+ Building a Wardrobe

Winter Is Coming: Refresh Your Basic Intimates

Every fall, I clean out my dresser drawers.  Worn out undergarments, tights, and tanks all make their way into the trash bin, to be replaced by new versions.  Refreshing my foundation garments ensures that my bras fit properly, my tights are free of runs, and everything feels and fits like new (or almost new).

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1. Hanky Panky Bare Eve Thong ($22).  Smooth and sleek under even the tightest-fitting clothes, these are my favorite thong on the market.  I also find them to be really comfortable, even after 8+ hours. They also make a smooth boyshort if you’re not a thong-wearer.

Because Hanky Panky underthings are so expensive, I baby them.  I use an intimates bag, the delicate cycle, and wash powder.  Looking for a less expensive alternative?  Hanes makes a similar thong that comes in at $7 per pair.

2. Boyshorts are my ‘sleeping underwear’ of choice.  (I don’t know how women sleep in thongs; I cannot do it.)  Hanky Panky makes a lace version with a cotton gusset that’s a little nicer than the cotton options.  If you’re looking for cotton, Victoria’s Secret makes a nice option (though some of the prints, eek!).  Other places to look include Gap, Wet Seal, and Aerie.

3. Spanx. I don’t wear a shaper every day, but I like to have two on hand in case I need them.  I like to have a high-waist pair and a simple pair of shorts.  Looking for something less snug, but still smoothing?  Several readers recommend Jockey Slipshorts.

4. Basic Bras. I used to be one of those women who wore my bras until they fell apart.  Then, I realized that when they’re worn out, they don’t fit well.  So to give my girls maximum lift, I like to keep my bra selection fresh.

I recommend owning three bras: one flesh-toned racerback (or convertible), one black, and one strapless.  Smooth bras can be worn under anything without fear of showing through.  This Calvin Klein multi-way bra is a great basic.  I also like his mesh-accented t-shirt bra.  This Simon Perele bra is a good option.  If you want a fully smooth bra, I own this bra from Felina.

If you’re a bustier lady and you have a bra you’d like to recommend, please leave your recommendation in the comments.  If you’re on the smaller side, Jean at ExtraPetite recommends Little Bra Co..

5. Tights are a winter-time essential.  I like mine thick, the more denier the better.  Falke makes a 100 denier tight that I love.  Commando makes a nice tight that has a comfort waistband, though I sometimes get a pair that won’t stay up (it’s inexplicable).  For an affordable option, Merona makes a 50 denier tight and ASOS makes a 120 denier pair.

And, since I think they bring a little spunkiness and sultriness to your wardrobe, micro-fishnets from Berkshire or DKNY.

6. Tanks that can be worn under sweaters and sheer blouses are an essential.  I love these wide-strap, flesh-toned tanks for every day because they cover my bra straps.  This one is from Commando, but Nordstrom also makes a nice one.  A lace trim tank peeking out from under a v-neck sweater is a pretty little something.  I also like this Maidenform tank with a bit of control top.

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    28 comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    I just discovered a new type of bra/tank that is life-changing. It’s like a cross between a camisole and a sports bra, so it stops at your rib cage. This prevents all the bunching at the waist that happens when you wear a tank/camisole under something (and that gets even worse when you try to tuck all of it in). Here’s an example: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/wacoal-b-fitting-bralette/3428034?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Nude&resultback=3368

    September 24, 2015/Reply
    • Anna says:

      Omg, this is awesome. I had started folding my cami to get that same effect whenever I wore dresses with deep Vs.

      September 24, 2015/Reply
    • Tricia says:

      I love these little bralettes, they are perfect for covering up that gap between blouse buttons (I wear one over my bra). Also excellent for sleeping.

      September 24, 2015/Reply
  2. Beth says:

    For larger-chested ladies, the ‘Fantasie’ Strapless Bra is the best I’ve found out there. For everyday, I like the Panache ‘Porcalein” bra – both are smooth, so I never worry about unsightly lines or bumps.

    September 24, 2015/Reply
  3. Melinda says:

    Simon Perele Amour Plunge TShirt Bra is hands down the BEST bra I have ever worn. I wear a 30F.

    September 24, 2015/Reply
  4. Ruchita says:

    Bras can be expensive, but I have found good ones a Nordstrom Rack in the $20-$40 range as opposed to $60 and above. I was pleased to see that they had a variety of sizes as well.

    September 24, 2015/Reply
  5. e says:

    Question about buying bras while pregnant. Anyone have suggestions on how to make this work without spending a fortune? I’m 12 weeks now, and outgrowing my normal bras, but not sure how to make the jump to the next size up just yet. I need something that will work under blouses, so I’m thinking basic nude and black. What’s worked best for any other moms in the past?

    Also, if anyone knows of decent maternity tights, please let me know. I’m in for a long cold winter in the midwest, so these are essential.

    September 24, 2015/Reply
    • miss m says:

      Congrats! I recommend this set of bra extenders (inexpensive, multiple colors, and available in both 2 hook and 3 hook closures) It helped get me through most of my current pregnancy with the bras I already own. I’m pretty busty already (and 4 weeks out from my due date) so I am spilling out of the cups of all my bras now, but I plan to go buy some nursing bras that fit properly as soon as she is born and my milk comes in.

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0083QLPY8?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

      September 24, 2015/Reply
    • Jess says:

      I purchased extenders so I could use my normal bras a little bit longer. Eventually I was forced to buy new bras and just got a few in basic colors. If you’re planning on nursing, my advice is to wait on buying nursing bras until 37/38 weeks – things continue to change a lot!

