There is a reason that in the industry, lingerie is called “intimate apparel”, its not just because these are the delicate clothes a woman wears next to her skin, these delicate garments must fit her perfectly because barring the gym changing room the only person who sees these garments is the person she is intimate with.
For a man to buy lingerie for his lady and get it right is an expression not just of love and desire for her, but also his intimate understanding of her as a person and a woman. Here are some tips of how to get lingerie shopping right.
Valentine’s Day usually means you have to shop for a surprise gift, I mean pleasant surprise. Underwear shopping as a couple can be something fun to do together, whether in an interesting store such as Coco-de-Mer in London, Bordello or online in the comfort of your own home – they offer underwear from the “pretty” to the “adventurous” styles. This will ensure she get’s exactly what she wants and feels both desired and flattered.
Let’s get the DON’Ts out of the way
1. The first NO! is red. Hooker red to be precise, a deep wine colour would be fine but cheap scarlet red is just plain rude.
2. Thongs and G-strings, unless you have seen your partner wear them, avoid, big French lacy knickers or elegant briefs is what we ladies like.
3. Cheap scratchy fabrics. Modern fabrics are now so soft there is no excuse.
Avoid these three horrors and make sure your gift is beautifully wrapped, (ask for gift wrapping when buying) with a gift receipt, then the only way is up.
Choosing a style that she will love is key, buying the correct size is vital though. Finding out her correct size without asking her will sound like the synopsis of a French bedroom farce. You have three options:
1. Just ask her… bang goes the surprise!
2. Somehow look at the labels of her bra when she is not looking, yes you can see how the farce begins. Offering to do the washing and checking the labels might be a better option if you live together.
3. Consult one of her closest friends and see if she can be your spy. Again, a certain level of care must be taken with this strategy particularly if her best friend is incapable of keeping secrets.
If your lover’s female best friend is discreet, she may be an ally and help you choose a great present, or else you may find yourself feeling like Father Ted (see video below) lost in a huge lingerie section of a department store.
Another alternative is to visit a specialist lingerie store who will offer sage advice.
Once you have her bra size, you’re on a winning streak. Different brands specialize in different shapes for women, with smaller busts I would recommend Princesse Tam.Tam, they create fresh styles that women love.
For women with narrow backs and larger busts Panache and Fantasie are good choices. For more luxurious sets, try Maison Lejaby and for adventurous and intriguing lingerie, British brand Bordello create beautiful luxury lingerie that is perfect for the bedroom.
Shape of bras is key. A fuller cup is coming back into fashion. Women with small busts to medium size busts can wear balconette styles, push-up and plunge bras. The more well-endowed need a fuller cup and support, choose rich fabrics such as satin with embroidery and lush embellishments.
Very small busts don’t need wires supports, they can be flattered by lovely stretch lace designs, triangular bras are also popular. Lingerie fabric design has advanced so much that there is a real wealth of beautiful designs for all tastes and personalities.
Colour is also a big and important decision. Black is both a safe and sexy choice, but it’s a bit boring and predictable – a bit like buying Thornton’s chocolates instead of hand made artisan chocolates (take note), they’re nice but a bit predictable.
At the moment the colour trends for lingerie, bra and knicker sets in particular, is for dark on dark colour choices, so aubergine, purples, chocolates, dark blues and teal colours are intriguing and flattering new options. Pale pink or nude lace trims on black is on trend, but as we move into summer the colours are much more bright sorbet colours or pastels, pale blues, pinks, yellows, greens and lilac. Green has become a popular colour, particularly gold-greens.
Soft colours, with details, layers of embroidery and lace, 3D effects are growing trends in intimate apparel too. Prints are gaining popularity with pretty designs from Gossard and Aubade, and unusual prints from Yes Master.
A bra and briefs set is of course one choice, but think laterally – teddies and bodies are coming back into fashion, a beautiful dressing gown or kimono are a welcome gift, generally you want to make your lover feel confident and womanly. If your relationship is more racy, then you probably already have a good understanding about her tastes and can venture into the realms of waspies and bustiers etc.
But if in doubt “pretty and expensive” will win great favour with your lady. For Valentine’s day, offering lingerie as part of a whole romantic experience such as inviting her round for dinner, making delicious romantic food, flowers, good wine, candles and indulgences will make a special night that will run smoothly.
The more attention to detail, the more you will impress her with your understanding of her as a woman, which is a real intimacy and I assure you that this will be very rewarding.