When it comes to lingerie and intimate wear, the lines are blurred as to what is appropriate both inside and outside the bedroom. And according to stylist Allison Bornstein, she believes, no matter the item of clothing, you should feel like yourself in every aspect.
To help her clients understand their style, Allison crafted the three-word method, which gives language to the way that we think about our style, wardrobe, and how we put things together. The three-word method is just as the name implies; it’s three words to describe your style. But there’s a formula to it. The first word is more practical. The way to find that is by looking in your closet and pulling out all of your regulars or the things you wear all the time. For example, classic or playful. The second word is more aspirational. Allison has her clients take screenshots of things that they love by looking at somebody’s style they admire. For example, a word like seventies or graphic would be more aspirational. The third is an emotional word, meaning how do you want to feel in what you’re wearing? For example, a third word could be powerful or effortless.
“You can also look at a list of adjectives and pick the three words that you’re drawn to,” she added. “It’s a nice place to start and to give a system for how to find the three. Don’t be freaked out if your words feel really disjointed because that’s the whole point.”
So what does this mean for lingerie? We spoke to Allison about how to utilize your three words when it comes to lingerie, accessorizing, and adding dimension to an outfit when donning something normally worn inside the bedroom out, and why there’s no need to save the silky pajamas or sexy bra for a special occasion.
How should someone utilize their three words when it comes to lingerie?
In terms of lingerie or even sleepwear foundations, the three words are still very important. The whole idea of the three words is to feel like yourself in every aspect. So even when you’re going to bed or when you’re lounging around or when you’re going to be intimate with somebody or yourself, it’s very important to still feel grounded in yourself and who you are.
When I discovered I can have a really nice bra that fits, but also looks really good, I thought this is a whole new layer of elegance and sophistication even if nobody’s seeing it. It still makes me feel really put together and polished and excited.
You style clients in-person and over Facetime, do they ever have questions about more intimate garments? If so, what are their biggest concerns and what are some of your solutions?
There was a point where a lot of tops were sheer, maybe 10 years ago. And a lot of people have asked if they should wear a cami underneath, a body suit, or a bra.
Normally whatever you’re wearing underneath is going to show, so let’s make that part of the look. I’m not a huge fan of a nude cami or a nude body suit. That almost looks like you’re trying to hide something that you’re wearing, yet you can still see it. I like the idea of wearing a white gauze-like blouse with a black bra or even a black body suit underneath. It becomes more intentional and part of the look as opposed to something that you’re trying to conceal. My favorite thing under something sheer is a pretty bra or a lacey bodysuit. Again, something that gives texture and dimension and you can see a little bit of what’s going on, but it makes people want to know more.
You encourage shopping your own closet and asking yourself a range of questions before purchasing something new. Do you have any recommendations in terms of shopping for lingerie?
Especially bra-wise, it’s worth trying on a lot and really figuring out what works for you. I don’t think people realize the shape of your breasts are different. So it’s worth trying to see if a balconette or a plunge bra might work. My advice is to take your time and figure out what feels comfortable and what works for your shape.
Also, I’m so guilty of this. I’ll get a nice pair of silk pajamas and want to save them for something. Wear the silk pajamas! Wear them on any old night when you just need a pick-me-up. Get things that make you feel special and amazing and then actually wear those things instead of saving them.
Image 2: Photo of stylist Allison
Since we should wear the silk pajamas, what are your tips for incorporating lingerie or sleepwear into your wardrobe as something more than just undergarments or something you see in the bedroom?
I love the idea of a silk pajama pant with a nice cozy sweater and a pair of loafers to either wear at home or even wear out. You can make 1 million outfits out of a silk pajama set. You could do jeans and the silk pajama top and tuck the front in and add a belt. When you’re doing stuff like that, the key to making it not feel like pajamas is the styling and accessories. For example, if you’re wearing the pajama shirt, front tuck it, add a belt, and some jewelry, so it doesn’t look like you’re just wearing your pajama shirt out. With the pants, I like the idea of doing it with a loafer or something that feels a little bit more substantial as opposed to a slip-on mule that can feel like a slipper. Wear the unexpected shoe.
You can also wear the pajama set out. Put a black turtleneck underneath or a nice ribbed t-shirt and then the pajama shirt open and push the sleeves up. Messing it up a little bit and giving it some character will make it feel not like pajamas.
What type of jewelry and accessories should you pair with a fabric like silk?
Because silk is so soft and fluid, I breaking it with hardware or leather. That’s why the belt is a good call if you’re doing jeans and a pajama shirt. It gives it that edge. Also, add some gold necklaces that feel a little heavier to give some depth and balance the softness. The same with a slip dress or a silk nighty. Add a chunky knit sweater over or a blazer with structure. It’s almost like you’re trying to juxtapose that soft and flowy bedtime look with something a little bit stronger.
I would wear a silk robe with a pair of denim, a ribbed tank top, or maybe a knit turtleneck. Because, again, it’s all about the texture. You don’t want to do anything else that’s silky because it will feel more straightforward. Giving it the texture of a rigid denim or a ribbed tank top will give it that juxtaposition that we’re looking for.
Going back to that sheer top idea, when you’re wearing a white t-shirt, I love the idea of adding a sexy bra that you can see a little bit, but not too much. And even if you don’t see it, it’s nice to put it on your body for yourself. To have a sexy bra or a lacey leotard, even just having the strap showing under a white button-down shirt, there’s something very sexy in that. Again, even if it’s not showing, but just for yourself.
Image 3: Kiki photo in ready-to-wear you can also wear in the bedroom
We have four archetypes at KikiDM and I would love to know if there’s a signature piece one should have in their wardrobe to promote passion and pleasure.
La Naturale embodies an understated sensuality:
Ribbed cotton, something that feels a little bit more understated. It’s still a very sexy shape, but not necessarily lace or mesh.
L’ingénue is the ultimate tease:
Wear a lacey body suit where you can see it a little bit and it’s forcing people to look closer. You can tell there’s something going on under there, but you’re not sure what and I’m not going to tell you.
La Femme Forte straddles the boundaries that society has put on sensuality, boldly playing in all spaces:
Wear a full lace catsuit underneath a blazer. Something where it’s very out there, but obviously very chic.
La Voyeuse unapologetically seeks pleasure and provocative play:
Wear a pair of trousers with a bustier. It’s unapologetic. It’s not secret sexy, but more like look at all of this. Putting it with a trouser, it’s all about that juxtaposition of sensual and structured.