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Get an extra 10% off and FREE THE GIRLS

During the Fifth House Sale 2/20-2/23, we will be collecting gently used bras in support of Free The Girls.  Started seven years ago by David Terpstra, a former pastor in Colorado, bra collections help provide jobs and economic opportunity for trafficking survivors in sub-Saharan Africa.  Bras are a higher priced item in the second hand market in developing countries and women who have survived abuse enjoy selling a product that is only needed by other women.  

If you bring in gently used bras that no longer fit, or are barely worn to the Fifth House sale, you will receive an extra 10% off already significantly reduced merchandise.  

I chose this organization because I wanted my own inventory donation to make a significant impact, and what could be a more perfect end to one chapter of Fifth House than to empower the start of another. 

For More information on Free the Girls, visit Free the Girls or read below.

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WHO WE ARE

Free The Girls is an international 501(c)(3) non-pro t organization devoted to coming alongside sex trafficking survivors with a path to true freedom. It’s a journey from horrific trauma to reintegrating into the life they were meant to live within their families and communities. Our goal for true freedom is measured by economic freedom, restored health, social well-being, education, and opportunity for a di erent, hopeful future.

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

Human trafficking and sexual exploitation. To the women we work with, free is the opposite of grave danger, destruction, and slavery. Freedom has been stolen through human tra icking from more men, women, and children in the world than ever before. Currently, 20-37 million people are being held as slaves around the world, generating $150 billion dollars per year for the criminals that exploit this vulnerable population. Mozambique, Uganda, and El Salvador are just three of the countries that face high numbers of human tra icking.

OUR SOLUTION

We partner with those who have a heart for victims of trafficking. With holistic reintegration programs and economic opportunity through bras, we provide the opportunity for these women to empower themselves to change the trajectoryweb of their lives. By partnering with established aftercare programs in Mozambique, Uganda, and El Salvador, we provide an opportunity for sex trafficking survivors to make a safe and sustainable income. We work one-on-one with each budding entrepreneur in areas like inventory management, budgeting, and financial planning for future dreams and goals they want to achieve.

WHY BRAS?

Bras are a unique item that actually have the power to bring freedom and hope to survivors! In many parts of the world, bras tend to be an item that many women have sitting in drawers for a long time un-touched. By inviting “everyday abolitionists” to donate their gently used bras (or collect them from family and friends), we are able to provide a woman with her starting inventory for her business. In some developing nations, bras are a sought-after item in the marketplace and command top dollar. By selling bras, a survivor is able to become an entrepreneur in her own community, having a sense of safety and economic freedom that allows her to provide for herself and her children as well!

 

Beginning...again

After a long “sabbatical", I’m so excited to open Fifth House up for a blow out sale this February.   More exciting for me, though, is the opportunity to reconnect with you. I have really missed hearing about your lives and seeing you leave happy and feeling good about your purchases. The conversations were important to me and I’m looking forward to building off what I’ve learned while on pause.

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on all the passion that went into starting Fifth House.  Even the logo had so much meaning for me.  The v. symbolized verb or action.  The Fifth House being our creativity and a romance with our own dreams.  Mark helped with integrating it into words like Love and Believe. The blue was the color of Maeve’s eyes.  I wanted to build community.  I wanted to take down the shame around our sexuality. I wanted to show us how beautiful and valuable we are- to challenge the labels.

There were real reasons why I needed to pause Fifth House, but once those past, I just got scared.  I got caught up in the outcome of this journey, instead of taking my own advice to live in the conversations.  There really isn’t room for empowerment and freedom when fear takes root.  BUT, I think each time we challenge fear and try again, we get closer to holding our most precious successes like family and work in one hand, while holding ourselves up just as high in the other.  Growing isn’t a straight line. 

So I hope you will come see me in February. I’m working on a new Fifth House model, and I’d love to hear from you. What do you miss about Fifth House or what you would be interested in learning? You can comment below or email me at info@shopfifthhouse.com.

You can also follow me on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathyinfifthhouse/ to see previews of what’s to come, get information about a partner non- profit as part of the sale, and some of my favorite new pieces. I will also be sending this newsletter once a week leading up to the sale.

Thank you friends for the notes and calls and encouragement while quiet.  It meant a lot to me that you believe in me! xo

 

Vision Quest

You know how some people have vision boards or guiding mantras? I had a picture. She’s from a spring issue of Paris Vogue. I saw her while traveling to Paris to tour lingerie shops and take my first steps toward making Fifth House a reality.

I guess it’s her carefree wide, open smile. Her joie de vivre.

It reminded me of the last time I felt truly brave.

Twenty years ago I bought a ticket in cash at a the Jewel Grocery Store on Clark Street in Chicago for a flight to Australia and New Zealand. I had a job, a boyfriend, an apartment, a life. My total experience abroad at that point was one semester in England. But I had always wanted to go. I only knew some friends that had studied at University of Illinois. It didn’t make sense. I just had to go.

