The 10 Best Lingerie
Flattering Your Form
When it comes to lingerie, there’s a dizzying array of styles available on the market. Having an expansive selection at your fingertips may be convenient, but finding the perfect piece to suit your personal aesthetic and your body type can quickly become a challenge. Should you choose a simple nightie or a full matching set? What even is a teddy, anyways? The fact is, the term lingerie can refer to any type of undergarment and certain forms of sleepwear, which makes narrowing things down even more daunting. We’ll take a look at some popular varieties to shed some light on how they can complement your shape.
If you’re seeking something alluring to lounge around or snooze in, you can opt for a negligee, chemise, or slip. These garments are all airy, semi-fitted gowns supported by thin straps, with hemlines that can sweep above the knees or go all the way to floor length. Often you’ll find them trimmed in lace or adorned with small bows. Women with long torsos or broad shoulders can benefit from these styles, as they typically have an empire waistline, which can balance out your proportions, and flared skirts that draw eyes to the waist.
If you’re looking for something with a little more oomph, consider a teddy or bodysuit along with some hosiery. A teddy is similar to a one-piece swimsuit and is usually partially or entirely sheer. They can have strappy details and satin accents, and they look exceptional with a sultry set of thigh highs or fishnet stockings. This getup shines a light on curves, making it a complimentary choice for those with hourglass shapes. However, one of the reasons teddies are so popular is because they’re exceptionally flattering in general, so don’t count yourself out if you’re extra-busty or blessed with a bountiful behind. Just be sure to pay attention to its measurements, as plenty of manufacturers find it tricky to nail down accurate sizing for a full-body garment intended for so many different women.
A great way to cut out the guesswork is to nab a matching set. These usually consist of a bra and panties in the same design and color scheme. The potential combinations are endless, as you can choose sets with diaphanous bralettes, push-up styles, retro balconettes and more. As for the panties, they come in a slew of cuts that can highlight everything from the waist and the derriere to the thighs, from thong designs to high-waisted, bikini-style bottoms. All the better if they come with a garter belt, which is a slinky little add-on that serves to hold your stockings up. It's best to shop around and choose a few different sets that you can mix and match with.
Maintaining Your Unmentionables
So, you’ve selected something sensual and you feel amazing in it — naturally, you’ll want to keep it in brand-new condition. Chances are you’ll be working with materials like satin, lace, silk, and mesh, not to mention metal eyelets, snaps, and elastic banding. If you’ve got a corset or a body shaper, it will most likely contain steel or plastic boning and silicone gripper binding that helps keep it in place.
Garments with so many components require special care, and won’t escape your washing machine unscathed. If you do decide to throw caution to the wind, you should protect them by placing them in a laundry bag. Be sure to never use hot water, and put the load on a gentle cycle. You’ll want to avoid the dryer completely, as the high heat will break down elastic and alter the fit of your items. You can always take your pieces to the dry cleaners if necessary, but that’s not the most financially sustainable method. Instead, set aside some time to hand-wash your delicates at home. Doing so is economical for your wallet and will help you get the most from your investment in the long term.
If you end up with a stain, try to spot treat it immediately. For bras, you can use baking soda mixed with water to attend to sweat or deodorant marks. You should also consider picking up a detergent made especially for delicates (you can use baby shampoo in a pinch), as many normal cleansers are too harsh for fragile fabrics. Place them in a sink filled with lukewarm water and gently swish them around a few times before laying them on a drying rack, away from direct sunlight. It only takes a few minutes and will dramatically prolong the life of your precious negligee.
Ooh La La: A Brief History Of Lingerie
Lingerie has come a long way since its first known use, recorded thousands of years ago. People in places like India, Egypt, and Greece typically went about their lives bare-breasted, however, there were instances where bra-like bands were worn. Female athletes from Crete wore woolen strips of fabric called an apodesmos, and ancient Roman women wrapped themselves in fascia because society considered large chests to be unattractive. Wealthy women in China donned a loose silk bodice called a dudou, and Egyptian ladies wore tunics that were not so unlike the chemises of today.
The corset popped up by the time of the Renaissance, when showing off a firm décolletage became a status symbol in Europe. It was too impractical for the working class to wear, though, and many simply wore dresses with tight bodices for support. After some time, form began to take precedence over function, and ladies would use primitive corsets made of stiff linen to make their breasts spill out over their clothes.
Pieces continued to fall in and out of fashion, and by the 1800s ladies were positively drowning in clothing. Petticoats, drawstring chemises, hoop skirts, corsets, bloomers, and more were likely hiding beneath a girl's dress. The public became concerned about potential health problems, which led to reform and the invention of various bra styles. By the 20th century, the masses relaxed their moralities somewhat, and the conversation surrounding lingerie opened up. It was now something glamorous and worthy of celebrities. Slowly but surely, functional underwear made a transformation from utilitarian styles to the lacy, racy lingerie we know and love today.