Personal Style

How to Tastefully (not Trashily) Wear Underwear Outside. In Public.


Ever since Madonna rocked that cone bra, it’s become less and less taboo to pass off lingerie as streetwear. (I mean, have you kept up with a Kardashian lately?) Flip through an issue of Vogue or Elle and you’ll notice the lingerie trend never goes away for very long.

Now that warm weather is here again (um, yay), expect to see more pretty peekaboo straps, flirty lace-trimmed cups—even gorgeous mesh bras under totally sheer tops. Boudoir fashion is sexy, modern, safely thrilling, at times rather comfy, damn near effortless—and it gives your prettiest layers the opportunity to show off a little.

HOWEVER. The look that’s so good in theory can go horribly wrong in practice.

We racked our buyers’ brains for foolproof insider advice on rocking the underwear as outerwear fashion trend (which, by the way, you should absolutely do. Own it, sister! Life is short and you look great. Srsly.). Here’s what they said:

-Do it deliberately. Above all else, do not leave anyone wondering if you’re in on the joke. That means making sure you’re revealing some or all of a beautiful piece that was clearly made to be seen and appreciated. This does not mean: basic, workaday beige numbers; gaping blouse buttons exposing your bra; clear plastic bra straps announcing themselves from under a tube top.

 -Pick the right time and place. Unless you work in a creative or fashion-y field, your Monday morning meeting may not be it. Consider saving all that statement-making for Saturday night.

 -Consider color. Sophisticated and sexy right now means pale pastels, luxe jewel tones and black (ever and always). Reserve red and white for the bedroom.

 -Balance things out. Wear a blazer over that bustier, or a ruffled camisole under a cardigan. Your mother always said to leave something to the imagination, and guess what? Your mother is always right. You’re aiming for a subtly sexy blush, not full-on sexy beast.

 -Don’t sacrifice support. Flimsy, filmy and floppy are no one’s friends when it comes to lingerie-inspired fashion, so look for pretty pieces that are also shaping. Go with underwires and thicker fabrics, or even embellished shapewear—there are a lot to choose from these days.

 -Keep it G-rated. There’s a fine line between showing off your skivvies and showing off your skin. Do a 360-degree mirror check before heading out, or asking another resident (excluding the cat) to give you a once-over, and trust that you’re good to go.

 -Still in doubt? Don’t go there. It’s perfectly fine to leave some things in the capable hands of the Kardashians.

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Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.
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