Luxury lingerie shopping might sound intimidating. This world of rich silk and fine lace has historically been rather inaccessible, hidden in store boxes and kept secret from so many of us.
However, lingerie shopping for yourself can be as luxurious as selecting a bouquet of flowers to brighten up your home, or trying a new wine with dinner.
High end lingerie is a treat for the senses, and everyone deserves to wear beautiful lingerie. Here are our tips for buying yourself luxury lingerie for any occasion.
Get into the mindset
Lingerie shopping doesn’t have to be anxiety-ridden. Why not make it a pleasant experience instead of a chore?
Acknowledging that you are absolutely allowed to wear beautiful lingerie, no matter who you are, what size or shape your body is, or what your life is like, is the first place to start.
When you feel relaxed, loving, and confident in your own skin, you’ll know it’s the perfect time to do some lingerie shopping. After all, you’re about to treat yourself to some of the most personal apparel items you can buy!
You want to approach this in the same way you might buy some fancy new skincare products or beautiful new shoes.
So set aside some time for yourself, turn on some of your favorite music, and pour yourself a glass of something delicious. Get comfortable in your space and give thanks to your body. Then, get excited to adorn it with pretty lingerie that makes you happy.
Discover your sizing
Everyone’s body is different, so finding well-fitting, comfortable lingerie, especially bras, can be tricky. There are many different measurement methods for fitting a bra, and no single method is the "right” one.
However, it’s important to find a starting size, no matter what type of bra you’re buying. One way to do this is by measuring your underbust and bust measurements, then subtracting the two to find your cup size.
Start by finding your underbust measurement. Wrap a measuring tape around your torso, just below your bust, where your bra band sits. Keep the tape measure parallel to the ground and pull the tape snug. This measurement is your starting band size. (If you measure an odd number, you can select the number above or below, depending on whether you like your bras snugger or looser.)
Then, find your bust measurement. Keeping the tape measure parallel to the ground, measure around your back and across your bust point—that’s the fullest part of your bust, often where your nipples are in a bra. Don’t pull tight! Keep the tape slightly loose, just skimming your skin.
To find your starting bra size, subtract your starting band measurement from your bust measurement. For every inch difference, add one cup size. A 1” difference between the two measurements correlates to an A cup; 2” is a B cup; and so on.
For example, if your band measurement is 32” and your bust measurement is 37”, the difference is 5”, which is a DD or E cup. In this case, a good starting bra size for you would be a 32DD.
Once you find that combination of letters and numbers, it’s easy to form an identity around it, especially if your cup size is larger than you expect. However, it’s important to remember that you are not a bra size—you wear a bra size.
In fact, you probably wear many bra sizes, depending on the brand or even the style of bra, and you might have to try a few different sizes to get a good fit initially.
Clothing has no standard sizing, and the same thing applies to lingerie. But once you have a good starting size for your body, you can check fit notes for individual styles and decide which size to purchase.
If you wear a cup size larger than a D, it’s also important to keep size conversions in mind. Different countries label sizes differently, so a 34F bra from a UK-based brand is a different size from a European brands’ 34F.
Double check the size range of the brands you’ve chosen before you make your purchase so you won’t be disappointed when you receive your lingerie.
As far as shopping for loungewear, knickers, and other non-cup-sized lingerie goes, the most important thing to know is your measurements.
You might wear a size medium in one label, and a size extra large in another, but if you know your bust, waist, and hip measurements, you can find the size that’s best for your body—no matter the designer.
Check the size chart for the brand you’re shopping with and follow their size recommendations for your body.
Figure out what you like
Just because you see glamorous models in perfectly matching sexy lingerie sets, doesn’t mean you have to buy those exact ensembles to enjoy wearing lingerie.
From complex garter belts and seamed stockings to soft silk bralettes and relaxed tap pants, lingerie styles exist for all bodies and all tastes.
One place to start is by examining your day-to-day personal style. Do you love metallic fabrics and sparkly accessories? Bright colors and geometric shapes? Are you always wearing feminine cotton dresses and vintage-style prints, or are androgynous, tailored separates your thing?
Try shopping for lingerie in the same way you shop for the rest of your clothing: with your favorite vibes in mind.
You can also try the exact opposite approach. What styles are you intrigued by, but are too nervous to try in public? Maybe you wear a simple black suit to the office every day, but you’ve always wanted to try wearing sheer bras and sexy red lace.
