Remember when you could slip on a dress, skirt or trousers and you didn’t need body shapers, shapeshifters or control underwear to keep everything looking nice and smooth? Well, I miss those days more than I care to admit to, plus finding the right underthings can take time and get expensive, especially when items don’t perform as expected. So in the spirit of sharing, and since body shapers and control underwear have become wardrobe staples, I’m sharing the items that have proven their worth in fit, lasting ability and comfort.
Yes, a bra is essentially control underwear so let’s start there. As bad as an ill-fitting pair of shoes, a bad haircut or a bad dye-job, a bra that shifts and slides or cuts into your skin is to me, one of the worst things ever. When I was in my twenties and for most of my early thirties, I found it difficult to find bras that were durable, well made and stayed in place. Of those years, I think I can count on one hand the number of bras that really felt good to wear which is pitiful. And then years later I found myself in a Wolford store and on a whim decided to get one of their bras. Best decision ever, especially as my body has changed/is changing (thanks 40’s).
Founded in Austria in 1950, Wolford has been in the undergarments business long enough to have perfected bras, not to mention I also swear by their hosiery. I was measured in store and truly it’s the best bra I’ve ever worn and it’s still going strong years later. I treat my bras like porcelain, and when it’s time to wash them, I do so separately using the delicates cycle. When I was ready for a solid black bra replacement, I relied on Wolford again and I remain regret free. I can wear them for hours on end without feeling like I’m descending into madness because they’re comfortable, sit nicely and maintains control in all the right places, plus they create quite a nice silhouette when wearing close fitting tops.
Now to bras of the strapless kind. Is it just me or are strapless bras a frustrating category? Have you ever worn one that slid right down and made you want to run for the hills? I’ll spare you the details but I was quite pleased when I found this bra from Nichole de Carle, a UK based company I came across some years ago. Their bras are like sculpture, likely because the brand’s founder studied corsetry along with swimwear and lingerie design.
While this bra is interchangeable as it came with straps, I’ve only ever relied on it for the moments when I need a strapless bra. This is a classic balconette style bra featuring centre seaming in the cups along with underwire, making the fit sculptural and flattering. Thankfully, it never digs into my skin and it flattens out those annoying little rolls we get at the side of the bust area.
Here’s what the inside of the bra looks like. With impeccable seaming in the cup especially, there’s a length of boning at the side of the cup to maintain structure and prevent slippage and miraculously, it remains comfortable.
After a good bra, finding a reliable body shaper is another monumental task as so many of them are poorly made or fall apart easily after a single wash. This one from Wacoal, an undergarments company that was founded in Japan in 1949. It’s made from nylon and spandex but it is very light in weight plus it’s more transparent than how it appears in the photograph. What makes this so special is the reinforcement panel across the tummy and hip area, along with the ruched seaming at the back that ensures the suit molds comfortably to your body. This is an invaluable piece of control underwear that also helps to keep one modest when wearing a flimsy blouse. You’ll still need your bra when wearing this but it makes such a difference under dresses and skirts as well. Just don’t wait until your need of the ladies room becomes too urgent.😉To close out now with an honourable mention. I’m not sure if control underwear or (panty girdle as it was referred to when I was growing up), is taboo but I do know that it’s worth shouting it from the rooftops when you find a good one, especially when it almost doesn’t resemble typical ones, so the mention goes to Lise Charmel. Also very comfortable while providing superb control over the tummy area, this is beautifully made and has maintained its good looks even after multiple washings. As an aside, Lise Charmel’s items can also be found on nancymeyer.com, a website dedicated to intimates, swimwear and sleepwear. #notsponsored
I know, I know, the running theme is seaming, as shown by the line above. Seaming can make or break just about any garment, from dresses to blouses and trousers, but one of the common unifiers in undergarments that provide unparalleled support and sit well against the body is the quality of how well the fabric has been joined together. I dare you to look closely at any piece of clothing you have and compare the seams in the pieces you love because of how well they fit, against other pieces that don’t fit you as well and you’ll see the difference.
Finding quality control underwear doesn’t have to be an exercise in dread but does it take time? I’d say yes for a number of reasons. A woman’s body goes through multiple changes in her lifetime. Whether because of puberty, pregnancy and childbirth, hormones, weight fluctuations, peri-menopause, menopause and all of her friends or illness, all of these will change one’s body. So finding comfortable things that provide support is another entry added to the list of things women need to get done.
As always, I hope you’ll find this post useful and do let me know if you’d like to see more of this type of content.