My Underwear Story – from Practical to Pretty!

As a child growing up there was not a lot of money coming into our household so I would wear hand me downs that my mother altered to fit me, and as for underwear, it was plain and practical.

Our home life was not a happy one in any way. I lived for the day that my father would finally see me for who I was, or even talk with me. There was never any sharing or chatting with each other, and as children my sister and I only seemed to be spoken to when we were judged to be in trouble. Even Mum and Dad very seldom spoke to each other. At school the children used to chatter away to each other, but for me I was always on the outside thinking that ‘no one wanted to hear what I had to say’, and my self confidence and self worth slowly diminished every day.

Mum knew how unhappy I was and got me away from home after I turned 16 years of age to stay with my aunty, then she and my younger sister followed 12 months later. In those days when a woman left her marriage she was not entitled to any share of the marital home, plus there was no government support or benefits in any way. Mum then had to find a housekeeping job where she could live-in so as to have my younger sister live with her while she finished school. There was very little money for anything extra after food, especially not for clothes and definitely not for underwear. Everything we wore was simple, and practical, usually second-hand, and definitely not pretty.

When I started work at 17 years of age I did not have nice clothes like other girls and I always felt so embarrassed, but in time I gradually saved up enough money to buy the cheapest clothes for sale at the local department store.

At that time it was so wonderful to be able to buy myself something new to wear, but it was still plain and practical.

Well this probably doesn’t sound very exciting at all, as we women always need to buy underwear, clothes and shoes, but for me it was. As I had never learned to communicate with anyone to get any advice about anything, including clothes and other personal items, I just did the best I could with the little money I was receiving each fortnight.

I got married at 21 and the struggles of having very little money continued. I used to make clothes for my three children and me unless I could find something second-hand, often having to alter them before they could be worn. I used to make sure my children were clothed first and I would get what was left over.

When my marriage ended 40 years later my self esteem and confidence was non-existent, even more so as the marriage had not been happy, and at times very abusive, so I did not think that I deserved to have nice things. I always thought that lovely underwear and lovely clothes were for other women, not me. Having the plain, old fashioned, practical sort had become my normal as a child and had continued to be so as the years went by.

Two years after my marriage ended I was shopping with a friend when she suddenly stopped outside a beautiful lingerie shop and said,


‘Oh dear’ I thought, me having pretty underwear, that is for other women. But she persisted and in we went. I was feeling totally out of my depth and bewildered, just wanting to turn around and walk out, but as my friend was so persistent I chose to stay and let her help me sort out some very pretty looking underwear.

It probably sounds silly but after I paid for them I burst into tears, as in my 64 years, I had never had anything so beautiful.

Buying beautiful underwear continued from that day but my every day clothes were still plain and rather boring. A few years later another friend looked closely at me and what I was wearing, and said “You are not an old woman” – I was in my mid 70’s at the time! –   “You need to get out of your old woman’s fashion and get into more modern clothes.” As we both worked at an ‘Op’ shop (secondhand opportunity shop) she would go along a rack and she would pull something out. My immediate response would be, “Oh I can’t wear that.”, but her reply would be “TRY IT”. When I did, gosh it did look nice and sometimes I even managed a wow; she definitely knew what suited me.

This was the beginning of a whole new way of dressing for me and over a period of time I have been able to gradually update my clothing. I have loved throwing out the old and replacing it with something new – in fact, now I love opening my wardrobe door to be greeted by my wonderful and colourful clothes; but not only do they look beautiful in my wardrobe, they look and feel beautiful on me as well, and as for my underwear drawer, I love opening that too.

Dorothy Carlile, 2017

These days when I look in the mirror I can finally see the beautiful woman who is smiling back at me. For most of my life I used to hide behind an artificial smile, some people used to say that I was always smiling, but I really wasn’t, I was hiding my pain. Now my smile comes from deep inside of me and in turn that makes my face so much softer and younger looking; a most wonderful and natural face lift!

So for women who do not know, or think that they do not deserve pretty underwear, just know that YOU ARE ALL SO BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT, AND DESERVE TO HAVE LOVELY THINGS, just like me.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the presentations and support of Serge Benhayon and Natalie Benhayon, I have come to know that I am an amazing and beautiful woman. I am now feeling so much better about my body than I have ever done, and at 86 I can honestly say that this is the best I have ever felt in my life; and I’m still wearing pretty underwear!