Or maybe your personal style is demure and traditional, but secretly, you’d love to play with bondage-inspired styles and crotchless lingerie. This is one of the greatest joys of wearing lingerie: expressing yourself beneath your clothes, no matter who you are to the rest of the world.
Consider your lifestyle
Shopping for lingerie isn’t just about shopping for the styles you love, but for the way you live your life. What lingerie will suit your lifestyle?
If you’re looking for shiny satin lingerie but don’t have the time to hand-wash silk, cotton sateen lingerie or synthetic fabrics could be the perfect items for you.
If you love wearing full skirts every day, you have the opportunity to try out ruffled panties and frilly garter belts with stockings everyday without the fear of panty lines.
This idea extends to what you need from the bras you buy, as well. If you’re always running around and want a lot of support, a 4-piece cup with a snug band might do the trick. If you want to make sure your nipples are hidden beneath your blouses at work, a molded foam cup will give you that coverage.
If you’re looking for just a little support and a lot of comfort, a lace bralette is a nice option.
Also consider what lifestyle you want to live. That doesn’t mean buying something over-the-top that you’ll never wear, but rather combining what you wish you could wear, with what you actually will wear.
Do you go to sleep every night in a comfy old t-shirt and sweatpants, but dream of something a little more luxurious? Try a matching cotton pajama set for a chic look with the same amount of coziness and ease.
Or, if nude t-shirt bras are your norm, but you want to try something sexier, why not go for a t-shirt bra in a pretty new color with a matching panty?
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with trying out something you never thought you could wear, but absolutely fell in love with! Why not buy a leather lingerie set, just to see how it feels?
Or invest in a silk nightgown for evenings where you want to feel like a wealthy baroness, even if you have to wake up for work before the sun rises the next day?
Expand your everyday requirements, and you might see your life in a fabulous new light.
Examine the occasion
Much like your grandmother’s china, it’s easy to save your fine lingerie for a special occasion. But beautiful things are meant to be worn—not just take up space in your cedar chest. Where will you be wearing all your new lingerie?
Maximize the wearability of your lingerie wardrobe by purchasing items you know you’ll have occasions to wear.
There are no set "rules” about how many bras or what types of bras to buy for your starting lingerie wardrobe, but make sure you have the items you know you’ll need, based on the places you go and outfits you wear over them.
For instance, a well-fitted strapless bra can save a party dress, and you might like a few bras in your exact shade of nude to wear under white blouses at work.
What if you’re dying for that gorgeous quarter cup bra or fantastic embroidered corset, but don’t think you’ll ever have an occasion to wear them? Make it happen!
Wear the ouvert bra under a sweater during errands for a little secret no one will ever discover, or find a dress that matches the beautiful corset and pair them for a unique ensemble out on the town. Even the most extravagant lingerie can be worn on everyday occasions.
And holidays are the perfect time to try something you’d otherwise pass by. There’s no better time to try see-through lingerie or glitter pasties than Valentine’s Day. Or out-sparkle the champagne on New Year’s Eve with glittering details like sequins and rhinestones. If it makes you happy and you feel comfortable in it, it’s perfect.
Complete the look
So you’ve selected the perfect plunge bra for that little black dress, the chic chemise to wear on Friday night, and the stockings to wear to the meeting next week. What else do you need?
One of the most exciting parts of lingerie shopping is pulling together entire looks. You certainly don’t have to wear matching sets, but it can be quite fun and make you feel extra "put together.”
When you buy a new bra, explore the coordinating panties and garter belts that might be available to match it, and you’ll have an instant lingerie ensemble, guaranteed to impress anyone who sees you in it (even if it’s only yourself in the mirror!).
If the matching items available aren’t your thing, feel free to buy coordinating items from other brands or collections that might work well together—just like pulling together any cute outfit.
For instance, if the garter belt from your sexy red lingerie set is sold out, find another garter belt in the same shade of red instead. Coordinating items that aren’t an exact match can be fabulous together, too.
If you find a beautiful bra with a violet print on a black background, try pairing it with a solid black or violet panty for a cheekily styled outfit.
No matter what path you take to finding your lingerie style, our biggest piece of advice? Buy what you love and what makes you happy, no matter what. Welcome to the world of luxury lingerie.