The Intelligent Consumer: Basque country

Get the look and get it right

This week there's no "look" because there isn't really one where lingerie is concerned, although trends are moving away from the seamless, sporty look to a more feminine, lacy one, thank goodness. Marks & Spencer still lead the way in fantastic underwear at really good prices, but it's also worth looking at the Dorothy Perkins underwear range, which is called Secrets. Margaret Ann's new mail- order brochure has lots of original designs and for certain styles is especially good for the larger woman (call 01985 840520 for more details). Don't shy away from basques, they are perfect for giving you that sculptured look (that's why Ava Gardner and Sophia Loren always looked so fantastic), although if you have a bit of a tummy it's better to stick to a longer line one - department stores are a good place to look for them. Lastly, with an eye on the problems that festive dressing can bring to your undercrackers, Berlei (01525 850088) do an excellent range called Answers which consist of all sorts of problem- solving pieces. Probably the most used over the coming weeks will be their backless bra, which can be used in a multitude of ways (halter, crossed over back or front etc) and costs pounds 24.99. AB

Clockwise from top left: Black 'Evita' bra (sizes 32-36ABCD, 38BC), pounds 45, matching waspie suspender belt (sizes 6-30), from pounds 65-pounds 75, G-string (sizes 6-30), pounds 18.50, Margaret Ann. Mail order: 01985 840520

Black rose-print bra (sizes 34A-38D), pounds 9, matching briefs (sizes 8-22), pounds 3, Marks & Spencer, branches nationwide. Enquiries: 0171 935 4422

Blue-leaf lace-trim bra (sizes 32B-38D), pounds 25, matching briefs (sizes S-XL), pounds 16, Warners, from leading department stores nationwide. Enquiries: 01159 795796

Black and caramel lace/satin bra (sizes 30A-38C), pounds 19.99, matching suspender belt (sizes S-L), pounds 19.99, Gossard, leading department stores nationwide. Enquiries: 01525 851122

Black 'Evita' lace basque (sizes 32A-36D, 38BC) pounds 95, Margaret Ann, as before

Brown Tactel bra (sizes 34A-38B), pounds 12, matching briefs (sizes S-XL), pounds 5, Secrets by Dorothy Perkins, West One Shopping Centre, Oxford Street, London W1, and Unit 18 Cornmill Centre, Darlington. Enquiries: 0171 291 2604

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