Unders never cease
Lisa Cheng knows her lingerie. Half of the space in her walk-in closet is reserved for lacy undergarments.
'I do have a lot of bras. Usually, girls think about which pair of shoes they are going to pair their clothes with. I do that, but I think about lingerie as well,' says Cheng, a former New Yorker who opened lingerie boutique Sheer in Central four months ago.
Cheng says she puts an equal amount of thought to her innerwear as her outerwear.
'For me, lingerie is an emotional thing. Every morning, I ask myself what I feel like wearing inside. The great thing is, it's actually my inner secret. You don't do it for other people,' she says.
As for her outerwear, Cheng explains she's evolved into something more feminine since she moved from a corporate office to her own entrepreneurial venture.
'My style is modern and feminine but with no frills, baby pink or anything over the top,' she says. 'I like things simple and quick that I can throw on, because I don't have all day to decide what to wear.'
Cheng owns plenty of monochrome one-pieces, so she doesn't have problems mixing and matching. All-time favourites include a Hannii Y black dress that works from the boardroom to the bar, a halter-neck cocktail dress featuring dusty pink tulle and a white jersey wrap dress from local designer brand S.Nine.
Sheer, see-through tops and wrap dresses also make the top of her favourites list: they showcase her 'inner style' now and then.
'It depends on my mood whether I start with lingerie or the outfit. If I really want to rock this particular bra, then I find a dress to match it. If I know I want to have this dress, I find the bra to match it. And I'm not always colour co-ordinating,' she explains.
For example, the petite beauty pairs a flirty black and red brassiere from Lascivious Simone with a sheer black top from Zara.
'It's not like you can see the red underneath the top because it's not that sheer, but I button it down right here,' she says, unbuttoning to a point that shows off a little cleavage. 'When I look sideways, I'll be able to show a bit of red. It's effortless.'
When it comes to working the 'innerwear as outerwear' trend, Cheng says the key is subtlety.
'You don't want to put everything out there,' she says. 'Be a little mysterious and keep them guessing.'
Now that she's in the lingerie business, Cheng has become more daring about incorporating lingerie into her look.
'The brassiere can really change the shape of your breast and the silhouette. Some brands such as Wundervoll have styles that feature decorative straps that can be perfect with a matching tube top,' she says.
Cheng's jewellery box is filled with chunky pendants from Burberry and an asymmetrical necklace she bought from the newly opened designer jeweller The 9th Muse. She also has classic diamond and pearl studs for a more sophisticated look.
She has stuffed and dust-bagged all her purses, which include a Hermes mini Kelly, white boxy Marni, a red YSL satchel and a minty silk Prada clutch.
'The bag I use every day now is my Proenza Schouler PS1 because it's the only one I can fit my laptop in,' she says.
For shoes, apart from daring colours, she also looks for quality and comfort. 'For me, first and foremost, shoes have to be comfortable because I'm in heels all the time and have to walk around Central,' she says.
Her latest purchases include a pair of pink and gold wedges and shocking pink strappy sandals from Rupert Sanderson.
'I like to stay on trend, but I'm not a fashion slave,' she says.
'If the latest 'it' bag is out, I'll know what it is, but I won't have to have it. I just buy the things I really like. Nowadays my style is more grown-up than girlie, and I think lingerie definitely has a hand in it.'
The lingerie expert is hosting complimentary workshops in her store in W Place on Wyndham Street. Next month, there will be one about bridal solutions and, in July, she'll be sharing tips about finding the right bra for the right dress.