Basic Lingerie Wardrobe Advice

When I think about basic fashion rules, I like to refer to Kathleen Tessaro’s delightful 2003 novel, Elegance.  According to the prologue Tessaro found a copy of the book, A Complete Guide for Every Woman Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions, a 1964 tome of personal style by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux in a bookstore and incorporated it into her novel as a guide for her heroine who is recovering from a divorce.
In an exempt from Dariaux’s book she talks about lingerie thusly:
 “Women are making a mistake in neglecting this potential added attraction tho their charms.  In short: when you dress, think always that later on you will be undressing and in front of whom.  After all, nothing betrays a woman more than her lingerie; it is infinitely more revealing than a thousand hours spent on a psychiatrist’s couch.
One final word: this is not an area in which you throw discretion to the wind. Do not confuse beautiful lingerie, the kind that supports well and remains fresh, with the cheap, vulgar stuff of men’s magazines.  Fascinating? I’m certain.  But elegant it is NOT.”
 So now that the difference between vulgar and elegant has been defined,  if you are planning to update your lingerie wardrobe as an exercise is mental fang shui or just to freshen up, you should have an idea of what a basic lingerie wardrobe might be.
According to the basic lingerie wardrobe consists of the following:

White and black are the basic colors for woman’s bras but flesh colored is also a basic that is necessary to wear under blouses and shirts that are sheer. The type of bra will be determined by the breast size of the woman. At least one bra needs to be of a material that will provide the coverage necessary to wear under a tee shirt no matter what the temperature. A bra with extra support works well for large breasted women and a demi-cup or push up bra is the perfect basic for a smaller chested woman.

The basic bra wardrobe should start with at least four bras.

A tee shirt bra

A dress bra

A sports bra

An adjustable strap bra

Mary’s note: I personally prefer flesh colored bras to white and when looking for a dress bra, I look for something low cut as most of my dressier clothing shows a bit of décolletage. For summer I like less padded or lacy thin bras and more padded in colder weather.  There are also those sticky pad thingys that hook in the front for garments that fail to work with any strapless or low back clothing items you have. I like to have a set of those in nude.

Step 2

Panties are another staple of a basic underwear wardrobe. First be sure your panties fit correctly. Ill fitting panties will show through clothing and the look is not attractive. It doesn’t matter if you like thongs, bikinis, hipsters or full panties, if you see the panty line, it is wrong.

White and black are the basic panty colors. Flesh color is also a good choice since it is not visible through even the sheerest material. The basic panty wardrobe should include:

A pair of white and or black

A pair of flesh color

A pair of support panties

A pair of no line panties

Step 3

With the new sheer and clinging fabrics, Spanx are a woman’s best friend. These are underwear but they go over your traditional underwear to keep everything together and to avoid the jiggle that any extra inches can provide. It isn’t just for heavier woman, every woman has some curves that can take away from that perfect sleek  and polished look and Spanx provides a tiny bit of extra support.

Step 4

A camisole is a light weight undergarment that is worn underneath a sheer blouse or shirt. The basic wardrobe will have at least one and the color will be determined by the blouse it is to be worn with.

Mary’s note:  I prefer cotton camisoles and think three is a good basic number: one beige or brown depending on your skin tone, a black and a white.

Step 5

A slip is the perfect undergarment to wear with a shirt or a dress especially if the skirt or dress is made of a sheer or clinging material.  The basic colors are white, black and flesh colored. The basic slip wardrobe consists of:

A full slip

A half slip

 Mary’s note:  I have trashed all my half slips as I find them redundant and that they tend to add bulk at the middle of my body where the half slip waistband sits.  I prefer the smoother look of a full slip.
Back to Mary:  If you are already good with your basics I say go for some fun stuff.  I am loving my new lingerie even if I am the only person who sees it.
What do you consider your most important lingerie item?

One response »

  1. I have mostly black bras, with a few other colors and one flesh tone thrown in there for good measure. I have completely rejected white bras, as they look grotty quickly.

    I am a big fan of Spanx and have a growing collection of that in black.

    I like camis and tanks in a variety of colors, even under t-shirts, as they can add a layer of modesty or warmth, plus a pop of color. As a large-chested woman, I *never* wear blouses without a tank or cami underneath, as they provide extra modesty if the buttons gap when I move.

    I read somewhere recently — and I really wish I could remember where — about a woman who likes to wear full slips in interesting colors, such as red under a black dress. It adds an element of drama and surprise if someone happens to catch a quick flash of red.

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