On Lingerie

Lingerie… doesn’t the very word make your heart beat a little faster? When a true lady, an entirely feminine creature from the top of her chignon to her ends of her toe-tips, contemplates all her wardrobe, invariably it is dainty, ethereal lingerie which is her greatest passion (naturally the competition for the softest spot in her heart with millinery, laces, gloves and many other categories of necessary and enjoyable articles is a tough one). If you so far have not discovered the delights of sophisticated lingerie, do not neglect it for another minute. Lingerie, the secret but for that very reason extremely satisfying aspect of good dressing should take its wonted place in the affections of the lady of cultured taste. What you wear underneath your clothes is just as or even more important than the visible clothes. In the first place, the fit and correct fall of outer clothes is governed by your underwear. A crisp silhouette can not be achieved without some form of moulding underwear, from the gentlest encouragement of elastic panty-girdle to the full armory of corset. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, even if your outer wear is governed by forces beyond your own control, at least in your underwear you can express all that you believe to be pretty and good.

Lingerie is a vast secret kingdom, no less fascinating and attractive than the visible world of day clothing built upon it. Consider all the necessary slips, panties or drawers, chemises and girdles worn every day every woman. Consider also the more luxurious, frothy negligees, the bridal ensembles of gown and robe, lacy nightgowns and the quilted silken bed jackets with gently fluttering eiderdown edgings. There you have a broad enough field to research without even branching to that mainstay of a beautiful figure – the corset, or foundation garment. In addition, grouped under the general heading of lingerie, but not worn as underthings, are house coats, peignoirs, and combing capes. Also all of these should receive the same care in choosing and sewing and same consideration for the elegance of decoration and beauty of line as the actual underwear.

underwear2Glamorous handmade lingerie has a peculiar appeal of its own. Many home sewers find pleasure in running up slips and nightgowns with dainty hand stitching and lavishing them with all the pretty decorations their imagination concocts and good taste accepts. Appliques, fine embroidered initials, creatively arranged stripes of lace and tucking, little rosettes placed in strategic spots, and unending combinations of drawn work, needlelace insertions, shadow embroidery, broderie anglaise etc. etc. allow for plenty of  variation and plenty of sweet work for skilled fingers. For inspiration, French handmade underwear has long been famous for its fine crepe, satin or chiffon, for its imaginative touches, for its use of fine Alençon lace and sophisticated hand embroidery.  

A thoroughly refined collection of charming intimacies – some in austerely tailored model, others daintily trimmed with fine hand-made lace and embroideries, is the foundation of the wardrobe of a cultured and chic lady. Indeed, it is worth pinching on the dresses and blouses and coats to be able to afford the finest and most delicate things to wear next to your skin. Nothing conveys such a delightful sense of well-being and elegance as the secure knowledge that one’s lingerie is just as one wishes it to be.

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