A Guide to Undergarments
One of the areas many women fail to think about when they think “fashion” is their undergarments. Yet, the undergarments you choose to wear can often make a good-looking outfit outstanding, or make that same outfit a real horror. The important things to remember are fit and function.
A visit to your local lingerie store is important to make sure you select properly fitting undergarments. It is also important to be realistic and select the right garments for you. The sales clerks are trained to assist you in selecting properly fitted garments that meet your specific needs.
The types of garment intended for covering the upper portion of the woman’s body falls into two categories – those for coverage and modesty, and those for support. Camisoles fall into the former category. Camisoles include those lightweight garments that cover the upper torso of the body and are designed to be worn under other garments. String-strap t-shirts, shells, shifts, and demi-slips are all types of camisole tops.
For support garments, we have brassieres. These are designed to provide support for women’s breasts and come in a variety of styles for specific needs. Sports bras are generally snug-fitting, cupless garments that resemble a cut off athletic tee. They are usually made of lycra or other stretchy fabrics and are meant to hold the breasts close to the body securely during physical activities such as exercise.
Under-wire bras are those designed with some form of ribbing or “boning” inserted in the base of the bra’s cups. The purpose of this is to provide defined shape and extra support to the breasts. Under-wire bras are great for women who have large or oddly-shaped breasts.
Padded bras are exactly what they sound like they would be – bras that have padding added to the cups. These are great for women who have smaller breasts or are in-between on cup sizes. They are also good for women who have lost weight and notice some shrinkage in the breasts.
Half-cup/Push-up bras are designed to lift and support the breasts from the underside and are designed to be worn with low-cut and scoop-necked blouses and dresses to prevent the brassiere from showing. These bras “make the most” of what a young woman has and in many cases create cleavage and the appearance that the breasts are significantly larger.
Strapless bras are also self-explanatory. These bras are designed with no over-the-shoulder support straps and are designed for wear with strapless garments. Many strapless bras extend farther down the torso to give added support, but some new “strapless bra” designs are little more than skin-adhesive silicone cups that are adhered to the breasts and offer some minor shaping and support.
The lower half of the body has its own set of garments – everything from hosiery, to panties, to shapers. Panties are by far the most varied of these, and are available in a wide variety of styles. Basic briefs are the classic close-legged high-rise panties that are often referred to as “Granny Panties”. These are used mostly for comfort and are good general purpose undergarments.
Bikini panties are an abbreviated version of the brief, with a lower-rise waist, and usually slightly higher-rise leg holes. These are also commonly used in general wear situations and are favored by younger women for the fact that they are considered more fashionable than their full-sized counterparts.
Low-rise panties are bikini panties that have an extra low-cut waist. These are designed to be worn with low slung jeans, skirts and pants and became a necessity when fashion trends introduced hip-hugger jeans and other low-rise garments.
French Cut panties are basically bikini panties (and may even be low-rise bikini panties) whose legs are cut high up on the hip. This style of leg opening often reveals skin at the hip-joint and a portion of the side of the buttocks as well. These became popular for their esthetic design – making the legs appear longer – more than for their practicality.
The Thong, T-Back and G-string panties were all designed and have become popular among women who truly wish to avoid showing any panty-line beneath their clothing. These are considered very esthetically pleasing, but need to be worn with caution. It is important that these garments have a proper fit. These garments when too snug can be very uncomfortable and can cause some physical damage. They also tend to reveal body flaws among women who have some weight issues – by revealing areas of cellulite and flab that would be less conspicuous with another style of underwear.