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Q. Is there a certain type of bra you’re supposed to wear to coordinate with a garter belt? I’ve been told that at least for the bottoms, thongs are the best choice to go with garters (over more coverage-providing undies such as bikinis and boy shorts), and I know that balconets are probably the most commonly worn bras to go with garter belts, but aside from corsets, would any other kind of bra look right?

110331sim_fs.jpgA. We consulted the experts at barenecessities.com, our favorite online intimate apparel destination, for help with your question. They said:

While you will most often see balconets or push up bras styled with garter belts, there are no “rules” as to what bra to wear; any style bra will do. As for bottoms, thongs look best with garters but bikini cut will also work. If you want to look sexy, then thigh highs from Wolford or Falke complete the garter belt look.

Simone Perele Avant Premiere Garter Belt Set
 at barenecessities.com
Q. What type of socks should you wear with the new Mary Jane type chunky shoes? Please specify what type with jeans and with a skirt.

A. The great thing about the new Mary Jane and chunky T-Straps is that anything goes when it comes to hosiery. Whether you are wearing them with jeans, wide leg trousers, skirts or dresses, you have many options available to you:


hosierymaryjane.jpg
Q. Bare legs or hosiery at a black tie optional wedding? I’m wearing a simple black dress with a lovely shawl. Also, I have a beautiful pair of patent leather pumps with a peep toe but think maybe I should wear a closed toe shoe? Thanks for your advice.

hosieryorno.gifA. Feel free to skip the hosiery for your black tie optional affair if you feel more comfortable. As for shoes, peep toes are also acceptable, just be sure to have an immaculate pedicure.
Q. I work for an extremely conservative financial institution and our dress code requires us to wear hose with skirts and dresses. This requires closed-toe shoes even though the dress code allows for peep-toe shoes. To make the dress code even more of a challenge, I live in South Texas where average temperature in the summer months is over 100 degrees. So, what to do? Nude hose? Patterned hose?

0a663han.jpgA. I feel for you - hosiery in the summer heat can be tough, though many conservative corporations require it. Your best bet is to choose ultra sheer or transparent hosiery that closely matches your skin tone. This will give you that bare leg look while still conforming to your office dress code. And if peep-toe shoes are allowed, go for it! Just make sure any visible seams are tucked underneath your toes. And when the temperature cools, opt for tights and patterned hosiery as well.

Hanes Silk Reflections Transparent Sheer Control Top Pantyhose, $8.95 at barenecessities.com
Q. I am a 34D and love to wear sexy summer tops but I cannot go without a bra. Very few stores offer tops with built-in underwire bras. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Unfortunately, a large bust does limit your options when it comes to bare summer tops. This doesn’t mean you don’t have options, however. Here are some tips:

1. Layer a tank or camisole underneath tops that would otherwise show too much cleavage. Try the Hanro Perfectly Nude Microfiber Underwire Camisole.

2. Try some of the bra alternatives available for D-cups that give you the freedom to wear tops that would otherwise show your bra while still offering some support: Pure Style Girlfriends: Gather-the-Girls Adhesive Strapless Bra, Sassybax Very Bare Bra and Fashion Forms Adhesive Body Bra.

You are correct that built-in underwires are very difficult to find, however, several companies like Victoria’s Secret and Soft Surroundings do offer tops with built in bras, some of them underwire. You may have to forego the full support of an underwire, though, for the medium support of a shelf bra or soft cup built into tops. Here are some suggestions:

bratops.jpg1. Akana Strapless Tunic, $39.99 at whitehouseblackmarket.com
2. Twist-front halter Bra Top, $28 at victoriassecret.com (several colors available)
3. Pleated Bra Top, $88 at victoriassecret.com (several colors available)
4. Sparkle Underwire Halter, $39.99 at softsurroundings.com
5. Underwire Necklace Halter, $78 at softsurroundings.com (several colors available)



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