The New Year is the ideal time for a wardrobe revamp. But before you entertain thoughts of new outfits, you have to get the foundations right.
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First, make space for a few new purchases by getting rid of everything you haven't worn at least once in the past three months, and anything that has lost its shape or colour through too many washes.
Now take a hard look in your underwear drawer.
You probably fall into one of two camps.
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Perhaps you are one of the many women who make do with uninspiring undies because they are one part of your wardrobe hidden from public view. You rely on functional, trusted staples in plain fabrics and only buy new pieces when the elastic gives up, or your best white bra goes pink in the wash.
Or maybe you have been seduced entirely by the sensuous and exotic offerings of cutting-edge lingerie brands such as Agent Provocateur, Mimi Holliday and Damaris and your drawers are bursting with beautiful but impractical frill.
This is the ever growing group of women who "impulse-buy" a dozen bras a year because they've fallen for the colour, the lace or the matching French knickers. They treat these new bras like a one-night stand, exiling them to the back of the underwear drawer after a single outing - and still have nothing to wear under a white T-shirt.
For 2008, the underwear collection that we should all aspire to is one that strikes a balance between functionality and fun. Before you hit the shops, think carefully about the gaps in your collection - what you really need, rather than what you want - remembering that the secrets to any successful purchase are size and style.
GET MEASURED UP
Make it your first New Year's resolution to go and get properly fitted. Research has shown that 75 per cent of us are wearing the wrong sized bra, a situation which causes discomfort and back-pain - not to mention a poor outline under clothes.
It is curious that a nation of women obsessed with size, who scrutinise dress and sweater labels to find the perfect fit, will casually ignore the obvious differences between a 32C and a 36A and merrily go through life wearing a 34B, simply because this was the size of the first bra we bought.
Marriage, children, exercise, surgery, weight loss or gain, stress and medication are among the factors which can change the measurement of a woman's bust. And sizes vary between styles and brands - particularly those made in France or Italy.
For the hard to fit sizes, 30AA to the recently introduced J cup, try
UPDATE YOUR STYLE
A huge range of underwear is out there, from strapless to sports bras, thongs to girly boxers. Think about the clothes you wear regularly and about the special occasions for which you might need something different. For every style of dress - low-cut, wrapover, backless - there's the lingerie that shows it off to best effect.
Your updated drawer should contain a couple of really well-made, classic bra and knicker sets in white or black for work; a T-shirt bra and seamless boy-short knickers which give smooth curves under tight fitting outfits, and a good quality sports bra if you do a lot of running or gym work - Visit our site for a more comprehensive selection.
Then to dressing-up time. Thanks to all the celebrity-led and designer diffusion ranges (Stella McCartney launches her first full underwear collection in February), statement lingerie - including decorative camisoles and girdles - is everywhere.
They have a breathtaking array of whimsical designs, from cute candy-stripes to luxurious vintage-inspired styles, and everything silky and sassy in between.
Prints, stripes and plum shades are going to be particularly popular this year. Now that you've taken the step of being measured properly, don't feel guilty about splashing out on something that makes you feel special.