Have you ever walked into a lingerie shop – whether with the intention of buying something a little risqué for a *ahem* special night in or to finally replace that disintegrating bra – only to walk right back because you were just so darned confused?
We’ve been there – the world of lingerie can be a tricky one to navigate, which is why we’ve come up with this handy guide.
What is it: a waspie is basically a very short corset, and is typically used to cinch in the waist. This style tends to work well for petite folk, those with a shorter torso, and anyone who wants the effect of a corset but allows for a larger range of motion.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. Wear under fitted dresses, skirts and tops for a smoother silhouette, or during sexy time so your partner has an extra piece to play with.
What is it: a fitted undergarment that typically extends from just under the bust to the hips. Usually decked with hooks and ribbons, the corset is used to give shape to the waist while giving the appearance of a larger bust and bottom.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. Like the waspie, you can wear this under fitted clothing for a shapelier silhouette, or if you desire, over your clothing for an edgier vibe. If you’re talking sexy play time, pair your corset with garter belts, and choose a style that features sheer lace panels and ribbons instead of an eye-hook closure, just so you can literally be the gift worth unwrapping.
Photo: Victoria’s Secret
What is it: search for the hashtag on Instagram and you’ll probably find mirror selfies of curvy women sporting the waist trainer in a gym setting. It is a variation of the corset, but in modern times, the waist trainer is used to enhance your workout results. Typically made of a compression material, adding a waist trainer to your sweat sessions increases thermal activity around the waist and is thought to encourage fat burn.
Wear: out of the bedroom. Waist trainers designed for work out purposes also offer back support, which is great if you’re new to weight training, or looking to increase your load. However, as waist trainers can restrict your breathing, be sure to pay attention to how you feel during your workouts and remove it immediately if you start feeling faint.
Photo: Waist Shaperz
What is it: sometimes referred to as “granny panties”, briefs provide full coverage with a straight-leg cut (versus a high hip cut). This is the most common style of underwear, and one of the most comfortable!
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. Just because they offer full coverage doesn’t mean they can’t be sexy! There are plenty of innovative designs that feature mesh paneling, lace and ribbon detailing, making them appropriate for both work and play.
Photo: La Perla
What is it: a style of underwear that looks like a pair of shorts. They are worn from the hip and conceal some of the upper thighs and the butt. French knickers typically feature an open leg without any elasticated cuff, allows for a comfortable fit.
Wear: in the bedroom. French knickers tend to be bulkier due to the extra fabric, making it a tricky style to wear under clothes (unless you’re talking flared skirts or loose-fitting dresses). We prefer to opt for a cute silk pair and wearing them to bed! Think of them as your bedtime underwear.
What is it: similar to a G-string, thongs feature a slightly thicker hip band and offer slightly more coverage in the back. They are widely used to prevent the dreaded VPL and come in a wide range of styles from basic cotton for everyday wear to cute, silky numbers for a little night time fun.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. If you’re planning on wearing tight fitting bottoms, the thong is your best friend. Opt for a pair with laser cut edges for a seamless, no-show fit for day, and lacy numbers with ribbon detailing for night.
Photo: Agent Provocateur
What is it: sometimes also called a V-string, the G-string is the skimpiest of underwear choices. They typically feature a small triangle of fabric in front, and just strings or straps everywhere else.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. This is a great choice of underwear if you’re wearing super-tight bodycon dresses or skirts that would show thongs. We don’t need to explain why this is a sexy little number for in-bedroom activities – it doesn’t leave much to the imagination!
What is it: think of them as a tight fitting pair of shorts that are offer full coverage. This style of underwear is super comfortable, and typically covers up to the upper thighs. These are great to wear under loose-fitting pants, skirts, dresses and jeans, especially if you know you’re going to be running around all day.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. We challenge you to find a comfier pair of underwear to sleep in! If you’re planning on wearing your shorts to bed, opt for a cotton pair that allows your skin to breathe. If you’re wearing them to go about your day, look for laser cut pairs in thinner materials for added comfort.
