Put a Little French in Your Undies
What you wear on the outside may be for others, but what you wear underneath is all for you. Well, and maybe one other person (if they’re lucky). Wearing beautiful, sexy underwear is like a little secret you get to enjoy all to yourself.
American women tend to think of undergarments as sort of “utilitarian” pieces, and we put them on like they’re part of a uniform. The French woman invests about 20% of her clothing budget on beautiful underwear because it makes her feel beautiful. And because, well, you never know …
I love knowing that under my all-business white starched shirt and black pencil skirt hides a goddess in a sheer black La Perla bodysuit, just waiting to pull off the glasses and let down the hair and, well, you get the picture.
Whether you’re young or old, you deserve to feel pampered. Not only for the sex appeal, choosing the right undergarment for the outfit makes your clothes fit smoothly and properly. Those celebrities you’re admiring for their svelte figure? Sure they work for an attractive body – not trying to discount that. But guaranteed they are wearing the right undies, and shape wear when called for.
On the other hand, having to tug at your bra or waistband to avoid looking like a busted can of biscuits, or pulling your dainties from between your butt cheeks, is about as sexy as a canker sore.
So with that in mind, let’s explore some wardrobe musts for all things under.
Le soutien-gorge (the bra)
Bras should be well-fitted to you. The band provides 90% of the support, and keeps the breasts sitting up where they belong – roughly midway between your shoulder and elbow. To choose the correct band size, you’ll need to take a measurement just under your breasts. Take a deep breath, exhale, and measure.
Now you’d think this would be your band size, right? Oh no, not that simple. Because at one point in time women wanted to boast of having the perfect 36-24-36 figure, a conversion chart was developed. Use this chart to help determine your proper band size and cup size:
The size you determined will be your starting point for trying bras. But no two bras are alike and ultimately you will choose based on how the bra fits. The band should fit snugly around your chest, and low in the back. Cups should neither be overflowing nor gappy, Straps should be comfortable and adjusted so you can easily insert a finger underneath without movement. Any good lingerie store will offer a fitting for free.
The French woman does not typically pad or push up. She chooses the right bra to make the most of her God-given assets.
Your minimum bra requirements include a white or nude bra, a black bra and a stay-put strapless bra. You should also have a well-fitting sport bra for exercise. After that, it’s up to your own creativity.
If you’re a fan of going backless, an adhesive bra or nipple covers (a.k.a. pasties), depending on how much coverage or support you need, are great for keeping the headlights on dim.
Les culotte (the panties)
Like Goldilocks, you want your dainties to fit “just right”, not too loose (they’ll bunch up) or too tight (you’ll look like the Michelin man no matter how slender you are). And you’ll want a selection of different styles of undies to suit different styles of clothing.
A bikini or hipster style panty is fine for most outfits, but for higher waist pants or body hugging skirts, choose a high waist, high leg brief. These allow you a higher waistband without looking like granny panties.
For form fitting pants, avoid VPL’s (visible panty lines) by choosing either a thong, or a lace or vanishing-edged panty. For a fitted dress, a body suit is a must. Or go commando. Just sayin’.
A nice shape wear piece such as Spanx is ideal for the slinky little slip dress. Keeps everything sleek and smooth, as it should be.
A few French rules
French women always wear bras and panties in matched sets. She will often buy 3 pairs of matching panties in different styles for each bra.
Your bras and nice dainties should be hand-washed. No time? Do it the French way – take them into the shower with you and wash them there. You can hang them right on the shower rod. Easy peasy. If you do wash dainties in the washer, use a lingerie bag and never, ever put bras in the drier.
Your beautiful undergarments are the first layer of feeling confident, sexy and French.
If you aren’t ready to give your undie drawers a complete overhaul, consider starting with just a couple of beautiful sets. Splurge a little, even if it’s just once or twice a week. Don’t save them for special occasions, unless the special occasion is also called “Monday”.
Bonjour! Je suis Kelley
Hi, I’m Kelley – thrower of parties, drinker of wine, and lover of all things French. I hope you enjoy my Lessons in Becoming French!