Your Hot-weather Underwear Guide

This summer’s hottest new fashion trends 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.

Flowing Fabrics
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.

Hot Hues
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.


The Key to Eye Health: Sunglasses

Jennifer Lopez and Fergie are rocking Tom Ford aviator-style sunglasses. Jessica Alba and Julianne Moore sport square gold-tone frames from Chloe. And Jessica Simpson can be spotted running errands in oversized titanium frames from the vintage-inspired Dita Eyewear line.

Celebrities can offer inspiration on the season’s coolest sunglass styles. And if you identify a star whose face shape is similar to yours -- an oval Julia Roberts, say, or a heart-shaped Reese Witherspoon -- you can glean suggestions on which shades might flatter your own face.

UV Damage and Your Eyes
Much more than a celebrity fashion accessory, sunglasses are an essential tool in protecting your vision. Studies show that exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can harm the lens and cornea of the eye, leading to problems -- like cataracts and macular degeneration -- that can impair vision. And the thin skin around the eye and the eyelid itself are especially vulnerable to skin cancer and to sun-induced signs of aging. Dr. Gail Royal, an ophthalmologist in Myrtle Beach, S.C., admits that she sometimes appeals to her patients’ vanity when she discusses the importance of proper sunglass use. “I’ll point out that sunglasses will protect not just against basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma,” she says, “but also against the formation of wrinkles like crow’s-feet and the unsightly thickening of the skin that can sometimes be caused by UV exposure.”

Here’s how to choose a pair of sunglasses that will safeguard your eyes and help your skin care regimen.

Look for Complete UV Protection
Whether you spend $200 for a pair of designer sunglasses or buy one off the drugstore rack for $20, both can do an equally good job of blocking harmful ultraviolet rays. Look for a label or sticker that says the lenses block 99 or 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses with full protection might also say something like, “Lenses meet ANSI Z80-3 blocking requirements,” or “UV 400 protection.” Sunglass boutiques sometimes remove these labels or stickers for a more attractive display. Chances are the shades provide full UV protection; just be sure to ask.

Color Counts If You’re Behind the Wheel
It may seem logical that a darker lens would do a better job of blocking the sun’s harmful rays than a lighter lens, but that turns out not to be the case. The coating that blocks UV radiation is clear, so shades of any hue are equally effective at filtering those rays. Yellow or rose-tinted lenses can, however, make it difficult to distinguish changes in traffic lights. Gray, green and brown lenses minimize color distortion.

Focus on Fit
To block the light that hits your eye from the sides, choose wraparound frames. Your next best bet? Sunglasses with large lenses and wide temples, like the iconic oversized frames Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Whatever the style, frames should fit snugly on your nose and ears without pinching or rubbing, but not so close that your eyelashes hit the lens.

Choose Polarized Lenses If You Water Ski, Surf or Fish
Polarized lenses reduce glare by filtering out the reflected light that bounces off water. Polarization, however, has nothing to do with UV light absorption, so check the label to make sure they provide maximum UV protection. Keep in mind that, when you’re wearing polarized lenses, it may be difficult to read your cell phone, GPS device or a liquid-crystal display on a dashboard or an ATM machine.

Make Sunglasses a Daily Habit
Like sunscreen, sunglasses should be worn whenever you’re outdoors, year-round. “Just as we’ve learned that you can get a really nasty sunburn on an overcast, hazy day,” says Royal, “you’re exposing your eyes to damaging UV rays on these days too.” So, keep a pair of sunglasses in your purse as part of your beauty routine, along with a small tube of sunblock, and your favorite new coral, peach or pink lip gloss.

How to Revise Your Spring Wardrobe

Spring style for 2011 is full of exciting new choices in tops, bottoms and accessories. We all have our warm-weather fashion wish list … and the limits of a real-life shopping budget. To find a happy meeting place between those two when revising your spring wardrobe, begin by reviewing the pieces you bought last year to decide which ones will still look fresh this year, and which items need to sit out a season or two.

We did a lot of prep work for you by polling some leading fashion experts. Here are their current assessments of five of last spring’s hottest fashion trends.

