Crisis counselor turned world’s #1 lingerie blogger. No big deal.
No big deal is exactly how global sensation Cora Harrington, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Lingerie Addict, would describe herself if asked. Hugely successful and yet effortlessly grounded at the same time, Cora single-handedly spearheaded the world of lingerie blogging when she launched The Lingerie Addict (originally called The Stockings Addict) back in 2008. Seven years later, Cora has not only turned a part-time passion project into a full-time career, but successfully built a global brand generating a cult-following of lingerie insiders and consumers alike.
We caught up with the world’s #1 lingerie blogger on drastic career changes, biggest challenges & successes in the blogging world, 3 things she wishes everyone knew about lingerie, plus – what 1 superhero would the avid Comic Con fan fill the suit of? Find out below.
Did you have any idea growing up you’d end up in the lingerie industry?
No! None at all. Even now, it sometimes feels strange to say I’m “in” the lingerie industry. That outsider feeling never really goes away, I think.
Prior to starting The Lingerie Addict you spent time working as a domestic abuse/crisis counselor. What is your biggest takeaway from your time in that role?
The importance of listening, I think. The biggest part of my job back then was listening – giving people a space to express what was on their mind without feeling attacked or belittled or threatened. And I think that feeling, that mindset, carries over into my own blog. While I don’t officially call TLA a “Safe Space,” we do try to be a safer space; that is, a place where marginalized people in particular can feel comfortable, welcomed, and respected. That framework influences everything from our policy on body snark to our strict ban on racist, homophobic, and transphobic speech. Giving people a place to just be counts for so much.
What inspired you to pursue lingerie blogging full time and what was it like making such a drastic career change?
When my blog started bringing in as much money as my day job, that was when I first seriously considered making the switch. Until then, nonprofits had been my only career, and I was starting to debate if I wanted to stay in that generalized area or if I might want to try and do something new, especially before I was ready to have children.
The hardest thing about making the switch has been learning to run a business while I’m running a business. I don’t come from an entrepreneurial or business background. I didn’t go to school for fashion or journalism or PR. I don’t have any formal training in anything I’m doing right now. And I live really far from New York, which is where the center of my industry is. So teaching myself how to manage this business while actually running the business is an ongoing challenge. But I do love it, and it’s exactly where I want to be right now.
The Lingerie Addict has grown rapidly since its debut in 2008. What have been some of your biggest challenges as a lingerie blogger, and what have been some of your biggest successes?
My biggest challenge by far has been defining what I want my blog to be about and then sticking to that. It’s so easy to get distracted by the latest shiny thing or to see a trend and wonder if you should tag along, but I think staying focused on TLA’s core mission – which is all about connecting people to resources and making the world of lingerie more accessible – has been the key to our success.
For the second part of your question, I have to say, each year I’m able to do this as a living feels like a major success because I realize how lucky I am to be in this position. Major career highlights for me include being mentioned by outlets like Forbes, Vogue Italia, Lucky Magazine, Time, and CNN. It’s also been a real treat to meet some of the people I most look up to and realize they know my blog and who I am. Having a conversation with Dita Von Teese about lingerie, for example, is something I would’ve never dreamed about when I started writing my blog.
You’re originally from Georgia but currently reside in Seattle. Do you miss the South and/or the East Coast? Do you think you’ll ever make a location change?
Oh my goodness, yes! I love Seattle, I really do, but I think this is the year I finally started to miss the East Coast. Of course, being married means a location change isn’t entirely my decision, but I can say that Nick [husband] and I are eventually looking at being a bit closer to the East Coast.
You’re recently married – congratulations. 🙂 What does your husband think about all of this lingerie stuff?
The great irony of my life is that my husband doesn’t care the least bit about lingerie! He’s incredibly supportive, and he’s incredibly proud of how successful the blog has become…but he would be supportive no matter what my career was, and proud of my success no matter the industry. It’s very funny because I think people assume he’s totally into this lingerie thing, and he could not possibly be less interested.
We know you’re a huge fan of Comic Con. If you could be any 1 superhero, who would it be?
Wow, I think this is the toughest question so far! I have a list of about five favorite superheroines, and my most favorite at any given time changes by the day. But right now, today, I’d have to say She-Hulk. She’s strong and fierce and smart and brave and funny, and she doesn’t mind standing out in a crowd. Other faves (and then I promise I’ll stop because I could talk about this all day) are Misty Knight, Storm, Red Sonja, and Wonder Woman.
What is 1 thing that readers don’t know about you?
I backpacked alone from Moscow to London about 8 years ago. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
What is the #1 thing that continues to fascinate you about lingerie?
You can learn so much about a society from its lingerie. In the United States, for example, our obsession with molded, padded, t-shirt bras says a lot, not only about this country’s ideal breast shape and size, but also our culture’s view on nipples and how the “appropriate” breast should look. You won’t get that kind of insight from looking at outerwear; a coat or a pair of shoes doesn’t give that information. Lingerie, because of its proximity to the body, shares so much about the life of the wearer. It’s an endlessly fascinating conversation.
What’s next for The Lingerie Addict?
So much! I don’t think I’ve done everything that can be done with TLA…not by a longshot. And I can’t wait to share the things we’ve been working on soon.
What are the top 3 things you wish everyone knew about lingerie?
- It is 100% normal and okay to wear different sizes in different brands.
- Trust yourself. You know what you like and what’s comfortable to you.
- It’s okay if a certain brand or style doesn’t work for you. That doesn’t make it a bad brand or style…just one that isn’t a good fit for your particular needs.
What 5 pieces of lingerie must be in every woman’s wardrobe?
Whatever she wants! Because really, that’s what we’re all about. But if I have to choose:
- Comfy underpants.
- Comfy undershirts.
- Comfy socks.
- Comfy loungewear.
- Comfy sleepwear.
We know you’re a big fan & avid collector of vintage lingerie. What top 3 tips do you have for shoppers looking to purchase vintage pieces?
- Decide if you’re looking for pieces to wear or pieces to look at. Intent of use matters for vintage lingerie, and not everything from the past can still be worn.
- Ask for close up and detail shots if you’re buying online, and don’t be afraid to look closely and at details if you’re buying in person. Of course, always handle the garment with care, but a reputable seller won’t mind a closer inspection.
- Care matters more for vintage lingerie than for modern pieces. Hand wash always and carefully store (no wire hangers, no plastic bags, no wadding in a corner of your lingerie drawer).
If you can only shop 5 lingerie brands for the rest of your life, they would be:
Top 5 favorite places to shop for lingerie (in-store or online):
If I weren’t The Lingerie Addict, I would be: Can I be anything? A world traveler.
If I could invite any 3 people in the world (past or present) to a dinner party, the guest list would read: Phillis Wheatley, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells-Barnett
My favorite lingerie moment in film is: The fashion show scene in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
If I could live in any past decade, it would be: I could do with living the 2000s over again. 😉
On a typical night, I can be found sleeping in: I don’t wear anything when I sleep, actually!
If I could pack up and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, I’d go to: Peru
If we were to find you at a bar, you would be drinking: Champagne, Ruinart preferably.
Brief or Thong? Brief
Underwire or No Underwire? No Underwire
Stay-up Thigh Highs or Stockings & Garter Belt? Stockings & Garter Belt
New York or Paris? Paris
Early Riser or Night Owl? Night Owl