The Power of Personal Lingerie

Can a lacy bra really make you stand taller?



On my long list of irrational fears (sleeping naked, for example, because what if there’s a fire or a burglary; pigeons, just generally) is the worry that I might die of a freak accident while wearing terrible underwear.


I wore this Else slip under a turtleneck dress on Christmas

It’s something my late grandmother put into my head years ago. She believed in beautiful underpinnings regardless of occasion. I’ve long stood by this — a strong proponent of superfluous lace — although, you know, life happens and so do rushed days, hangovers, laundromat mishaps and all sorts of excuses for why I might find myself standing in the gym locker room wearing very questionable underwear that belonged to an old friend who graciously loaned me a (clean) pair she found from 5th grade. The sad, should-be-a-dust-rag kind, with little faded flowers and a frayed below-the-belly-button rosette bow. It’s always a great time to run into someone you know.

For 100 different reasons, I have been feeling like a human tornado lately. I hate that feeling. It’s one that spirals, bounces, shatters and combusts, like dropping a glass bottle of soda from the top landing of a sixth floor walk-up. Leaves a nice mess at the bottom.

I wore this mismatched Lonely Lingerie set to run errands

A few weeks ago, at my friend’s birthday party, she pulled me into the bathroom with her because she had to show me something. As I turned around from locking the door, prepared to inspect a suspicious mole on her back, there she was: dress on the floor, in a full lingerie look, with a corset and garter straps holding up thigh-high stockings and everything. She was wearing it just because, just for fun. Just to feel high-level birthday sexy.

“How do you pee in that,” I asked.


I wore this Else bodysuit under jeans and a sweatshirt.

She ignored the question.

“I have never felt more amazing.”

That night, my friend, who’s about 5’4″ in platform heels, was the tallest human in the room. She was more confident and brazen than I had ever seen her, cut from the same silk as the model-esque “fashionista” women in the opening Devil Wears Prada scene who slip into sexy skivvies at 8 in the morning like it’s nothing. Sorry for this sentence, but: It was inspiring.

New Year’s resolutions are awful in many respects, yet I’m one of those people who loves them. They help me clean up that broken bottle mess and regain my footing, recalibrate a bit. I love them so much that I start mine early.

After my friend flashed me, I decided to try out the power of “day lingerie.” I did to my underwear drawer what I’ve suggested before — I got rid of the trash-able and Christmas gifted myself a few things. (Then I emailed some PR companies and was like, “Hey, I’m doing this story, can you help a sister out.”) I wore lingerie under everything: sweatpants, baggy jeans, ski gear (DO NOT DO THAT), chubby knits and a turtleneck dress. I wore lingerie to run errands and drink wine on my friend’s couch and to parties. Naturally, day lingerie transitions well to night.


Wore this La Perla set to a party, showed all my friends.

I felt really good. I stood up straighter. I felt elegant when I remembered what I had on underneath, like a shit-together grown up. Rather than flop about and whine about how much I hate my clothes, I had fun getting dressed — because basically, I already was. It wasn’t about wearing lingerie to impress or seduce someone or make my chest look a certain way. It was mental, internal. To say it made me feel powerful would be too dramatic, but I did feel more “chin-up” than usual. And WAY more in-control.

You can use tattered underwear to dust. It’s a great way to recycle. But it turns out that lingerie cleans up messy, metaphorical, bottom-of-the-sixth-floor-walk-up-puddles quite well. And it looks really good while doing it, too.


Wore this Lonely Lingerie set skiing. Bad idea.

For lingerie-shopping inspiration, check out the Rules of Style according to Monica Vitti. Then ask Harling what it was like to live like the exact opposite of a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Market work by Elizabeth Tamkin; photo by Horst P. Horst/Conde Nast via Getty Images.

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  • Kelsey Moody

    Maybe it comes from working at an underwear company briefly when I graduated college, but I could not agree more! Worth the money. You feel gooooood, you feel sly, you are this emoji all day:

    • why is it so big tho

      • Amelia Diamond

        hahaha SUPER sly

      • Kelsey Moody

        my b my b, no idea why it was so massive, ty

    • Amelia Diamond


  • hilary

    Any recommendations for day lingerie that is both sexy and comfortable?

