Friday, February 20, 2009
The Right Foundation
Building a great foundation:
Ideas about foundation garments, as well as styles, have certainly through the ages. Just in the last century and a half, we've seen the highly corseted Victorian woman with the incredibly tiny waist, the flapper with her body bound in almost a boyish silhouette, the buxom 50's to early 60's woman who wore girdles and waist cinchers to the tiny, support-free foundation garments of the late 60's and 70's.
Certainly, there have been eras when corseting and cinching were too tight to promote good health. It has been proposed that one reason why our great-great-grandmothers were in need of fainting couches and smelling salts were that they could hardly breathe for the tight boning across their lungs. Sometimes, internal organs were even pushed to unnatural positions by these undergarments.
On the other hand, there came about an idea during the time that the huge generation of Baby Boomers were in their bloom that very little was needed in the way of support for the figure. Tight and toned muscles were the preferred over body-bracing garments. Unmentionables were worn mainly for decorative and sanitary reasons, and, thus, most women had only the barest underthings in their lingerie drawer.
Baby Boomers are no longer in their bloom. Diet and exercise all they will, it's difficult for them to keep their figures in perfect support merely through toned muscles. At some point, most in this generation look in the mirror and realize that nature needs a little help. Ladies of other ages, as well, are finding that some support in undergarments helps outer clothing look smoother.
Today, manufacturers have created more comfortable shape wear than was offered in the past. It's possible to find an array of lingerie from various types of helpful bras to control slips and control camisoles t0 various lengths of control briefs, etc. Items like these range from lightest support to heavier support. Spanx is one of the more popular shapewear companies right now, but there are many other companies that offer similar items.
Other than bras, which are worth an investment, foundation garments don't have to be expensive. You can find some in outlet stores or stores like T. J. Maxx, Target, Wal-Mart, and Burlington.
It's probably a good idea to be fitted for a bra at least once a year. Statistics say that most of us do not measure ourselves correctly. Also, our bodies change due to weight gain and loss, having babies, hormonal stages, and simply age. We may be almost the same weight, but the bra that fit us last year may not be the best one for us now. This article outlines ten mistakes that women often make when selecting a brassiere.
One wonderful comeback is the slip. This once essential lingerie item all but disappeared there for a while. Yet, most dresses and skirts really do hang and look better with the correct slip underneath.
What items should be in your wardrobe of underthings? It depends on your age, size, and lifestyle. For her birthday, a friend of mine received a humorous card. The cover was a drawing of two women shopping in the lingerie department. A perky young woman was oohing over delicate, lacy items, while a woman of a certain age was sighing over the wall of -- shall we say --more substantial garments. However, even thin and young women who are in great shape would do well to have some supportive garments in their drawer.
A bare-bones minimum wardrobe of unmentionables might be:
1) Two everyday wear bras in black, white, or nude; rinse one out every night and wear the other the next day. At least one of the bras should work under white or light blouses and tops. A good bra is worth a little investment if you can work it into your budget.
2) One sport bra if you do workout
3) One slip or half-slip plus a floor-length slip if you have an occasion to wear a long dress.
4) Undies for a week
5) A control top camisole
6) A control top garment that is about the shape of an old-fashioned girdle or modern biking shorts
7) Hosiery according to your preference.
To this basic list, you can add any items that you might need or enjoy. Remember that some of the prettiest lingerie items do not work under lightweight or light colored clothing. Items like lace and ribbon and catch or bunch underneath some materials. However, it's fun to have a few very frilly things, and you can wear them under garments where they won't show. Even for your more practical lingerie items, you can find things that are pretty and feminine.
Discard any items in your wardrobe that are stretched out, dingy, or otherwise no longer serve their purpose. Evaluate your wardrobe of undergarments twice a year, just as you evaluate your wardrobe of clothing.
You may think that your unmentionables don't matter in the scheme of things as only you or you and your spouse see them. However, well-fitting ones do make such a difference in how your clothing fits. Not only that, but it's nice to know that you are wearing something lovely underneath, even if it is only for you and your spouse.