For holiday finery, basic black bodysuit

November 25, 1993|By Francine Parnes | Francine Parnes,Contributing Writer

If you're bent on slipping into something comfortable for the holidays, consider a bodysuit with a long wrap skirt or evening pants.

"A bodysuit stays down, and it doesn't ride up, gap or wrinkle," says Patti Cohen, a vice president at Donna Karan. "That's the main reason for it. You put it on along with your stockings, and you're almost dressed."

"It's the modern blouse of the '90s," designer Josie Natori says.

Panne or smooth velvet, sheers, glittery knits and embroidered lace are the top holiday looks, according to Karen Bromley, speaking for the Intimate Apparel Council.

There's a price and style for nearly every budget and figure, too. Pick an $11 basic style from Kmart or, for $645, you can have Donna Karan's bugle-beaded cold shoulder version.

For those with figures that need to be flattered, not flaunted in styles that fit the torso like a second skin, there are fuller silhouettes called bodyblouses. But what all styles have in common is one-piece construction with a snap crotch.

"Bodysuits are hot as a pistol, and the real story is the fabric and the treatment," says Kathy Smith, intimate apparel market manager for Du Pont in New York. "Manufacturers have extended the bodysuit concept further with luxurious fabrics and interesting treatments such as poet's blouse ruffles, lace trim, buttons and hardware, which dress them up and give them a real holiday look."

But if you're buying only one, black velvet is the one to buy.

"Black velvet is a ready-to-wear trend, more popular this year than ever before," Ms. Bromley says, "and it's created a new opportunity for bodysuit manufacturers to catch the trend for holiday."

Not only is black up-to-the-minute, it's versatile. "It never fails," Ms. Natori says. "It works with any wardrobe, and for holiday it's the most logical."

Ms. Natori's collection, which includes bodysuits in stretch lace, stretch velvet, fishnet, chiffon and chenille, ranges from $36 to $500, with most prices under $100.

LaCava Lingerie in New York, with prices from $60 to $100, concentrates on styles embellished with gold metallic embroidery, re-embroidered lace or sheer mesh sleeves.

"We are very conscious of having merely the illusion of sheerness, because the bodysuit should be able to be worn on its own without cover-up," says Lynn LaCava, president. Donna Karan's collection, from $300 to $650, includes surplice wrap fronts, V-necks, spaghetti straps, tank tops and turtlenecks, in silk, cashmere and stretch netting.

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