The Essentials – Lingerie

It’s time for that post. Yes, you knew it was coming. Nothing says self-confidence more than the ability to keep a secret and, for many Divas, the wearing of well-made, pretty “unmentionables” underneath her everyday clothes is a key element in her arsenal of grace and poise in this clanging hullabaloo of a world.

Well-made lingerie is, quite simply, a must. A properly fitted bra can make you appear two inches taller and ten pounds lighter. (Really. I’m not kidding around here.) I think the problem is that so many of us have internalized the idea that undergarments come in two styles – uncomfortable, but practical for everyday and uncomfortable, but sexy, satiny things that we stop wearing after becoming wives and mothers.

End that today.

There is a world out there beyond Playtex and Frederick’s of Hollywood.  Our French sisters know this. Victoria’s Secret helped a bit, but it’s hard to shop there once you reach your 30th birthday. And good lingerie is a true essential!

Begin this way. Make your bed so you have a large, smooth surface to work with. Now open up the drawer that contains your underthings and dump it on the bed. Sort things by category – socks over here, bras here, panties here, Spanx (all hail Sara Blakely!), and so on. Now you’re ready to begin.

Sort fearlessly. Throw out – oh dear heaven, you’re not thinking about giving your stained, overstretched underthings to charity, are you? Have a quick Diva reset and toss that stuff. No need to inflict it on the already unfortunate. Buy a few multi-packs of new and drop those off instead. Back to it – throw out the worn out, the deeply uncomfortable, and the “haven’t been worn in ten years.” See what you have left.

Lingerie is something that needs to be built up slowly, so yes, you’ll hold on to a few items. Commit to building up a collection of lovely, well-made pieces that flatter you and make you feel Diva-licious when you put them on next to your skin. Your goal is three pairs of panties for every bra, and a large bottle of Woolite. (By the way, it’s not the lacy details that get hurt in the washing machine; it’s the elastic. Hand washing extends the life of your items, plus it’s enjoyable to hang up your pretty, well-made pieces to dry.)

And go ahead and wrap your mind around this next part – this process will not be cheap, nor should it be. Good lingerie is embroidered engineering, and skills must be paid for.

Tape MeasureNow figure out what you need. The first step for this is a professional fitting. Most large department stores (Macys, Nordstrom, Belk – even Kohls!) have trained bra fitters and most women never take advantage of this free service. (And if you were last fitted ten years ago, you’re due for another.) This is where Splendor in the Sticks matters – yes, in a large city, it’s easy to find a good fitter. Out here in the hinterlands, it’s a little harder. Yes, you can try to self-measure, but really – don’t. At the very least, get a friend and a good fitting chart. Better than that, though, is getting a friend and driving to an appointment with a certified fitter. This is a free service – you don’t have to buy anything – and you’ll see the difference immediately! In my area, try I.C. London in Charlotte or Soma in Gaffney.

Have a private fitting, then be willing to discuss what you like as well as what your difficulties may be. Far too many women put up with bras that chafe, slide around, and/or cut uncomfortably into our skin. I blame our Puritan forefathers who (a) never wore a bra and (b) distrusted comfort of any kind. It doesn’t have to be that way – lingerie should make us feel pretty, womanly, and – yes – sexy. And no, it doesn’t have to be worn for anyone else. Divas wear what they want to wear and they wear it for themselves.

Mind you, you do not need an entire wardrobe of locker-room white, nor do you need a drawerful of the same style. Divas are willing to play – try a T-shirt style instead of the industrial, Soviet-era underwires. What about a racerback? Or a demi-cup? Then look at patterns – you don’t have to veer all the way over to black-trimmed red satin. What about a pretty floral? A blush pink? Or maybe forest green is your style. The point is, look around. There are companies like Essential Bodywear that will even come to your house and throw a fitting party for you and your friends (their current slogan is “Get Perky for the Turkey” – and let me tell you, a well-fitting bra is something to be thankful for!). Third Love is heating up the online market with their half-cup sizes. If you want to go fancy, try Princesse Tam Tam if you’re in Europe, or Journelle here in the States.  Of course, it’s not just about the bras – you also want well-fitting, pretty panties that coordinate. Styles here are up to you as well. It really is possible to be both comfortable and fetching. Then there’s shapewear to consider – Spanx really can make a gigantic difference in the look of a dress and no, it doesn’t have to feel like you’re wearing a sausage casing!

Take your time. And as you add to your collection of delectables, don’t be surprised if you start to feel more self-confident each and every time your wear your “good stuff.” Soon, you’ll only have the “good stuff” and just imagine how fabulous that will be!

Be willing to take your time and properly care for your lingerie as well. Hand wash and air dry instead of flinging them in with your jeans and towels. Lovingly place your foundations in the drawer instead of cramming them up with your running socks.

You are a Diva. You deserve to take your time.

 

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