Austin-based Kuhmillion Lingerie sells retro lingerie online, offering corsets, stockings, garter belts and more, plus an entertaining blog and great customer service (free shipping on returns takes the guesswork out of ordering online).
Beth Hempton (left), the site’s co-creator, was kind enough to answer a few questions about lingerie, burlesque and keeping life fabulous.
PM: Do you cater more to the performer or the casual purchaser?
Beth: It seems to me that we sell more often to the casual purchaser who wants to bring a bit of burlesque or pinup glamour into her life, although we do sell to many performers looking for that perfect costume piece as well.
I’ve lived in Austin but have never seen burlesque there—I’m only familiar with NYC and Seattle shows. How is the scene down there?
The burlesque scene in Austin is fantastic! We have so many talented and uber-creative performers in Austin, with visiting performers from all over frequently making guest appearances as well. Shows here range the whole gamut, from classic tassel twirling, fan dances, and bump n’ grind, to neo-burlesque inspired by everything from musical theatre to current political events. We even have some amazing burlesque aerialists! Shows here do not disappoint and the performers are always pushing the envelope. “Keep Austin Weird” is our motto, after all. Check out our ATX burly-q events calendar for a sampling of the fab shows coming up.
It seems like burlesque performers prefer an underbust corset, while someone dressing up for play chooses a full overbust style. Any thoughts on that?
I’ve seen the performers incorporating both types of corsets into their costumes; they love ‘em all! Someone dressing up for play may prefer the overbust corset though, simply because it’s easier to create a full outfit with a polished look using an overbust corset as the base. Whether you’re creating an elaborate period look, or simply pairing a corset with a garter panty and stockings, the overbust corset is the star of the outfit. Wearing an underbust corset requires a little more thought and creativity, because you typically need to wear a blouse under it, or wear pasties with it, which some women just aren’t into.
What is your advice to a woman shopping for a sexy piece of lingerie to wear in the bedroom?
My advice is to try a lot of different styles of lingerie (try a retro garter dress with backseam stockings! try the classic frilly babydoll with ruffle panties! try an athletic-inspired boyshort paired with cute thigh high socks! try a corset or waist cincher! try it all!) until you find the lingerie that makes YOU feel sexy and beautiful. Each woman is different and has her own personal style, but no matter what she’s wearing, she’s at her sexiest and most irresistible when she FEELS sexy. The increased confidence that comes from feeling good about yourself is what makes you attractive. If your partner encourages you to wear a certain style, but you aren’t excited by it, or worse, you feel unattractive or unhappy with your body when you wear it, neither of you will enjoy the experience. But if you take the time to figure out what types of lingerie make you feel amazing, you will BOTH enjoy it soooo much more!
I love how thigh-high stockings look on models, but I do not have a model’s thighs. Are there any solutions for us regular gals?
Well first off, I don’t have a model’s thighs either, so I feel your pain. I have ginormous, but strong and powerful thighs from skating almost every day (I play roller derby), and I think they’re pretty amazing. Over the years I’ve finally learned to be happy with my body how it is, which is a hard lesson for most of us, given the images of rail-thin models and Photoshopped-to-perfection celebrities we are presented with every day. Confidence is key, ladies! Love your curves! Ok, pep talk aside, there are a couple of ways to deal with thigh highs in real life, which never stay up perfectly the way they do on models in photos.
- Wear them with garters. Most thigh highs can also be worn with garters, except for the ones with that super-thick rubbery silicone that is meant to stay up on its own (but usually doesn’t). Avoid that type, and instead get thigh highs with simple elastic tops, or actual stockings with no elastic or silicone whatsoever that are meant to be worn with garters. Bonus: Garters have retro glamour and are super sexy! You’ll look and feel like a pinup girl, while also worrying less about those rubbery thigh high tops rolling down and/or making your leg bulge out.
- Take a cue from those happy, fun-loving and wise burlesque dancers that wear their thigh highs pulled up high, with the tops rolled down a little. They don’t fret that the elastic makes their thigh bulge out a bit, because they know that no one is looking at that with so many other tantalizing things going on! And neither should you.
I love your tagline, “Because life should be fabulous.” How do you keep life fabulous?
I’d love to say that I’m fabulous every day, but you know what, I’m not. I’m just like everyone else, and since I work from home full-time, some days I sit around in my pajamas for hours without combing my hair. Not fabulous! But, I do like to dress up and go out on the town with my man, to see a show or eat fabulous food, including dessert as often as possible. We both love indulging in long coffee breaks in the middle of the day, having friends over for fancy cocktail parties, collecting cool art and vintage finds for our home, cultivating a backyard garden that looks like something out of a fancypants design magazine, and traveling as much as we can. We both strongly believe that life is too short to not have as much fun as possible!