As any lover of fashion, vintage or modern will agree, the right undies are vital. Not just for support and smoothing, but for comfort too. Which can lead to a tragic, ugly secret. A shame hidden behind the most innocuous little black dress as well as the WAGgiest WAGtastic white sequin number. The boringly functional greige support knicker. I don't care if Gok loves 'em, I don't.
If only we could have it all- something that nips and smooths but looks sumptuous and sophisticated too. Well, the fabulous people at Maidenform obviously heard my cries of despair (or perhaps saw me attempting to cram my behind into a pencil skirt post Chrimbo from a hundred miles away) and sent me their famous high-waist brief to review. However, this brief has a key difference to your usual support item; it's from their Valentine's Day 'Roses Are Red' collection and intended to look as good alone as when worn with clothes atop, designed to offer "the ultimate combination of femininity and function'.
So what are they like? The fabric is a smooth, silky satin - the design red roses over a subtle black animal print. This would go well with matching items of plain black or red satin, or of lace, as the front panel has lace decoration. The lace does make it very slightly textured, so it isn't 'seamfree' in its smoothness, but it is pretty delicate and can be worn subtly under most dark tops and dresses. Obviously, being red and black, this range doesn't have the 'wear under anything' advantage of flesh-coloured support, however it certainly looks better. They are still very evidently 'big pants' (I held them up to His Lordship and said 'what are these?', he recognised them for such immediately, but also commented that they're of a far classier and more attractive style than usual).
The slimming effect is promised over "tummy, waist and bottom", and it does give a good smooth line. The inner, stretchy support panels do only extend to the front, however, so I would say its most powerful slimming effect is for the tummy and waist, rather than the behind. That said, the job it does on the waist is highly noticeable both in feeling and in the mirror. Around the top - which extends almost up to my bust- there is good sturdy elastic which keeps the pants from rolling or slipping. They felt very secure on, which to my mind is a good thing in this kind of underwear.
The range comes in several styles: the Hi Waist Briefs (£28) which I tried, the Waist Nipper (£28), the Bustier (£32) and the Full Slip (£42). In terms of price for quality, I would rate these - they performed as well as some more expensive branded support knickers, with the added advantage of integrating into the 'pretty' side of the underwear drawer far more easily.
I shall be taking them out under a pretty frock soon, even if just to the Norf Star for a cider and I shall report back with pictures of me looking svelte and sophisticated. Or maybe just svelte, if they're taken post cider.
If you're interested in finding out more, check out Maidenform's UK Website or follow them via twitter...