What’s going on underneath?

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There has been tension between the staunchly sensible and the downright sexy in the underwear market for years. From briefs and smalls to g-strings and thongs, underwear has always walked the line between provocative and practical.

However, the lingerie innovations that we now consider commonplace, have not always been a given. For centuries, women were squeezed, teased and tweaked into clothes of varying shapes and styles according to the dictates of fashion.

This year, Lejaby celebrates 75 years of liberating women through lingerie. Throughout this time, their designs and innovations have literally helped shape a generation.

From corsets to camisoles, bras to basques, we are joined live in the webchats.tv studio on Thursday 15th June by Angela Buttolph to find out how the lingerie market has developed and what’s next.

Angela Buttolph is a style expert and TV presenter. She writes regularly for Elle, Vogue, In Style and the Evening Standard and is co-author of the international best-seller 'The Fashion Book'.As the 'Face of Fashion' for eBay, she writes a quarterly shopping column on the website.Angela also hosts ITV's LA-based celebrity style show 'Hollywood Star Treatment', and appears regularly on cult TV review show 'Flipside'.

KP: Hello and welcome to today’s show. I’m Katy Pullinger and today we’re going to be talking about underwear, all different types, whether you’re a thong-wearer or you like to wear big pants. We’re going to be talking about the lot and also celebrating 75 years of Lejaby Underwear, who have been liberating women by lingerie. I’m joined this afternoon by Angela Buttolph, fashion expert. Hello, how are you?

AB: I’m good thanks, how are you?

KP: I’m very well, thank you very much. So 75 years of Lejaby Underwear, that’s a long time; that’s a lot of underwear.

AB: It is. It started out in the thirties, which was a good time for underwear. No more of the kind of really mechanical looking corsets.

KP: Cranking you in!

AB: Pinching you in! People would say that, ‘Oh, people had their ribs removed.’ That wasn’t actually true, I think people got confused because your bottom two ribs are floating ribs and they can very easily be moved.

KP: Squish ‘em in!

AB: So they were squished in and people had problems with their liver as well because obviously that’s down there and it used to get slightly misshapen. Not a good time for lingerie.

KP: Not nice. You always hear stories about these women fainting and purging after meals because they were being squeezed in so much.

AB: Yeah, well it’s a whole ‘Gone With the Wind’ thing of like sticking your foot on the back and really pulling them in. There was a lot of kind of heaving bosom around that time. I think that was actually kind of hyperventilation a lot of the time.

KP: But of course, those kinds of looks, that hourglass look that was created from having a corset obviously is still around today, you know, it’s very popular.

AB: Dita von Teese is helping bring that shape back into fashion.

KP: She’s wonderful, isn’t she?

AB: We love her.

KP: I think women nowadays, we experienced going ‘Spice Girls’ and ‘All Saints’, wearing combats and not being feminine at all’ and now we’re going through this whole phase of the fifties shape and the hourglass and suddenly and going, ‘Right, and suddenly we’re now embracing it again, aren’t we?’

AB: Yes, absolutely

KP: And Lejaby’s got this wonderful range of underwear, haven’t they?

AB: Yeah, we’ve got a little corset top, here.

KP: Very, very pretty.

AB: And I think this is a good illustration of how you can get the corset look. It’s in cotton, which is perfect for the summer, it’s got a bit of boning but obviously none of that horrific whale boning so you’ve still got the kind of corset thing going on but you’re not in pain.

KP: But also having a little bit of a sexy something with the bow, very pretty and a little bit of lace on the underwear.

AB: Absolutely. It’s all very cute and very pretty and I like that it’s in cotton for the summer so it’s not too hot.

KP: Yeah, it lets you breathe which is very important.

AB: And that lacy detail.

KP: Now Lejaby were one of the first people to bring out the lace underwear, the first red bra as well.

AB: Yes, and do you know when that was?

KP: When?

AB: 1981!

KP: That’s really recently. I found that really surprising.

AB: Yeah, it’s only 25 years old. Very, very new.

KP: Yeah, you’d think they would have come out with a red bra a long time ago.

AB: I know, it’s really strange. Lejaby is a very innovative company and a lot of the innovations they came up with were actually about just bringing out a range in beautiful colours and they were the first company to do the lace bra as well. So a lot of the things that you would have assumed would have been around for a long time were actually fairly recent. But the red bra in particular is a symbol of sexual aggression more than anything else.

