Then there's the Sarah Connelly regime: investing in utterly gorgeous underwear and making sure everything underneath is in dating order, waxed and buffed to perfection.
Connelly is founder and owner of Odyssey boutique, in Edinburgh's William Street, a one-stop-shop for lingerie, swimwear and beauty treatments that aims to provide everything a woman needs to look good naked. “I always had that phrase in mind when it was in the planning stage, and then Gok Wan started using it. But I thought it sums up exactly what I do, so why change it?" says the 33-year-old.
Specialising in waxing, tanning, nails and lash treatments, Odyssey has a beauty menu determined to deliver a ready-to-reveal body to complement its range of swimwear and lingerie. The theory is, why invest in luxurious underwear and ignore what’s underneath?
Connelly has a wealth of experience in the lingerie industry, in which she worked part-time in parallel with a career in graphics. A degree in illustration from Edinburgh College of Art led to a further qualification in graphic communications and a job as a graphics communications manager. “Sitting behind a desk and firefighting all the time, pushing paper, wasn’t really for me. I wanted something more creative.”
It was while pondering how to get out from behind a desk that a holiday in San Francisco led to a lightbulb moment for Connelly. A trip to a spa pushed all the right buttons and the beauty element of the business was born. “They grabbed me, pushed a martini into my hand, plopped me in a pod and left me watching Sex and the City. They kept topping up my glass while they gave me a pedicure, and it was then I realised – this concept is so good, I have to bring it to my home town.”
So on being made redundant from her graphics job, Connelly took the leap into lingerie and began working in Boudiche, the now defunct luxury lingerie shop, as well as in Harvey Nichols. All the while she dreamed of opening her own boutique. “I loved working with Boudiche and learnt all about fitting, but wanted to incorporate the health and beauty side as well, so I left to pursue my own idea in 2008, and last year opened Odyssey.
“The business has really bloomed, and I’m thrilled how well it has progressed given the general state of the economy. You do worry that people don’t want to spend on luxury goods, but it’s never about overspending, it’s about spending on something for your body shape that will make you feel comfortable. You can’t put a price on that. It’s not just about fitting someone for a bra, it’s about giving them the confidence to go out and do what they can do,” she says
Odyssey prides itself on stocking a range of underwear not widely available elsewhere: brands such as Lascivious, Pleasure State and Simone Perele. Bras start from £35 and knickers from £20, and Odyssey stocks up to a G cup. “It’s all about personal fitting, which is why I’m not planning to go online. You have to try a thing on to see if it’s the right shape. And our in-house beauty room was listed in Harper’s Bazaar as one of the top five A-list waxers in the UK, and the only Scottish listing.”
But it's not all party pants and matching bras, as Connelly's own personal obsession has always been swimwear – she confesses to owning a hoard that fills an entire trunk. “I always have a policy of buy one for the shop, buy one for me, so I have a huge collection of swimwear. I have a brown-and-yellow-print 1970s bikini that has been around the world several times and I have a lot of swimwear that you can’t find on the high street. It’s not itsy bitsy triangles, which are fine if you’re 18 or 19, but designs for women with a proper bust. It’s worth splashing out because you are bound to be photographed on holiday. People are in trying on lingerie, so while they’re here it makes sense to give them a wax and spray tan too.”
And since it’s now top lingerie-buying season, what tips can Connelly give to shoppers searching for the perfect pair of pants? “The average spend is £90, and you can go a long way with just a pair of knickers. Not so far with just a bra. If you’re buying a bra, you need to get the knickers too, preferably two pairs. Everyone’s happy with that.” So now we know. n
• Odyssey, William Street, Edinburgh (www.odysseyboutique.co.uk)