A Man's Guide To Buying Lingerie

Ayten Roberts

So I married a lingerie designer! Where the 14 year old me would be disgusted at how blasé I’ve become about the fact that most of the rooms in my house are filled with silk bras and knickers, the very fact of me sharing the house with a designer has given me some vital knowhow when it comes to lingerie. And, more importantly, how not to look like an idiot when faced with that most daunting of tasks – buying underwear.

There are few things more intimidating for a man than entering a lingerie shop. So many styles, so many sizes, some stuff you won’t even recognise. Luckily, thanks to my accidental immersion into this mysterious world, I am now able to pass on my received wisdom.

Firstly – and most importantly – is size. Bra sizes have confused men for generations but fortunately a lot of the pieces, such as the Classic Bralet at come in small, medium or large. Surely everyone can take an educated guess with those options.

Next, how to know your teddies from your slips. Most men should be able to recognise a bra from a knicker (if not you probably need a more basic lesson in womankind than this). There’s so many styles that you could be forgiven for giving up now. But think of the gratitude of a wife or girlfriend who is pleasantly surprised to find out that their man seems to have taken an interest in stuff she likes for a change.

Knickers are straightforward and the different options such as ‘skirted’ can be worked out quite easily. Sizing is obvious here as well – small, medium or large. As with any area of study though it’s the technical language you need to pick up.  

Slip – You should know what a slip is but they do come in either a short or a full length (Ann) – both classic examples of silk nightwear. These are bias cut - meaning the silk is cut on the diagonal so the slip sits on the body for a flattering fit. Your significant other can use slips as nightwear or just for lounging round the house in luxury.

Camisole – Can also be described as a babydoll. Basically a silk top that usually comes with matching knickers or shorts. You can’t really go wrong with this, especially if you tell her that she ‘always looks good in camisoles’. She’ll be so surprised that you even know what a camisole is that she’ll forget to ask how you came about this knowledge.

Teddy – Also known as a playsuit, it is basically a camisole and knicker in one. A loose fit teddy can be used for sleep and loungewear. A high leg teddy can also be worn as a camisole under clothing - you’ve probably seen these featured in your wife’s/girlfriend’s magazines as outerwear teamed with a skirt or trousers.

Bed Jacket – These make any woman feel stylish. Perfect with jeans or for relaxing on a chaise lounge (simply put, a posh chair!). One journalist I spoke to recently wondered if she could also adopt the lifestyle of someone who lounges round on chaise lounges after purchasing the set. My wife assured me she could! 

For extra points you could go for the eco conscious range. Environmentally-minded partners will be impressed by your thoughtfulness in buying organic silk. And if all of this insider information is still impenetrable to your male mind – or if you’re just plain lazy– there’s boxed gift sets such as the Lover’s Gift Set which features a silk knicker, eye mask, nipple pasties and silk cuffs.  Less risqué gift boxes are also available!

There’s obviously a whole world of lingerie out there but at least you now have a little information to get you started. Believe me, it will be appreciated.

Dan Roberts (husband of lingerie designer)