KP: Well, it goes with the 80s doesn’t it, big shoulders and …

AB: It really does, when you think about it and Madonna and her cone-shaped bra and everything and absolutely, sort of big shoulders, because it was all about women holding their own in the bedroom, holding their own in the boardroom and coming out on top kind of thing.

KP: Exactly, exactly. But talking about Madonna, you kind of think ‘Oh well, that was all very modern’ but when you look at this corset we have over here you can see exactly where they got the inspiration from, can’t you.

AB: Yeah, it’s amazing. I mean this is actually from the fifties, Lejaby’s sort of vintage archive, which is amazing, it’s in beautiful condition still and you can see how incredibly intricately it was constructed. Quite pointy which was very big in the fifties.

KP: It’s beautiful, yeah, exactly with the little tie jumpers and pencil skirts.

AB: Yeah, sweater girls, exactly. Very kind of Jayne Mansfield and all those sirens.

KP: Yeah, which is wonderful.

AB: Yes, so it was made in the fifties but was actually sold until the sixties so it actually hung around for a bit. But again, this is very Madonna and actually, looking at that now I know that her kind of cone-shaped bra was Jean-Paul Gautier but I suspect that the other ones that she wore in her video were actually kind of vintage. Probably very much inspired by Lejaby, who knows?

KP: Who knows indeed! Now we do have a question coming in which actually nicely ties in with girls on stage. And it’s about the Spice Girls, and it’s Sonia who wants to know, ‘The Spice Girl era was all about underwear being outerwear. Is that not just plain tacky now?’ she says.

AB: Well, I think there are different ways of wearing underwear as outerwear, I totally agree, I think that whole kind of very tight pinstripe suit and just a bra underneath, …

KP: Having them out!

AB: … I think that’s gone now. But I think there are other ways of wearing it. I like the whole kind of vintage silk slip thing; I think that’s really pretty, just sort of wearing one of those. Even with a pair of jeans or whatever and also another look I really love which is very sort of SJP – Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in ‘Sex in the City’ and she quite liked wearing a white vest top with a showing bra strap.

KP: Yeah, with a colourful bra or something.

AB: Exactly, a sort of contrast. And I think that’s quite a fun look and there’s a lot of sort of layering up of vests and T-shirts and things and I think that having a bra strap showing is quite cool for that.

KP: Yeah and it’s quite sexy, isn’t it really, because I was looking through one of the magazines the other day and there was a picture of Natasha Bedingfield with a very low cut top on in black but with a bright red bra underneath it going, ‘Here it is! Here’s my bra!’ and it did look very good.

AB: Yeah. It’s very cool. I think Gwen Stefani’s been doing that look as well. I mean it’s almost a bit Dolce and Gabbana because they had all those corset dresses and they actually had built-in bra straps that were showing deliberately. I think you don’t want to go down the Judy Finnegan route where it’s like black dress, white bra. Not that kind of showing underwear but we don’t mind a bit of cheeky colour showing through.

KP: Exactly, exactly. But what else have we got here in the Lejaby range because we’ve got some very, very pretty items on the mannequins over here?

AB: Yes, hilariously, we have bloomers.

KP: I love these bloomers.

AB: They’re very cute; I think they’re very sweet. I mean there’s a weird sort of thing going on in fashion at the moment because everything’s been so sort of tight and sexy for so long that actually fashion’s going very sort of almost like voluminous and you know, the puffball skirt is back.

KP: And bows.

AB: Yeah, bows and ruffles and things and so actually this is a really right-on trend for the moment and someone was actually emailing us in saying, ‘My boyfriend’s staying over soon and I don’t want to sleep in an old T-shirt. Can you suggest some cheap but flirty things I could buy for sleepwear?’ and I think this is a really cute little two–piece. You know, it’s perfect for those incredibly hot nights that we’re having at the moment.

KP: So it looks quite airy, doesn’t it and it’s very lightweight.

AB: Looks quite airy and it’s very sheer, it’s almost like sort of silky, chiffon fabric. I think just really sweet because it is quite sort of innocent and puffy.

KP: Yeah, but it’s girly and flirty at the same time.

AB: Girly and flirty and … shorts and quite see-through. So yeah, ticks all the boxes.

