April 1, 2008

Yay, Granny Panties!

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Some of the most fundamental components of an outfit are the things that you can’t see. Confidence, a good fit and underwear (we don’t want to see your baggy boxers or ultra tight thong) are some essential elements in being well dressed. Underwear is the figurative and literal core of a great wardrobe.
Underwear should be relatively comfortable. Except for those who go commando, we have it on all day and don’t have the option to remove it like an itchy wool scarf. However, there is a point where comfort must meet function. Sticking with “grandma” underwear and not trying other types of undies is a fashion sin. Underwear, like any other fashionable item, must be worn based on the style, fit and the rest of the outfit.
Underwear, more than any other item of clothing, must fit well. If your undies don’t fit then there may be some seriously disastrous results. When underwear is too small it can create uncomfortable and unsightly underwear lines or even produce rolls where there were none to begin with. This will most likely result in the unfortunate phenomenon called muffin-tops, which can occur both on the hips, chest and upper back. When underwear is too large then its baggy presence will be sensed from under jeans, slacks or dresses. Wearing the right outfit with the wrong underpants will spoil the rest of the ensemble.
When underwear fits properly it should not be noticeable and may even enhance one’s fit in clothes. Different underwear should be worn for different outfits. Thongs, boy shorts and plain old seamless undies all have their place in a wardrobe. If your pants, skirt or dress are tight then you should wear underwear that don’t show any lines, whether on your rear or on your hips. This is especially important for leggings or any pants that don’t have back pockets. Underwear should also be about as high as the waist of your pants, so that they don’t stick out or slip down too low. Additionally, if you’re wearing a mini skirt or short dress then a pair of boy shorts might prevent you from pulling a Britney.
Also, beware of having your thong stick out of low cut jeans. The thongs that are made with charms dangling on the upper portion of the rear are absolutely offensive. I can assure you that your friends, professors, parents and the general public have no interest in seeing a sparkly little heart dangling between your butt cheeks. Perhaps even worse than seeing trashy undies is seeing no undies at all and just the depths of ass-cleavage; so pull your pants up or wear a longer shirt with low cut jeans.
Guys are not exempt from these seemingly female rules about underwear. Men also should be aware of the fit of their undies. Boxers, briefs and tightie-whities (Editor’s Note: Banana Hammock!) can be rotated depending on the outfit or occasion. A tighter pair of pants or a tuxedo, for example, may look better with briefs than with boxers. For more casual looks, no one wants to see numerous inches of boxers between a guy’s waist and the waist of his jeans slung around his mid thigh ( Editor’s Note: Seriously, did your girl Cher teach you nothing?). Jeans are meant to be worn around the waist and boxers are meant to be concealed beneath them. No one really cares what brand of boxers you are wearing. So like the women, keep your pants around your waist and try not to overtly expose your underwear.
Bras, like undies, can also make or break an outfit depending on their fit. A bra should provide good support and shape and not create any bulges or muffin-tops. Strapless, racerback and push-up bras should all be utilized for their intended purposes. The bras with clear plastic straps just don’t cut it, so with a tube top or other style of top that doesn’t permit wearing a regular bra, stick with a strapless. Along with a bra, other undergarments can be used to shape the female body. Spanx, spandex shorts and forms of the modern-day corset can also be worn under clothes for a slimming effect. The “cottage cheese” look (an even more awkward food reference than muffin-tops) can also be reduced with the use of these products.
However, undergarments do have their place to be exposed in the bedroom. Nowhere is fit more important than when underwear is worn with nothing over them. Sometimes less is more, and sometimes more is just necessary. Girls, pick out lingerie that flatters your body type — chest, butt, tummy and thighs especially. Boys, pick out bottoms that flatter your physique (including your family jewels, as explained by my anonymous pal who was the inspiration for this column).
Underwear can often be about sex appeal, but unless you’re ready to bare it all in a private location (library stacks), keep that sex appeal in your pants. Although undies are hopefully concealed beneath your clothes, they can make or break an outfit. While a good fitting pair of underwear can flatter your body and make your clothes fit better, a bad fitting pair can definitely wreck an outfit. So the next time you put on you pocket-less, fitted, khaki trousers, avoid wearing your grandma’s undies.