I'm going to assume you've watched Oprah, and you went out and bought yourself a properly fitting bra. But guess what? Underpinnings are about more than a good bra or underwear that doesn't give you visible panty line. Those are great steps, but, if you honestly want your clothes to work for you, you're going to need to invest in a few more pieces, namely slips, camisoles, and stockings.
I know the mention of these garments all in a row probably makes you think of your great-aunt, or at least of lavender perfume and orthotics. I'm here to realign your vision of everyday lingerie. Elizabeth Taylor practically made a career out of lounging around sassily in a white slip. Claudette Colbert flashed her stocking clad thigh in order to both hitch a ride and one up Clark Gable in It Happened One Night
. Think of Anne Bancroft's stretch of leg, covered in black stockings, in The Graduate
. If nothing else think of Courtney Love rocking out in naught but a pink slip dress at the 1995 MTV Music awards. These wardrobe items aren't about you're grandmother, they're about personal glamour, and sometimes even subverting femininity. They've also got a handy practical function as well.
Admit it, you have several garments' be they skirts, see through tops, or gauzy dresses' that hang in your closet unworn due to missing lingerie pieces. You'll wear that top as soon as you find a good undershirt. And maybe that skirt will cling properly if you remember to pick up a slip at the department store next time. You might think about wearing that dress, as long as it's nighttime and there's not going to be any intense backlighting to expose you through that ephemeral material. Let's be honest though, you're never going to purchase any of these undergarments, nor feel comfortable wearing said clothing items, as long as you approach your lingerie purchases as such.
See, when you think of slips and camisoles as utility items that have to fit under a specific item in your wardrobe, you're committing two terrible errors. Firstly, you're taking all of the fun out of lingerie shopping, you inheritor of puritanical morals, you. Secondly, you're going to end up with an item that is so garment-specific, it will be uncomfortable to wear, improper to use at any other occasion, and annoy you every time you see it taking up precious drawer or closet space.
So, begin again. Lingerie ought not simply be for Valentine's Day and significant other's birthdays. The secret to shopping for lingerie is like the secret to enjoying champagne: don't wait for special occasions; instead use it to liven up the everyday and to celebrate yourself.
Slips, in practical terms, keep dresses from sticking and they keep see through garments behaving. In mental health terms, they make a girl feel glamorous, even underneath work clothes or whilst making the bed and drinking her morning coffee. Plus, wearing slips just gives you the delicious feeling of having a secret no one else knows about. When shopping for slips, you have a few choices to make. You first have to decide if you want a half slip, like a skirt, or a full slip, like a dress. Then you need to decide on length: short, medium, or long. Base this decision on your own wardrobe and comfort. If you own a ton of mini dresses, you should go for short full slips. If you've got a bunch of maxi-skirts, maybe try out some long half slips.
With camisoles you have a few more options, particularly with neckline and strap thickness, but best way to determine this is, again, to look at your wardrobe. Do you have a lot of v necks? Get a set of camisoles with a more plunging neckline. Usually wear thicker strapped bras? Try out the tank, rather than spaghetti strapped, camisoles. These are items that need to work with the majority of the clothes you already own.
For colors, in both slips and camisoles, I would go with white, black, blush, and nude. Also, pick out one fun, wild color for yourself. Then you'll have a good variety of colors to either blend seamlessly into your outfit or provide a necessary pop of color. Remember that white does show through white. Above all, please, pick garments that do double duty. Choose items you feel great in, look good and fit under most of your clothes, and that you could also lounge around your apartment in comfortably. By comfortably, I mean, if your best friend stops over unexpectedly and you're caught in naught but your slip and a cardigan, you won't feel exposed or embarrassed.
I will admit it: I don't wear stockings unless they're the kind attached to garter belts. I'd personally rather have bare legs than scratchy, unglamorous hose on my body. Maybe it's from the strictly enforced panty hose policy of my dance and manners class adolescence. However, I am a big fan of tights. They often streamline your look, providing a continuous, unbroken line from hem to shoe, and assist in flattening out underwear seams. Pick out a semi-sheer, an opaque, and a patterned pair, all in black. If you really want to go glamorous though, go for a pair of nylon or silk stockings with seams down the back and a six strap garter belt. Please, never buy stay ups. Those things are designed to stay up by digging into your flesh, so they are neither comfortable, nor flattering, nor glamorous.
Look, I know that per square inch, investing in underwear can feel like buying property in Manhattan. However, none of these items have to be expensive and their return value in maximizing your existing wardrobe is high. Resale and vintage shops often offer a variety of slips and camisoles at great price points. You don't have to buy Wolford to buy a great pair of tights. I actually inherited my mom's amazing polka dot tights from the 80's. I'm not talking about the Agent Provocateur level of lingerie here. Though, I wont lie, I often find myself online window shopping there and crying softly into my keyboard.