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Fabulous From the Inside Out

My cats love to hide. Their disappearing acts are a constant source of amusement. Invariably, a tail is sticking out–sometimes even a whole back end. It’s the cutest thing! It’s just not particularly effective! Do they think that if they can’t see me, then I must not be able to see them?

I think women sometimes perceive their undergarments the same way. If they can’t see them, then no one else can either. It’s a case of out of sight, out of mind. As a result, we often see more than we care to and wonder why they aren’t aware of what’s so obvious to the rest of us.

Undergarments are the basis on which a look is created. An ill-fitting bra, improper support, or things sticking out in unusual places can totally undermine an otherwise beautiful look. Just as you wouldn’t ask a plumber to do an electrician’s job, you cannot ask a sports bra to do what a convertible bra must or wear a thong when support-wear is called for.

Here are four considerations:

Wayward Bra Straps: There’s a disturbing fashion trend out there of purposely visible bra straps. It befuddles me not because it’s obscene but mostly because it’s often unattractive. Not all bra straps are created equal. Here’s a rule of thumb: If your bra straps look like bra straps (which 99% of them do), keep them hidden. If you have a bra that matches your top perfectly and the straps are delicate and pretty so that you cannot tell the bra strap from the cami straps (maybe get some other input here because you cannot see your back (or be as objective) as well as someone else), then maybe a slight peek of bra strap every now and then is okay AND only for ultra-casual. Never, ever to the office.

You can also get some really pretty sparkly straps to put on your convertible bra for evenings out. So pretty!

Visible Panty Lines: Let’s end this problem forever. Before you leave the house, always take a look at yourself from behind. It’s that simple. Twist, turn, bend, and move. Can you see a pantyline? If so, there are many options out there that make pantylines disappear. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at the most comfortable thong at Hanky Panky lingerie or Spanx Hide & Sleek panty smoother or Commando underwear.

Visible Thong: Although it seems to be fashion gone awry with young men, the idea of exposing one’s underwear while wearing lowrise pants is downright unattractive on anyone. Again, check your rear view, and don’t just stand there. Bend over, move around. Get a glimpse at what the rest of the world sees. Underwear is meant to be just that…under-wear!

Misfitting Bra: I saved the best for last. Ill-fitting bras can ruin an outfit, and the number of women wearing the wrong size bra for their bodies is mind-boggling. When your bra fits well, clothing hangs better, darts fall in the right place, and everything looks more balanced. If you’re not sure, get fitted by someone who knows what she is doing. (A great option in the Boston area is or in more cities It will forever give you a new appreciation of the value of undergarments.

The first step is awareness. Have you been taking your undergarments for granted? Do you buy a new bra and then don’t think about it again until it is so ragged and lifeless that it practically falls apart in the laundry? Do you figure that if it’s covered up no one else will know that your underwear desperately needs a makeover? The truth is that well-fitting, appropriate undergarments are seen only by you. Ill-fitting, inappropriate undies are “visible” to everyone. With a little forethought, it’s an easy problem to remedy, and the results are immediate and fabulous.


9 Responses

  1. Your kitty story made me laugh – our dog used to do the same thing and it’s so hilarious.

    I now recommend Hanky Panky to lots of people. Most recently to my pilates instructor (a woman who is in the best physical condition of anyone I’ve ever met) who was lamenting the fact that thongs are so uncomfortable. She gave them a try and now she’s hooked. LOL.

    Just today I did the “rear view look” in the mirror. I was at an Eastern Mountain Sports store trying on a pair of capris. Looked carefully at the back view and took them off immediately. However I did find an excellent pair of linen look shorts there in a very dark brown – woohoo – score one!

    Now I have been wanting to get out to Night and Day… I wish it was a tad closer to my house. One of these days I’ll get there. I’m more than curious to see what they say my bra size should be. I think I have the right one – maybe not the best bras though – so I will get over there in August (at the rate this summer is passing…)

    1. We can learn so much about ourselves just from watching cats and dogs! They are so real. So glad, Teresa, that you are having luck shopping. You must be finding good sales this time of year! Linen shorts sound good right about now with the soaring temperatures and humidity! Have fun at Night and Day Lingerie when you get there next month.

  2. Although women are often reminded that finding the right bra size is important, what I’ve discovered is that sizes actually differ quite a bit between brands, and even between different styles from the same brand. Knowing “your size” does not guarantee that a bra will fit! So, getting help from a knowledgeable salesperson is less about getting the perfect size, and more about learning to recognize the perfect fit: no bunching, bulging, or gaps.

    Of course this can make shopping even more daunting at first… but totally worth the effort. When I finally found a style that fits perfectly and holds up in the wash, I went back and got them in four more colors. The reward is that I can always pull something out of the drawer that I know will be comfortable and flattering — one less thing to worry about in the morning!

    1. You are so right about the fit being different depending on the brand (hey, it’s true for women’s clothes so I guess it follows that lingerie would be the same :-). And, I absolutely agree about buying several once you are absolutely sure you love it (you are smart to wear it and wash it a few times before you make that decision since bras are not inexpensive). Thank you for sharing all of your valuable experience.

  3. Hi Ginger – your underwear story is timely – as I just bought a dress (that I didn’t realize was see through until I got it home). I don’t think people wear slips anymore. What do you suggest? I really don’t want my underwear (or my butt) to show. Thanks for your terrific e-mails.

  4. I have recently seen women in sundresses where the bra band (the strap across the back with the hooks) shows above their low cut dresses. Definitely need to look at the back.

    Since our Fashion Fairy Godmother retreat, I have gone back to my underwire bras. The lift does make a difference in how you appear in your clothes. I keep getting asked if I’ve lost weight. No, but my breasts are no longer competing with my midriff. There is actually some space between my waist and my bustline now.
    However, I will say that I still don’t have a good fit. The back rolls up and the straps fall down. It is difficult to find a good bra shop that handles plus sizes as well. But I’m on a mission.

    1. Ugh…I definitely agree with you about the bra band showing — it’s even worse than bra straps!

      Well, the answer, of course, is another trip up to Massachusetts to go to Night & Day Lingerie (aren’t you just looking for a good excuse 🙂 I don’t know if there is a My Intimacy near you (or on any of your travels) but that’s another option. As you can see a good bra makes such an amazing difference. Thank you for sharing your story!

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Ginger Burr is a fashion stylist and personal shopper serving clients worldwide from metro Boston.