The easy, invisible trick for feeling more confident in your clothes

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The easy, invisible trick for feeling more confident in your clothes

The lingerie would fit seamlessly into my well-curated, slightly smaller wardrobe — the one that allowed me to redefine myself in a new city and help me feel sexy and independent — even if I was the only one who knew about it.

Throughout high school, I'd always loved the classic Hanky Panky low-rise thongs. In fact, I had collected just about every color, but I didn't care about matching my bottoms and tops or accruing sets. But enter the college years, and suddenly, every time I slipped into my new bras, I found myself wanting to complete the look.

Since I don't have large breasts, the unstructured design of the American Apparel pieces didn't bother me. Instead, I appreciated their delicacy. I made the firm decision not to throw my prized possessions in the temperamental washers and dryers that lined the back wall in the basement. I folded them neatly in the plastic drawers beneath my bed and rotated between each color, sighing every morning as I rummaged through my underwear drawer, searching for material that matched in hue.

Photo: POPSUGAR Photography/Benjamin Stone

Finally, I gave in. I marched right back to the corner store and bought the panties that hung below my favorite bralettes. I completed the sets. I even opted to add on to my collection by purchasing the black separates, too. I felt free from frustration! Stylish! It was as if I had finally found the missing accessory to the perfect outfit. Only, no one could see it except me.

For me, that wasn’t the appeal of lingerie. I didn’t have a boyfriend, and I wasn’t planning on taking off my clothes in front of anyone besides my roommate. But it didn't matter what she thought of my underthings, either.

My matching bras and panties gave me confidence. Crazy, but true. I found just the right yellow bra to wear during my tough sociology tests. I liked the bright, light bulb-like shade because it made me feel smart. I scooped up the complementing booty shorts to go with it — they even had an adorable red bow.

Photo: POPSUGAR Photography/Mark Popovich

I tended to stick with certain fits or fabrics. Silk felt better against my skin, and lace went with so many of those Hanky Panky thongs I already owned. I even brought many of them to Victoria’s Secret or H&M with me, just to find the right pairs.

I decided I'd allow myself to splurge on lingerie. Not all the time, but occasionally. When I wanted to treat myself, when I was feeling down, or if I bought a new dress that called for the type of strapless bra I just didn't own. (OK — that was always a nice excuse, and I still totally use it.)

To this day, my relationship with lingerie is unwavering. On days I feel sluggish or unsatisfied with my naked appearance in the mirror, because it's only natural to encounter such days from time to time, I depend on my matching sets. They're like my second skin. Somehow, they make my body feel firm, solid even. And if I'm sitting at my desk, and my strap slips down around my shoulder, pulling it up is a nice reminder that I'm wearing a little something sexy.

Photo: POPSUGAR Photography/Benjamin Stone

Yes, lingerie makes me feel feminine, and I've experimented with more daring silhouettes over time. For Christmas, I went to Victoria's Secret and bought a red satin bustier push-up bra ($59) and high-waisted briefs ($28) with an attached sash. It wrapped around my torso and tied at the back with a bow, like a present.

I have a boyfriend now, and when I debuted my "hot" new look in front of him, I'm sure he enjoyed it. But my lingerie isn't a gift to him, and of that, he's well aware. In fact, he rolls his eyes when I take an extra 20 minutes to pack my underthings in my suitcase before a trip, because I want to make sure each bra is equipped with the right partner.

My boyfriend and my mother (and many other members of my family who buy me VS gift cards during the holidays) know that I wear lingerie for me, and no one else. I wear lingerie because it reminds me of leaving home and heading to school for the first time, fueled with a newfound energy and the knowledge that I alone decide what goes on (or in!) my body.

I wear lingerie because I like the way it hugs my curves and my butt cheeks. It lifts my small little A cups and, while my bralettes may not give me any cleavage at all, they make me feel proud of the figure I was blessed with. I wear lingerie because it fits me — possibly better than any flattering LBD or snug pair of jeans ever will. Lingerie makes me feel like a woman, and if that's not the best feeling in the world, I don't know what is.

Photo: POPSUGAR Photography/Benjamin Stone


The obsession started with a set of three lacy bralettes — one red, one cream, and my favorite, a deep navy blue. They were from American Apparel, purchased for $20 each on a whim during my first year of college. I think I was just looking for something to buy (the popular retailer was located around the corner from my dorm), and after enrolling in our freshman courses, New York invited us to do little else but shop.

Watch below for flirty lingerie under $50!
Flirty Lingerie for Under $50
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