What do our undies reveal about us Who leaves the house laced into a corset every morning and who'd say 'knickers' to anything other than control pants
06:40 GMT, 6 September 2012
Any woman worth her salt knows she’s supposed to wear matching underwear — but the truth is that most of us are more Bridget Jones than Brigitte Bardot when it comes to lingerie.
There is hope for us yet, though, since a recent poll suggests women are making more of an effort. One boutique has reported a 35 per cent rise in corset sales in the last year, while eBay has seen an 826 per cent rise in the sale of basques.
So which of us leaves the house laced into a corset every morning And who’d say ‘knickers’ to anything other than big control pants
On the outside… left to right: The busy mum, the vamp, the career woman, the girly girl and the retired divorcee
What lies beneath, from left to right: Matching polka dot ensemble, control bodice, mismatching cutesie bra and thong, corset and french knickers, nice underwear teamed with stockings and suspenders
mum Sam Merritt, 37, and her husband Reece, 40, a golf instructor, live
in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with their three children: Charnelle,
20, Nicole, 16, and Reece, eight. She says:
husband always jokes that I’m like a Christmas present — with terrible
wrapping paper but always something great on the inside!
usually wear jeans and T-shirts or jumpers but I’ve always made an
effort with my underwear. I like to wear sexy matching sets in black,
red or another vibrant colour — it’s part of who I am.
pride in my underwear is important: it feels like something personal
that’s just between me and my husband. When he comes home from work and
I’m wearing scruffy jeans, he’ll raise an eyebrow if he gets a peak of a
sexy bra strap then give me a kiss and a cuddle.
The busy mum: 'Taking pride in my underwear is important: it feels like something personal that's just between me and my husband' says Sam Merritt
It feels very special after 20 years together, and it’s great I can still have that effect on him after three children.
I had a cancer scare four years ago, which is one of the reasons I make an effort. I was told I had inoperable cervical cancer and could have chemotherapy to delay the inevitable, but I might not have long to live. It was devastating. The chemo really took it out of me and I ended up in a wheelchair for a while because I was so weak.
Thankfully the terminal diagnosis was wrong and I’ve been in remission for four years. But I’m still on medication to stop leg spasms, an after-effect of the treatment.
I lost a lot of confidence in myself and in my body, so wearing nice underwear is something that gives me a boost.
I own about 20 matching sets of bras and pants, and I buy new underwear about once a month. I don’t spend a lot — I usually go to high-street shops like Next or La Senza where a bra-and-knicker set can cost as little as 20.
There’s something about new underwear, and showing it to my husband, that gives me a kick. After everything I’ve been through, it’s lovely to be able to surprise him, and he’s very proud of me.’
Saskia Vese, 41, owns an online fashion boutique. She’s single and lives in Sheffield. She says:
My look is very vampish and sexy. ‘I have a 40-28-33 figure and a 32G bust, so I’m curvy with a slim waist. I like to wear wrap and halterneck dresses to show it off.
When you have an ample cleavage, it’s great to wear plunging necklines. I’m not afraid to wear bright colours such as yellow or tomato-red — the brighter the better.
Underneath it’s a different story, though. People might expect me to wear a sexy black or red basque but I usually wear control pants with a plain white bra.
The vamp: 'People might expect me to wear a sexy black or red basque but I usually wear control pants with a plain white bra', says Saskia Vese
My favourite colours are flesh, beige and white because they don’t show through my clothes. I team the knickers with a Wonderbra, sometimes wearing diamante straps if I think my bra might show.
My Bridget Jones-style pants might not be the sexiest item of clothing but they hold everything in and give me a nice line. I wouldn’t be able to wear clingy, sexy fabrics without them, and they help me feel confident in how I look.
My bedroom is very sexy, like a boudoir, so boyfriends have been surprised when I’ve undressed in front of them.
I have silky pink-and-red bedding, big silver mirrors, glitterballs and fairylights, so it’s something of a shock for them to see I’m not in sexy underwear.
My last boyfriend loved my control underwear, though. He said that it gave me a fantastic figure and accentuated my bust.’
Restaurant manager Frankie Colston, 30, is a single mother. She and her 11-year-old daughter Rachel live in Glasgow. She says:
My look is smart and professional on the outside — pencil skirts, high heels and blouses — but my underwear is always mismatched. I own about 60 pairs of knickers and thongs and about 25 bras but hardly any of them match.
Career woman: 'My look is smart and professional on the outside but my underwear is always mismatched,' reveals Frankie Colston
I work long hours in the restaurant and have to be smartly dressed so I need to wear something comfortable. I’m not bothered what it looks like because no one else is going to see it.
Despite the fact my underwear doesn’t match, I buy a lot of it. I probably buy some knickers or a bra every couple of weeks but I’m as happy with a 5 pack of five brightly coloured thongs from Primark as I am with a 70 bra in the Agent Provocateur sale. I never buy white — I prefer vibrant colours.
On a date I do try to wear matching underwear. But there have been occasions when I’ve forgotten, so when a boyfriend comes back I have to dash to my room for a quick change!
Tanicia Hayton, 22, is a jewellery design graduate from Preston, Lancashire. She says:
/09/05/article-2198818-14DAEEF7000005DC-858_306x523.jpg” width=”306″ height=”523″ alt=”Girly girl: 'Wearing something silky and well-designed next to my skin feels special,' admits corset fan Tanicia Hayton” class=”blkBorder” />
Girly girl: 'Wearing something silky and well-designed next to my skin feels special,' admits corset fan Tanicia Hayton
I have quite a shapely size 10-12 figure, so it’s important I make the best of it.
Shapewear holds me in, in all the right places, and I find myself holding my shoulders back and standing correctly. I feel slimmer when I’m wearing it, too.
Luxury lingerie can be quite expensive: the piece I’m wearing today cost 220 from online boutique Bordello Lingerie, and is called a ‘waspie’. I ask people to buy me underwear for gifts, and my boyfriend has bought me quite a few items. He says I’d look good in a bin bag but I’m sure he appreciates the effort I make.
I buy in the sales when I can but generally I don’t spend more than 50 on an item of underwear. And I prefer white or nude corsets, as they don’t show through my clothes. I’ve always been interested in fashion and particularly lingerie, to the point where I’d like to make it my career. I’m going to do a course to learn how to design it.’
Retired finance officer and divorcee Lynda Lim, 61, lives with her partner James, 58, a roofer, in West Sussex. She says:
It’s only since I lost about 2st five years ago that I’ve started wearing nice underwear teamed with stockings and suspenders. I’ve always worn decent lingerie but since I got down to a size 6-8 I feel sexier than ever, so I like to treat myself to beautiful underwear.
Retired divorcee: 'People might be surprised that a woman of my age wears sexy lingerie,' says Lynda Lim
People might be surprised that a woman of my age wears sexy lingerie but I don’t think I act, dress or think my age.
I wear modern clothes, slim-fit jeans or wide trousers with bright, colourful tops. If the tops are a little see-through and you can see some of the lovely lingerie underneath, all the better. Feeling sexy shouldn’t stop just because you reach 60.
James loves my choice in lingerie. Sometimes when we’re alone in the house, I walk around in just my underwear, and that makes me feel incredibly attractive.
I often buy lingerie when I’m visiting family in Singapore. Last time I was there, I came home with six silky sets of bras and pants in different colours.’