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Although I was never one of those girls who could stomach pajamas at school (I couldn’t even wear $40 sweatpants to my university library to study) a trend that has become a little more palatable to me as a 20-something woman is the notion of lingerie as outwear.

Interestingly, it’s very different from the impression of complete laziness that students give off when donning plaid lounge pants in math class. Indeed, what’s so intriguing about lingerie as outerwear is that rather than appearing sloppy, this look actually takes a few rules to work. First is the rule of balance: if you’re going to wear a tiny top, compensate by wearing high-waisted jeans or wide legged trousers. If you’re going to wear more lingerie-inspired pieces, they must be fitted to your size. Finally, the key to lingerie as outerwear is to remember that far from being a trashy look, this is one of carefully created elegance and sexiness. A femme fatale doesn’t necessarily need to prance around in a bra, panties and fishnets. She leaves just enough to the imagination to hint at her feisty side.

Sheer dresses can be a ‘do’ with the right balance of sheer and coverage.

The Dos of Wearing Underwear as Outerwear:

  1. Pair a sheer or lace top or dress with a matching bra. Emma Watson pulled this look off flawlessly at a movie premiere in November 2010, but don’t worry–this sexy, sophisticated look is still a do in my books. A dark lace or sheer top would also look beautiful with trousers or high-waisted jeans.
  2. Add a blazer or fun jacket to some matching trousers or dark washed, fitted jeans, but, wear only a bra under the blazer. This will give you a deep-V neckline, and the ability to show off just a bit of your favourite bra.
  3. Rock a corset-inspired top or camisole with jeans or a skirt. I especially love Dolce and Gabanna’s corset-inspired embellished top. Not too sure about wearing something quite so flashy? Now That’s Lingerie has quite a large collection of camisole-corsets (and corsets and bustiers) to choose from.
  4. Bra tops or crop tops are HUGE for spring/summer. Pair one of these teeny-tiny tops with high-waisted shorts, trousers, a skirt, or jeans. Take a peek at the Piikabu collection of mini-camisoles by Arianne.
  5. Tops and dresses with sewn-in bra-like details are a classic look and one of my favourites! Remember, fit is everything! Bra-detailed tops or dresses that are too small will cause overflow, which is always an unequivocal don’t.  For the daring retro femme, try flaunting this Spellbound polka-dot strapless chemise by Blush.

The Don’ts of Wearing Underwear as Outerwear:

  1. This is a bit of a throw back to my high-school days, but thongs sticking out of pants, or visible underneath shear bottoms are a definite don’t. This also goes for bright or patterned undies beneath white pants. Sure, it’s great to wear sexy lingerie, but part of the sexiness of the lingerie is the mystery in not being able to see it every time you bend over.
  2. This is a women’s blog, but it should be mentioned that men wearing underwear as outerwear is almost always a Don’t. (We can bend the rules for Calvin Klein models ONLY when on set. Yum.) Sorry, Jeremy Scott.
  3. Choosing to wear almost any of the above “Do”s in a professional office setting for which fashion is NOT a major focus is actually a don’t. Remember, lingerie as outerwear is usually best considered a Do when at the beach or in some type of night-time setting.
  4. Getting off-balance is a don’t. Pairing a bra top with panty-like bottoms really is underwear rather than outerwear.
  5. The slip dress. I’m on the fence about this one. Sometimes it’s a do, and sometimes it’s a don’t. For this one, I’ll let you decide.

What are your favourite fashion rules?

Comment here below, e-mail me, or share it with us on our Twitter (@nowthatslingeri) and Facebook page!


Image References:

Featured image:

(all available at Now That’s Lingerie)

Other image references and sources:
Emma Watson’s sheer dress:


D&G Corset inspired top:

Versace Atelier Fall 2011, Bra-Cut Top:

Anna Sui Jacket:

Gucci Jacket:





  • Claire Cook

    Great post! Its amazing how daring people are these days to wear lingerie as outer-wear. I would love to, maybe I just need a push in confidence, because some of the pieces people wear look great!

  • admin

    You’re so right, Claire! I think that pulling off any fashion look requires the right combination of sexy confidence and remembering that less is more! Any trend you want to wear, don’t go all out with it – just try one key piece that’s lingerie-inspired with your outfit, like a lacy corset with a pair of jeans or a long pencil skirt – really bring out the seductiveness of the “Lingerie as Outerwear” trend. 🙂

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Pingback: Fit to be Tied: Corsets in the Fashion World | Bra Doctor's Blog on February 22, 2012