KP: It does, without being too obvious. Without going straight for the red and black lace which guys often go for if they’re buying underwear for their girlfriends.

AB: Guys buying underwear! It’s an uphill struggle.

KP: Difficult, it is an uphill struggle and I’m sure a lot of people actually want to know what’s the best way for guys to get out and choose underwear and what should they choose if they’re worried about sizing?

AB: Well, I think the sizing thing is easily solved if you actually bother to go into her underwear drawer and usually the labels will be left on one or two pieces.

KP: Right, do a little snooping.

AB: So have a little look, see the kind of sizes she’s buying and then obviously, that will be the best size to get. And then obviously, look at the kind of styles she’s got. I mean you were saying about the kind of red and black teddy and if she’s got one of those then, fair enough, maybe she’d like something else along those lines but if all she has is white cotton underwear then there’s no point in going the sexy black and red lace look. I think it’s quite good to sort of acknowledge the style she has actually already and stick to sort of similar colours and prints and styles.

KP: Definitely, that was actually that question that came through that we mentioned earlier, ‘My boyfriend’s staying over soon and I don’t want him to see that I sleep in a tatty old T-shirt and can you suggest some sweet but flirty things I can sleep with?’ That’s perfect.

AB: Tanya, there you go. Tanya, tut-tut but there you go.

KP: That’s lovely. Tut-tut! Boyfriend staying over, don’t tell your mother!

AB: I’d say sleep in the old T-shirt and then you’ll know if he really loves you.

KP: Exactly, sleep in one of his old T-shirts, after a while, once you’ve known him for a while.

AB: Yes, exactly. Isn’t that for when he’s not around though?

KP: I don’t know really.

AB: I’m an old romantic.

KP: What, so you can have a little bit of his scent?

AB: Yes, exactly.

KP: Very sweet. We do have another question from Dawn, she says, ‘Would you say good lingerie is as important or more important than what you’re wearing over it?’

AB: Ooh, I’m loving that as a kind of either/or question. Obviously, it is possible to get through life wearing gorgeous dresses and horrendous underwear because 99% of people you come across aren’t going to know but I like the other way around where maybe you’re just going out in quite a casual outfit. Maybe you’ve just got a pair of jeans and a vest top or whatever and then maybe you’ve just got absolutely sensational underwear underneath and you’re the only one that knows and maybe it gives you a bit of a glow and that’s quite cool.

KP: Yeah and it makes you feel good or maybe it’s just you and your other half that knows and they know exactly what you’ve got on underneath there but no one else does and there is something nice and flirty about that.

AB: And equally I think you know yourself, even if you’re in your kind of million dollar dress that makes you feel like a million dollars, if you’re wearing horrible underwear underneath, you know, that old pair of knickers from the back of the drawer …

KP: Exactly, yeah, it’s that mental kind of state where you know where you started from underneath and you know where it’s gone tatty.

AB: Yeah, you’re not going to feel glamorous in those, are you?

KP: No, not at all. But the other thing I wanted to talk about was the changing shape of women because of course, if you look back to before, to Jayne Mansfield, that very, very curvy figure and of course we’ve gone through this kind of stage where they were saying that the modern shape of a woman is more beer glass than hourglass and where are we now because it seems to have gone back to hourglass again?

AB: Well I think this is the wonderful thing about lingerie. I don’t think women really change shape that hugely but I think fashions come in and fashions come out. I mean, in the 1920s people were incredibly sort of straight up and down and very thin and flat-chested and also in the 60s.

KP: Exactly, and flattening down their boobs, weren’t they.

AB: Exactly and I think a lot of that was to do with altering their body shape and equally now I think there is this perception of women and they’re much more almost like athletic looking, I guess and they’re quite sort of trunky. But then again people are getting more into the sort of corset shapes, everyone’s wearing those sort of wide belts around their waists this summer because that’s a really key look and so it gives an impression that suddenly we’re all hourglass again but it’s just fashion.

KP: When everyone always was, yeah. I just think it’s great that there is this sort of underwear to be able to help you, pull and tuck you in those kind of areas, like that lovely little basque top that we’ve got there

AB: Yes, exactly.

KP: Yes, that’s very, very pretty.

