Spring Fashion Trends 2013: Can You Wear Underwear As Outerwear?

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - The four lead characters on HBO's "Girls" wear bras and underwear, and so do real women.

These are the few consistent items in the wardrobe of the 20-somethings that costume designer Jenn Rogien creates for the show, which follows a group of young women (Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet) in what is touted as the next-gen "Sex and the City."

The characters seem to spend a lot of time with the audience seeing their undergarments. Some of them wear them correctly and use the foundation pieces to their very best advantage, says Rogien, and some just don't get them at all, which is how it is with almost any group of women.

Rogien has signed on as the style and fit expert for American Eagle's Aerie brand, which specializes in lingerie and loungewear.

As women start eyeing tank tops and sheer fabrics for summer, she shares some of her tips:

There's a time and a place
If your bra strap is showing, make sure it's intentional — and that you're wearing it somewhere it's OK to show. A colorful bra strap can be flirty when it peeks from under a tank top at a beach restaurant, but it could be inappropriate if worn at a business meeting.

"There is a long history of wearing innerwear as outerwear, and there is something to be said for the beautiful lingerie out there," she says. "We, as women, are being bolder in our choices, allowing it to be part of our personality and a fun part of our closet, but I only want lingerie to show when I want it to show."

Be particularly wary at work, she adds.

Fit matters
Foundation garments should be smoothing and slimming. They shouldn't create any additional bumps, dimples or bulges. If they do, they're the wrong size.

A bra that rides up higher is probably too big, and one that digs in is too small. Changing the cup size isn't the right adjustment; you need to change the band size.

Commit to sheer
If you want to wear a sheer shirt, pick a neutral colour so the lingerie "disappears." Black is bold and sexy; a bright colour is playful. Stay away from a colour that's too light or muted, though, because it's not enough of a commitment and might leave people wondering if you meant to show off your lingerie or not.

In most situations, no one should see underpinnings under a sheer bottom, so if you dare to don a little purposeful colour, make sure it's full coverage.

Beware panty lines
Panty lines are a choice. Seamless technology has made it so there shouldn't be any visible lines from your underwear. The other choice is a thong. A shaping panty should follow the line of the garment going on top of it.

Change it up!
Cup types for bras, such as pushup, plunge or padded, should have different effects. The same goes for underwear, whether it's briefs, boy shorts or thongs. Fabrics, pattern and colour change it up, too. And there's no rule that says when you find one type of undergarment you like, you have to wear it every day.

"When we're using lingerie in costumes, it's part of the story we're trying to tell. It's part of every character I dress," Rogien says. "Everyone can tell their story through their underwear."





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Here, 15 bras to get you started on finding the perfect bra.

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