Department stores are a great place to browse and try on a number of different lingerie brands in a short space of time. So, when Debenhams got in touch with me, I decided to set myself a challenge: one department store, ten must-have lingerie pieces. To me, a ‘must have’ is something essential, but that doesn’t mean my choices are all boring ones though. How many of these do you have in your wardrobe?
1) T-shirt bra
Even if you don’t technically wear t-shirts, this is still a type of bra that you will probably need at least one of. Preferably two: one for underneath dark coloured tops, and one for under light ones. The t-shirt bra offers a smooth shape under clothes, with no nipple show on cold days. Comfortable, practical and sometimes even rather sexy, the t-shirt bra works under everything and so is my top choice for this list.
2) Multi-way bra
If you have some halter neck dresses or tops, this is going to be an essential item in your wardrobe. Some can also be worn as a strapless bra, but many need the straps for added lift… in whichever way you choose to configure them. Halter neck, racer back, crossed straps or standard over the shoulder, this bra has a multitude of uses. You can get multi-way bras for evening wear, for sports, for your wedding day, in larger sizes and for those needing an extra boost.
3) Strapless bra
Strapless bras hardly exist now that manufacturers have learnt what they can do with removable straps, and bras that stick to your skin. There are still a few dedicated strapless styles though, and they do that one job extremely well. The absolute best strapless bra I have found is, without a doubt, the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless (pictured above). If you’re not allergic to the silicone bands on strapless bras (which, sadly, I am) this could potentially be the only bra you’ll ever need. You can jump around to your heart’s content and your bra will stay put.
4) Big pants
Smooth those hips and tummies with some comfortable knickers that don’t show VPL because they reach all the way down to that crease where your bum meets your legs. Doesn’t sound especially sexy, but there is plenty of choice when it comes to styles. However, there’s a reason why Sloggi’s basic maxi briefs have stayed the same since 1979 – comfort. Buy them in black and they’ll look like hotpants or pin-up knickers rather than granny panties. If that’s just not glamorous enough for you, how about some comfy lace shorts, a floral print, bright colours or even polkadots?
5) Tiny pants
You may not like the idea of them at first, but the tiniest knickers of all are often more comfortable than you first thought. Yes, they do disappear in between your cheeks, but they’re designed to go there, so there’s very little fabric to annoy you. Thongs can be cute or classy, comfortable or trashy. You can wear a fancy thong on your wedding day, or choose the skimpiest style of g-string to wear every day under your skinny jeans. In a way, the thong is like the t-shirt bra for bottoms, because the right one can be worn under anything without showing.
6) Suspender belt
Suspender belts are a much ignored item of lingerie these days, with only a few styles available in most stores, most of which are usually designed for the bedroom rather than all-day stocking wear. However, Debenhams stock the Von Follies range by Dita von Teese which is beautiful as well as practical. The ‘Starlift’ set (pictured above) comes with a stunning 6-strap suspender belt (more straps = more secure stockings) that sits on your natural waist (the narrowest part of your torso) and so doesn’t get dragged down by the stockings. The dark turquoise lace trimmed set, the red flocked spot set and the pink lace trimmed set also have six straps.
Control underwear is essential for some and a complete no-no for others. Due to the simplicity of popular styles by brands like Spanx and Maidenform, many women assume that shapewear is just not sexy. This is simply not true. Debenhams have a lovely lace print range of shaping lingerie, including a bodysuit, slip, longline girdle, and high-waisted knickers. They also sell pretty pieces by Charnos and still stock the stunning Gossard ‘Retrolution’ slip, longline bra and waist cincher that I’ve been drooling over since I read a review by Retro Chick.
8) Slinky nightie
Silky fabrics against your skin as you slide into bed are like a delicious treat. A long satin and lace nightdress is not just for a honeymoon, but it’s often more practical to sleep in something shorter like a pretty chemise. It doesn’t need to be made of satin to be slinky though. Ted Baker’s black jersey and lace chemise is extremely glamorous, while Floozie By Frost French and Elomi both have cute babydolls that will unleash a more playful side to you.
9) Glamorous pyjamas
Feel like a film star even as the cold nights draw in by lounging around the house wearing some PJs in luxurious fabrics. You couldn’t fail to feel like royalty in purple satin pyjamas, and all A-listers surely wear soft jersey travel nightwear from DKNY when they’re sleeping on transatlantic flights, right? For those of you who have fantastic central heating in your homes, perhaps a camisole and shorts would be a better option.
10) Cosy nightwear
If you really want to ditch the glamour entirely and go for something 100% practical, you really can’t go wrong with a onesie. Well, until you need to go to the loo in a hurry. Then you might be better off with a comfy hooded nightshirt. Remember, lingerie and nightwear isn’t just about how you look in it – it’s how you feel wearing it that’s important. Brushed cotton PJs with sheep on them might be daft, but sometimes that’s just what you need. Pass the hot chocolate, let’s put the telly on.