      I loved ASOS maternity tights – they were really comfortable and reasonably priced.

      September 24, 2015/Reply
      • Deb says:

        You likely will be able to use normal tights for a while. I had problems with maternity tights falling down until close to the end of my pregnancy. Spanx maternity tights are expensive, but I loved them. I do not recommend Seraphine tights.

        September 25, 2015/Reply
  6. K says:

    In the light shaper category, I like Uniqlo’s. They have a lace waistband that isn’t too obtrusive, and just make dresses and skirts lay better–like a slip that also prevents chafing in the summer. Plus, they’re usually $8.

    September 24, 2015/Reply
  7. Monica says:

    I’m on this same kick, after being pregnant and going through the changing body for two years post-pregnancy I’m finally updating my bras, underwear and lingerie. I forgot how expensive it is, but I feel so much better wearing well fitting supportive underthings!

    September 24, 2015/Reply
  8. GInny says:

    Some people where thongs to bed?? I am baffled by this. Never heard of it before. What’s the point? Even wearing regular underwear to bed seems odd to me.

    September 24, 2015/Reply
  9. Rachel says:

    Target makes 100 denier tights as well (in their Merona Premium line) as well as sweater tights. And I own a lot of H&M’s 100 denier and fleece-lined tights; they hold up surprisingly well for the price.

    I actually learned from my gyno recently that, unless it’s that time of the month, you should never wear undies to bed – your lady parts need to breathe! I never knew this, and it’s changed my life.

    September 24, 2015/Reply
    • Valerie says:

      I don’t think the advice is that strongly worded… OB/GYNs’ main concern is that tightly-fitting and non-cotton undies can sometimes encourage bacteria growth that can lead to UTIs. But you don’t have to ditch them completely if you feel comfortable wearing them, docs just suggest a looser-fitting, non-synthetic fabric if you’re more prone to infections.

      September 25, 2015/Reply
  10. Yael says:

    As a bustier lady, I prefer seamed bras to moulded cup. The shape of the moulded cups is always wrong on me and leaves my bust looking heavy and weird. I like the Panache Andorra (https://www.panache-lingerie.com/en/products/details/panache/andorra/full-cup-bra/pearl) for great shape and a good firm band. I wear a 28G. It is unlined and lace, so sexy, but I can still wear it under all my t-shirts that aren’t white. I like Cleo by Panache for fun prints (https://www.panache-lingerie.com/en/products/details/cleo-by-panache/marcie/a/nude) and a Polish brand called Avocado for seriously sultry bras that are comfortable all day. https://avocado.com.pl/en/lingerie/222-reglisse-s188k-bra.html#/size-60g/color-black

    September 24, 2015/Reply
    • kate says:

      +2 for Panache! My go to t shirt bra is Porcelain.

      September 24, 2015/Reply
  11. Cathy says:

    As a very busty lady my go to bra is always Calvin Klein’s Perfectly Fit T-shirt bras. They are smooth so I can wear them under any type of shirt and don’t have to deal with the spill over that can be awkward and not to mention uncomfortable. Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale this year had a great one with a little bit of lace. https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/calvin-klein-perfectly-fit-lace-trim-t-shirt-bra/4177416?origin=categorypersonalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=5399

    September 24, 2015/Reply
    • Barbra says:

      They only go up to DD’s – not all that large, actually. For those of us who are bigger in the cups, I recommend Freya and Fantasie for both t-shirt and fancy bras, and Wacoal for sports bras. I’m a 34G and generally can find what I’m looking for between these 3 brands. They’re all available at Nordstroms and on Amazon.

      September 24, 2015/Reply
      • MP says:

        34DDD here. The Fantasie bras are amazing. RUN, don’t walk, to Nordstrom and get yourself one.

        September 24, 2015/Reply
  12. Andrea says:

    Do you have a recommendation for nude hoisery? Thanks!

    September 24, 2015/Reply
  13. Aparna says:

    My go to bras are Chantelle Rive Gauche. They go on sale at Nordstrom ever so often and are brallelujah for the DDD+.
    https://shop.nordstrom.com/sr?origin=keywordsearch&contextualcategoryid=0&keyword=Chantelle+rive+

    September 25, 2015/Reply
  14. Christina Gorga says:

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned yet about in the comments, but I’m a big fan of Soma’s Embraceable Demi-Cup bras. I’m petite up top but the 34As fit me here perfectly. For those that are on a budget, the Gillian and O’Malley label from Target also has plenty of “grown-up” lingerie styles with lots of A and B cup sizes for those of us in the Itty Bitty Titty committee.

    September 25, 2015/Reply
  15. EM says:

    I think this has been addressed before, but what are people’s favorite non-thong underwear to avoid visible lines?

    September 25, 2015/Reply
  16. Kate says:

    While a bit pricey ($150+), Prima Donna is my favorite. I wear a 34 I. I also looove their seasonal colors. Very pretty, lots of lift & generally, very functional. I handwash with lingerie wash every time & hang dry.

    September 25, 2015/Reply
  17. Melissa says:

    Best bras for the larger ladies: Fayreform; Panache; Fantasie;Elomi.

    September 26, 2015/Reply
  18. Keilexandra says:

    I’m a 32A/B and love Natori bras, especially their Feathers style.

    September 27, 2015/Reply
    • Yellowrose says:

      34C and Natori is my go-to, also Keilexandra!

      September 28, 2015/Reply