Valentine's Lingerie Buying Guide & Gallery
Valentine's Day is only 10 days away. We've already given you some ideas as to what to buy a fashion blogger for the big day, but If you're planning on going down a more traditional route and buying the lady in your life some lingerie this year, we want to help.
So put down the cheap red-on-black lacy confection. Step away from the tie-side thongs with butterflies on. Leave the basque she will never, ever wear. Resist the urge to tell the shop assistant "she's probably the same size as you but with bigger tits" and stop fooling yourself that she'll ever wear a corset in your football team's colours (we're not all Katy Perry). If you fancy treating the lady in your life to something sexy this V-day, below are some tips on how to do it properly, and above it a gallery of lingerie sets that'll ensure you're not single by the 15th...
How do I know what type of underwear she'll like?
It depends on her personal style. Is she a super-girly glamourpuss? If so look for satin, lace and feminine colours, maybe a bit of leopard print but nothing too cheap looking. Does she wear mostly light colours? If so beige, toffee or white underwear is probably best - darker colours will show through her clothes. Is she very modern and quite tomboyish? If so avoid anything too pink, lacy or girlie and try something a bit cooler and more experimental. Does she have big boobs? Then you'll need to find brands that cater for her size without sacrificing style (try Curvy Kate, Miss Mandalay, Freya and Masquerade to begin with). Use your common sense, and don't forget to think about the kind of stuff she wears now. If she always wears big knickers, there is no point in buying her a thong, even if you think it'll look amazing on her. There's probably a reason she doesn't own any.
If you're really not sure where to begin, you can't go wrong with something timeless and classic in black lace. Try a brand like Elle Macpherson intimates that won't break the bank, but can be ordered from somewhere like Net-a-Porter so it looks luxurious and arrives beautifully wrapped.
Stay away from crotchless knickers, cutouts, demi-cups (where the nipple pokes out the top) suspender belts, pasties and OTT red lace unless you know your lady will appreciate it.
The general rule is to think 'expensive photoshoot' not 'lads mag'. If you want to go risque, choose a more expensive brand. It's amazing what you can get away with if the present comes in that famous pink and black packaging.
How do I know what size to buy?
Don't guess her size or expect a shop assistant to be able to - you will get it wrong and there's nothing worse than ill-fitting lingerie. It looks bad and it hurts!
Locate her underwear drawer or get hold of one of her bras (If you're not at the point where you can sneak a peek at her smalls, you probably shouldn't be buying her any). Look at the label (usually in the back of the bra by the hook fastening) and you should find the size. Check at least 3 bras if you can and work out an average - most women will wear a couple of sizes depending on cut, so don't trust the first label!
When it comes to briefs, check her clothes size, as most bottoms will come in standard dress sizes. If she's between two sizes, you can probably buy the smaller size as they'll stretch over time (and she'll probably appreciate that you think she's smaller). But be careful - a lot of shops won't accept returns on underwear, so by trying to flatter her, you might end up filling her lingerie draw with knickers that don't fit. Trust the advice they give you in store and ask if things run big / small as a rule.
And most importantly - ALWAYS KEEP THE RECEIPT.
I've seen these sexy nurse costumes in Ann Summers and I was wondering if...?
No. Always no. They are for personal purchases or hen do's only. Don't force it.
How do I wrap it?
Most shops will do this for you, and they'll probably do a much better job than you do. But if you're going to do it yourself, why not wrap the lingerie around a bottle of her favourite perfume, and then put it all in a gift bag with tissue paper (pink, white or black - no red, no hearts). She'll look and smell good, it'll all be down to you, and you'll get extra brownie point for not only getting her size right, but also knowing her favourite fragrance.
Why the hell is all this stuff so ruddy expensive?
Partly because lingerie is a lovely luxury - few of us wear £65 bras day to day, but it's nice to own one. But you also have to remember that lingerie is about more than just looking good. A bra has to perform an important function, providing support for the bust. Think of it as fashion engineering - there are more parts in a bra than in most pairs of shoes. They're pretty awesome things, and the good ones cost money!