Style Bee - Underneath

Closet Mission – Underneath

07.29.15

Style Bee - Underneath

UNDERNEATH

It’s been a little while since my last official Closet Mission instalment but here we are and today it’s all about streamlining that infamously tangled mess that is the underwear drawer. I honestly don’t know why this wasn’t one of my first Closet Mission posts because I’ve come to realize that what we wear under our clothes is just as key to our style satisfaction as the clothes that everyone sees. I’ve spent the past many months completely overhauling my underwear collection and coming to terms with a lean(ish) selection of bras and undies that feel great to wear and add a bit of extra enjoyment to the process of getting ready each morning. As such, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the streamlining process and a few of my new and all-time favourite lingerie brands.

Disclaimer: the word ‘panties’ makes my skin crawl so that’s the last time you’ll read it in this post. 

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Step 1 – PURGE

I started with a ruthless ditching of any stretched, frayed, holed and just plain old uncomfortable bras and bottoms that had been plaguing me for years. For some reason I find it easier to give away a decent shirt than I do about tossing a pair of boy-shorts that ride up and feel awful. Why is that? I dare say it’s the ever looming threat of a laundry day gone by and an empty drawer staring back at me, bra and undie-less. I’d also been wearing bras with straps so stretched out that throughout the day I’d have to keep tightening them back up. Honestly! But I knew I had to follow through with this mission in all facets of my closet and I couldn’t let the fear of a missed laundry day or the dread of ‘bra shopping’ stifle my progress. So out they went to make room for some fewer, better upgrades.

Style Bee - Underneath

Step 2 – ASSESS

Every woman has a very specific set of needs when it comes to her underwear. Few things are more distracting that an uncomfortable bra or a pair of briefs that get a little too adventurous. So it’s important to assess your must haves in order to build a good foundation of options. What colours make sense for your style? What fits are you most comfortable in? What kind of coverage are you comfortable in? What’s your budget? These little strips of fabric get pricey! Think about the things you wish you had to go under your favourite clothes. Maybe you need a great racerback bra or a little extra oomph would make you feel fancier on date night. This is not a time to be shy or modest, what do you really feel like wearing under there?

For me it comes down to 3 key factors:

1. Size – Does it even fit? Before you buy anything go to a lingerie store and get properly fitted. I know it’s a bit awkward but in most cases no one actually sees your boobs. They measure you wearing your current bra and then bring a bunch to try and see what feels right. Knowing your true size makes such a difference and you may realize you’ve been buying the wrong one! I was buying 34 B for years until I found out I’m actually 32 C. As you’ve probably noticed, I don’t have a significant décolletage to contend with but I still like to keep my support options varied depending on the day or occasion. I will also say that I don’t like drawing a lot of attention to my chest. Lots of women do and I think that’s awesome, but my style is minimal and that goes for the cleavage aspect as well. I always end up feeling a little self conscious when the girls are too ‘out there’. Which brings me to the next factor…

2. Style – There are 5 different bra categories that I wear:

  1. The triangle bralette. This one is really more form over function but it serves it’s purpose under flowy tops and dresses in the summer and chunky sweaters in the winter. It’s great for when I want to feel a little sultry! I love the Parisienne trick of wearing a black bra under a white shirt (see here). When done tastefully, there is nothing sexier! I love this one and this one.
  2. The basic bralette. This is my current go-to for the day to day under button downs, t-shirts, light sweaters etc. Comfortable, smooth and opaque with a touch of support but no major structure or underwire. I like ones that have a little extra fabric around the ribs too like this.
  3. The tried and true bra. My previous go-to that I wore for years non-stop. This style is now reserved for client meetings, or for under silk shirts or dresses in situations where I want to feel very presentable and have everything firmly in place. I have one in black and one in nude and that’s it.
  4. The Strapless. I actually kind of hate wearing strapless bras and if there’s any way to avoid it I will. But once in a while there’s an occasion that calls for it and this simple Calvin Klein one has never failed me.
  5. The Sports Bra. Ok fine, so sometimes I do some sort of physical activity (against my better judgement albeit). I’ve had the same two Lululemon bras for years and love them! This one is still available.
Style Bee - Underneath

There are 2 different styles of underwear that I wear:

  1. Thongs. Another TMI perhaps but thongs are my fave. No lines, no worries!! My ultimate faves are by Hanky Panky which are made in US, so comfy and they have held up really well over time, but some people are put off by the one size fits all sizing. Cosabella also makes a great thong and they have regular sizing and variations in rise. They’re made in Italy and also have great longevity although not as good as HP. I recently caved and ordered some cheap ones from Aerie (7 for $27, I mean…) and really like them too but time will tell about their quality.
  2. Basic Briefs. Every night for bed I don a pair of cotton briefs and a t-shirt. Sleep sets and nighties need not apply! I have black and grey in my drawer and that’s all I need!
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3. Colour – Is it practical? I used to let myself go nuts when it came to bra and underwear colours. I’d have bright blue, fiery orange, patterns, you name it, going on yet I was always out of nude and black options. Now my collection is 75% nude and black with a few whites and solid colours mixed in. Sure, I’ve sacrificed a little bit of fun but I at last the underwear I want to wear is available.

It’s good to set some guidelines and ground rules for underwear just as it is for other clothing. Otherwise you end up with some final sale nonsense that will never make it out of the drawer.