1. Trench Coats
“A trench is always a classic piece, so keep it,” say Katie Maco and Lindsey Steede, a Los Angeles styling team known as the Fashion Addicts LA. The coat’s usually roomy fit makes it a natural for layering, particularly with spring’s abundant nautical-stripe and ’70s-inspired-paisley printed tops. If you don’t already own a trench, the most fashion-forward styles -- including those from Phillip Lim, Chico’s and J. Crew -- strip away extraneous details to create trench vests, sheer overcoats and knee-length toppers that look more like quasi-military dresses than rain gear.

2. Gladiator Sandals
The multi-strapped flats were maxed-out bundles of straps last year, but spring style’s minimalist streak has streamlined the gladiator into a sleek new version that is more graceful, and often, more colorful. “Gladiators have been done a few seasons now,” says Maco. “If you want to stick with them, you might consider trying the flatform.” Popular with New York designers such as Alexander Wang, Michael Kors and Derek Lam, the flatform still has a platform sole to give height, but it features a lower heel than the 5-inch ones women have been falling from these past few seasons.

3. Skinny Jeans
“They still have a little bit of life in them,” New York fashion stylist Edda Gudmun says of super-slim denim. “But I would cuff them and wear with pointy kitten heels like Brigitte Bardot.” If you’re going to buy new jeans this season, invest in retro ‘70s wide leg, high-waisted silhouettes, advise Maco and Steede. The Gap, Guess, Joe’s and J Brand are among the denim brands cutting wider and higher.

4. Open-toe Ankle Boots
“We are both cringing,” say the Fashion Addicts LA. “That was just a bad trend. It doesn’t flatter anyone.” If you have them, stow them or give them away. If you didn’t buy these last year, consider yourself lucky and don’t do it now.

 5. Military Jackets
With so many other luscious choices in spring jackets, the heavy artillery of the khaki military jacket can seem a bit heavy. Keep it in your rotation, but add some other day and night options, like a tuxedo jacket, oversized boyfriend jacket and Chanel-inspired cropped boxy jacket.

Spring’s New Wardrobe Essentials

  • A colorful, oversized tote bag. Nothing perks up your look like a sassy tote in vivid blue, green or orange.
  • A key piece in denim, whether it’s a tunic, a weathered shirt or an embroidered daytime dress.
  • White, white and white. The perennial color is dramatic when worn head to toe, a look that sails into the sultry days of summer.
  • A maxi skirt. Full and flowing around your ankles, the maxi is the perfect partner to the minimalist gladiator sandals and button-front shirts with rolled up sleeves.
  • One-shoulder tops and dresses. Fashion has cut every kind of asymmetric angle over the past decade, but this spring the one-shoulder tops and draped dresses have a goddess-y quality that gives them a lovely feminine grace.

Antonia Prebble’s Style Closet

For the past six years, Antonia Prebble inhabited the character of Loretta West, a bolshy, morally corrupt teenager turned bombshell (and brothel owner), in New Zealand’s best-loved series “Outrageous Fortune.” Now that the show’s finished, the Wellingtonian’s treading the boards in Christchurch, playing Berliner Sally Bowles in “Cabaret.”

The two characters couldn’t be more different -- much like the pieces in Prebble’s wardrobe. Her sartorial choices run the gamut, from trackies and T-shirts to glamour-puss frocks.

On days off, she’s likely to be dressed down. “I’ve been acting professionally since I was 12, and I’m so used to getting up and wearing a costume all day, it’s habit to not have to worry about what I’m putting on,” explains the 26-year-old. “I like just wearing what’s comfortable. You spend so much time being primped and prodded that it’s nice to be casual and fuss-free.”

But she relishes a chance to dress up too. “I’m hardly ever middle-of-the-road. When I focus on what I’m wearing, I like things that are quite put together. I like a look that’s from a certain era: I love the ’20s; I’m a huge fan of the ’80s. I’m drawn to beautiful garments that are more formal: flapper dresses and jumpsuits. I like to wear these with bright lipstick.”

Do you remember the first costume you ever wore?

It was for a play when I was 7 or 8 years old, a rep theatre production called “The Magical Kingdom of Thingamajig.” I was a thingamajig and I wore a tunic with big spots on it.

Does a costume help you get into a role?

Yes, the costume definitely helps. Costume and makeup is so significant. What we wear says so much about who we are and how we move. I just adore the dresses I get to wear as Sally Bowles. The clothes she wears are beautiful.

