Archive for the ‘Lingerie’ Category

Bras and Underwear…or Lingerie that Says “You’re Welcome”

May 13, 2010

Are your “awkward” alarm bells going off yet?  Well, turn them off.  It’s OK.  Nothing indecent here…just a little lingerie talk for the ladies.

A few years ago, a young woman helping me with a bra fitting changed my perspective on lingerie.  Her philosophy was simple: her lingerie was so great, she would say “you’re welcome” in the event her clothes magically disappeared.

So let’s start with a basic question:  Would you rather be wearing a bra and underwear…or would you rather be wearing lingerie?

That’s what I thought.

Part 1

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I am not a bra fitting expert but I do know if you haven’t had a bra fitting within the past six month, you need to get one.  Why?  Because it’s estimated that <gasp> 80% of women are wearing the wrong size.

A few things you want to be prepared for when you head to the dressing room:

  • Be prepared to try on a lot of bras.  You want to try on as many as possible to find the brands and styles that fit you best.
  • Be P-A-T-I-E-N-T.  When it’s the right bra, you’ll know it and you’ll never want to take it off.
  • Be open to trying on types of bras you may think aren’t for you.  As soon as I quit insisting I needed full coverage that was padded, everything changed.
  • If you’re not religiously committed, forget about modesty.  Bra fitters have seen every shape, size and droop possible.  Let them see your girls in the bras so they can help you.  It’ll go a lot faster if they don’t have to keep stepping out of the dressing room…
  • Put your shirt (or a camisole they provide) on over the bras as you narrow your selections.  When you see your girls underneath something, it will be really clear what works.
  • Invest.  Bras are not cheap so think about the fact that on a daily basis, you are investing in perkier, bigger/smaller, thinner waistline, less future droop and better fitting clothes.

Other tidbits and thoughts about bras:

  • Buy enough bras so that you can take the time to hand wash them as you rotate them in/out.
  • Shop somewhere, like Nordstrom, where they have a HUGE selection of sizes and quality brands with unbelievable service.  Seriously, every time I go bra shopping, I must try on about 50 bras and all I have to do is try them on.  The bra fitters do ALL the heavy lifting with beautiful smiles.
  • Nordstrom’s semi-annual sales (May and November every year) are a GREAT time to try out the department.  The 2010 sale begins Wednesday, 5/26.
  • Try on a camisole and/or shirt over the bras as you narrow down your selection.
  • Ask your bra fitter what types of bras to buy based on your budget.  She can help you prioritize based on what you already have or help you if you need to start from scratch.
  • Try not to wear the same one two days in a row…give them a chance to reshape and air out.  I rotate between 5 bras and do a lingerie bath about once per month.  I don’t sweat heavily and have low body odor so use your best judgement here…

In the picture above, from left to right:  Huit Vertiges 246078 Full Cup Underwire, Betsey Johnson Rebel Rose 723607 Underwire, Lane Bryant Smooth Balconette

Part 2

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Ask yourself very honestly…what do your panties say about you?  <Take a deep breath.> It’s OK, tomorrow’s a new day.

When I found the ultimate pair, I bought every pair in my size I laid eyes on because it was only a matter of time before the popular brand changed direction.  I will soon start looking for the next “it” pair and will do the same thing.  Why?  Because they fit like this:

  • Minimized wedgies.
  • Cute colors that coordinate with my bras.  Key word: “coordinate” which means I don’t think that every day lingerie has to match 100%.  Fit trumps matchy-match.
  • Light seaming around the waist and legs to minimize panty lines.
  • A cut that didn’t scream “OMG” if they were peaking out of the top of a pair of pants or if the panty lines were visible.
  • Microfiber so they would keep their shape, wash after wash, and so they would “collaborate” with other materials (a.k.a. minimal friction).
  • A certain amount of holding me in.  Not tight.  But they kind of make my front and back curves into a package, if that makes any sense…
  • When I look in the mirror at home or in a dressing room, I’m so happy that I focus on the panties vs. other things.

Other tidbits about panties:

  • Make sure to try different fits.  You may be surprised to find out that you like the way a boyshort or hipster cut feels as opposed to the basic bikini.
  • Feel the seaming around the leg.  Does it feel thick?  If yes, it will very much = panty lines.
  • When a label guarantees no panty lines, double- and triple-check to make sure you’re not going to sacrifice another essential aspect of the panties.
  • From what I’ve heard, it takes about 7 days straight of wearing a thong to get fully adjusted.

In the picture above, from left to right:  Honeydew Low Rise Hipster, Hanky Panky Low Rise Thong , Lane Bryant Lace Waist Boyshort


Lastly, here is a made-up list of questions you might have but be too shy to ask:

  • Do you try on panties before you buy?  Yes.  I always regret when I don’t.  And yes, they’re like bathing suits and you must try them on OVER your underwear.
  • Does it cost anything to work with a bra fitter?  My experience has been that the bra fitting is built into the prices of the bras.
  • To camisole or not camisole?  I have made camisoles an important part of my closet.  They are a great layer for winter (especially in cotton) and they are a great under light-weight fabrics to help smooth you out.
  • What about slips?  I’m not sure why slips seem to have gotten a bad rap.  I think companies could do a better job designing them but in general, I like them as a substitute when dresses and skirts are unlined.  They are essential for minimizing friction with tights in winter.  They reduce the amount of embarrassment on windy days.  They hide the fact that my only clean panties are black when I’m wearing a light colored dress or skirt.  And they’re so much more comfortable than Spanx…
  • What’s the best way to know if thongs are for me?  Try them.  Ask your girlfriends for preferred brands and give them a try.
  • Should lingerie show or not?  It depends.
    • If you’re wearing it to to purposely holler out to the world, then no.  How do you know this?  If it’s a bright color that contrasts with whatever else you’re wearing.  Or if you close and open your eyes, your camisole is the thing that pops out at you.
    • If you’re wearing it to suck you in or smooth you out, definitely no.  I don’t need to know this about you.
    • If you’re wearing it to cover up cleavage and it’s not an obnoxious or obvious layer, then it’s OK.
  • What should I wash my lingerie in?  I use a capful of liquid Woolite to wash two or three items in cool water.  I let them sit for about 5 or 10 minutes.  I swish them around a bit.  Then I drain the water and do another “swish” cycle.  Then I do two cycles of swishing in clean, cool water.
  • If I only have $50, what should I buy?  A bra.  I expect to pay about that much for each bra.  If I take care of them, they may last for about a year before I retire them.

If you need help creating a budget for your closet, Fabuliss can help!  Contact me at and we can talk about your questions.

P.S. Don’t forget – the Nordstrom’s semi-anniversary sale starts Wednesday, May 26th.

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