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When it comes to accessorising with and styling lingerie as outerwear, I often hear people say that they aren’t comfortable getting creative. There is also the reality that Instagram styling is often not suited for everyday activities. Yes, a longline bra can give as much coverage as a top, but how comfortable are you with having only lace between your body and the world? As much as we love a daring outfit, there are also subtler ways to integrate lingerie into outfits on a regular basis.
Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
In the past 5 years, I have seen more and more brands producing their version of a lingerie skirt. In so many ways, lingerie seems to sometimes have no other purpose than existing as a pretty garment. Lingerie skirts can feel this way at times. However, some of them are relatively long and can be easily layered over a more opaque bottom. Playing with shape and sheerness can make for a very sophisticated look, without giving the impression of going out naked, if that is a concern of yours.
The same way that we easily wear kimonos and robes as oversized cardigans, a lacy lingerie skirt over an opaque satin or microfiber half-slip can add some drama to a spring or summer outfit. You can even play with length by wearing a shorter opaque garment under a long lingerie skirt, or a short lingerie skirt over a long opaque one to create a peplum effect.
Lingerie jewellery is, again, a concept that seems to exist only to celebrate one’s love for their body. Who wouldn’t want to feel like a goddess covered in gold and pearls? Don’t certain pieces reinforce the idea that wearing clothes is almost a lack of appreciation for the beauty of nature? Though, if you want to get more use from these extravagant accessories, I recommend wearing them over simpler yet fluid garments. A plain satin dress or top can easily transform into a beautiful evening outfit thanks to elegant bodychains.
Sheer organza garments
Organza tops are one way to add an extra layer between delicate lingerie that you might want to show off and the external world. Though it is very sheer, I found that it helps a lot psychologically to own the fact that my lingerie is on display. It gives the impression of a well thought-out design and not simply going out half-naked. These tops are mostly available in polyester, unfortunately, but you can also find silk organza if you spend some time looking for them on the internet.
Waist cinching accessories have been trending. They exist in a lot of different styles and qualities. If you are looking for intense cinching, specialised corset makers are the way to go. If you only want a way to complete an outfit – let’s say a jumpsuit, oversized t-shirt, or a dress – then you may go for any piece you please.
Waist cinchers are easier to wear than corsets. They are usually more comfortable and more flexible, fabric and construction-wise. Often, in ready-to-wear stores they won’t even have ribbon at the back, which makes them easy to put on or take off. Personally, I always size down when these pieces are sold in lettered sizing (S, M, L etc.) instead of based on waist measurement.
Cupless underbust bustiers
Bustiers, like waist cinchers, can be seen as garments that structure the upper part of the body. Of course, depending on quality and design, you might get a more or less intentional cinching effect from a bustier. Unlike waist cinchers, they sit around your ribs and usually end around your waistline. The cinching is then only an accentuation of the waistline helped by your own body shape. Worn over a t-shirt dress, it can really make a fashion statement.
Modern-day stays are bust-supporting garments that are usually meant to be worn over clothes. The trend is actually getting very popular on social media. While you might be able to wear them as underwear, it is a lingerie-resembling garment that can be worn outside your home quite easily. Stays usually have wide shoulder straps, which means they can be worn over thinner ones and create the impression of seamlessly blending with the garment underneath. Worn over an ample garment, they can also create structure. I love that they can uplift the breasts and create a generous heart-shaped neckline.
Belts & harnesses
Leather and metallic garments can really change the look of an outfit. While associated with the BDSM aesthetic, harnesses come in all shapes and forms. Whether it is a leather choker, belt, or peplum skirt, they are usually versatile and will give a very intentional feel to your final attire.
Detachable balloon sleeves
Lingerie accessories are getting more and more fun. While detachable (or standalone) sleeves aren’t a new thing, seeing the Studio Pia Gabriella collection reminded me of their existence. They are usually made of tulle or satin and can be found in wedding-focused online stores – there are lots of them on Etsy*. I am really hoping to see more of that from lingerie brands, as it can really turn a bra into a top if you dare wear it this way!
Adjacent to detachable sleeves, gloves are actually associated with evening wear. We rarely wear gloves for reasons other than to fight the cold nowadays, but they are a beautiful way to add sophistication to an outfit. Just like we wear rings and bracelets, gloves can serve a similar goal. The use of mesh and lace but also metallic hardware, pearls, and embroidery make gloves a beautiful hybrid between lingerie and jewellery.
They come in all lengths and styles and if you are just starting with accessorisation, I recommend short gloves that only cover the hands. They’ll be discreet enough to own them proudly, if you are shy about your styling.
Do you get creative with your lingerie or lingerie-inspired pieces? If not, what is preventing you from doing so?