So many New Years resolutions require deprivation, like losing weight or saving money. This is the exact opposite of that! We resolve to upgrade the sad contents of our lingerie drawer with silk and lace. Yep, we want to make like a French girl—they reportedly spend 20 percent of their annual clothing budget on undergarments—in 2017. For help in building a lingerie collection from scratch, we turned to designers from three of the coolest lingerie brands and online boutiques to answer all the questions we were too embarrassed to ask until now.
How do you know when it's time to replace a bra? Is there an expiration date?
Here’s what an expert from plus-size online lingerie boutique Hips & Curves has to say on the subject: “Bras usually last between six to nine months, but the expiration date of a bra depends on how often you wear it, how you care for it and the quality of the construction.”
If you want to extend the life of your bras, that takes a bit of extra care. Hips & Curves recommends washing a bra after one or two wears so that oils and dirt don't break down the fabric. To make bras last longer, you could either wash bras by hand, or put them in a lingerie bag in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. Then hang or dry flat.
Is there any bra that every woman could use in her closet?
The designers at Hips & Curves think that bras with a plunging neckline or a sweetheart neckline are universally flattering. Here’s what they say: “A T-shirt bra is a great start and very adaptable, but look at your wardrobe; you may not be a T-shirt bra kind of girl… in that case you may want a bra that has all-over lace.”
How does someone become a "matching bra and underwear" type of girl?
Rania Abu-Eid, creative director of Journelle Collection and a former Victoria's Secret designer, has a smart tip: once you find a bra you love, pick up the matching panty and then two additional pairs in a similar color or sensibility. “I truly think it's about finding styles you love and feel good in first and foremost. Fit is everything! Once you find what works for you, matching your bra and underwear ends up being a natural progression. I know many women who, once they start matching their bra and underwear, there is no turning back for them!“ she says.
What are a few recommended pieces to build up your lingerie/underwear wardrobe from scratch?
First of all, Only Hearts designers and mother-daughter team Helena and Kaya Stuart advocate for a properly-fitting bra. “Sadly, many women do not know their true bra size and it leaves them uncomfortable and with an unflattering shape,” they say.
Once you have the bra situation down, what's the next piece to pick up? A silk slip. “Hands down the most versatile and sexy piece a woman can have in her wardrobe,” Helena and Kaya say. “It works as a layering staple under sheer dresses, a dress in its own right in the summertime, and an alluring piece to wear around your home, and into bed!”
A bodysuit is another 2017 essential recommended by Only Hearts. “Our Second Skins Low Back Body, the one Kendall Jenner has been see wearing so often lately, is a great all-in-one for perfect layering or on its own with a pair of jeans,” Helena and Kaya say. Finally, don’t ignore the power of a chemise. The designers say: “Chemises are underrated for their combination of sexy and comfortable. And a touch of lace will always make you look prettier!”
Journelle’s Rainia also recommends a silk slip, even to wear out of the house. “It's so great to see lingerie looks on trend in everyday clothing,” she says. “Lots of our associates at Journelle have mastered this look, preferring to throw a leather jacket over it and a pair of boots to wear out!" Rania also loves Journelle’s classic black lace underwire bra and panty Isabel set, which is available in a wide range of sizes. “Imagine this set as your little black dress of your bras and panties,” she explains. “This bra offers just the right amount of coverage and provides support.”
Don't forget pieces for lounging
You could also invest in two very luxurious pieces: silk PJs and a silk robe. “It is such an indulgence to sleep and lounge in these silk PJs,” Rania says. “These are my go-to, especially when I travel. It makes the biggest difference when you arrive at a hotel or are a houseguest to wear these. You can't help but feel glamorous!”
The robe can also multi-task. Rania says: “There is a whole art to lounging at home. Our lives are hectic and busy enough as it is, curling up with a good book or a movie in a silk robe is a lovely way to end the day (or to wear while getting ready for a night out). It also looks great with lingerie underneath.”
Talk like that is kind of inspiring us to trade in our sweatpants—or at least supplement them with something much fancier. “I make no promises here, but I can definitely say you will feel very different in silk than in sweatpants.” Rania tells us. “You'll have your days for sweats, but make sure to have days and moments for silk too. Treat yourself!”
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