Review: Party season ‘solution’ underwear from UK Lingerie

I used to laugh at the idea of underwear being viewed as a ‘solution’, because I thought lingerie should be much more fun than that, but then I started developing a liking for clothing that couldn’t really be worn with the current contents of my underwear drawer. Necklines too wide for bra straps, low backs, sheer shoulders, skirts too figure hugging for VPL… suddenly the idea of sensible comfortable underwear that could easily go under any bombshell party frock started to seem very appealing. Once you have the right foundations, you can just fling your best pin-up frock on top and feel comfortable while everyone gasps in admiration, right?

Spankx mid-thigh shorts and Dominique 'Noemi' bra, from UK LingerieOf course, because shopping for pretty underwear is so much more exciting than snapping up basics, I didn’t get round to fixing this issue for years. So, when UK Lingerie offered me a chance to review something for Rarely Wears Lipstick, I couldn’t resist going for something that would work effortlessly under a gorgeous Stop Staring wiggle dress that’s been sat lonely in my wardrobe for a while.

As my tummy and thighs are rather squishy (and so tight elastic easily creates VPL), I decided to go for some Spanx to smooth everything out under the figure hugging frock. I’ve got some shapewear pieces already for wearing under the few pencil skirts I own but, as Spanx are the market leader, I thought this would be a good opportunity to find out if they’re actually the best. There are a lot of options, but I decided to go with a black mid-thigh short (that has a dreadful product name which I won’t repeat here) in the largest size, XL. They arrived quickly and I was amazed at how soft and lightweight the fabric was, compared to the other shapewear I own. The shorts are very comfortable to wear and do a great job of smoothing my size 16 hips and thighs, but they don’t ride or roll up at all on the legs, which is very impressive. If your festive party plans involve dancing, these would definitely be a good choice!

Wearing the Spanx and Dominique bra underneath my Stop Staring dressUK Lingerie also very kindly offered to send me a bra, so I decided to re-live my 80s Madonna fantasy and go for the ‘Noemi’ longline backless bra from Dominique. They don’t go up to my usual size of 32E, but I figured a larger band would perhaps be helpful in this style anyway, so I went for a sister size of 34DD and hoped for the best.

I have to be honest here… getting a good fit with a bra brand you don’t know can be tough, but with this particular bra it’s a lot more tricky than I expected. I wasn’t sure whether Dominique use the ‘plus four/five’ method of sizing or something more straightforward like ‘band size = underbust measurement’ so my ordering on this was total guesswork. Turns out, the 34DD has a band measurement of 27″, and the band sits on my natural waist which measures 32″ (same as my underbust). Seeing as the cups don’t go any larger on this style, there was no point in returning the bra for a different size, so I clipped in a bra extender to see if that would work – thankfully it did!

The bra is a great shape but, perhaps inevitably due to the low back, doesn’t give a massive amount of support for larger sizes. However, it was comfortable and gave a good amount of coverage on the front, so would be great for posing and sipping cocktails in but perhaps less good for very enthusiastic dancing! If your waist is smaller than your underbust measurement, and you’re an A-D cup, I suspect it would be much easier to find your size in the Dominique. Still, it worked well for me with the bra extender and was perfect for nipping in my waist a bit more under the sheer shouldered dress.

If you’re in the market for good hard-working underwear that lets you get on with being the embodiment of poised perfection that you know you are, the Spanx mid-thigh short (51) and Dominique ‘Noemi’ bra (60) are definitely a good combination. Another bonus is that the Spanx are machine washable and dry really fast, due to the light breathable fabric, so I can really see why they’re a market leader. Now excuse me while I make cocktail plans that involve wearing this outfit!

DISCLOSURE: I was sent the Spanx mid-thigh short and Dominique Noemi bra for free to review by UK Lingerie.

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