Once a month I take my clients shopping. This month it is shape wear and hosiery and today is the day. I am a big fan of online shopping, but this one is an exception.
Until you know exactly what you need and want, undergarments are best purchased in person.
I am going to have my clients start with a proper bra fitting. According to the Huffington Post, 80% of women are wearing ill fitting bras. There are many places you can go to get a bra fitting, there are small boutiques that specialize in intimate apparel, larger chains such as SOMA and Victoria Secret and most major department stores have certified bra stylists who can help you make sure you are in the right size.
If you want to do it online I recommend Third Love, for they have a great questionnaire that helps you self measure and also determine the right style based on the shape of your girls.
Bras don’t last forever. They stretch out which is one reason they come with a clasp that has multiple rungs. Start with your bra on the widest position and tighten over time. Consider replacing them every six months so they always fit as intended.
Next up is panties. I can’t tell you how often I have a conversation with my clients about their underpants:) Panty lines can ruin your image in a nanosecond. And really ladies you have to look at yourselves. I am amazed at how many women don’t have a full length mirror and hand mirror to check their backside. You may not want to bother with how you look from the neck down or backside but others are looking and noticing. It’s an easy mistake to make. Not too long ago I put on white lined pants with pink undies. If I hadn’t looked in the mirror I may have spent my entire day showcasing those pretty pink underwear, for the pants were much more translucent than I realized. I changed several times and it wasn’t until I put on knee length Spanx that I found the right solution for those pants.
The right underwear really matters when it comes to pants. I recommend thongs for most occasions. Many brands also make seamless panties if you don’t like the feel of a thong. No matter what you decide, you have to try things on and look in the mirror, both the front of you and behind.
What about shape wear? What we wear under our clothes can make all the difference especially if we are not happy with some bulges here and there. You probably think of Spanx in this regard, but the truth is humans have been using garments to reshape their bodies since the beginning of time; think rudimentary corsets and girdles. Those of use that complain about Spanx and pantyhose have no idea what women endured for centuries before us.
So what shape wear should you wear and how should you wear it?
Here are a couple of things to consider:
Shape wear can help you smooth things up and even tighten, it can help you look great in clothes that are your size and it can certainly help your self esteem. But trying to use shape wear to help you go down a size is not realistic. Stick to your size in both the clothes you wear and the undergarments. Remember size doesn’t matter. They are inconsistent at best. No one needs to know that number, try to use it as a guide and not something to beat yourself up about.
Understand your Goals
There is a comfort vs. results continuum that you need to consider. Where are you on the spectrum from let it all hang out to yikes I can barely breath? Many pieces will come with a performance level from light control, to medium or firm. Obviously the firmer the control the better the results and double up for a special event. This seems unbearable to me but the thicker the fabric the more the control so it works from an aesthetics standpoint. If the garment doesn’t have a performance level just check out the fabric, the more the nylon the more shape control.
What effect are you after?
- Most women like a smooth line through the torso, think, high waisted for this result. If you have trouble with slippage there are options that go over the shoulders or hook onto your bra.
- Another idea to consider is pantyhose or tights built into the shape. This can help with the uncomfortable confining feeling of shape wear overlapping the the tights or hose.
- Some women like shape wear that helps minimize a larger chest. Keep in mind it actually flatters you and changes the shape of your girls. I prefer the bodysuit that is cut around the bust for this reason.
- Big booties are on trend so if you want a fuller one, you may want to consider the Bootie Lifter or Bootie Bra as Spanx refers to it.
Don’t Forget Hose and Tights
This is an important topic; I get asked this question all the time, “aren’t pantyhose DATED”. The answer is NO. If you are trendy there indeed was a trend for while that allowed women to avoid stockings. But now even that trend is passed. All it took was Kate Middleton to start wearing this classic look and now they are back. Honestly, I think they are a polished look and make every woman’s legs look better. But as with everything else, whether you should you shouldn’t wear hose comes back to your personal brand, age and the occasion for which you are dressing.
Here are a few things to consider:
If you don’t feel comfortable with bare legs, or you feel your legs are too pale to go bare, but you don’t like the look of pantyhose you might want to wear a sheer nude. They have some called barely there that are indeed hard to notice. Always be sure the nude you choose it the best match for your skin color. Nude on everyone is different and indeed they come in many shades.
If you’re super casual – sporty natural, and the thought of pantyhose makes you want to gag, go without or consider tights.
If your style is edgy. You might want to wear textured tights, paired with high heels, or stiletto boots.
If you more on the feminine romantic side, colorful tights or patterned hoses might be perfect for you.
The question of open toed shoes with pantyhose stays the same in my mind. Don’t do it. It may negatively impact your image and leave you looking dated or tacky. The trend is to wear colored tights with open toed shoes. If you are trendy or edgy and you do this with intention than go for it.
Hose and tights can make or break an outfit. I don’t just think of them as undergarments but necessary accessories.