Joan Smalls is about to make Walmart way sexier
Joan Smalls is someone you can trust when it comes to lingerie. We’ve seen her walk down the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway which is more than enough credibility for me, and we’ve also heard her speak out for more diversity in the beauty and fashion world.
Now she is collaborating with Smart & Sexy to bring a line of affordable (and wearable!!) lingerie that comes in more sizes than most department stores. While the collection is set to launch at Walmart in spring 2018, Joan has already begun working with Smart & Sexy as she appears in the campaign for their spring 2017 collection.
We met up with Joan Smalls and Ariela Balk, the CEO of Smart & Sexy at their pop-up where Vashtie was DJing, to talk about iconic lingerie moments and what kind of underwear you want when you’re stuck on a deserted island.
Do you remember your first bra ever?
JS: I do, unfortunately. I think it was actually from Walmart and it was like a little triangle, cause I mean obviously I still haven’t hit puberty, but it was just like a training bra and it was baby pink and cotton like super simple that I would wear underneath my school uniform.
Are you jumping on the bralette trend or are you sticking with that OG underwire?
JS: Personally, I get a lot of use out of bralettes, like underneath shirts, and I tend to wear a lot of sheer clothing.
AB: I think both for different times. I used to think some people were this type of bra or that type of bra but what we found is that people wear different bras for different uses and it’s one thing when you’re going grocery shopping and it’s another thing when you’re going out for an event.
JS: Exactly, sometimes you need a little extra push.
Is there a piece from the collection that could be worn as outerwear?
AB: We are in collaboration right now but I think there will be things that are definitely meant to be seen.
What are your favorite beauty budget products at Walmart?
JS: I don’t think they carry Estée Lauder at Walmart.
AB: I personally wear just clear Nivea lip gloss. I don’t wear lipstick, and my hair is always getting in my mouth
JS: I started using coconut oil for taking makeup off, especially mascara. Coconut oil is supposed to be good for your hair so I’m like, hmmm, maybe the lashes will grow.
Thong or booty short for the rest of your life — what would it be?
JS: Booty short! I think after a while a thong can get uncomfortable and you can wear a booty short as a pajama, you have more flexibility.
AB: Booty short. I completely agree but now I think on our checklist we should add making a thong that if you’re stuck on an island it’s a thong that you could wear every day.
What’s the most iconic lingerie fashion moment you can think of?
JS: Madonna’s cone boobs, that was Jean-Paul Gaultier. That was a lingerie moment!
AB: I was thinking Madonna too. I was thinking early Madonna, probably before you were born, with the lace in the 80s.
How many drawers do you have in your home just for lingerie?
JS: I’ve kept it down to 2 but they’re coming out of the cracks. I’m trying to keep pushing them but I think it’s time to go through them.
What’s something you tell yourself that helps you stay confident and focused?
JS: Breathe and relax to come back to your center and focus.
AB: I think it’s about what’s underneath. A couple of years ago we did a great exercise where we took women from our office bra and underwear shopping and committed ourselves to wearing matching bras and underwear for 30 days. It was actually a great experience, sometimes you didn’t want to do it. For me it was during the time my husband was in the hospital, but I did it because everyone else was doing it.
When you do something just for yourself, it’s very uplifting and a great way to start the day. Everybody loved it. People said they went out and got a new boyfriend, they lost five pounds, they took on new projects, they cleaned out their closets, just because they decided to take 30 days with matching bra and underwear. So sometimes what you do underneath for yourself first can change how your whole day goes.
Mix and match or matching sets?
JS: I do mix and match. Or sometimes I only do bottoms and not a top depending on what I’m wearing. Like today.
AB: But if it’s mix and match it would be intentional right? Like it goes together it’s not just a nude bra and underwear and you don’t care?
JS: It’s happened, I’m guilty.
AB: I think we all are. I think a bra and underwear have to do two things — that’s what the Smart & Sexy message is. There’s the comfort part, make you look good in clothes and there’s the sexy part which is about lace and beauty. So making that so it doesn’t show is another challenge.
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Main photo by Chris Colls