Tortz. Somewhere between tights and mini-shorts, this latest must-have lingerie item launched this summer and is the brainchild of civil servant Melanie Southan.
It all started with a holiday to Venice and a lot of walking. Melanie had packed only skirts and dresses and ended up with hot, uncomfortable thighs – hardly the elegant, Italian style she was after on a romantic break. But the discomfort prompted the inspiration for tortz, an anti-chafing product that has a touch of high-quality glamour while remaining affordable (£7.50 a pair) and practical. The glimpse of stocking top is such an iconic image (even in World War Two, women would scrimp and trade to get their hands on a pair of “nylons”) and it’s this kind of vintage glamour on which tortz’s design is based.
“I did a little research and found that at least one third of women report being affected by thigh chafing,” says Melanie. “It’s something that bothers huge numbers of women, regardless of weight, and can actually limit their choice of what to wear. I was a size 10-12 and had never looked into any shapewear before, but now realised I wanted something light and comfortable to wear under skirts, something that didn’t ride up the leg.”
Melanie isn’t just the founder and an ambassador of tortz. She’s also a role model for female entrepreneurship. “I’ve been working full-time as a civil servant for the past two years and developing the product in my own time, using friends as focus groups,” she explains, adding: “It’s been fun getting women together and hearing their thoughts on what would work for them. We all know the phrase ‘you have to suffer to be beautiful’, but I don’t agree with this in any way. in fact, I believe very strongly that femininity should not mean compromise or discomfort. Tortz are about comfort and empowerment rather than dogma and a smaller dress size doesn’t mean friction-free thighs. One of my friends who’s a size 8 ex-ballerina really wanted a pair of tortz so she could ditch her summer staple of sticky tan tights.”
As always, Lawfully Chic has checked up on the ethical credentials of this new kid on the lingerie block. “It was really important to me that I made tortz as fairly and ethically as possible,” says Melanie, who took advice on sustainable materials and insisted tortz were made in the UK (more specifically, by some lovely people in Rugby). “It was fascinating seeing the factory and it gave me great peace of mind to know that I had seen for myself tortz were made.”
To get your hands on some tortz visit: www.tortz.co.uk