We all know the story by now: underwear can be worn out. Out of the confines of the bedroom, out from underneath your clothes, out on the street, even out on your coffee table, (see Kelly Klein's new book Underworld). And it's not shocking.

An elegantly tailored black suit, for example, teamed with a corset may raise a few eyebrows, but it certainly won't warrant the need for smelling salts.

Fashion designers have been telling us for several seasons now to "go for show". Dolce e Gabbana, Thierry Mugler, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and even Helmut Lang have been pushing the boundaries of acceptability back, showing models in pointy bras, satin bustiers, lace knickers, boned corsets, and strapless bras beneath see-through chemise tops. The knock-on effect? Legions of women heading to the Marks and Spencer lingerie department and Knickerbox (both a Pandora's box for those who dabble) and Agent Provocateur in London's Soho (a haven for those who dare) to buy undies with outerwear appeal.

This general upsurge in the underwear market has seen Knickerbox in particular gaining popularity by tempting shoppers away from large stores and into their intimate surroundings. It is now the UK market leader in total bodywear - an impressive statistic considering it only celebrates its 10th birthday next year.

This sexy red satin underslip is from Knickerbox, and forms part ofits comprehensive Christmas range. Red satin will make you a siren, but Knickerbox can turn you into a romantic, a sporty girl, a country girl, or a refined woman. You choose. If you plump for siren (which you should at this festive time of year), the thigh split will demand attention, and not just from your partner. In fact, it looks like the perfect party dress for a Christmas chameleon who likes to dabble but who, just for the night, will dare to bare.

Knickerbox red satin chemise with thigh split is pounds 17.50 (recently discounted for Christmas from pounds 22.50), and is available from one of the 60 Knickerbox stores (try Wakefield, Sheffield, Euston, Victoria, or Liverpool Street BR stations, Sloane Square and Oxford Street in London, or call 0171- 284 1744). For mail order inquiries, call 0171-284 2828.