Some Thoughts On Undergarments

8 years ago

With the disappearance of small corsetiere shops in cities and towns around the world in recent years, it seems to me that many of us have lost track of how undergarments can be our friends. Without a nice old lady in a tiny shop jammed with merchandise squeezing and measuring us (tell me I’m not the only person who remembers these places) we have been left to fend for ourselves – and it shows.

The posts about having yourself fitted properly for a bra have been done to death. You know the deal: most of us are wearing the wrong size bra and owe it to ourselves to get fitted by a professional. Big department stores still offer this service and while it is free,  department store bras are usually not inexpensive. So we all know we need to have the right size bra right? But do you know which bra to wear when? Why do I see so many women wearing white bras under white blouses? When wearing a white top (which are generally somewhat transparent) one needs a nude bra. Are you guilty of wearing a black bra under slightly sheer black sweater? You need a nude bra there too. What about this: did you spend the summer wearing those fabulous tank tops from Old Navy (cheapcheapcheap!) with your straps showing? Shame on you. Not only are V-back bras available everywhere but you can buy little contraptions that pull your bra straps together so they become invisible in these situations. Finally, lace bras do not work under form fitting knits unless you want your bosom to resemble a bowl of oatmeal with raisins. Form-fitting knits take seamless supportive bras. Got it? (I’d love to do a little rant here about how difficult it is to find a bra without a foam lining but I will restrain myself.)

Let’s move downward. Here, I will rant a bit. Back in the day (MY day = sometime earlier this century) panties were available in two styles: bikini and brief. Perhaps it is not such a bad thing that many other options are available here in 2009 but it doesn’t always make shopping for underwear easy. Twice now I have made the mistake of purchasing hipsters, mistakenly thinking they were similar to bikinis but with more fabric on the sides. Hipsters do, in fact, have more fabric on the sides – but far less coverage in the seat. (A look, which may be adorable on 90 pound, models but is uncomfortable on me.) Confronted with thongs (of many variations), bikinis, hipsters, boyshorts, tangas, high cuts and Spanx one can become very confused.

I’m not here to recommend any one style in particular, but I will beg you to purchase a low-cut thong if you are wearing low-rise jeans and ask that you consider seamless boyshorts if you are going to be wearing pants with a snug fit in the seat. And though white pants are often worn after Labor Day in the States (which does not make old-fashioned me happy) women need to remember to wear nude panties under them – not white, not a thong (we don’t want to see your cheeks) and not a dark color or lace panties. My final panty request: if you are lucky enough to look good in one of those adorable jersey knit dresses, one of those clingy maxi (the old school word for long) dresses with spaghetti straps, please wear a panty. You see, when you wear a thong with a long, clingy jersey dress the fabric falls directly into your butt crack, and, no matter how adorable your tush is, I don’t want to see that.

Finally, I’d like to discuss slips. It seems to me that no one under 40 knows what a slip is and when to wear one (though I do think young women have mastered the use of a camisole). Slips are designed with two purposes: to obscure the legs and pelvic area when wearing sheer fabrics or to keep certain heavy fabrics from clinging to the legs. Slips used to be sold in a myriad of styles and colors and fabrics but have become harder to find. One could even purchase slip-like pants to put on under clingy woolen unlined pants (and I think The Vermont Country Store, emporium of all things Olde still has them). But nowadays women are riskier and think less about whether their legs are showing or if their skirt has an unflattering line as it clings to their thighs. Ladies, I implore you: go to Target where, just last week, I saw a full complement of slips…they were right down the aisle from the turquoise blue lowrise boy shorts with the high cut lace legs and the big floppy bow on the back. I’ll make a deal with you – I’ll show you how to wear a slip and you can tell me what to wear those under.

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