AB: And it’s just kind of fun as well though, you know, everyone’s had a go with the chicken fillets and suddenly go, ‘Oh now I’m two cup sizes bigger!’ I mean, it’s just a bit of fun.

KP: It is a bit of fun and there’s nothing wrong with keeping it a secret. You just don’t tell anyone your underwear secrets, do you? We’ve got another question in, Leni wants to know, ‘Do you think women feel more liberated by today’s underwear?’

AB: I think they do, I think because there’s a lot of choice and it’s very unusual that you come across underwear that’s physically painful anymore! Unless you’re doing it really wrong, that thong is far too small. Yeah, I think women do feel quite liberated and also I think a lot of that comes down to the fact that you can choose different sorts of styles. You know, one day you can just be in quite plain, classic, white cotton underwear or invisible T-shirt underwear like we have in the Nuage range and then another time you could have really pretty chiffon underwear. There’s just so much choice now and I really think there’s something for everyone as well. You know, we have ranges that go up to cup size E.

KP: Brilliant.

AB: And you know, we probably didn’t have those thirty years ago so I think it’s great that we have all these different things on offer.

KP: And also pretty underwear in larger sizes because I think that’s what larger-busted women have found, that you can maybe get big bras but they’re not as pretty.

AB: Yes.

KP: And I’m also going from big-chested ladies to smaller-chested ladies, I have a question here from Olivia here, ‘I’m pitifully flat-chested …’ she says, ‘… and it is a real embarrassment for me. Is there any way I can create the impression of being bigger-busted?’

AB: Right, first of all I want to correct the term ‘pitifully’.

KP: I know, there’s nothing wrong with it!

AB: Nothing wrong with it I say, with my hand on my heart and my chest. I think we have to look at examples of flat-chested women who all the men fancy, Kate Moss, Keira Knightly, you know and fashion icons throughout our time like Audrey Hepburn. So I think you have to get your head around the idea that it’s just a different look. It’s not a worse look than having a big chest or whatever and actually, there are quite a few big-chested ladies who think it’s a real pain to be able to dress well.

KP: Exactly, gaping shirts and things like that where you can’t get them together.

AB: So I think a good look for you to go for if you do have smaller breasts is to go for the balconette style because it really pushes them up. It’s very sexy and I think it suits a smaller chest as well as a large chest and also you can go for the whole kind of chicken fillet thing. But also I think you should enjoy the fact that you have this sort of body shape and there are lots of gorgeous designs that have no wiring that’s not a problem for you. You know, you can just have this very kind of chic look, wear something with an incredibly low V and know that

KP: Which you can’t get away with with big boobs.

AB: Yeah, exactly. I mean look at Kate Moss - the things she wears. She often wears catwalk looks that are sort of slashed to the navel and she doesn’t look incredibly sexual with it, it’s just a quite sort of sylph-like look. I think enjoy it if you have small breasts.

KP: Yeah, embrace it, embrace the smaller chest! Nellie has sent us an email, ‘Where can I get a corset suitable for daily wear to help me achieve the impression of an hourglass figure?’

AB: Well, I think this is a good one, especially for daily wear at the moment. I mean a lot of corsets are made from heavier fabric, there’s a lot more layering, there’s a lot more kind of boning whereas this is actually quite a light one so I think if you’re going for a summer corset …

KP: And that’s in cotton.

AB: It’s in cotton so it’s very breathable and also this is quite like something Victoria Beckham has been wearing with jeans.

KP: Oh, has she?

AB: So I think it’s actually from a big name designer so it would be nice to get that kind of look.

KP: Exactly and that is of course available from Lejaby which we can check out the whole range of Lejaby at www.Lejaby.com. There’s a great range available from Lejaby, going up to 36E in a whole range of lovely sizes and of course, these lovely, pretty ones for the smaller-busted lady where you don’t necessarily have to have it all pushed up. Like we said, embrace it. Look at Kate Moss, she often doesn’t wear a bra, does she. She just concentrates on her underwear, the lower half and all that kind of thing.

AB: Yes, she’s a rock chick.

KP: Now the other thing is the thong because thongs aren’t particularly comfortable for everyone are they and you were saying before, if it’s too small you’re just going to feel like you’re being cut in two.

AB: Absolutely, I think often that’s the reason people find thongs really uncomfortable because they buy one that’s actually too small and then you get the dreaded ‘muffin top’ which is not good.

