Wardrobe essentials: undergarments

This is the second article in the Wardrobe Essentials series.

Undergarments form the foundation of dressing. There are two important things to keep in mind when selecting undergarments: invisibility and fit.

With the exception of tights, you want to know the undergarments are there but you don’t want to see them. That means no visible lines (this is often related to fit), and no color show-through. My lingerie drawers have two colors in them: black to wear under my black clothes and nude for under everything else. (It keeps things simple.) There are myriad colors available for those who prefer colorful lingerie. Just keep it out of sight of the general public. You don’t want a betting pool in your office on what color bra you’re wearing each day.

Wardrobe essentials – undergarments

Well-fitting undergarments bring the wearer comfort, both for the body and for the mind. There’s no constant fidgeting and adjusting.

For underpants, this means coverage of your choice with the caveat that it should not end up as a wedgie. (I have a pair of UnderArmour running boy shorts. I wore them once. I spent the entire run pulling them out of you-know-where. And no, the added coverage did not keep me warm. I’ll stick to the kind designed without extra inches of wedgie-forming fabric.)

Bra fit is a subject that’s been beaten to death so all I’ll say here is find your perfection. Get fitted by an experienced fitter (or substitute with your own experience as you try on every bra in the store and note what works and what doesn’t and why), look at labels as the manufacturer’s size clues (not a reflection of you), and don’t scrimp. This is decidedly NOT the place to pinch pennies.
If you prefer to make your own, Sigrid has several bra-making tutorials on her blog.

With hosiery, select the correct size. Pay attention to the height and weight table on the pantyhose package, but also take into account your proportions. If you have proportionally longer legs, you may need the next size up. If you wear socks, make sure they stay up.

Shapewear should feel comfortably snug. It is not a sausage casing. If it gives you a nice waist but a muffin top a few inches higher, try a larger size or a different style. With the wide range of styles available, from waist cinchers to girdles to bodysuits, you’re sure to find some great options.

The remainder of this category is comprised of looser fitting garments, such as slips, half-slips, and undershirts. Ideally, these shouldn’t bunch or cling. RTW has some decent options but, especially for full slips, vintage sewing patterns are definitely worth a look.

Obviously, all these ideas apply only if you’re actually going to wear such garments. Feel free to ignore paragraphs related to things you don’t and won’t wear.

Next in this series will be a look at first layer tops.

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2 responses to “Wardrobe essentials: undergarments

  1. I have found that a full slip made of lining is a very useful garment, especially when the outfit is not lined. It is also very good under knit dresses etc, to reduce seating or stretching (when driving, for instance).
    I have one that is straight, but with reasonably high splits at the side, so that you don’t lose the benefit of stretch.

  2. I am a huge fan of shapewear! I have an entire drawer full of spanx to be worn with different garments and for all seasons. Yes, I do wear spanx in the summertime to prevent chapped thighs. Since I no longer have the 22 year old body that I once inhibited, I need to do what I need to do to make my garments look wonderful.

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