"Closely related, personal, private and cherished...belonging to, or characterizing one's deepest nature." That's the meaning of "intimate," according to Webster's Dictionary. I read those words and asked if they resonated with me while surveying the items in my top drawer, including my thongs, my panties in every color you can imagine, my handful of Nuudiis for my boobs, and two unused bras from 8 years ago. I came to a conclusion: Yes! But did I always feel that way? And do other women feel such a connection to how they adorn their bodies? Does my choice of undergarment affect my day and my mood, and are they a reflection of myself?
This vast Intimate Apparel industry was built on selling us products they think we “need,” but do they really play a functional role in our lives? 
Dressing from the waist down has always been fun for me. In fact, my family owned a panty factory named after my sister and I, so I grew up in the industry. (My father was the only man I know who didn’t get in trouble for having a briefcase filled with them.) I had an array of cotton undies for my period days, seamless versions for my workouts and tight clothes, and thongs for when I wanted to feel free and, depending on the size, a bit naughty. I went through a phase of wearing boy shorts that looked like men’s Hanes underwear because at the time they were a radical diversion, and it expressed stirrings of the rebel in me. Then I have what I call my Power (or “get sh*t done”) Panties, usually laced in a strong orange or red color—I save those for the days I need to tap into my internal power. I can attest to the effects of the intentional choice of my first layer. It’s like a secret whisper that only I can hear. To me, it is not so surprising that Wonder Woman was costumed in her blue high-waisted bottoms (or panties) and red corset as she went out into the world in her full power to save lives and to stamp out evil.
But we can’t end this conversation without talking about bras. If you look at the shapes projected onto us by the industry, it seems anything but natural and far from comfortable. Bullet bras…really? Wonder Bras? Our boobs never had a chance to just be as this industry chipped away at our self-image. I’ve always wondered if we really need to have our boobs look twice as big and high enough to rest our chin on. Throughout the years, I searched endlessly for less restrictive bra products and often went braless. I wasn’t buying into the message that my boobs were wrong in their natural shape, and I didn’t want to dislike such an important luscious part of my body. My search for the perfect garment came up empty.
So ten years ago, I created what is now Nuudii System—the option between bra and braless—out of my desperate need for something to wear under my thin, skin-baring wedding dress. The whisper in my ear as I wore my Nuudii at my wedding was strong. I thought, “I feel free. I can move. I can breathe. I feel like myself, and it feels awesome.” I knew this feeling wasn’t something only I craved, but one that most women secretly desired. The thought of being natural and comfortable everywhere, and not just within the confines of our homes, thrilled me.
Because let’s face it, intimate apparel is powerful. So why has the industry always made products about them and not us? This industry, funded by women’s dollars, has continued to force women into shaping themselves with bras, girdles, and shapewear, much to our discomfort. The messaging behind this barrage of these products—that fluctuate as quickly as the ever-changing beauty standards—is always the same: You are not all right in your natural shape. 
But finally, there’s been a shift! In 2017, Edited—a London-based retail technology company that tracks the clothing industry—noted that based on a sample of retailers in the US, UK, and Europe, “sales of push-up bras have fallen by 50% compared to a year ago, while sales of bralette, or triangle bras, have rocketed by 120%.”
This data also revealed that the sector’s traditionally most-stocked style, the padded bra, had fallen by over 20% in the same period. Edited announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, the status quo has left the building.” I believe Heather Gramston, buying manager at Selfridges Body Studio, the store’s lingerie department, put it best when she said, “The definition of sexy has evolved. It is now defined as how a woman feels when she is wearing something—as opposed to what she looks like in archetypal lingerie created with men in mind. Women are driving this.”
Intimate apparel should be designed for the women who wear it—and they are telling us clearly what they want. That’s why my company Nuudii System is more committed than ever to giving women, like me, the option we’ve always been looking for and couldn’t find.
At Nuudii, we believe that our boobs are boob-shaped, and we shouldn’t have to force our bodies into bras that reshape them. We believe in comfort over constraint and embracing your shape rather than constricting it. Nuudii System is a boob wear body essential, made with you—your shape and your lifestyle—in mind. I hope that when you put one on, you feel like your fabulous self—and a bit more ready to take on the world.


Annette Azan