Great outfits start with great lingerie
What lies beneath is important to get the full package right. Jo Haywood goes undercover to find out more
When it comes to choosing lingerie, it pays to have a split personality - and lots of storage space. Every woman should have two distinct sets (drawers, wardrobes, dressing rooms) of lingerie: va-va-voom and magic. The first is all about sex appeal, and the second is about making the most of your shape. Let's start with a bit of va-va-voom (oh, go on, you know you want to). The thing to remember when opting for something a bit saucy is that you are not wearing very much, so make sure what you are wearing is seriously special. For a sexy, show-stealing look, a half-balcony bra always does the trick and fishnet tights - a key fashion trend for the season - have the added benefit of slimming you down while sexing up your look. If you love your legs, you could give a garter a whirl. Or why not try suspenders? They've made quite a comeback, leaving behind their slightly sleazy image and returning with more of a highclass burlesque buzz that is all about nipped-in, waspie waists. Pretty negligees are also making their presence known again, which is good news (no really, it is) as a classic baby doll chemise skims over any wibbly bits you might have. If you have a smaller bust, a negligee with some frills or a bit of rouching will also add extra lift and welcome definition. Now it's time for a kind of magic. Every woman, no matter what her shape or size, needs at least one piece of control lingerie in her wardrobe to either accentuate the positive or eliminate the negative (or, more likely, a bit of both). It doesn't sound pretty and, with the best will in the world, it's often not that easy on the eye, but it does the trick. Control knickers suck in your stomach, lift your bottom andhelp to rein in the area at the top of your thighs. They will help to give you a smooth silhouette, which is especially helpful if you decide to wear something sleek and tight-fitting during the festive season. A corset is also a handy standby for control with a little extra oomph. Lots of boning down the front flattens out your stomach and has a great push-up effect that draws the eye upwards to where all the action is. Still not quite sure whether you are a baby doll or a balcony kind of woman? Well, read on for more easyto- remember tips.
The bottom line on tops A padded bra is an easy cleavage booster - you can add a whole cup size without doing anything drastic. If you have naturally perky boobs wear a triangle bra for a flattering, modern look. For ladies whose cups have a tendency to runneth over, make sure you wear a properly fitted, supportive bra even in the bedroom. A plunge bra will allow you to show off your cleavage but can also minimise your top half as there's less fabric to deal with.
Tips for top bottoms Always buy knickers that slim your buttocks rather than swamp them. Low-waisted knickers really bring out the curve of your hips. To disguise a larger tummy, look for knickers with a slightly higher waistband, but keep it sexy too with a higher cut leg. Thongs are not wrong whatever body shape you are. If you've got the confidence, go for it.