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Undercover agents

I completely believe in the power of positive thinking – if life gives you lemons, make lemonade sort of thing – but honestly, secretly, I’ve always wished I were tall and slim rather than short and plump.

If you too are more of a tree stump than a willow, and you want to look and feel your best, then the right undergarments are vital. And that means a good selection of slips and camisoles.

They provide a sleeker, smoother base for your clothes, particularly jersey dresses, T shirts and jumpers, although I wear them under everything. And they help prevent unsightly show-through of lumps, bumps, flab, VPL and VBL (visible bra line – keep up).

What to look for in a slip (as the actress said to the bishop)

  • The right fit is vital. If the slip’s too tight it simply adds another VL instead of hiding others. If it’s too loose it keeps rucking up. Always try slips on – don’t just guess. If you buy online, get several and make sure you can exchange or return for free.
  • Obviously, slips should reduce cling, not cause it, but finding one that does this is harder than you think. Even slips boldly marked ‘anti cling’ sometimes aren’t. The only way to find out is to try them on under your clothes. Always include tights, because some slips and tights bring out the worst in each other and you end up with twice the fabric wrapping itself round your legs. I once had to go home early from work because I couldn’t stand this any longer.
  • I’m happy to say it’s easy to find slips in size 16 and above. Maybe manufacturers think it’s mainly older, larger women who need them. And who knows, maybe they’re right.
  • Where to find them? All the high street shops have upped their game when it comes to undies, so try the usual suspects – M&S, department stores etc.
  • Pure silk slips are great. And you can buy them online, often on rather dated, old peopley websites such as patra.com The photos are grim and some of the products are frankly bizarre, but the slips are great.

Camis, tanks and vests

Needless to say, the ones I like best are the most expensive. Swiss brand Hanro do the most brilliant, indispensable range of sleek, seam free, cotton versions at around £30 a pop. They come with V or scoop necks, with adjustable straps, in white, black and the perfect shade of nude. They wash well and last for yonks. A lady in Fenwicks told me she’d heard of them lasting for over 10 years – making the cost per wear about minus £2,000. An undie investment worth every penny.