Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Underwear Drawer Revitalization Project

I have been through a lot of women's underwear drawers. I have also been in the dressing room with a lot of women. Needless to say, I have seen more than my fair share of ratty old panties and bras.

One of the hazards of my job, I guess.

In my estimation, almost all of the women I have been around keep their basic day-to-day undies around for far too long. At least 85% of them are wearing the wrong size bra. Many are also wearing the wrong size and/or style of panties as well.

One of my clients, I will call her "B." actually said, "I'm the only one who knows my bra is probably too small, and no one else cares about my underwear anyway."

Not quite, B. First of all, poorly-fitting underwear IS noticeable. And it's precisely what we don't want to see! People don't notice properly-fitting undergarments, but they can't help but take note when they're not quite right.

From pantylines cutting into your backside to "spillage" in front, underwear that fits properly is our greatest ally. Underwear can also be our worst enemy when we disregard its importance.

It is a sign of respect for yourself and your body when you choose to wear the right size and style of underwear that not only flatters your shape, but is also comfortable. And yes, it IS possible to have both!

Underwear is indeed a very important facet of a woman's wardrobe. It can make a distinct difference in the way your clothes fit, in your perceived body proportion, and even in the sizes you wear! It can also make you look 10, 15, even 20 pounds lighter! Imagine that!

Contrary to popular belief, undies don't have to be boring or binding. And you don't have to be built like a lingerie model to wear underwear that looks beautiful on you and that makes you feel good about yourself every single day.

I would like to cordially invite you to join me in the Underwear Drawer Revitalization Project!
Here's what to do:

STEP 1: Throw out your underwear! 
If you spill out over the top or sides

If they have faded or turned gray from washing

If the elastic is loose

If the underwire is sticking out and poking you (owwie!)

If any of the straps or elastic cuts into your skin

If they are uncomfortable in any way

If they cause any unsightly bumps or rolls under your clothes

STEP 2: Buy new Stuff! 

Fit is everything, ladies. Go to a lingerie boutique for a professional fitting! (Nordstrom is a good bet – they have professional bra fitters on staff)

For a smaller bust - choose a padded bra (okay, this seems elementary, but it will help balance and create proportion and your clothes WILL FIT BETTER!)

For a larger bust - wearing a full-cup underwire or a minimizer will again create balance and make your clothes fit better. Also be aware that you will have to spend more on your bras. Having two bras that really fit well instead of ten mediocre ones is clearly the way to go.

My famous "path of least resistance"? Only buy black or nude-colored bras for day-to-day. White works too, but is more detectable under certain colors. Nude fades into your skintone, which creates the desired effect.

Be sure to have an unseamed "t-shirt bra" for wearing under clingy knits.

If you have a flabby midsection, the worst kind of panties you can wear are ones where the waistband cuts right across your stomach. The answer? Wear high-rise shaping panties that end around the ribcage. (Bridget Jones did get it right, but wore the unsexy undies at the worst possible time.)

Somewhere, a smarmy Hugh Grant is saying "Hello, Mummy!"

If you are wearing tight or light-colored pants, beware of the dreaded VPL (visible panty line). This is why thongs were invented. Seriously. Try a silk one for comfort.

Boy shorts accomplish the same as above.

Keep in mind, "the flatter, the better". Rouched and ruffly, even lace panties, can create strange ripples and patterns under your pants and skirts. Wear fabrics that are matte and unembellished. Save the fun stuff for other occasions.

If you find a style of underwear that is wonderfully comfy and flattering, don't be afraid to buy a lot of it. Maintaining a stash of safe pieces sure beats hit-or-miss underwear buying!

As with bras, life is easiest if you keep your everyday undies to a minimum of colors - again, try black and nude here as well. Easier to wash, easier to organize. Just easy. Gotta love that!

Spanx. Use them. Love them. (Also try Assets from Target, made by the Spanx people and costing just a fraction of the original product.)


Get inspired to create the lingerie drawer you deserve, ladies! It's magical when you can feel beautiful and comfortable with the knowledge that you look totally fabulous in your clothes.

Underneath it all, you know that you are dressing your unique body to look its best.

Now banish those rogue underwires and that stretched out elastic to the trash!!! 

 Kristen Kaleal is a wardrobe stylist, freelance writer and speaker. She considers Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason an even worse sequel than Teen Wolf Too.

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