Colgate Couture: “Fasion Gets Intimate”



Lisa Maschianti

Earlier this month, our furry groundhog friend did not see his shadow. Just today my car’s thermometer hit 40 (okay, fine it was more like 38, but still). Now the calendar officially confirms that it is mid-Feb­ruary. In sum, it seems the time has come that we can start talking about spring again. It feels like just yes­terday it was late September, Fashion Week was a hot top­ic and I was writing up an early preview of the spring 2011 lines. But now that spring is upon us, we must get into the real nuts and bolts of the trends to come.

I know I have said it be­fore and I will say it again: in fashion, sometimes a look is so bad it is good. High fashion exploits the traditional list of style in­fractions because they are irreverent, unexpected and therefore interesting. And according to the fashion police, there are few faux pas quite as egregious as “letting the intimates out,” metaphorically speaking. That is, visible under­wear is generally understood as a no-no; pink striped panties peeking through a fitted, sheer frock or black bra straps poking out of an off-the-shoulder sweater kill the effect. Along the same vein, convention says that a nightie should be strictly for bedtime; sporting pajama pants in public is nothing but a bad middle school fad. Yet, once again, the world of high fashion has taken these rookie mistakes and turned them into knowing statements. Underwear as outerwear and pajama dressing are huge trends for spring 2011.

If you like the idea, you are in good company. On the spring 2011 runways, lingerie and PJ inspired garb dressed the mod­els of Michael Kors, Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Narciso Rodriguez, Donna Karan and Thakoon just to name a few. So, how does one go about this trend properly and avoid looking trashy or sloppy?

One great option is the corset. Structured, flattering and certainly sexy, choose one in a nice neutral tone; off-set it with a colorful, classy and preferably high-waisted skirt or pair of slacks. A similar effect can be achieved with a bralet top. Tap pants, which are like lingerie shorts, are another great resource for accessing this trend. A pair in a pretty feminine print and delicate fabric is ideal. Counterbalance them with a bit more coverage and formality on the top, something like a lightweight blazer. Similarly, billowy, brightly colored, pat­terned long pants are also cropping up everywhere. Reminis­cent of pajamas but with a cut that tapers a bit at the ankle, these pants of the season look carefree but not careless. H&M has a fun selection. One more idea is to try wearing slips as dresses. Check out Free People’s “Intimately Free” line, which offers some really fantastic finds. You may need to work with them a bit, just to ensure that you are properly covered, but they can create a quite nice effect. If you still think you would be uncomfortable with such an overt display of innerwear, try incorporating lacy, sheer or gauzy pieces into your wardrobe as a more subtle way to reference the trend.

So, give this risqué look a try, if only because it may be the only time it is okay to leave home in just your underwear.