By Dorothy Carlile, aged 86, Tauranga, New Zealand

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691 thoughts on “My Underwear Story – from Practical to Pretty!

  1. Dorothy you are magnificent! Really you are incredible and I feel very inspired by what you have written here. Thank you Dorothy.

  2. Crazy how as children we rarely consider what goes on in other people’s homes. Our society has taught us to see with our eyes & never question what goes on behind closed doors. As a result, we see a child who doesn’t fit the picture & tease, bully & abuse them. However, if we opened up our eyes to see that things at home may be different & difficult for them, our approach may also be different.

  3. Beautiful to re-read this post. “This was the beginning of a whole new way of dressing for me and over a period of time I have been able to gradually update my clothing.” So we are never too old to buy beautiful things for ourselves……

  4. Self-acceptance and self-appreciation is not a mind thing, it is a surrendering to the body, an allowing of what is already there, it is a response and acknowledgment of the grandness already there.

  5. Dorothy it is so gorgeous to hear after all these years you can see and appreciate the absolute beauty of who you are ✨❤️

  6. Dorothy what you show to us all is that it is never too late to start to appreciate how beautiful we are and that we are worth so much more than we allow ourselves to feel.

  7. “My Underwear Story – from Practical to Pretty!” – there is nothing more deflating than making something that can otherwise be beautiful or pretty into something that’s purely functional.

  8. This is an inspiring story Dorothy highlighting how appreciating and embracing the delicacy and beauty of our true qualities we honour our true expression and the essence of who we are.

  9. To know that we can find our beauty are any age is precious and reading this blog today Dorothy brought great joy as I can feel your joy in finding you and your beauty, underwear and all, and sharing that with all of us – thank you.

  10. I was so inspired by this very practical blog by Dorothy, that I reorganised my underwear drawer, throwing out the ones I had been hanging on to for way too long – those saggy ones – and replaced them with some new, very pretty and lacy ones. These days it is a joy to open this drawer as it is one drawer that reminds me of the beautiful and very appreciated woman I am.

  11. This is a gorgeous sharing Dorothy. Every women definitely deserves beautiful clothes to express the beauty they naturally are.

  12. I am big on matching underwear and it also needs to feel amazing and look great. I wear it to support me and my body, a celebration. I love this article and I love the celebration in it.

  13. When we stop minimising what we bring in life when living in connection and bring attention and appreciation to our qualities our inner beauty is allowed to shine.

  14. Pretty and delicate underwear, beautiful clothes supports us to confirm the delicateness and the beauty we are on the inside, just like your smile is like a testimonial for everything you live from the inside out.

  15. Appreciation for ourselves, who we are what we bring, the curves we have is so essential, we are not brought up to do this but we feel lacking and not complete if we do not learn to do this.

    1. It has taken well into my 60’s, but finally I have come to truly appreciate my curves and no longer hide them under layers of loose clothing. And I have found, that the more I appreciate me the more I love to show my curves to the world; what a long-time coming, turn around in my life, this has been.

      1. Beautiful I can feel the lived acceptance and appreciation in your words. Our beauty shines from within and our curves and natural shapes express something to be shared not hidden by distorting ourselves with energetic choices, emotions, food or ill fitting clothes…it is also something that I am walking, back to accepting the power that is there to be lived as a woman.

  16. Dorothy, it is very beautiful to read of how you are celebrating you for the absolutely gorgeous women that you are.

  17. “Now my smile comes from deep inside of me and in turn that makes my face so much softer and younger looking; a most wonderful and natural face lift!” I can remember thinking that plain and boring underwear was sensible as no one saw it, but now I realise that wearing beautiful and delicate underwear is a foundation of how I feel about myself.

    1. Yes, it makes such a difference when we wear beautiful underwear. No-one else can see it but I feel special when i do so – more sexy and feminine.

  18. This is great to hear that you now accept your beauty and is worth celebrating, ‘thanks to the presentations and support of Serge Benhayon and Natalie Benhayon, I have come to know that I am an amazing and beautiful woman.’

