Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ball Essentials

Ok, ok, I know I'm a bad blogger. But I was inspired this morning for a new post.

It's Ball season here in the Army. Not sports balls, but dancing balls. Our Soldiers put on their dress uniforms, spouses and significant others put on their formal wear, we eat food (usually either really good or really bad, no in-betweens), listen to some speeches, maybe drink some grog, and dance a little.

I didn't go to any balls last year since my husband was deployed, and I really am just arm candy at these things. This season, we have a ball in December and another in February. I have a couple formals in my closet that still fit me, so I'm OK on the dress front.

But this is a blog about bras and lingerie. So what do you wear under the dresses?

One of my dresses is a vintage 1960s ribbon lace sheath. It has a high scoop neck and full back so I can wear a regular bra under it. Yay!

The other dress is strapless and has stretch, which means a strapless bra is a requirement. I have issues with strapless bras. There are some great ones out there for us larger cup women, but I also have a short torso. Many of the strapless bras come up so high on my chest that they show over the top of the dress, and this isn't a low cut dress. I have 2 strapless bras right now, and neither is perfect. One fits well enough but isn't supportive and has textured cups, the other is smooth but a little small in the cup so I spill out the top.

I would like to spend a little time talking about other foundation pieces, though.  They are just as important as the bra. Neither of my dresses are super snug on the hips, nor do they show anything underneath, so panties are not a big issue this time. But they can be. I recall the "date" of a soldier at a past Dining-Out (formal dinner). She had a white dress, more dressy than formal, and was rather obviously wearing a white thong underneath. This wouldn't have been quite as noticeable if it weren't for that tattoo on her cheek. Yes, that cheek. It showed through the white dress.

There are tons of "seamless" panty choices out there now. You want something that won't be moving around and getting out of position. No picking wedgies in your ball gown. I am considering wearing my running panties, actually. C9 by Champion (at Target) has some great sports panties. They are super comfy, stay in place, and don't create any bulging. I need to buy a few more.

There is also shape wear that can smooth out your panty line. I do own a pair of spanx, the kind that goes from mid thigh up to the bra band. I haven't worn it in a long time, since my current formal attire doesn't need it. I also own a shaping slip. It's black, stretchy, and has lace at the bottom hem, just in case it peaks out of a shorter dress. It's perfect for covering cleavage as well as giving a smooth outline. These also come in strapless versions and can have built-in bras.

Of course, there are hose or stocking. I personally avoid them at all costs. It's just a personal taste - I hate them. I can't stand panty hose. I don't like stockings. I'm not fond of tights either. However, if you do choose to wear them, they can add in smoothing the silhouette and help avoid the dreaded thigh chafe.

Oh, thigh chafe. Yes, I get it too. That painful spot where your thighs touch together and get rubbed raw if they stay together too long. Or if it's too hot and damp/sweaty. Ick. There are products you can rub on your thighs to prevent chafe, but none of them last all day.

There is a new solution for thigh chafe that doesn't involve panty hose or tights. I plan to get at least 1 pair before my ball in December. Bandelettes are like the lacy top of stockings without the rest of the stocking. I discovered them through Braless In Brazil's review. I'm not one to let them show under my short shorts, but they would be great for a ball, or even under a skirt in the hot, sweaty summer months. Yes, I definitely need a couple pairs.

They have a simple size chart. You just measure your thigh at the point where they need chafe protection, and pick the letter that fits your measurement. In my lack of shame, I will tell you that the widest part of my thigh is 23 inches. That puts me in a B. And since they have the original black and nude options on sale right now..... yes. Going shopping.

So, my under-dress ball essentials? A good (or at least decent) bra, comfy panties (don't want to be picking a wedgie all night), and now, Bandelettes. What are your essentials?