For most of my life, when I thought slip, I imagined elephant-kneed panty hose, orthopedic clogs, and a cigarette-rasped voice whispering across a desk, “Have you checked the reference section?” The garment called to mind the smell of weird grandma ointments, and the image of an old lady hauling her groceries home on the bus in a wiry metal cart. As long as I had the means to prevent it, I would never let such an abomination desecrate my own lingerie drawer.

Flash forward to the present, and I’ve upheld that vow. There are no slips intermingled with my underwear, but that’s only because my slip collection has grown so lush and bountiful that it requires its very own drawer. My past self would have frowned upon my present infatuation, but my present self pities the kind of naiveté that would discount such a classic garment.

Slips, in short, are awesome. In the winter, a slip can keep a cozy dress from clinging to sweater tights. In the summer, a slip acts as a barrier between your sweaty butt and a breezy skirt. Now that I’ve earned a little fat, I’m thrilled to share with you the fact that a slip and a good bra is the secret to looking Mad Men curvy without the use of anything that can be described as a “contraption.” Sheer dress? A slip is the ultimate layering piece. Cold day? How about another piece of fabric to keep you warm? Have I sold you on it yet?

Not only are slips practical, they’re sexy, too. And not sexy in the way that makes you feel weird and awkward and try-hard-y, but in a way that accommodates any and all of your hot-babe personas.

Feeling upscale? Sumptuous? Channel Elizabeth Taylor and wear a classic full slip as you lounge in your boudoir. Normal activities performed around your room, like blow drying your hair or making your bed, are instantly glamorized with the addition of a slip. Bonus points for applying some sort of powder to your décolletage with one of those giant puffs. Got a perfume atomizer? Now would be an ideal time to use it. When you’re done beautifying (or homeworking), throw an outfit on top of the slip and you’re ready to hit the town.

(1) Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, (2) Anne Bancroft in The Graduate, (3) Grace Farrell in Annie, (4) Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8.

Or do the reverse and work a slip as outerwear. There are a million ways to do this. Princess Di classed it up. Chloe kept it casual. Courtney Love made it subversive. Kate Moss made a scandal. A slip dress looks dainty with flats and badass with boots. It’s the perfect blank canvas for however you’re feeling.

(1) Ashley Olsen, (2) Princess Diana, (3) Kate Moss, (4) Chloe Sevigny, (5) Drew Barrymore, (6) Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30, (7) Alicia Silverstone in Clueless.

I bought my first slip this past summer as part of the adult wardrobe my mom helped me put together for my first Grown-Up Job. Shopping for a slip is like a Choose Your Own Adventure, except none of the outcomes directly results in death. Pick a style (half or full), pick a length (short, knee-length, or long), and pick a color or design (too many choices to put in a parenthetical). Here are some cool ones that I found online, but in all honestly, the best place to pick up slips is a thrift store, where they’re cheaper and cooler than any you’ll find in a “real store.”