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.