KP: Oh, the ‘muffin tops’, yes! It’s not good!

AB: It’s really not good so I think you have to get one that’s the right size that really isn’t digging in at all in your hips and then it’s much more comfortable. But I think people are like, ‘Oh, is the thong in, is the thong out?’ I’m quite a fan of those kind of boy-cut pants as well and I think we’ve all got into the habit now of wearing thongs and actually, on lots of occasions – like for instance, I’m wearing quite a short dress today and it’s almost like quite forties style, I guess and that’s quite a good time to wear a pair of boy-cut briefs. If you’re walking down the street and it might be a bit windy, have a cute pair of boy-cut briefs. You don’t want to be out in your thong.

KP: Can you imagine … oh gosh, woosh!

AB: Like a Rod Stewart video from the 80s. So I think it’s about experimenting and also I think people think ‘Thong to avoid VPL, boy-shorts in a huge pair of jeans’.

KP: Exactly and this is the question that we’ve got in at the moment from Debbie and she’s saying, ‘Thongs aren’t in fashion anymore but I still can’t face anything else’ because she abhors the VPL, ‘Am I doomed to be unfashionable?’ No, no, you’re not doomed to be unfashionable.

AB: No, I think boy-cut pants are much more fashionable now actually because I think because the thong has been around for so long and I think people really hate that look of it sticking out of the top of a pair of jeans.

KP: Yeah, because that was quite fashionable for a while, I know. I never liked that one, why do you want to see it? Keep something to the imagination.

AB: And I think the thong is quite good if you’re wearing something like that ridiculously silky jersey fabric, that kind of a dress, then you do need a thong. But actually I think people would be quite surprised if they experiment a bit with boy-pants because if you get one that sort of nestles in the bottom of your buttocks basically and then you won’t have any VPL so I think people really think that’s to get an enormous VPL and it isn’t and actually they’re much more comfortable.

KP: Good, good to know. Now we are half way through already. Time flies, doesn’t it, when you’re talking about underwear. We’ve still got time to get more questions in so make sure you click on the bottom of the screen. There’s a little box where you can put in your name, where you’re from as well and your question for us and we will try and get to that as well, so keep them firing in. So VPL has been dealt with and of course you’ve got the Nuage range from Lejaby which has the seamless bottom to it as well, doesn’t it.

AB: Yes, yeah and that’s really popular and they sell like a million a year of those so they’re doing something right.

KP: Gosh, they must be doing something right. Well it is a beautiful range because not only is it practical, but you are getting something sexy as well, or just pretty or flirty and, talking about the G-string again, not everyone can carry off a G-string if you’re just wandering around with your other half, in your home and you want to be feeling good. You know, I think you’re going to feel a lot more comfortable with a bit more material on the bottom.

AB: Yeah, definitely, I think the thong is quite hard to carry off if you have a larger bottom and actually J-Lo is constantly being photographed in her underwear for various magazines and she always chooses that very classic, almost 1950s – it’s not a French knicker because it because it’s not sort of loose.

KP: More of a box shape.

AB: Yeah, more of a box kind of shape and I think that can be very flattering because it does absolutely celebrate your curves in very much a movie star kind of way.

KP: It’s nice and again I’ve got a question coming in, when it comes to wearing just your underwear, it’s from Pippa by the way. ‘Can certain pants make your legs look longer, if so, which ones?’

AB: Actually I think thongs are probably quite good for that because they do just literally go up to your waist so, yeah, I would say a thong and probably quite a high cut one.

KP: Of course because the high-cut’s going to elongate your thigh rather than cutting it off at the bottom.

AB: Yes.

KP: We’ve got another one from Pauline Leonard, ‘Why do men find lingerie such a turn-on?’ Why, I don’t know, why?

AB: I think it’s two things, I think first of all it’s because it’s a bit of a tease and actually what they’re interested in is what’s underneath but we’ve all been to a nudist beach and actually seeing everything isn’t necessarily what you really want so it’s a bit of a tease. And also I think a lot of the time there is a certain amount of thinking that it might feel nice to wear and again, this was something that absolutely started in the thirties which is obviously when Lejaby started in France and before that clothing had been very kind of functional and actually quite rough and horrible to wear. And in the 1930s all these fabrics started coming through, bias cut silks and satins and I think apart from the turn-on of that was that men could see that women enjoyed having that fabric against their skin and I think that is really sensual. And obviously silk and satin, they feel like really smooth skin so it’s a very kind of sensual thing.

