Lingerie, a topic that elicits strong opinions from both men and women. Some love it–the sultriness, the seduction, the surprise. Some hate it–a sign that a woman is trying too hard, the silken chain of the patriarchy. And some just wonder why anyone would spend money on a garment whose primary function is to entice its hasty removal.
I adore lingerie. But buying the right lingerie is about more than playing eenie-meenie in the Victoria’s Secret catalog. It’s about giving a woman the ability to feel beautiful, confident, and desirable. Here are my rules for buying lingerie you’ll want to wear, so that it isn’t banished to the back of a drawer on February 15th.
Rule No. One: Lingerie Is About You; Buy Something You Actually Want to Wear.
The biggest lie about lingerie is that you wear it for someone else. Don’t buy what your partner likes unless you like it, too. Nothing is less sexy than feeling exposed, uncomfortable, or objectified.
A cotton or silk chemise is a nice option for ladies who prefer something demure. This cotton and lace chemise from Fleurt is as comfortable as it is pretty. For something more affordable, try this silky chemise from Pour Moi. Natori offers a simple chemise in plus-size. For something a bit more daring, try an off-the-shoulder lace chemise or flyaway babydoll.
Rule No. Two: Color is Not Dirty a Word.
Ask any lingerie salesperson for her opinion and she’s likely to steer you toward black lace, the safest of the safe choices (the Volvo of lingerie). Yes, a lot of men like black lace, but this isn’t about them (see Rule No. One). So let’s branch out a bit.
I love this bright fuchsia Presage Demi Set from Chantelle. Talk about a pop of color. I’m also deeply in love with this ruby red Veronique Balconet Bra (if you want to lift the girls without padding, a balconet is the only way to go). On the affordable side, this jade-green Coco de Mer set is a lot of fun. And I can’t get enough of the sparkle on this L’Agent Odessa Bra.
Rule No. Three: Variety Is The Spice of Life.
If you’re shopping for a special occasion piece (Valentine’s, birthday, anniversary, etc.), think outside the box a bit. You wouldn’t just buy the same dress in five colors and call it a day, so why buy nothing but bra and panty sets? There is so much beautiful lingerie out there, you deserve something special.
This Natalia Teddy has a bit of old Hollywood glam with a flirty silk ribbon tie. This Isabella corset is a wonderful option, try it with a pair of thigh-high stockings and lace suspenders. Or if you want to go all in, a pair of tassled nipple covers or an open-cup bra (NSFW) never hurt anybody (unless they were into that sort of thing).
Rule No. Four: If You’re Only Wearing It Once, Don’t Break the Bank.
One of the dumbest financial decisions I ever made was buying an Agent Provocateur Corset. It was for a very special occasion, and when my paramour and I stopped seeing each other, I could never bring myself to wear it again. I might as well have lit the money on fire.
If you’re not going wear a piece more than once, or you’re just not into lingerie, may I suggest shopping at ASOS. The UK retailer has wide selection, from this plunging lace bodysuit to this charming vintage-inspired satin set. They also carry plus and petite sizes, and nearly everything is under-$75.
Rule No. Five: Time for an Upgrade, Because You Can Wear Lingerie for Every Day.
The reason why so many women get lingerie wrong is because they don’t see it as something to wear, they see it as something to take off. I wear my lingerie for special occasions, big meetings or job interviews, and any time I need a pick me up. It’s the French way of doing things, or so the ladies at Coup de Foudre on E Street, tell me.
Last week, I wore this funky Harper Mid-Line Bra with leggings and a white tunic top. Why? Because I felt like it, and because this is America, where if a woman wants to clean house in a sexy bra, no one can stop her.
To upgrade your every day lingerie, start with something simple. This Natori Feathers set takes basic lingerie and kicks it up two notches. I also like this strapless balconet set from Calvin Klein. Or just trade out your basic briefs for a lace tanga.
So what are your thoughts on lingerie? Do you wear it often or only on special occasions?