A Guide to Undergarments (2)

WOman who is choosing a new bra
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The newest craze in panty styles is called “hipsters” and they resemble nothing so much as short pants. They have generally low-rise waists and are cut to the top of the thigh at the leg opening, offering full or nearly full coverage of the rear. Most women have taken strongly to them because of their popularity and because they are reportedly very comfortable.
Shapers are those garments that are designed to give the appearance of a firm and toned body. These are excellent for women who may have gained a small amount of weight, and wish to control slight bulges in their figure. They are also wonderful for women who have been working to lose weight and may be experiencing sagging in areas where their weight-loss has out-paced their exercise routine.
Shapers are found in an almost infinite variety of styles. There are those designed to give control and shape to the hips and thighs only (traditionally called the girdle), those designed to add definition and shape to the waist and upper torso (traditionally called the corset), and even shapers that extend from the bra line to the ankles for those women who may need/want a full-body redefining.
Hosiery is sometimes thought of as a separate type of garment altogether – mainly because of the fact that much of the decisions surrounding the selection of hosiery are simply esthetic. Hosiery is generally chosen for its looks and its compliment to the outfit being worn. Most all hosiery falls into one of three categories: stockings, pantyhose/tights, body stockings.
Stockings are in many ways the women’s counterpart to socks – or were historically, before the androgynization of female fashion. Stocking length ranges from knee-high (traditionally worn with pants) to thigh-high (with elastic tops to hold them up or garter belts to which they are secured). They can be found in a wide range of weave designs to offer almost infinite variety for all types of occasions.
It is notable, however, that stocking are considered by many women to be very troublesome garments because of the constant need to adjust them to ensure that they stay in place. Most women today only wear traditional stockings on very special occasions – generally those of an intimate nature – to please a partner who finds the look particularly alluring.
Pantyhose are a relatively modern invention – being created in 1959 – and were designed to cut down on the number of foundation garments needed by women. Over the years since their invention, pantyhose have been introduced in a variety of styles and offering a variety of functions. They are available in as many varied weave designs as traditional stocking, but have also been devised to offer body shaping as well, which further reduces the number of garments needed by some women.
Body Stockings are garments that in most cases seem impractical, but have developed something of a following as a replacement for undergarments. The body stocking (or body sock) covers every part of the body from at least the breasts to the toes, and in may include openings for necessity in appropriate places. Body Stockings are often chosen by women who feel too modest to be fully naked in situations where nudity is expected – or who desire to have the shaping and support that the hosiery offers.
Knowing the general purpose for and types of undergarments available to women is only half the battle – particularly when poor choices can lead to embarrassing situations. Here are some tips for always looking your best with regard to foundation garments.
• Make sure your undergarments fit properly – especially those designed for shaping or support. Undergarments that are too loose are ineffective, while those that are too tight can lead to unwanted – and unflattering – bulges.
• Choose the proper color undergarments for the clothing you are wearing. Wearing dark colored or white undergarments under lightweight and light colored fabrics can mean the undergarments are clearly visible. For most ethnicities and skin tones, beige is a terrific choice to combat this problem, as beige becomes invisible beneath many of the sheerest fabric types. For women of African descent who have especially dark skin tones, black undergarments are called for.
• Select lightweight undergarments to accompany lightweight clothing. Wearing a heavily padded or textured lace brassiere under a silk blouse can mean that the bra becomes visible under the blouse. Select smooth finishes and textures in foundation garments under lightweight or finely-textured fabrics.
• Only you – or someone you intend – should see your underwear. Celebrity fashion fads aside, undergarments are called that for a reason. They are designed to be worn under the clothing and should not be visible to the casual observer. Select the proper underwear for the garment you are wearing. Wearing low-rise jeans and thong underwear is not a look any woman should aspire to. And your brassiere does not become you when it peeks out from beneath the neck of a low-cut blouse or top.
• Undergarments can be very sexy garments in their own right, but remember the difference between underwear and lingerie. Underwear generally has a function in the outfit, while lingerie’s function is primarily fashion. Save the matching bra and panty sets for the appropriate setting.
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