Sweet n’ Spicy

PUBLISHED: 17:19 17 December 2007 | UPDATED: 14:57 20 February 2013

Bona Dea

Bona Dea

Dare to bare? Then indulge yourself with something beautiful from this season's soft, sensual lingerie and swimwear collections

beautiful lingerie is not just about how it feels but how it makes a woman feel... especially about herself.

Women will often invest in expensive clothes, 'limousine' shoes (only suitable for sitting, not walking) and treat themselves to costly handbags and jewellery, but forget what has the most direct contact with them and their sense of style - underwear.

Consider the transforming effect of a plain white cotton bra and briefs swapped for a set in black lace, finished with the sparkle of a single Swarovski crystal? The impact of putting away a favourite old bra in favour of a newly fitted masterpiece of support, shaping and sensuality?

Lingerie is about making the most of what you've got, taking advantage of clever designs and even smarter fabrics to look your best. The number of people who get to see your undies may be strictly limited, but the effect of the right choice is visible to everyone.

This season's lingerie collections are wonderfully indulgent without being over the top. You can have luxury without significant expense. And beyond bras and briefs, there are tempting ranges of the softest 'loungewear' for relaxing at home, plus early arrivals from cruise and 2008 swimwear collections to brighten up your life.

If you like plain and simple underwear, there's plenty of pristine white and softer cream, while nude shades, once a staple basic, have come into their own, creating a whole new fashion palette from champagne to cappuccino and caramel. Or move on up into a great alternative to black - rich chocolate brown, or its cousins soft cocoa and mellow toffee.

If you dare to wear true colours, enjoy this autumn's pretty blues, pinks or perhaps deep purple or steely grey? New blues swerve dramatically from inky depths to chic peacock and a rare indigo, while pinks begin with palest shell and move swiftly through tea rose to candy, raspberry and ruby, finally leaping to tasty mulberry and aubergine. Watch for gentle mixtures of brown and pink, a smattering of soft reds and black balanced with white, in polka dots or just a pretty contrasting trim.

Shimmering satins, sparkly embroidery, mixed animal and floral prints, plus delightfully detailed bra straps add touches of individuality. Lingerie this season is grown up, styling more restrained, but no less beautiful for it.

Enjoy the pleasures of moulded cups for an instantly perfect shape, low cut boy pants (easier to wear than you might think at first sight) and new deep cut briefs trimmed with ribbons and occasionally ruching in all the right places.

Lingerie is for everywhere every day, but loungewear is for home. Relax completely and enjoy the younger styling of the smoothest, lightest fabrics in long pants and dainty v-necked tops, camis and longer strappy chemises. Black, brown and grey dominate, but they're balanced with pink and cream.

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