I spent nine months traveling there. Many of them alone on 36 hour bus rides- making new friends and reading all sorts of books, writing, drawing, surfing, hiking, living. It opened my mind to the world and possibility in life and I have been hungry for more ever since.

It’s not that the experience meant more to me than getting married or having children. But it’s the last time I truly felt like the hero in my own life. Brave. I listened to my heart when it didn’t make sense and I felt unbelievable joy and satisfaction that I stepped into that opportunity.

Many friends will remember this picture was my screensaver for most of the summer. They would notice and ask “What a great picture!! Is that you???!”

No, but it is going to be.

The Chantelle Set that sparked a Revolution

Many of you are probably familiar with Chantelle and their t-shirt bras, but most have not seen or tried their gorgeous fashion pieces.  A few years ago, I purchased the above set in black with blue accents. It's time for a new one, but it's been hard to part ways.  It's more than the exquisite details like the perfect straps and embroidery over stretch lace....or the way the accent colors look like tattoo on the back of the bra and bottoms. We have a history together.  A moment in time when I  felt the first rumblings of an inner revolution. 

I was visiting boutiques with a french lingerie blogger that I had written before arriving. She was lovely and after seeing all the famous spots, we decided to check out a new couture boutique that was appointment only on Rue Royal.  She had never been either and we both sort of giggled at the 13 foot wooden doors and fountained court yard while we waited to be received.  Lingerie here was custom made and very exclusive.  We were met by a very efficient, pencil skirt wearing, impeccable French woman.  

The saleswoman was very discriminating about what colors best matched my skin, what style was most flattering, etc.  She was very proud of her brand's details and finishings, very persuasive that this brand was the best.  Once we were through, I was changing back into my own Chantelle set and she stepped back into the room.  She asked in French what brand I was wearing and complimented the set to my friend. When I said Chantelle she looked surprised and perhaps a little....impressed? 

I felt savvy, grown up... but most importantly "good enough" by my own choice in lingerie. Not an easy emotion when you are standing in your underwear next to a gorgeous French woman.  After goodbyes I walked back to my hotel across the Tuileries and I knew that something had just sparked tremendous change in me.  I felt confident and beautiful and I wanted all my friends to feel the same.  

The strap of this bra has been seen by many of those friends and emulated. We have laughed that it's a revolution...to revolt against hiding and know that we are more than enough...

Check out this show stopper now at Fifth House in Black and Verde (above) coming soon.

Guide to Fall Selections

I took a fabulous trip to Italy this summer which really reinforced many of the themes we talk about at Fifth House. The Italian's passion for quality over quantity, their commitment to style and self, and their refusal to feel guilty about lingering and savoring the good things in life is really a lesson in how to live.

Beauty is self expression and no one demonstrates this better than the Italian woman. She knows her style, what colors work with her complexion and how she wants to feel in her clothes. Great care and planning go into a look that is meant to seem effortless. It's not vanity, but self esteem and more time for living that motivates her to plan.

We want you to feel confident as you build your lingerie collections as well. Our offerings this fall reflect the trends in fashion as well as our guiding philosophy of quality everyday basics.

This picture from our visit to Positano gives a peek at the hues that should make up your fall lingerie drawer. Basics should consist of gorgeous tonal pieces like shades of coral, ivory, champagne or pinks mixed with shades of greys, black and heathered blues. Emphasis should be on quality pieces that are replaced from one season to the next. For fun and color bring in pops of fuscia and plum lace or emerald silk. For special evenings have on hand black lace with hints of sparkling blue or shimmery rose gold. Luxury loungewear and soft pajamas ensure stylish relaxation and round out your collection.

Road Trip

I’ve been quiet with this blog. Even though I have written some poems and shorts stories, I just don’t see myself as a good writer. I want to be a writer. I dream of publishing a book I’ve been working on. But I get shy and discouraged. It never seems good enough.

With Fifth House a blog sounded fun. I have lots to say about growing up, liking yourself, becoming who you want to be. There are less “rules” with blogs. I could write in the manner of my emails, where I crack my friends up with my neurotic vulnerability. But once I knew people were watching…I couldn’t write. I would write posts and then make excuses that I didn’t have the right photo or they were not good enough. I started procrastinating. I started hating the blog.

A friend once told me that I get very excited about going to the beach. (I do love the beach!) She said,  "You jump in the car, drive for about four hours and then look around at rural Missouri and scream, “This isn’t the beach!”  Then you are frustrated, turn the car right back around and head home".

I didn’t understand what she was saying at the time, but now I do. We can’t get where we want to be if we aren’t willing to enjoy the scenery on the way there. Let's face it...sometimes it's ugly...but sometimes it's not.

