Saturday 25 February 2017

What lies beneath - lingerie advice from Ireland's leading underwear expert

Liadan Hynes

Liadan Hynes

Silk bra, €317; silk brief, €205, both La Perla; Cashmere dressing gown, €1,059, Jaycris
Silk bra, €317; silk brief, €205, both La Perla; Cashmere dressing gown, €1,059, Jaycris

What Susan Moylett doesn't know about lingerie really isn't worth knowing. Proprietor of the deceptively small Susan Hunter Lingerie boutique in the Westbury Mall, her shop has long been one of Dublin's, if not Ireland's, leading suppliers of luxury underwear.

"To represent the shop, we went for that beautiful, smouldering, emotional look of pure silk, and how it can look against the skin," says Susan of her collaboration on these pages with stylist Paula Hughes. "When a woman wears pure silk, it feels so beautiful against the skin. And she feels confident."

Susan says that rather than waiting to receive a gift, as often as not, women buy these kinds of luxurious pieces for themselves. And in fact, they buy more daringly for themselves than when men buy for them. "All the time," she says. "Women buy for themselves, and they go for the more adventurous pieces. When men come into us, it's usually because they love silk, or they know the woman in their life already loves silk. So they want to emulate what already exists in the home; they buy something similar."

She pooh-poohs the notion that customers are affected by fashion trends when it comes to buying underwear, saying, "People wear what they like, and what's comfortable." In terms of comfort, she notes that the newest trend is for luxurious loungewear. "Silk pyjamas are really popular. When people get home from work, they get into their pyjamas, but they want to look nice as well. Silk pyjamas have turned into loungewear."

In among the more extravagant pieces, there is a wealth of practical underwear as well, the type of thing more suited to the boardroom than the boudoir. "In the last few years, when it comes to New Year's resolutions, people say, 'I'm going to get fitted for a bra', and in January they go and get fitted. They decide, 'This is it, my new me, and, firstly, from the inside out, I'm going to look good. Because I know if my underwear is right, then my clothes will hang well'."

She concurs with Vogue's latest dictum that cleavage is no longer fashionable. "Women will always wonder, 'How do boobs go in and out of fashion?' It seems ridiculous, but they do. Now, preferences are for a more natural look. If you are not so well-endowed, you might have a little bit of form or padding in your bra. If you are well endowed, you don't want anything."

On this note, one of her current most practical offerings is a formed-cup bra. "I always call it the office bra. So nothing shows," she says of the piece, which has a somewhat stiffer bra cup.

People's most common error in buying underwear is to wear the wrong bra size. That, and not buying things they really respond to. "Don't buy it unless you love it," Susan, Ireland's leading underwear expert, always advises. "Buy a small amount; buy good quality." 

Photography by Louise  Samuelsen 

Styling by Paula Hughes

Words by Liadan Hynes

Fashion edited by Constance  Harris

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