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Lingerie Lays the Foundation for a Good Relationship With Your Clothes


Like their ready-to-wear counterparts, undergarments are in a fashion class of their own. In fact, designers are creating undergarments that complement ready-to-wear styles in both silhouettes and colors.

Liz Torres, assistant intimate apparel buyer at Nordstrom, says foundations--the more formal term--are now offered in a multitude of fashion colors, as well as current styles. Some are versatile halter-top bras or slips with side slits to flatter the popular slim skirt.

"What's important to keep in mind," she says, "is that undergarments shape or contain parts of the body and affect the look of the clothes worn over them."

A slim or toned body may need fewer foundations than heavier or underendowed figures that need more balance or control, but in any case, what is worn underneath may make or break the successful flow of a garment.

The following are some guidelines for the proper use of foundations:

* Pantyhose worn alone give the smoothest line under pants or a slim skirt.

* A bikini panty may cause a line in light-colored pants or skirt. To avoid this, a full-brief panty is recommended.

* When wearing underpants trimmed with lace or contrasting appliques, make sure the lace or applique is soft or of a stretchy fabric. This will avoid creating a shadow line under snug pants or skirt.

* In general, girdles do not decrease overall body volume; they smooth out the figure's bulges and give a sleek appearance. However, some of the newer styles promise to trim one inch off of the stomach.

* Bra cups should fit smoothly, with no wrinkles or tension.

* For sleek dresses, an all-in-one body smoother (or bodysuit) will provide a bra and some stomach control. It can also be a flattering outerwear piece when worn with a jacket and skirt or jacket and pants.

* The color that works best under most garments is a nude shade that matches the skin. Ivory or nude also best camouflage panty lines.

* When wearing a slip under a sheer dress, it is advisable to either wear a strapless bra or a slip or camisole that has wide shoulder straps. This way your shoulders will not look like a mass of straps.

* To avoid a hanging slip, slip lengths should be 1/2-inch shorter than the hemline of the dress.

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