This little blog is not the same as writing my book abroad in Parisian parks or above my favorite Roman piazza, but it’s a start.

Fasten your garter belts girls because we are backing out of the driveway.

Profile: Fortnight

I am excited to introduce Fortnight Lingerie to Fifth House clients.  I had a chance to meet Founder and Creative Director, Christina Remenyi at market last summer. It was evident that her passion is a commitment to provide choices in lingerie. As she personally took me through the collection, we discussed the lack of information getting to the consumer and how empowering it is to understand what you are buying, why it's special and how to incorporate it into your wardrobe.  

None of the current collection has underwires, but because Fortnight bras are made using over 20 separate parts assembled in 30 different steps, they deliver incredible support while being unbelievably comfortable.  This level of detail, along with their use of high quality material creates a custom-made feeling.  We have a DD client who was ecstatic when she looked amazing in the Mira slip without the use of another bra. This is because the majority of support comes from the bands creating lift and flattering the body.  Outside of support, most fabrics have a slight stretch which smooths and flatters as well.  

Why try Fortnight? Because they are committed to quality as each and every piece is hand made in their Toronto studio in controlled batches.  But more importantly, you will look and feel amazing in their products.   Fortnight is fashion lingerie that is sexy in it's beauty, simplicity and quality.

Fifth House currently carries the Fortnight Mira Slip and Fortnight Longline Bra and Panties.  

Lingerie as a Statement

For years I have had a crush on Diane Von Furstenberg. I wore her dresses and admired her confidence, but other than that I didn’t know much about her life.

While thinking of Fifth House I would sometimes Google women who I thought exuded strength and individuality. I stumbled on a quote from DVF that I haven’t forgotten.   She said, “ The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself”.

When I started wearing lingerie, it was a little secret just for me. My world was expanding and I wanted to embrace the opportunities around me, but I didn’t like thinking I had to look a certain way or hide aspects of myself to be seen as capable. I’m a mother, a wife, an entrepreneur and I am also a woman.

Lingerie became my statement. I taught myself to wear luxury pieces that showed under tops or jackets. I built outfits for events around a sheer blouse and lace corset. I liked myself more for being myself. For being brave enough to feel beautiful and still contribute in powerful ways to my family and in my community.

During this time I found this picture of Diane Von Furstenberg’s first advertisements in the 70s. She saw the ease and sexiness of a wrap dress as a statement of her feminine power.

I knew then why I always liked her. Be a woman. Own it.

 

 

Underwear Shame

We've all been there.

Frayed lace panties, overstretched elastic, wires stabbing your skin...I think it's the hallmark of a busy life spent caring for others and days of multitasking.  It's a rare few that don't have something awful in their drawers because of limited time or not knowing what's out there or insecurity.  We can help with that.

But when I went to market this summer, I experienced a different kind of shame that really shaped the direction of Fifth House.  Entering into some of the more established european brands' booths, I would be greeted by a sophisticated sales person who would talk to me about where I was located and my customer.  After a short friendly discussion they would walk me over to a small section amongst gorgeous, colorful, hand crafted intimates and show me their collection for their "North American customers".  In one instance it was a small rack of beige looking bras- watered down versions in price and style of their other collections.  I became so frustrated by this experience that I actually argued with one gentleman that told me he had met many women before me who had tried, but American women will not buy things for themselves.  They will only buy handbags and shoes that others can see and they want beige, cheap and practical underneath.

I was beside myself.  I had been the beige girl.....before I knew how I could feel, what was available, where to go...I spent the night in my hotel room journaling about how angry I feel when I am stereotyped in such a way and how dare anyone know what we want and are capable of.  

I boarded the plane the next day knowing that a retail store that would only be successful if I carried the "North American" lines was not for me.  It would be harder to work with upstart designers and import and select from established brands.  It might fail.  But we believe in our clients, their taste, their ambitions, their inner beauty.  On that plane ride home I decided this...we will have essentials to eliminate that lurking underwear shame and we will ALSO have FABULOUS.  Just like you.

 

Fleur du Mal

We know you are going to love Fleur du Mal- a luxury brand offering a collection of ready to wear and lingerie out of New York.  Founder Jennifer Zuccarini (formerly of Kiki de Montparnasse) launched the brand this past spring during the New York fashion shows and has been getting lots of attention, most recently as part of Tom Fords edgy lingerie spread "Candy Vaggio" for CR Fashion Book, crfashionbook.com,  this month.   Fleur du Mal's offering of ready to wear demonstrates the trend to incorporate your lingerie into your everyday fashion wardrobe making both pieces more unique and valuable.

Our Fleur du Mal pieces have arrived at Fifth House and and in person the leather triangle bra and the exquisite eyelash lace of the Rose Lace Demi paired with bikini bottoms are amazing.  Truly decadent.