AD | INVALUABLE UNDERWEAR LESSONS LEARNED BY THE AGE OF 49

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Before we get started, I should point out that there were other titles briefly (pun intended) considered for this post... including Bra Wars and What Lies Beneath But Really Shouldn't among others. Yep... glad I got those off my chest right off the bat. Because now I can focus on the serious matter of those underwear lessons learned and share my findings so that you too can make peace with your smalls drawer.

Because this is what I've been able to do recently as part of that almighty wardrobe edit... and it feels so good! Let me tell you, there have been numerous (and some quite painful) lessons learned over the years. Some I'm prepared to pass on here in a moment of style wisdom... and others will remain firmly under wraps for reasons best kept between me and those that were party to my foolishness with frillies.

Do you remember, a couple of weeks ago when I introduced you to Picky Knitwear Lady. Well let me tell you, she's got nothing on the ball of feisty that is Fussy Underwear Woman! You don't want to get on the wrong side of this one - she's a regular demon in the face of the torture that can only be inflicted by a badly fitting, underwired bra. And the less said about thongs the better

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At this point you'd be forgiven for thinking that I've taken permanent umbrage with my underpinnings - our relationship over the years has been tumultuous to say the least. But as I approach fifty I think I may have finally started getting it right. That's only... Ooh... a good thirty seven years of falling out with my foundation garments. So, for this post I've teamed up with Playtex to share a few of my underwear lessons learned and show you some of their prettiest and most comfortable (HOORAY!) underwear along the way...

Day Long Comfort Is Everything…

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When it comes to everyday underwear, I need it to be fuss free and above all, it HAS to be comfortable. Underline the word comfortable, make it bold, italicise it and sprinkle sugar on it if you like. But make it COMFORTABLE! My day starts at 6:30am meaning I'm usually dressed by 7:00am. So by the time I de-bra in favour of slummies or PJs for that all-important sofa section of the evening, that equates to a lot of bra time. Twelve hours to be precise! At this juncture I feel should point out that I added "Thou shall not bat an eyelid when I decide to de-bra and change into my sweatpants in the evening" to our marriage vows. Patrick can't say he was mis-sold now can he?

But back to the all-important fuss free criteria. It's there because I wear a lot of T-shirts or cashmere... and nothing is allowed to distract from the cashmere! The bra underneath needs to feel super soft too and go the daily distance - the Full Cup Perfect Silhouette Bra more than met this challenge. Also... these Shaping Maxi Briefs gain bonus points for their firm it up factor without looking remotely scary. On more than one occasion I tried various incarnations of serious suck-it-all-in pants... lets just say never again. And let's leave it at that.

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Indulge In A Little Easy Glamour Now And Again

Let's face it, when we're feeling wrung out and dealing with all the everyday shizzle of life, it's hard to feel sexy right? And I don't mean sexy as in ready for "Oooh la la romance"...(a phrase coined by The Teen at five years old when she saw us sneak a kiss). I mean, just feeling like a woman again. By the time you've finished a days work, hosed down the dog because it rolled in something (again), implored The Teen to do her homework for the 25th time, finished the online food shop and turned over three loads of laundry, it's no surprise that it's a challenge to feel anything remotely approaching womanly. Here's where I'm a huge advocate of the unexpected pairing of anything when it comes to getting dressed. Metallic skirt + chunky sweater? Of course. White cotton summer dress and beat-up Converse? Hell Yeah!

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And it works for undies too. So the “Get me… I’m wearing a soft lace bra under my fisherman’s sweater!” factor shouldn’t be underestimated either. See also - rebellious. I'll get onto that one in a minute. But the key words here are soft lace. I'll be honest, when I opened my Playtex parcel and first saw lace, I flinched as I've come across some horrifically scratchy ones over the years. But the Flower Elegance Full Cup Bra is beautifully soft. And yes, I've since worn it all day under my fisherman's sweater... and never felt less like a fisherman!

Filed under "rebellion", which by the way is the alternate name for my mini-mid-life crisis and includes recent thoughts about a tattoo, is the wearing of a black bra under a white T-shirt. But in a certain laissez faire manner with jeans, a blazer and the faithful Converse. It's cool and I'm quite partial to it. Well I am until the teen hisses in public "Mum!! I can see your bra!" Parents eh?

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Make Your Underwear Part Of Your Wardrobe Edit

Don't ignore your undies when you have a wardrobe edit. Bring them into the equation and do it in tandem. You need underwear staples to compliment your style staples. Also doing a seasonal edit means that you can include bras in the trying on session... see my point below about measuring.

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As part of my latest sort out I realised that on the rare occasion that we might go out, I don't like to get "dressed up" dressed up if you know what I mean. I'm more of a dressed down kinda gal and that means the laid back glamour of trousers, a satin shirt and a tux jacket. So I like my underwear to be laid back too. What it definitely does not mean is me tugging at my fancy, schmancy bra because either a) the lace is driving me nuts or b) the under wiring is causing some serious breathing issues after a three course dinner. Yep... we've all been there! This Ideal Beauty Lace Bra in White Blush is satiny soft and causes no rolling of the eyes through dinner because all I can think about is "When can I take it off??"

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Measure up… Often

Get measured whenever you go to buy a new bra. What fitted from one brand from two years ago may no longer make the grade now. Our bodies change shape all the time and bra fit can be affected by weight loss or gain, hormonal fluctuations (yep... loving those) and muscle tone too. Even the smallest of fluctuations can affect the fit and feel of a bra. Meaning Fussy Underwear Woman can rear her angry head at any time. Brangry is much like Hangry and I'm trying hard to avoid being it!

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Be Honest About What's In Your Drawers

For years I kept numerous sets of undies that I never wore…because they looked pretty but were so darn uncomfortable. And in actual fact, once I'd cleared out all the imposters, I found they were hiding a couple of bras that when I tried them on, were actually really good in the daily comfort stakes. Result. Just as I'm now an advocate of owning the clothes for the life you live, not the one of the woman you obsessively stalk on Instagram - I'm looking at you Anine Bing - you need to do the same with your underwear. My clothes need to be fit for a 49 & 3/4 yr old woman who works from home, walks the dog and occasionally gets let out to play. The same goes for my underwear.

When it comes down to it, I want my underwear to be comfortable and have that feel good factor too. The pieces from Playtex that I've featured here do both of those things and this is the criteria I'll be enforcing on all my future purchases. I'm not quite sure why it's taken me so long to get my underwear act together but I'm glad that I finally have! No more Bra Wars for me!

Now... I showed you mine.... it's time for you to share yours! Do you have any undies disaster stories or better still, lingerie lessons learned that mean you now get to spend your days in comfort? Let me know in the comments below!

STYLE CREDITS  - Jeans - Everlane *  | Boots - Clarks *  | Cashmere Hoodie (old) - Marks & Spencer * : similar here *  | Coat (old) La Redoute : similar available *  |  Grey Fisherman Sweater - Old Harry  | Jeans - Topshop  | Silk Shirt (old) - Arket : similar this season *  | Sandals - (old)  Manolo Blahnik * : similar here *  | Tux Jacket (old) - Mango : similar available *  | Trousers (old) hush : similar still available *  | White T-Shirt - GAP *

Playtex is also stocked here at JD Williams.

Photography: Charlotte Bryer-Ash

Thank you for your continued support of my occasional brand partnerships. As with all other organic content the styling, creative direction, content and opinions remain under my full editorial control.