KP: And it’s that whole kind of something else to take off, isn’t it, as well.

AB: Exactly, it’s like unwrapping a present. It’s the classic kind of analogy.

KP: Yeah, that’s a nice way to think of it and like we were saying before, I don’t think guys generally want to go for the black and red lace. I think they find the girly bows and things just as sexy and flirty.

AB: Yes, absolutely, well it is amazing actually, the number of guys who, if you ask them what their favourite kind of underwear is a lot of them will say that very clean, white, lacy kind of look. They really like that and I think it’s a common misconception that actually all guys want the full on sort of S & M red and black lace even if sometimes that’s what they go and buy.

KP: Yeah, we’ve got another question now from Diva, hallo Diva.

AB: Good name!

KP: A great name and she wants to know, ‘I’m going to a fabulous black tie dinner and will be wearing a gorgeous halter-neck dress that has a very low back. Can you recommend some lingerie that will be discreet but keep me supported?’ So what do we have from the Lejaby range that’s going to work with a halter-neck?

AB: We do have this amazing bra actually, it’s in the Nuage range and it has lots of little hooks on the cups and then you can just basically change the straps around to your heart’s content. So you can make it a one-shoulder bra, you can make it a halter-neck bra, you can make it a totally strapless bra. I have to say I don’t think that one’s got a particularly low back but, just a sort of general styling tip, I think everyone knows about tit-tape.

AB: You know, it’s basically toupee tape. I saw Jennifer Aniston wearing some at the premiere of ‘The Breaker’ on the news this morning and she obviously had tit-tape going on and I think also for a little while now they’ve had those adhesive strips. They’re actually in a sort of horseshoe shape and you’re supposed to somehow support your breasts like that.

KP: Ok.

AB: I’ve got very small breasts, it’s never worked for me but the other day I did see it on the internet. They’ve got these sort of teardrop shaped sticky patches now and they literally go over the whole breast and they really do look like the kind of thing that would work very well. I haven’t tried them out yet but I can imagine that would even work on a bigger bust size so I don’t know what size this lady, Diva, is but I would recommend getting those if it’s a very low back and if not just try the halter-neck style from the Nuage range.

KP: Yes, from the Nuage range. If you want to look at the Nuage range of course you can look on www.Lejaby.com and you can see the entire range not just of course, the Nuage. All these beautiful camisoles and very pretty, lacy pantaloons. I’m loving the pantaloons, I think they’re my favourite and I think I’m going to have to get some, very pretty.

AB: There’s a lot of ruffleyness as well, I mean, that’s the other thing we should say. The Nuage range is great because it’s just invisible and very classic and useful for wearing under T-shirts and complicated strappy tops, but actually the great thing about Lejaby as well is they literally translate all the hot trends from the catwalk into their lingerie. So they have a lot of floral ones, have a lot of hot, tropical colours, very popular this season. They have lots of ruffley bits. So literally anything that you’re buying for your outerwear you could be reflecting in your lingerie.

KP: Right, now Willa wants to know and let me see, we did sort of touch on this earlier, is quite a busty 36E, ‘I’ve always hated my breasts …’

AB: Oh no.

KP: ‘… and particularly as it’s difficult to find bras that flatter the figure. Can you help at all?’ Well this is what we were saying earlier, just the other way around from the lady who didn’t like her small breasts.

AB: Yeah, I can’t think who came in about their small breasts … Olivia. Maybe the two of you need to swap notes. I think the thing about being busty, the most important thing is to get a good fit. Absolutely, every time you go in you must be measured and get the sales assistants to help you out.

KP: Because that’s a huge statistic isn’t it, women who are just wearing completely the wrong bra.

AB: Well, basically everyone, we both are probably! So it’s really worth it because also if you have weight that fluctuates as well that will completely change your chest size so always get measured and Lejaby are sold in lots of department stores with great lingerie sections. They always have very good, trained staff so it’s always worth getting the fit checked out because I think that’s actually one of the most important things.

KP: Yeah and not be embarrassed about it. Just get in there, let the lady do her thing with the tape measure.