  19. Very inspiring. To hjde our light under a bushel, as my father used to say, does no one any favours. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous photo of a sparkling eyed and vibrant woman with clothes to echo her aliveness.

  20. Dorothy I love how you have gone from practical to pretty with your underwear, it’s a beautiful way to confirm and appreciate yourself – I am feeling inspired to buy some more for myself.

  21. Dorothy this is such a joy to read, it’s very heartwarming because you have shared all of who you are in the blog, and it’s easy to feel how very loveable you are! You’ve also given me more inspiration to look at how I also may hold back from buying pretty underwear. I currently have upgraded all my bras and they are lovely to look at, but I haven’t really allowed myself pretty underwear and not anything that matches my bras. It’s wonderful to do these things, and also for the love of ourselves.

  22. “thanks to the presentations and support of Serge Benhayon and Natalie Benhayon, I have come to know that I am an amazing and beautiful woman.” This is so true and so many women are starting to feel the same too and know i am. Inspirational and a joy to read and appreciate beautiful underwear and all it is really reflecting in the honouring of ourselves.

    1. I agree an amazing testimony to self appreciation and the inspiration of being open to the inspiration of others who have walked the path back to self love.

  23. I love this Dorothy and thank you for sharing it here. Learning to be more loving with ourselves is glorious at any age isn’t it. Love really can turn any situation around.

    1. These words brought the biggest smile to my face, a smile that bubbled up from the inside carried on the truth that was being presented. “Love really can turn any situation around.” So very, very true and Dorothy definitely shows how this is absolutely possible, at any age. We don’t have to stay stuck in a love-less life; that can all change if we make our next choice a loving one.

  24. I recently brought some really pretty and delicate knickers and when I came to place them in my underwear drawer Dorothy, I thought of you and this very inspirational blog. They looked so lovely sitting in my drawer, a stark contrast to the days of very plain and boring knickers that were simply for wearing and definitely not for appreciating, both in the drawer and when I put them on. So, thank you once again Dorothy for the inspirational woman that you are.

  25. Totally inspiring Dorothy to feel how empowering it is to honor ourselves at every stage in our lives and that this just continues to deepen and enrichen our lives. And to see that it’s never too late to begin and ‘to continue.

  26. Dorothy in a world where lack of self worth is everywhere you look it’s incredibly heart warming to read that at 86 you love being who you are more than ever, it’s ultimate proof that we can change how we feel about ourselves at any age.

  27. Lovely to reflect to us that we are able to appreciate our true beauty as a woman at any age Dorothy, it is through the quality we connect to within us that we learn to outwardly express and reflect this to others.

  28. It was lovely to read how you now have a fresh wardrobe of clothes and underwear that you really love, and what a difference it makes to how you feel.

  29. How awesome at age 86 to be feeling more beautiful and lovely than you ever have done before in your life. This totally turns all our preconceptions and judgments about ageing on their head, as you’ve shown that our relationship with growing older can be a very beautiful unfolding, and not the miserable process that it is so often made out to be and that we have products to try to stop or escape from.

  30. ‘My immediate response would be, “Oh I can’t wear that.”, but her reply would be “TRY IT”. When I did, gosh it did look nice and sometimes I even managed a wow’ Beautiful to confirm who you are with clothes that match your beauty beauty and what a lovely support of your friends, inspiring you to appreciate what you saw/see in the mirror.

  31. There is nothing better than the days when my underwear and bra match – not because anyone else will see them but simple for that moment in the morning of feeling beautiful and confident in myself as i get dressed

  32. ‘Now my smile comes from deep inside of me and in turn that makes my face so much softer and younger looking; a most wonderful and natural face lift!’ We know beauty comes from within and seeing your sweet face and the sparkle in your eyes on the picture no doubt your smile comes from deep inside and what you are wearing including your underwear is confirming your amazing beauty, thank you so much for sharing Dorothy, you are a role model for ageing women.

  33. Dorothy, I can so relate to the artificial smile, the one that you painted on whenever you went out, and the one that was so exhausting to keep up. I can remember that it actually hurt my face and now I realise the whole of my body was suffering too from the endless pretence that everything was just fine. It is clear to see from your photo that your smile now comes from deep within and twinkles out of your eyes; there’s definitely nothing artificial about it in any way.

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