The last time we saw a shift towards lingerie as outerwear was the 1980s, and while I exude a general disdain for that decade I can’t help but admit that certain fashion elements which emerged from it do have a place in this decade and the next. And so it is that we see various pieces of underwear return to the fore as outwear to feature amongst 2009 and 2010 fashion trends. And in many ways this may become one of the ubiquitous fashion trends; one that is transseasonal, and one that emerges as we pay fresh attention to tights and stockings as a feature piece, and not just an accessory, courtesy of the ripped stockings trend.
But what elements exactly? And how do women play to the racy element without going so far as to look cheap?
Of all the looks to emerge around underwear as outerwear, exposed stay-ups and suspenders are inarguably the most risque and the most difficult to pull off. But that hasn’t stopped the most daring of women trying, and I’ve already spotted it on the streets, in street style blogs, and on the celebrities such as Mischa Barton (see more updates on who has worn it below).
Though difficult to pull off, thanks to a come-back of patterned-stockings and tights women have a huge array of options. Take, for instance, Agent Provocateur’s snake stay-ups whose snake-motif will distract from the fact that these are indeed stay-ups.
One thing I would say in this area: avoid wearing stockings as outwear. Yes, Sienna Miller got away with it at the New York after-party of Factory Girl. But there are two points to make here: the first is that it already looks dated, the second is that she is Sienna Miller. And it’s the second point that allowed her to get away with it.
People Wearing Lingerie as Outerwear
Designer Jessica Choay's lingerie lean (13 Mar 2012)
First emerging on the catwalks in Spring/Summer 2008, lingerie-inspired garments have their basis in corsetry. Back then bodices and boning gave way to free-flowing pieces that took, and continue to take, their inspiration from delicately feminine lingerie. styles.
Slips and camisoles may just well be the best use of lingerie as outwear as their intricate detailing and light fabrics often make their quality on par with dresses one might find on the high-street. This does have the detraction of making them only suitable for the Spring/Summer seasons however.
If you’re looking to try slips and camisoles as outwear look to pair it with other fashion trends, such as the sheer fashion trend. But remember it’s a feminine look, so one that is harder to pair with heavier elements (but not impossible; it’s not too hard to envisage a slip paired off against heavier, shin length boots). If you’re looking to take inspiration from the catwalks pair the look with bold accessories, leather belts and chunky heels.
Seasons This Underwear Trend Is For
As I wrote in the introduction, lingerie and underwear is trans-seasonal and will work in both Autumn(Fall)/Winter and Spring/Summer seasons; naturally individual elements and colours will lend themselves to either/or seasons but there are no strict rules here.