This summer's hottest new styles are sexier than ever. Lace tops, body-grazing maxi-dresses and white linen bottoms aren't exactly lingerie-friendly, however. It can be a challenge to find bras and panties that stay hidden and provide the support we need. But don't get your panties in a twist! Here's trend-by-trend advice on how to rock this season's must-have looks -- without stressing about what lies beneath.
Translucent fabrics, lace, and cotton eyelet are all the rage this summer. But unless you choose the right underpinnings, this look can easily cross the line from sensual to silly. Outside of the office, opt for a bra in a hot hue, like mango or chartreuse, making a fashion-forward statement by letting the color show through.
In the workplace, it's safest to stick with a solid chemise or slip dress, however. Choose pieces in a subtly accenting color, like Cosabella's heather gray slip under black, or pick an undergarment that matches your top exactly. Steer clear of flesh-toned options. "Your coworker will only be more distracted as he tries to figure out what he is or is not seeing," says Jenette Goldstein, founder and owner of Jenette Bras, a Los Angeles lingerie boutique.
Maxi dresses are the "it" item for summer 2011. But be warned: The loose, free-flowing style actually requires some careful planning. "Prepare for an unexpected summer breeze by wearing a pair of cute boy shorts or cheekies," says Goldstein. You can find these in delicate prints and scallop-trimmed lace at Victoria's Secret -- or from designers like Hanky Panky, Elle Macpherson and Biatta -- and in super-flirty herringbone print from Samantha Chang.
If the idea of baring panties -- even adorable ones -- makes you squeamish, there is an alternative. "Double-sided Hollywood Fashion Tape can assist in the blow-away challenges," says Alicia Vargo, founder and owner of Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie, one of the Web's largest retailers of fine lingerie with a bricks-and-mortar store in Denver, Colo. Simply use the tape to secure looser skirts and dresses to your lower thighs.
You could wear this summer's trendiest shades -- honeysuckle, orange and other rainbow-bright colors -- with lingerie you already own. But the experts we spoke with say bright outfits look even chicer when paired with bras in contrasting -- yet equally bold -- hues. "Even if no one sees it, the fact that you know you're wearing such sensual lingerie will help you exude a sultry confidence," says Susan Nethero, Oprah's bra whisperer and founder of the nationwide Intimacy boutiques.
White or Tight
You probably know that white outfits call for nude bras and panties. If you've had difficulty finding bras and panties that disappear under a white tee or white jeans, check out MySkins, a lingerie line that offers options in 20 skin-matching tones, from "honey" to "espresso." When you're planning on spending the day outdoors, outsmart sweat with the Playtex Breathable Airform Bra or a convertible halter-friendly bra from Breeze Comfort, a line that features perforated bra pads to keep air moving.
When it comes to body-hugging fashion in flimsy summery fabrics, shapewear is a must. If just thinking about donning anything with a control top on a steamy day makes you break out in a sweat, there's good news: Lingerie companies now offer undergarments that offer support in lightweight, comfortable styles that are actually, believe it or not, sexy. A few to check out: Walcoal Try a Little Slenderness Light Control Camisole, Spanx Haute Contour Lace Thong, Body Wrap Pinup Seamless Bodysuit and Sassy Box Shaper Bottom. Banish bra fat and other bulges with the Unbelievabra tank-like cami from Shapeez or the Vanishing Back Front-Close Nadia underwire bra from Soma Intimates.
Robin Hilmantelis an associate editor at Food Network Magazine. She was previously an editor at Cosmopolitan.
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.