AB: Yeah and be proud of them because I think the worst thing you can do is be a bit embarrassed and get the wrong sized bra and then …

KP: End up having the four boobs syndrome where it’s kind of busting out the top.

AB: Exactly which is, I imagine, one of the reasons possibly why people sometimes think they hate their chest because it probably looks funny because you’ve got the wrong size bra on.

KP: The wrong size bra on, yes, which could be it. Now Kiki wants to know, ‘What bikini prints are all the rage at the moment and does Lejaby have a bikini range?’

AB: Yeah we do, we do. It’s an amazing range and there’s quite a lot of tropical prints, floral prints at the moment, it’s very kind of movie star-ish and the really nice thing is they sell lots of separates so you can get whatever you want.

KP: Mix and match as well.

AB: If you’re different sized top and bottom that’s great. You know, you can buy a vest top to make a tankini, which are very hot this season, you can get an all-in-one, you can get various different halter-necks, strapless, everything and all in the same print and all matching.

KP: The tankini’s a good one to talk about really because of course, a lot of women that maybe don’t really want to maybe have their belly out on the beach so that vest top that you match with the bottoms, you can just keep it all …

AB: Tankinis are great as well for sunbathing because obviously maybe when you’re wandering around the beach you don’t want to be with your belly out but when you’re lying down you can roll it up and get a tan on your belly, a tan on your back so it’s quite a good option. The hot, hot style for this season is a sort of hybrid of bikini and swimsuit and Lejaby have got some of those where it’s basically a swimsuit but there’s cut-outs at the corner so it almost looks like a bikini with a bit of panel up here.

KP: Which would be quite sort of slimming because it cuts out the side.

AB: Yeah, it’s good, it’s quite James Bond.

KP: Very James Bond.

AB: Well, Bond girl. Rather than James Bond, that might be a bit strange.

KP: Becca wants to know, carrying on with bikinis, ‘It is summer after all’, she says, she’s a curvy 36C chest as well and she wants to know, ‘What sort of bikini would look good on me or should I stay away from the bikinis and only look at one-pieces?’ Well that’s a prime example then.

AB: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know exactly what your body shape is but she’s curvy. To be honest I don’t wear many bikinis because I have a bit of a pot belly so I always think that’s not necessarily the ideal shape although if you do have a bigger stomach it’s quite good to get a pair of briefs that will cut you horizontally across the belly because that somehow sort of fools the eye, it makes it look shallower which makes it look smaller. And again, a tankini is very good because it sort of covers you up. But if you’re 36C but you feel comfortable – it’s basically the middle section that makes or breaks a bikini and it’s possible that you could be 36C and actually have a six-pack.

KP: So this is what you were saying about you’re not quite sure what size she is or how long your legs are because it can change what type of briefs you wear.

AB: Yeah, I mean the basic rule for swimwear as with all fashion is to decide on the bit you like the best, which is usually your slimmest part, and then highlight that and usually, with swimwear, that means leave that bit bare. So maybe, even if you’re quite big, maybe you don’t mind your ribcage and there are certainly styles on the Lejaby website that have got cut-outs at the ribcage so it’s just a question of highlighting the bits you like the best.

KP: But I think Lejaby’s got quite a good sort of support top for bikinis as well.

AB: Yes, and that’s very important too. Again, it’s worth being measured up because quite often the swimwear department’s next to the lingerie department so make use of those ladies with the tape measure again.

KP: Exactly, get the lot done in one go.

AB: Because it’s all properly sized, all the swimwear, it’s not just small, medium and large so if you know what your size is for Lejaby lingerie, the chances are it will be right for the swimwear as well.

KP: Brilliant, now we’ve only got five minutes to go. Only five minutes and we do want to try and get some more questions in so remember put your questions in at the box at the bottom of your screen with your name and where you’re from and we’ll try and get to that as well. And remember, if you want to see the whole range of Lejaby you can look at www.Lejaby.com, so there we go. So bikinis, underwear, sleep attire, we have really been covering a lot here and of course, the changing shape of women and I think it’s a case of it’s not necessarily that women have actually changed shape, it’s just that the fashions change and you can work with shape.

AB: It’s almost like the underwear has changed shape. Yes, exactly

KP: Exactly, you can get the comfortable, the G-string, which I’m starting to … you know I’ve got over it, I’m over the G-string.