Loretta West, your character in “Outrageous Fortune,” had a very specific ’40s look. Did that come from you?
No. We are such different characters. I’ve got cardigans and pencil skirts, but I wouldn’t wear them as she does. I put more of a personal stamp on my outfits, and my taste is more varied. Loretta follows the rules of the ’40s in the shapes that she wears. But, the wardrobe designer and I did collaborate on her look. Loretta was such a fan of her grandmother that we thought she’d emulate her rather than women in fashion magazines.

Do you like to shop?

I’m not great at buying basics. I’ve got lots of pieces I have had for years in my wardrobe. I like so many New Zealand designers: Kate Sylvester, Sera Lilly. I adore Cybele -- I just love the beautiful fabrics, and the designs are timeless. And Miss Crabb I really like.

Any upcoming trends you can’t wait to wear?

I’m not a huge follower of trends. I always have a specific idea of what I like and what I don’t like, which changes over time, but I never actively seek to wear what is trendy. For the last six months, I’ve been getting into high-waist, wide-leg pants. They’re slouchy, but sophisticated at the same time. However, at the moment I feel totally out of touch with any trends whatsoever. I’ve been absorbed in 1930s Berlin for the past three months, so I have no idea what is going on in the present day!

What’s your favourite item in your wardrobe?

As funny as it might sound, my favourite item is a dress that I’ve never even worn. It belonged to my great-grandmother, so it is over 100 years old. We found it a few years ago when we were cleaning out my grandmother’s house. Amazingly, it fits me perfectly and is still in really good condition. It’s a long-sleeved, dark gray dress with doming around the wrists, a high collar and two silk panels down the front that open up like butterfly wings. They shimmer and move as you walk. The craftsmanship is just exquisite.

What’s in your handbag when it comes to beauty products?

Sun cream! It’s the only product you can guarantee I’ll have on at all times. I am really pale and really careful about wearing it. And I love red lipstick. I think it is so elegant and really elevates an outfit.

Fashions for the Changing Seasons

Rebecca Taylor knows plenty about the seasons. As the designer behind her eponymous label, she’s in charge of churning out nine different collections each calendar year, all timed to what the weather’s doing. To do so, she works months -- sometimes years -- ahead to determine what will be de rigueur by the time her feminine, whimsical designs hit stores in 70 countries.

In New York, where Taylor has lived and worked for almost 20 years, the Kiwi designer is about to debut her spring 2011 collection. It’s “inspired by the Charlie girl from the ’70s,” she says. “My favourite pieces are a scarlet dot chiffon skirt and a nude leather jacket with scalloping.”

Taylor admits that dressing as the weather changes can be tricky, but she’s now used to it after living so long in a city with four very distinct seasons. Here are her tips on how to dress as we see out summer and welcome in autumn.


Leave the house dressed in things you can take off or add, depending on the temperature. “I love layers of silk and cashmere,” says Taylor. “We always have whisper-weight cashmere pieces that are great for layering. And this year for spring, we made a really feminine version of a trench. It’s the perfect in-between-seasons jacket.”

Relish the Change

It’s not easy to forfeit jandals for jerseys, but Taylor says it helps to pull out old faves you haven’t seen since last winter. “It’s always a little sad to say goodbye to my tiered Liberty skirt,” she confesses. “But it’s nice to say hello to my favourite Citizens of Humanity jeans. And I always look forward to wearing tights again. I’ve never been a big fan of nude legs -- mine in particular -- so it’s always a relief when I can crawl back into my Wolford silk cashmere tights.

Splash out on Classics

If you shop the trends, Taylor says, you’ll be stuck with clothes that only get worn for a few months, so instead shop for classic pieces that won’t date. “Spend more on quality, such as a well-made coat. You are going to wear it every day, so it’s important that it’s smart,” explains Taylor.


Brighten up wardrobe staples with new accessories -- shoes, scarves, hats -- and makeup. “I am a big fan of new lip and nail colours each season,” Taylor admits. “I switched to bright pink and fuchsia for autumn this year because it really lifted my camel coat.”

Get out of the House

Just because the temperature’s dropping, it doesn’t mean you should stay in. Get out and make the most of your environs, Taylor says. Now, you can do so in style!