Even after five full days of ogling lingerie and loungewear, both collections stood out for the cuts, colors, fabrics, and overall stylishness. The pieces are classics: bralettes, shorts, tap pants, robes, and chemises, but they’re rendered with sophistication: the babydoll (available in different fabrics in both lines) is cut low at the back and sides, with a very full, flowing body– revealing and concealing all at once. The Arabesque robe, which Layla modeled beautifully, has clean, classic wrap-dress lines and a magnificent color, but it’s rendered in fine, luxurious silk with lace shoulder cutouts. Both collections embrace the playfulness and teasing quality of my favorite lingerie, coming at it from different directions. Between the Sheets feels like a cozy hug; Layla’s namesake collection like a passionate embrace.
Here are two of my favorite looks from Layla’s designer collection.
Also, you need to go look at the Sheer Romance robe, right now, and then we need to let out a big collective sigh of longing.
Between the Sheets offers more casual, but no less stylish, options. Multiple coordinating pieces are available in each collection, which I always appreciate, and the colors are soft and gentle. I really admire Layla’s sense of proportion in her pieces– the babydoll is cut on the bias and flows dramatically, and it has a plunging back and neckline, yet it’s also slightly shorter than expected, which gives it a flirty punch. The sleep tee is similarly loosely structured, yet it still feels delicate and feminine. Classic pale hues like pink, ivory, heather gray, and pale blue meet unexpectedly with a rich, deep navy and even a smoky black leopard print. She offers classic lingerie and pyjama pieces like bralettes, knickers, lounge pants and camisoles, and more modern, playful options like the fabulous Airplay collection:
The cheeky cutout at the back of the knicker is echoed just under the bust on the front of the babydoll. Fabulous color, impeccable cut, unexpected and flirty choice: all around wonderful.
As I was leaving, Layla was kind enough to give me a Venus-in-Play babydoll of my own! Available in sizes XS-L, I requested a Large in the beautiful Ambrosia color, crossing my fingers that it would fit my bust.
Confession: my first thoughts while I was viewing the whole collection was “welp, it’s awesome, but it’s not for me.” Bralettes and camisoles don’t have the support I, as a full-bust woman, usually find comfortable, and I tend to assume that I’m automatically excluded from high-end or designer fashion labels. I was convinced that it wouldn’t fit. Furthermore, I’ve been told (and admittedly usually agreed) my whole life that I need structure, structure, structure if I want garments to flatter me, and BTS’ easy, bohemian drapiness was, I’d decided, for more worthy wearers.
Seriously y’all, if I had a nickel for every time I failed to walk my own talk (or, um, you follow me), I’d be . . . well, I’d have to get a bigger apartment, just to hold all of the lingerie I’d buy. I long ago got into the mindset that anything cut super-low or revealing wouldn’t work on a full bust. I got home later that night and tried on my new babydoll with some trepidation. I looked in the mirror, prepared to be . . . I dunno, horrified? Repulsed? I mean, HOW DARE I wear something that didn’t contain (and control) my “too-big” body. At least, that’s what a younger Sweets would have thought.
Instead I kind of settled in and really looked. I mean, yes, there’s some significant side-boob on view. Yes, it’s low-cut. Yes, you can see my untoned back. The babydoll flows out around my waist instead of shaping it, and it’s possibly the only lighter-colored garment I own. I’m . . . kind of okay with it? In fact, I think I might even . . . LIKE the way it looks, which is not the way it looks on the model. That’s okay– I am allowed to look different from the model without getting into trouble. This is my BODY, not an embarrassment or some terrible, burdensome thing. I can just … let it be.
The Venus in Play babydoll makes me feel young, and flirty, and relaxed, easy and sensual. I love wearing it around my apartment when I get home from work, rocking a colorful bra underneath, and I love wearing it to bed, feeling my hair and the sheets brushing bare skin. This babydoll is now my number 1 favorite piece of loungewear– I wear it constantly. Not only is it soft, pretty, and unbelievably comfortable, but it’s made me think differently about what I’m “allowed” to wear. Thank you, Layla, and congratulations on your beautiful upcoming collections!
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The new “Come Out and Play” Collection is now available. Camisole, Bralette, Thong, Babydoll, Bikini, Boyshort, $18-85, in Midnight, Dawn, Dusk, Shade, Champagne, Bamboo. Cardigan, Yoga Pants, and Lounge Pants from the coordinating “Well-Played” Collection, $105-125. All pieces XS-L.