Underwear, underthings, undergarments, foundation garments, or, in the immortal words of my very proper British grandmother . . . smalls. No matter what you all them they are a vital part of any outfit and here's why . . .
Photo of self taken by Michelle, during the Blameless tour last year? And Dita.
Yes, here we have yours truly and Queen Dita herself making the very same horrible fashion error. Knitwear may looks solid but stretch it over the Rack and apply a flash camera and . . . WHOA! In my case I am wearing a very solid (and ill fitting, mind you) t-shirt bra, Dita is, well, not. What we both should have on under the knitwear is a nice solid microfiber nude colored tank over a good bra.
I get my tanks from Ross, Nordstrom's Rack, Marshalls, TJ Max, Kohls, and other discount stores
trying to match my skin tone as closely as possible. My most recent acquisitions are Shimera. I tend to hunt for ones with a thicker strap, it's smoother under the outfit and covers over the bra strap if you, like me, favor an odd colored bra.
|Bust Bodice 1905 The Victoria & Albert Museum|
I did go through a phase of wearing vintage slips or slip tanks under my shirts, which is the authentic way to go. It just didn't work out for me.
Photo by Kim.
So in this instance, at least, I suggest wearing a modern piece with your vintage.Proper Foundation Garments ~ The Full Details
I have detailed my quest for a good bra
extensively elsewhere, so I will not go into that debacle here. Currently, I am functioning on a three bra rotation for retro wear and a mostly sports bra centered lifestyle the rest of the time. In addition to the pink polka-dotted one above (which is a modified nursing bra, with no underwire, and the best retro conical 1950's shape I have been able to find) I have a black underwire that is too small so it rubs me raw after a while, but fits well enough for short stints, and is very supportive and almost retro looking.
It's a Wacoal, from Nordstrom's Rack.
I also own a very retro, far too small polka-dot number I bought about 10 years ago that I MAKE fit me because I love it. It is, sigh, padded, but oh so cute, from La Senza and defunked Spanish line that I bought when I lived in England.
Generally I avoid words like contour
because it's code for padded, and minimizer
because it means a size too small. Also I never buy or even consider and maker that only offers sml, med, lrg, xl, because the band will never fit if the chest does, and vise-versa. Speaking of bands, even though the band should
do all the work, I opt for wider straps when possible.
If I can find something without underwire that fits me I will always buy it (and try to find more online), but with my size, that's hugely rare. I have given some serious consideration into taking up shopping at new mother's stores for nursing bras, since they often come big but with small bands and no underwire. I have to take them home and deconstruct them, removing the nursing part and and clips and then stitching the straps. I haven't had to resort to such drastic measures yet, but when the polka-dot pink number dies, that's were I am headed.
Here's a super cute Wacoal
that comes in a nice range with band size down to 32 and cup size up to G. I might add it to my wish list . . .
The following companies do not make bras large enough for me: Bali, Barabera, Calvin Klein, Carnival, Champion, Curvation, Dominique, Donna Karen, Empreinte, La Leche League, Grenier, Lilyette, Marie Jo, Movign Comfort, Natori, Olga, Panache, Playtex, QT, Simone, Valmont, Vanity Faire, Fredrick's, Victoria Secret
. And yes, I have the list memorized.
|Corset 1900s The Chicago History Museum|
Admittedly, I haven't tried all the vendors that offer bras in (supposedly) my size, but that is because many of them are British and not available to TRY ON here. I number in my everyday pretty collection: Freya, Alegro, Felina, Lunaire
(both slightly small but too cute to resist), and some wireless Wacoals
I love but they really don't fit right. I tend to shop for bras at Nordstrom Rack and then write down the names and size and codes if they fit but I don't like the color, and then go hunting online. Or if I like the color, I buy the bra and then find the matching underwear on line (I'm obsessed with matching underthings).