I cannot lie: I have a LOT of lingerie. Where another woman’s pulse might rise at the sight of shoes and handbags, mine elevates at impractical lacy gowns and slivers of silk.
Here is a peek inside my underwear drawer, and my tips for some of the loveliest treats out there.
Drop some hints to whoever gets to see your underthings most regularly, or treat yourself (far quicker and just as satisfying!).
You’ve caught me almost in the act, as I’ve just ordered this gorgeous lace dressing gown, from the Figleaves website.
The robe is called Gigi, and there are several other little slips of lacy nothing to match. It looks so lovely that I’ll probably order one for my sister too: shhh… don’t tell her.
I love simple silk and satin designs too. Marks and Spencers’ Rosie for Autograph range has given us some (affordable) gems in recent years.
I’ve been wearing this dressing gown, in midnight blue floral silk, almost every morning, and there’s not a single snag, despite our dog often climbing on my lap.
London based Myla is known for its luxurious, sheer robes: absolutely on my wish-list.
This season, Myla presents its silk heritage range: I’m drooling.
The Rosie for Autograph (M&S) range includes some beautiful 1930s inspired silk nightgowns and chemises, in pastels and in jewel tones (up to UK size 22).
From the same collection, I have several ‘Rosie’ bra and knicker sets. They’re well-made, wash well, are comfy and are heart-stoppingly pretty. The Rosie range has some lovely silk camisoles too.
Lots of other customers must think so too, as M&S continues the same range year on year, simply adjusting the colour palette/placement of lace.
Like most of us, I have a significant amount of black underwear, but I also tend to buy in flesh-tones (often the best option under pale coloured clothing).
For a smooth-finish, I buy Freya bras (very comfy, and a good selection in larger cup sizes).
Meanwhile, it goes without saying that every woman should go for a regular fitting. If your weight fluctuates, this is especially important. I recommend Bravissimo as a great place for bra fitting (book ahead for this service). Getting your baps out for someone you’ve only met a few minutes previously may seem scary, but wearing an ill-fitting bra is far more frightening in the long run.
I’ve noticed that Figleaves is now stocking the sumptuous Dita Von Teese range, which I plan to give a whirl. This red and black set hits just the right note (called Marlene).
If your budget is more generous, there’s British store Rigby & Peller, established in the 1930s and offering the royal bosom uplift since 1982 (as the official corsetiere to H.M.Queen Elizabeth II).
Among their collections, they stock French brand Aubade : the quality of the lace is just as it should be.
Another French brand I love is Simone Pérèle (available from various UK department stores). The accent tends to be on embroidered pieces, making them feel very special.
When the sales are on, I occasionally allow myself a treat from Agent Provocateur (hooray for the bigger cup sizes).
Another brand for my wish list is Ayten Gasson (silk lingerie made in the UK). They make some super-cute frilly knicks. I plan to investigate…
In my younger years, (ahem) I would regularly don corsets, suspenders and stockings. Husband and I have now been together for twenty-seven summers and I admit that I don’t bother as often as I used to. However, I’m planning to rectify this.
Next time I’m in London, I’m planning to visit What Katy Did, for a corset fitting. I’ve had several recommendations for their good service. To find out more about corsets, you may like to visit Lucy’s Corsetry or Tara at Victory Lamour.
When it comes to the nitty-gritty of what to wear under tight-fitting clothes, I’m sold on smoothing shapewear.
Such garments are not guaranteed to inspire swoons of lust, and I know it’s not politically correct to admit to potentially restraining your internal organs in the pursuit of a smoother tummy area, but I’ve reached an age (and shape) at which I do feel I need a little help.
Some feature lace or satin panel inserts, which do make them prettier. This slip, in blue and black, from Figleaves, called Eclipse is a good example.
Another trusty friend is my tummy smoother, from Maidenform.
My ultimate tips? Unless you enjoy being tortured by your undergarments, avoid bras with cheap, scratchy lace and NEVER wear knickers (or any garment) in a size too small.
If you want to dance, eat a full plate of food, and bend over without passing out, choose wisely. I once fainted wearing a particularly powerful M&S control slip.
Know only that I learnt my lesson.
One of the joys of lingerie is that it’s a form of ‘dressing up’. Your persona in a diaphanous 1940s inspired Hollywood-esque dressing gown may differ wildly from the version of you who laces on a leather corset. The fun is in the finding out.
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