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Power Shopper

Wow. Ladies’ lingerie has truly gotten innovative.

This is my fifth column (congratulatory gifts of chocolate will be happily accepted at the Gulfshore Life office). It’s been great getting to know you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know me. We’ve learned things about each other, right? Our relationship has grown, and now it’s time to get … intimate.

That’s right, it’s time to haul open that creaky old delicates drawer and take stock. Because progress has been made, ladies! I would go so far as to say: There have been innovations!

Luckily, I have a friend who is ripe for a new lingerie wardrobe. Tanya lives down the street from me, and I’ve been privileged to watch her and her husband start their family and produce two beautiful children. Which is nice and all. But there comes a time to move beyond those post-pregnancy items, and I’ve decided Tanya has reached it.

I was concerned she wouldn’t agree, and I would have to dope up her coffee and wrestle her into the car against her will. Who wants their friend to say, "Sweetie, I think your girls would rather be back on your chest rather than resting on your hips"? But apparently I underestimated her, and my car had barely screeched to a halt in her driveway before she’d flung herself and her trusty Visa card into the passenger seat.

We were both ready to get out of town, so we tooled on up to Fort Myers to check out the Bell Tower Shops. I’d heard rumors that Soma, Chico’s FAS Inc.’s lingerie concept, had introduced a fabulous new panty. Being my usual cynical self, and on your behalf, I felt the need to investigate.

Ladies, the days of Spandex invading your most personal space are officially over. I admit that I bought into the whole thong thing to banish the dreaded VPL*, and I even said, "No, no they’re perfectly comfortable," to my husband when he asked. (They all ask, don’t they?)

But Soma has granted us salvation by introducing the Vanishing Edge panty! We’ve heard the promises before. We’ve wanted to believe. But this time someone delivered. They’re wispy, they’re light, they have the thinnest strips of silicone on the cheeks to keep them where they’re supposed to be, and they don’t show even a hint of a line. Not under denim, nor linen, nor silk.

I’m envisioning women across the land flinging thongs into their waste cans, shouting, "Free at last!" That’s right, it’s the Great Thong Revolution of 2008, and I predict that someday our great-granddaughters will gasp and look at us in horror when we describe the awful things we used to endure to avoid VPLs.

I bought two of each color and convinced Tanya to spring for a few. I also picked up a camisole and a pair of boy shorts from the OnGossamer line, and, as one would expect from such a moniker, they are as airy and delicate as angels’ wings.

Now that our nether regions have been nudged into the 21st century, let’s move north, shall we? The ’80s gave us the Wonderbra, the ’90s introduced gel-filled enhancers. All this pushing, pressing and boosting are great, but what we really need is a bra we can wear with anything.

Need a completely random example? Let’s take, oh, say, a 38-year-old, decently endowed writer who wants to wear one of the cool new one-shouldered tops … in public. There’s only one place to turn for this sort of engineering miracle, so after stopping briefly at the muy fabuloso Cantina Laredo for a raspberry spinach salad to keep us focused on our task, we tackle Victoria’s Secret.

When I explain my issues to the young saleswoman, she immediately knows what I need and uses her spiffy little headset to alert another saleswoman that I am headed to the next room. Sure enough, we’re greeted as soon as we enter, and she leads me right to the new 100-Way bra from the Very Sexy collection.

This bra actually comes with its own book. A book! I’m in the dressing room in a flash, and as promised, I can move the straps around to every half-inch of the cups and band, making this the go-to bra for every top style—one-shouldered, halter, racerback, boatneck, strapless, low-backed and navel-plunging. I’ve never seen anything like this, and I am officially sold!

Tanya tries on, and adores, the new Ipex bra from the Body By Victoria collection. She is so pleased that I try one on too. And, again, I am enticed enough to buy. The Ipex bra has straps wide and padded enough to not leave marks but thin enough to hide under most necklines, and full-coverage cups, which put the kibosh on any "runneth over." Super support without that "old-lady bra" look.

Now, we’ve covered the innovative new basics. There’s a lot more to lingerie than basics, and I plan on covering those fun items in a future column. In the meantime, toss the ill-fitting, the sprung, the faded and the thongs. It’s a brand-new day!

*If you have to ask, you’re clearly a man. VPL stands for Visible Panty Line, feminine fashion horror-of-horrors.

Let’s Talk Lingerie

Soma Intimates
Vanishing Edge Panty $12
(bikini, hipster, high-leg brief or modern brief)
OnGossamer Camisole $34
OnGossamer Boy Short $18

Victoria’s Secret
Very Sexy 100-Way Bra $49.50–$55.50
Body By Victoria Ipex Bra $45–$51

Also Recommended

Le Mystere Dream Tisha Bra $68
Wacoal Keep It Classic Bra $60
Hanky Panky Bikini Panty $26

Saks Fifth Avenue
Chantelle Legende Underwire Bra $82
La Perla Vintage Contour Bra $127

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