AB: The thing is, you say that but when you see a really pretty little lace G-string.

KP: Ooh! With the little bows.

AB: It’s quite low cut, it’s not going to be showing over the top of your jeans, you’ll be tempted.

KP: Mm, but I’m loving these pantaloon things and I’m going to be straight to the Lejaby website.

AB: I know, they are very cute, bloomers, who knew? Who knew they’d come back? Everything comes back eventually.

KP: Bloomers, exactly, it all comes full circle again, doesn’t it, though I’m hoping that the scary, pointy bra doesn’t although it is beautifully vintage.

AB: Well, there’s got to be a moment though, hasn’t there.

KP: Vintage has come around as well though, you see, you never know and underwear as outerwear. We could be out like Madonna was on her world tour and her latest look actually has kind of gone back to all this underwear look as well. I mean she’s at the forefront of wearing the underwear out, isn’t she.

AB: Yeah, absolutely and I think she’s bringing bodies back as well which is even more worrying because of her leotard moment.

KP: Now we’ve got a question from Diana who wants to know, ‘I’m a big fan of you and you look lovely.’

AB: Oh, thank you.

KP: ‘Do you have a favourite pair of ‘pulling’ pants?’

AB: Oh, I do but I have to say it’s not the pants that do the pulling.

KP: Oh well, there we go, I like the answer! I like that answer, but yeah, I think you do, it goes back to that whole – if you’re wearing tatty old underwear you’re not going to feel at your best and you’re also going to worry a little bit, Perhaps. You go, ‘Oh gosh what if I do pull? You wouldn’t want anyone to see that.’

AB: Yeah, Bridget Jones moment. Although Hugh Grant didn’t seem to mind, it’s a lesson for us all, remember him going, ‘Ooh, mummy!’ or whatever it was he was saying.

KP: But I think as a general rule if you’re feeling good from your underwear out, you’re going to be feeling good about everything. I think underwear is like getting a new haircut, isn’t it. You know, it all goes with - you break up with your boyfriend …

AB: Absolutely, make yourself feel good.

KP: Yeah, go and buy new underwear that the old boyfriend has never seen and that the future ones will see.

AB: And also there is something to be said for the fact that if you’re wearing good underwear it will make your clothes look better. That shouldn’t be underestimated, the sort of impact that has.

KP: Yes and of course, whether you want patterns on show but also the nice plain ones, you’ve got everything in the range at Lejaby because I have to say I’m not a big fan of being able to see patterns through like a white vest top or something like that. I think if you’re going to be able to go with the pattern go for the vibrant colour, go for the red bra underneath the white perhaps.

AB: Yeah, because I think someone else was asking about that actually, ‘Should you match your lingerie to your outerwear?’ That’s from Lola and that’s a great question. I would say, if you’re wearing a floral dress you don’t want to discover a floral bra underneath and the French are actually very good at this. If you see a French woman and she’s wearing like a navy suit, she will be wearing navy underwear under it. I mean there’s no question about that, you’re not going to find white or black underwear under and I think this is something we’re getting better at in the UK and maybe, if you’re wearing a sort of floral dress, you maybe want to pick out one colour and wear that as your lingerie colour.

KP: There we go, I think we’ve covered a whole lot of areas here and of course, we are coming to the end of our web chat and remember you can look up all the range on www.Lejaby.com and of course, what are there available? We’ve got the corset in a modern, more comfortable style.

AB: Yes, the modern Dita von Teese look for summer, we’ve got our modern bloomer sleep set and this sadly isn’t available on the website, I’m afraid, ladies.

KP: Not anymore but beautifully vintage from www.Lejaby.com.

AB: Yeah, but there is sort of history stuff on the internet which is really interesting.

KP: Oh, is there?

AB: Yeah, all about the kind of innovations that Lejaby’s brought in over the years so that’s definitely worth looking at.

KP: Yeah, get to see how they’ve championed the lace, the red bra, the first bra with removable padding.

AB: Yes, 1966. Look at you, well done!

KP: I want to say a very big thank you to Angela though, for joining us this afternoon and I just want to make sure that you do look at the range. Get yourself measured, that’s what we’ve learned today and of course, just wear what makes you comfortable, I think.

AB: Yes, absolutely!