Skimming the body under a skirt or dress, they offer a light layer of femininity without constriction. I would rather wear a well-fitted chemise than a binding elasticated 'control' garment, which often ends up rolling bits over the item anyway.
Worn under a blouse or glimpsed beneath a sweater, these garments are discreet yet sexy, and need not cost more than your shoes.
TeddiesA teddy was the precursor of the bodysuit, and lives on, appropriate under dresses or any pant except very tight styles.
Wearable teddies– also known as cami-knickers- are hard to find, but worth the search. Some are cut loosely, like a slip, while others fit as closely as a leotard.
Mimi Holliday floral silk teddy, $90, from net-a-porter. Mary Green Nouveau Retro White Silk Teddy is stretch silk and pink lace, with fan bust darts. Sized in S/M/L; $60.50 from Mary Green, a beloved lingerie designer.
Sulis Silks offer a terrific teddy, the Helena, bias-cut in five panels for a fabulous fit, available in a wide range of sizes (UK 10 to 24); they also make a longer-torso option.
Though shown here on its own, a teddy looks lovely worn over a bra, too. In black or champagne, £36 (including VAT). International shipping.
Chemises and slipsA chemise is a short version of the full-length slip; sometimes slip-style nightgowns are also called chemises. Some are intended solely as sleepwear; read the product description to be sure.
Silk Appliqué Chemise, by Elle MacPherson, a dreamy drift of silk and lace, $190 from net-a-porter. It's called "loungewear" on net-a-porter but I'd love to see its bodice peeking from under a black shirt.Natori's Matisse Basic Chemise upgrades a basic lingerie wardrobe. it's a high-quality machine washable poly, so you don't have to baby it like pure silks (but wash in a bag), and it's smart. $155 from Saks Fifth Avenue.
For silk-only wearers, a rich silk charmeuse slip by Farr West, 22" from waist to hem, that comes in a wide range of sizes (XS to XXL). $164 from Her Room. Shown, black with ivory lace, also comes in ivory with ivory lace and red with red lace.
Once you acquire the requisite black or ecru, you might explore a world of colour in chemises.
Also from Mary Green, this charming Manon Printed Burnout Satin Chemise with Lace, $83.75. 70% silk, 30% rayon,cut on the bias. Mary Green's slogan is "Lingerie Conquers All". Will ship internationally, prepare to conquer.
Journelle, a New York lingerie boutique, offer the deep cobalt Julianne Rosalia silk chemise, a short slice of delectability, $190 in XS to L.
Some women are lingerie collectors, but for many, just a piece or two that winks below clothing boosts confidence and pleasure.
When my children were small, wearied and smeared by kiddie fingers, I would occasionally escape for an hour to a lingerie boutique, and emerge with a purchase, feeling more feminine than maternal. Though no longer a necessary respite, it's time to return to that world of delicate beauty. I'm longing once again for the luxury of lace next to skin, satin next to heart.
I have also noticed that one's partner rarely voices any objection to the purchase of gorgeous lingerie.