Photo: Victoria’s Secret
What is it: similar to shorts, boy shorts feature a higher cut in the legs that perfectly frame your derriere. They are modelled after men’s briefs, but with a thong-style behind. They can even double as a thong if you choose one made in a thinner fabric so it doesn’t cause VPL.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. Thicker fabrics work great if you’re planning to lounge around the house and to bed, and because of the way they frame your butt, can look super sexy too (look for lace styles if that’s your goal). If you’re wearing them out, they work best with shorter skirts so as to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions.
Photo: La Perla
What is it: basically briefs, but with a band that sits about 1-2 inches above your hip bone. This style of underwear is a good option for when you’re wearing high waist skirts to help gently smoothen out your silhouette without the discomfort of compression gear.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. Despite the full coverage, high waist briefs give off a retro vibe, and can look extremely sexy when paired with garter belts. Great for both work and play, opt for a lacy number or one with sheer paneling to wear under your work outfit if you have a date night plan for after – think boardroom to bedroom.
Photo: Harlow and Fox
What is it: briefs that sit just under the hipbone. Sometimes called hipsters or hip huggers, they are made with less fabric than their regular and high waist counterparts, making them an underwear drawer staple.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. Comfortable and versatile, these are great to wear under low rise bottoms to prevent your underwear from bunching at the waist or peeking out! If you’re planning to wear them for a romantic night in, opt for a sheer number that leaves just enough to the imagination.
What is it: panties that well, have no crotch. This style either features a large slit in the crotch area, or is designed to have none at all. Keep these strictly for the bedroom, as it’s highly unhygienic to wear them while going about your day.
Wear: in the bedroom. This is a great style of underwear to add a little spice in the boudoir, and will make for a nice surprise for your other half.
Photo: Bare Necessities
What is it: designed to provide better support and endurance, an underwire bra features a wire that is stitched into the fabric beneath the cups. Due to the nature of the structure, this style of bra can provide the girls with a little lift without having to resort to a push up.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. Choose a pair that has more material where the wire is stitched to make it more comfortable. For play time, there are styles that feature lace-only or super sheer fabrics for the cups.
What is it: a bra that has no underwire and offers support through a contoured cup. These are great for all-day wear as they are super comfortable, and offer a smooth fit under tops.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. This bra is so versatile and comfortable, you’ll want to wear it all day and well into the night. Choose one that has nice lace detailing and let it peek out from under your clothes (you know, like how all the It girls are doing) and rock it on its own in the bedroom.
Photo: Victoria’s Secret
What is it: a bra whose cups contain padding and is intended to add fullness to your bust or to hide the nipples. Depending on the amount of padding, this style of bra is perfect if you’re looking to give the girls a boost. It is also referred to as a push-up bra.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. Wear a padded bra under tops with a lower neckline to give the illusion of a fuller bust. For a subtly sexy bedtime look, wear under an oversized men’s shirt (unbuttoned, naturally) and watch him go wild.
Photo: Marks & Spencer
What is it: also called a demi cup (demi means ‘half’ in French) bra, this style of bra features cups that cut lower, usually just above the nipple. They typically have shoulder straps that are set wider apart than regular bras.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. For day time use, wear under scoop, square or v-cut necklines. We love this style of bra for a little nighttime fun as they cut just low enough to entice, without being too in-your-face. Tip: for an extra boost, look for a push-up half-cup hybrid.
What is it: a versatile style of bra with straps that can be adjusted as you please, allow you to convert it into a cross back, one shoulder, halter or strapless bra.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. Depending on the style of top or dress, you can easily adjust a multi-way bra to fit such that the straps don’t peek out from under your clothes. When shopping for one, take your time and choose one that allows for the most number of adjustments.
Photo: La Perla
What is it: a lingerie drawer must-have, the strapless bra usually features foam cups and side boning for added support. It is ideal for women with smaller or firmer busts as they don’t offer as much support.
Wear: in and out of the bedroom. If you’re wearing it for day use, look for a pair that features silicone grips where the boning and straps are for added support, and definitely have 1 in black, nude and white! For a little bit of night time fun, look for a plunge-style pair that features sexy detailing like lace or mesh in a bold colour, with minimal boning.
Photo: La Perla