How to Shop for Gift Lingerie

 by Zelda Holiday

    Want to buy your lady lingerie for a special occasion or gift? Feeling overwhelmed and uninformed? Start here with this guide and let us walk you through it.

     First of all... nighties, teddies, corsets, oh my! What in the world does it all mean? Here's a quick glossary to get you started.

Bustier with garter straps, stockings, and matching robe.

Bustier with garter straps, stockings, and matching robe.

  • Panties: Different kinds include briefs or bikinis with the most booty coverage, booty shorts or boy cut with half coverage, and thongs or g-strings with little to no coverage.
  • Bra: Short for brassier, or as I like to call it, Boob Restraint Apparatus. Similar to a bikini top, there are many kinds- demi cup, push-up, racerback, and so on. Don't be daunted! Is her style basic, sexy, sporty, etc? You can find something in any style to match hers.
  • Bustier: (pronounced “boosty-yay”) A cross between a bra and corset, a bustier is great for creating a sexy look, but maybe not always appropriate for everyday wear. Because it's form fitting over the bust and the waist, you need to make sure you get the right size.
  • Corset: This is an extremely form fitting garment meant to do two things- slim the waistline, and push up the breasts. If your gal is new to lingerie, this garment is not for beginners. If she's a pro at lingerie, a corset might be the next best addition to her collection. Corsets also aren't just for the bedroom- some can be worn as outerwear, so if your gal has an adventurous style, a corset might be a fun choice. While this garment has adjustable lacing, you still need to get the right size.
  • Nightie or Babydoll: These are frilly little dresses with some kind of cup or coverage that doesn't require a bra. These are for bedroom looks and not for everyday wear. These garments are loose and flowy, so if you're not sure what size your lady is, these are a safe bet as long are you come close in the bust size.
  • Teddy: A teddy is like a one piece bathing suit, but it usually has small clasps that open in the crotch, so it can be opened without taking the whole thing off. These are form fitting, so knowing her size is important.
  • Garter Belt/Skirt: A garter belt or garter skirt, sometimes called just a garter, is what attaches to stockings. It can be worn with a matching bra and panty set to make a complete outfit, along with stockings of course.
  • Stockings: Also called hosiery or thigh highs. These are pretty basic and most are one size fits all. Just make sure you pick a color and style that match the rest of the outfit. If you pick a garter belt or skirt, or a bustier or teddy with garter straps, stockings are a must to complete the outfit.
  • Robe or Cover-up: Never underestimate the power of a luxurious robe! Robes and cover-ups can still be sexy, and they can be a pleasant surprise over the traditional lingerie gifting. A woman will appreciate that you are offering her something to pamper herself in.
Matching bra, panty, garter skirt, and stockings.

Matching bra, panty, garter skirt, and stockings.

     So now that you know the individual parts, a complete look might be a matching bra, panty, garter belt or skirt, and stockings. Or maybe a bustier or teddy, with matching panties and stockings. Or a nightie or babydoll with matching panties. Often lingerie is designed and sold in sets already, so you don't have to go searching all over the store to find matching parts.

     Now, before you head out shopping, sneak into her closet to find her size. Pick out her favorite bra, which would be the one you see her wearing most often. What size is it? What size are the rest of her bras? Chances are any woman will have a variety of sizes and styles in their boudoir, so take note of a few and figure the average. Do the same with panties. If you can figure out her dress size, that’s helpful for sizing bustiers, corsets, and teddies.

     While at the store, ask a salesperson to help you find the right size. Bras traditionally are sized by the underbust number and cup size, but sometimes are sized as small, medium, large, etc. Panties can be sized by number or name as well. If the lingerie you're looking to buy is sized as small, medium, large, etc, don't just guess or pick the size you think would flatter her mind. Ask a salesperson to help you pick the right size based on the sizes you know from her closet.

Teddy or Teddie.

Teddy or Teddie.

     Pick out something you think she would like, not just something you want to see her wear. If you pick something she would never wear in a million years, she might feel like you don't know her, or worse, you want her to be something other than how she is. Pick something that reflects her taste and her personality. If she likes to dress provocatively, pick something sexy, such as a nightie or teddy outfit. If she prefers comfort and function, get her a high end quality piece, or a luxurious robe (think outside the panties!) If your gal is shy and not into lingerie at all but might benefit from a little nudge to her confidence, choose something in between basic and over the top sexy, like a matching bra and panty set that's functional for everyday wear but with a little extra style.

     Hint- Scope out her Pinterest, her Amazon wish list, her Etsy favorites, or whatever else you can find (that doesn't require her login- no snooping!) Chances are she might have some wish list items bookmarked. This also works for all gift shopping!

     Think about her body and how she feels about it. What parts are her most or least favorite? If you pick something that emphasizes her favorite attributes, she might confidentially wear it as often as you both like. If you pick something that emphasizes something she's self conscious of, chances are that lingerie will end up in the back of the drawer, never to see the light of day.

    Pick something that matches her skin color. Black and red are always sexy, but ask yourself, does she ever wear red? Or rose petal pink? Just because you like the color doesn't mean she will, and it doesn't mean it will look best on her. Try to stick within the color pallet you know she already wears.

    Chances are, you're not trying to buy her a jogging bra or tummy tucking briefs. If you're buying lingerie for a special occasion, you want it to be something exceptional you will both enjoy making memories in. But remember that lingerie is a two way street. Ultimately it must be something she would love to wear. If you buy it just because you want to see her wear it and she's not into it, then it's not really a gift but an expectation, which isn't sexy at all. But if she loves it and you love seeing her wear it, then it's a win-win.

    Word to the wise- always ask for a gift receipt! Some places don't allow returns or exchanges because of the delicate nature of these items. Find this out ahead of time. If you get her something that isn't perfect, the day can still be saved by exchanging it for the next size or something else. Or, you can present her with a gift card and go shopping together, creating memories straight from the dressing room to the bedroom.

Nightie with matching panties.

Nightie with matching panties.