    • Amelia Diamond

      Else and Lovely were seriously both very comfy – especially if you go for something without wires. I just don’t like wearing anything other than a sports bra and like, sports thong, to work out, hence the bad choice. La Perla was like – OH SHIT i am in lingerie now!!! (in a fun way) really holds everything “in place.” I also reallyyy like Eres, a little $, but I love it so much.

    • Gina Lopez

      Check out Colombian brand Mai Petit, minimal design + seriously soft fabrics. Always a best seller on my shop YELLOW FEVER °CO.

  • It is my dream to do this!! You go girl!

  • Andrea Raymer

    I love this idea, but I also hate bras. I haven’t worn one with a wire in it in over a year. My most “fancy” bra is a padded Tommy Hilfiger sports bra with a little sheer cutout.

    • Amelia Diamond

      so many of these don’t have wires! but you gotta do what makes ~* you feel best *~

      • Gina Lopez

        Agreed, never a better time for the non underwire or “bralette” lover. Check out pic I posted above, it’s no underwire, minimalist heaven

  • Saskia

    And here I went and ordered a ton of underwear.. who needs savings, right?

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Gwyn

    when my underwear matches i feel like such a badass. now i’m gonna go spend my paycheck on this beautiful lingerie

  • mollie blackwood

    Are they seamless? I’m not about that panty line life.

  • Riley W

    I love love love all of these.

    But am also on that college budget so I’ll stick to my aerie bralettes for now. Those suckers are always on sale.

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    I always wear nice lingerie, even when I’m not planning to go somewhere. I buy everything on sale. When my lingerie starts looking ratty, out the door it goes.

  • Angela Gentile

    LET US DISCUSS THAT LA PERLA SET BECAUSE holy moly i’m in love.

  • Lou

    Always wear my prettiest sets when I have exams! It absolutely helps me do better! I feel more dressed, more in control, more myself, especially after having worn my worst ones for the past few study weeks, but no one knows about it but me!

  • Michelle Morgan

    Amelia! Love this article!! I totally agree with this sentiment. I don’t always wear fancy day lingerie but when I do it feels like my own little secret and definitely a boost of sexy confidence. Have you been to Journelle in Union Square? (secret tip: they serve champagne on Fridays and let you try on their new sets. So fun with a friend).

  • nikvik

    i dont like under garments hahahahaha lol


  • am4

    I also love lingerie because it’s a (vaguely) affordable luxury – I could never afford to buy a dress made from that kind of craftsmanship and material

  • Falling in love with this pro lingerie discussion. Guilty and not sorry undie addict myself, Last summer I quite my job in tech and became a lingerie #girlboss by launching my own curated lingerie online shop. I live in Germany where there is a serious epidemic of granny panties so I decided to do something about it. Anyone know of exceptional small labels? i’m all about the undiscovered. <3

  • Emma

    But where are these EARRINGS from?? The read ones got me like: xOOO!

  • meme

    Love this. I need to do the underwear purge too. I’ve only wore lingerie at special occasions under clothes (and not as something you change into…) and it’s true how freaking powerful they make you feel.

  • Vanessa Lundy

    I totally agree they do. I wore a nice set to assist on a shoot and I damn near skipped on set all day. For me it’s empowering, like my little secret that makes feel a whole lot better, stronger and sexier. I’m a busy mom of two so it’s the little things! Great read

  • Isabel

    I am all about that round the clock lingerie. A couple of years ago this wonderful spanish lady in a dept store told me i should wear Maison Lejaby bras exclusively. She changed my life! I only ever wear lace lejaby bras now. Makes me feel great.
    Also if you’re a big cup size, I implore you to try maison lejaby. Esp if you’re a small back/ big boob combo they are so fab.

  • Erin

    Being a burlesque dancer I couldn’t agree more with this post. Then again I make a living dancing around in cute lingerie soo…

  • Vickee

    I love wearing lingerie on a daily basis. I’m a single woman, but I find myself buying lingerie all the time just for myself! It makes me feel sexy, and grown and powerful.

  • Amy Brumbpo Tungus

    Officially budgeting lingerie into my monthly essentials from now on. Does anyone else with huge tatas (8GG Australian sizing) have any brand recommendations for girls with -erm- massive tits? Current bra feels like a medieval chest plate.