Is It Worth It: Scented smalls

A week's wages on underwear? Well, if you want them to be permanently perfumed, it's going to cost you
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Indy Lifestyle Online
It seems when you open a magazine these days you can't avoid Emma Noble posing in a saucy set of undies hoping to boost her cleavage and column inches. Most women's idea of a decent pair of knickers can be bought in Marks & Sparks, but a new range of lingerie from Paris label Neyret has been created to pander to womankind's three "F"s: functional, fabulous and fragranced.

The underwear is luxuriously glam with silk embroidered flowers trailing along the edges, but behind those blooms are hidden microcapsules containing a light fragrance that is released each time your clothes brush against them. A complete set entails bra (pounds 79.95), knickers (pounds 43.50) and suspenders (pounds 77.95). Of course, there is nothing new about pricey undies but does the addition of perfume make them worth sniffing out?

I spent a day test-driving the balconette bra and instantly became more aware of my bosom. There are two reasons for this. Firstly the sumptuous amount of embroidery on the cups made my bustline more pronounced and voluptuous; secondly every time I sat down I thought someone had wafted a bunch of flowers behind me. The fragrance isn't overpowering, but the hotter you get the more scent you exude and one unkind person thought it smelled like an old lady's perfume. Indeed the fragrance reminded me of clothes being ironed with the whiff of fabric softener rising into the air.

I have to admit it was exciting wearing such extravagant underwear under my usual uniform of black on black. The bra lent me some Sophia Loren va-va-voom that won approving noises from my partner who always claims to "not really be an underwear man". The suspender belt in contrast was unwieldy. It was like wearing a mini-corset over my tummy. The G-string knickers were perfumed and prettier, though I still don't like G-strings whatever they say about the way they've revolutionised women's wardrobes.

It's been reported that the Japanese would choose their clothes to smell of pizza or coffee but the French prefer roses. Neyret say the fragrance will last 30 washes, though my underwear tends not to last beyond the 15th. It will be interesting to see if perfumed clothes become popular, as fragranced trainers would be most useful, or maybe babygrows smelling of bananas. How about bras smelling of chocolate?

Susannah Conway

Available exclusively from Bradleys of Knightsbridge, tel: 0171-235 2902.