I’m focusing on the ladies in this piece, as my blog is geared towards women, but I might do a piece on men’s foundation garments at some point.
Foundation garments are a subject not often addressed in the fashion blogs (both Goth and non-goth) that I read, but something that is quintessentially important for your outfit. Without a proper fitting foundation, clothes will not sit properly and will not hold their shape. This is especially true of more shapeless pieces, those that do not have tailored fit or that are not cut for specific body types.
Technically speaking, foundation garments are meant to alter your shape so it looks more fashionable, but I say it goes beyond this. Foundation garments are the base upon which you build your outfit, even if you aren’t substantially altering your shape. Foundation garments do not technically include push up bras and the like, but for purposes of this piece I’m including them in this post.
Foundation garments include (but are not limited to): bras, stockings, garter belts, control top stockings, tummy control or shaping garments (like spanx, tummy smoothers, etc), underwear, or slips. For more vintage or Victorian designs, you can add things like proper bloomers, corsets meant to be worn as underwear, crinolines, panniers, etc. There is a reason professional costumers focus on correct under garments! They can really make or break an outfit. Corsets additionally require liners or camisoles underneath to protect them from your body sweat and oils as well as protect you from chaffing.
Corsets deserve a post entirely to themselves, so I won’t dive into them, but basically with cheap corsets you get what you pay for. That said, I’ve a dozen of them, all in different cuts, and some of them look far better on me than others. If you want an hourglass silhouette, look for a corset cut into an hourglass shape.
I’ve always espoused the philosophy that life’s too short to wear ugly panties. You can be having the absolute worst day imaginable, but if you know under all that crap you’ve got your lucky rocket ship panties you can handle anything. Cute undies also mean that if you find yourself in position with a lucky person with whom you’d like to become intimate you don’t have to be embarrassed about your gross period panties and worn out sports bra with the pit stains.
I cannot stress the importance of the fit of a good bra. If you’ve had a couple kids and possibly chosen to breastfeed, you might be saddened by your now floppy boobs. Mine used to be perfect. God how I loved my boobs- small, perky, didn’t reeeeally need a bra persay. Now they look like they’ve seen better days, and a good fitting bra perks them right up. If your breasts are sitting in the appropriate position for the top you’re wearing, you can completely alter the fit of that top. A sports bra smooshes them down and takes away their shape, so it would look rotten under a fitted lace blouse. A gorgeous gel-padded super push up under a boxy men’s cut t-shirt may not be appropriate for the gym, even if you do feel bomb as hell. If you’re working out, wear a good, quality sports bra. Your boobs and back will thank you. Busty gals, this is especially true for you. You know how those beautiful ladies need extra support or your back is killing you. Bras are a foundation garment you shouldn’t skip out on. A good quality bra will pay back its price in its useful life, its material quality, and your comfort.
Support panties are great for us postpartum ladies. Our bellies are still healing and recovering, so if you can, splurge on a couple pairs of nice, supportive undies. For those of us who’d like to hide a little belly bulge, control top hose or panties will do the trick, smoothing out our silhouette and making that dress look extra classy.
Socks are important to protect your feet in boots. My strategy is to wear socks under my fishnet stocking when wearing boots- the stocking keep the fishnet from digging into my skin and making my foot slide around in the boots. It also keeps the fishnet from getting caught around my toes. I generally always layer stockings with socks when wearing boots to prevent foot sweat and to keep my feet firmly in their shoes with little movement. Don’t feel bad if you have to put a gel support in the shoe or in your heels. Young or old, there’s no need to unnecessarily punish your feet. Get the DrScholl’s. Don’t worry about whether that makes you too old for Goth. ;)
Slips and garters/stockings can smooth things out underneath, make you feel supported, and make everything feel like it’s in its proper place. We moms are always dealing with things not quite being where you remember them, aren’t we? Additionally, foundation garments can protect your clothes. You’ll get longer life and longer color life when you don’t have to wash the piece often, and it can save you lots of money on dry cleaning. The founder of Levi jeans even said basically don’t wash your denim until you have to, and by god try to never, ever use a dryer. Foundation garments will help you avoid washing things that ought not be washed often. Oh, and wash delicate things in delicate, and use a lingerie bag for stuff made of lace, as well as undies and bras.
Pay attention to the shapes and cuts of your foundation garments- you don’t want a boatneck camisole peeking out from under a daring sweetheart cut or a slip poking through the slit of a skirt.
I believe in paying higher prices for higher quality items, and I generally feel it’s acceptable to splurge on high quality, good fitting under garments. They make me feel put together, confident, comfortable, and more youthful.