About Me

Hello there! My name is Lori Topper, a writer with a love of fashion (in the broadest sense of the word), a passion for intersectional trans-inclusive feminist values, and a believer in the power of a personal story. Unless stated otherwise, all text and images on Rarely Wears Lipstick are ©LHTopper. Please ask before publishing any content from this site elsewhere. N.B. Linking within posts does not imply endorsement of a product or service, the content of an article, or the website in question. The Rarely Wears Lipstick privacy policy is available here.

This website is a passion project of mine; funded and maintained by a Gen X idiot who knows she could make it better but can’t be bothered right now. There will be outdated opinions, broken links and wonky formatting from the many times my content has been migrated to a different platform, and I’m afraid you’ll just have to cope with that. The site exists purely as a home for my own writing and, very occasionally, that of my friends. Therefore, I am NOT interested in any offers of sponsored posts, advertising, or “collabs” that are purely trying to market a mediocre product with zero budget. If I receive an email from you with such an offer, you will receive a reply referring you to this page.

History of Rarely Wears Lipstick

I’ve been writing online since 2002, but this blog began back in March 2003 as a somewhat unstructured collection of personal thoughts on a vanity domain (lori-smith.co.uk). Back then, my blog posts were rather like long form versions of my tweets but a few years writing for online women’s magazine BitchBuzz helped to hone my writing skills and also created a desire to change my blog’s format. The new name came about because I am known online as lipsticklori but in real life I rarely wear lipstick. [UPDATE: I wear lipstick far more often now, so perhaps I need to change the name of this site!]

The current magazine-style reincarnation sprung into life in 2009 as a forum to discuss fashion, feminism, sex/relationships and creativity. I celebrated a decade of blogging in 2013 with the Rarely Wears Lipstick Awards which provided an excuse to celebrate the talents of some rather wonderful people and to gather together many of the fabulous folk I’ve met in the course of my online writing career. In 2016, I permanently dropped the sex/relationships category and the site then covered fashion (in particular, sustainable fashion and underwear), feminism, LGBTQ issues and reviews of clothing, books, restaurants, exhibitions and performance.

Many people helped to make this site what it is today, but the following deserve a special mention. The WordPress wrangling that was necessary to keep my blog alive in 2020 was very kindly undertaken by my long-suffering husband, Jon Topper. The photograph of me in the sidebar is from a larger image made by Geoff Fenney.

Master of Bras

I have been fascinated by fashion and clothing since childhood and since then have obtained two fashion-related degrees: BSc (Hons) Textile Design and Design Management, from the University of Manchester; and MA History and Culture of Fashion, from London College of Fashion, UAL. My primary area of research interest is twentieth century underwear and developments in textiles, and my Master’s dissertation was on the technical innovation behind bra design… which was how I got the nickname ‘Master of Bras’. You can find out more about this on my academic research page. Links to other places around the internet where you can find me are on, unsurprisingly, the links page.

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