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ORGANIZE

As is with the rest of my closet, the more visible the better. When you can see your options you are much more inclined to feel as though you have some. I find a drawer exclusively for undies and a drawers exclusively for bras is ideal. Then at least there is the lowest possible form of organization in place.

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MAINTAIN

Underwear can definitely be pricey and once you’ve found a brand or style you like it’s hard to turn back. The good ones are often expensive for a reason. My strategy is to add 1 or 2 pairs of undies a month and a bra every few months (or less) to keep my supply fresh without breaking the bank. Right now I feel like my selection is the best it’s ever been and it took about 6 months to get here. Now I’m sure if ignored it for six months it would start to deteriorate.

Once you’ve invested in some good bras and underwear it’s key to care for them properly. I only ever hand wash my bras (Soak is a great soap to use) and I run my undies on delicate then hang dry. This prevents the elastic from drying out and fraying. These mesh washer bags are a big help too. It can be the difference between a nice pair of underwear lasting 6 months or 6 years.

Style Bee - Underneath

OF NOTE

Before I let you go and stop bombarding you with the words ‘bra’ and ‘underwear’ I have a few last items to note! I’d be remiss not to highlight a few current favourites in the ‘underneath’ department.

1. I decided to try one of these Eberjey basic bras a little while ago and I totally fell in love! I ended up buying more colours and now alternate between them almost every day. They are so comfy and the shoulder straps are sturdy without being too thick while the back band wraps around smoothly and stays in place. I always prefer bralettes with a double clasp as one just never stays put. Plus the cotton fabric is doubled up so for solid coverage.

Style Bee - Underneath

2. Honeydew Intimates recently sent me this beautiful bra and hipster set to try out. I wore it on a typical weekend day under my usual jeans and tee. Towards the end of the day I realized they were the reason I’d felt a little bit more fun and fabulous on this particular Saturday. Few things other than fresh flowers or breakfast in bed have that effect on me! The skinny round straps and scalloped edges had me at ‘Oh, Hello There…’ {insert a sexy voice that I do not have}. I definitely recommend perusing their selection available directly on their site or via Shop Bop and Nordstrom.

Style Bee - UnderneathStyle Bee - Underneath

3. And finally….le kimono! I’m convinced that no closet is complete without one.

This kimono has been a total morning and bedtime game changer. It’s so soft, slinky and easy to throw on when I’m getting ready for bed or tidying up before work in the morning. It’s from Hackwith Design House’s Basics Collection and I love that I can wear it with jeans and a tank or over a slip dress for real-life too.

Style Bee - Underneath

Now with that I shall end my yammering on the importance of what’s underneath. But tell, me! What are your go to styles and brands? 



 

Leave me a comment here!

  1. Robyn says:

    Love this post – thank you so much. For the last 6 months I have been working on my closet to create that minimalist style. Discovered you through a recent guest article with Poppy Barley. The tangled mess that is my under garment drawer is still a nightmare but I love the way you’ve organized it within this post and will certainly test it out. Some girls have shoes as their kryptonite – mine has always been underwear.

    So far the closet overhaul has been a huge success the only pieces I am missing is a good white tshirt, long sleeve and a solid white button up shirt. I find the fabric quality in white varies drastically but for the most part it’s so shier and unprofessional. As a developer, my work environment is primarily male and it’s not something I want to be an issue. Would rather been known for my talent then my see-thru white shirts. Have you found any good brands in that area?

    • So glad to hear this post was helpful Robyn! I know what you mean about the kryptonite haha. Once you find some great underwear it’s impossible to go back to look back. As for the basics you’re looking for I swear by the Everlane U-Neck or Box-Cut Tee for my everyday white t-shirts (also have my eye on the drop-shoulder). They’re a great company, with amazing customer service and the product speaks for itself. I also love the clean edge long sleeve in white but it’s almost sold out (here is another good option). I would also recommend AMVI Collection for great tees. I love their heather grey v-neck. As for a white button-up I’ve had one from Club Monaco for ages but I love the fit of J.Crew shirts. This one looks awesome and it’s on sale right now.

      I totally know what you mean about white shirt opacity! It’s not exactly classy when they are see-through! Hope that helps and good luck with the lingerie organizing! xo

  2. Kate says:

    Thank you so much for this post- it’s actually really helpful to me as I finally begin the process of my undie drawer overhaul. When I got married I was gifted so many unnecessary and uncomfortable items that just sat in my drawer, and two years later, I finally culled my drawer! Its so hard to commit to investing in something very very few people ever see, but it also makes so much sense considering your undergarments are the literal foundation of your whole closet.

    I love your collection of bralettes- I’m convinced that for the smaller-busted among us (I’m raising my hand) they are the miracle solution for everyday. I’ve grown to absolutely despise all things underwire and I’ve had a really hard time finding reasonable alternatives, but I think next time I’m ready to invest in a solid undergarment, I’ll be returning to this post for your recommendations.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Kate
    kateintheclassroom.com

    • Kate, I’m so glad you found this post helpful! It’s so easy to overlook this section of the closet but it really is the true foundation. I am a total bralette convert! It’s so much more natural. I’ve since discovered a few new brands worth a look – The Nude Label, Pansy and Land of Women are all making some great underwear! xoxo