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How to buy lingerie for a lady


Don't get your knickers in a twist whilst shopping for hers

How to buy lingerie for a lady
M&S
Holly Macnaghten

Few things make a woman feel more special than ripping through sheets of pastel-hued tissue paper to reveal the gift of luxurious new underwear.

Unfortunately for gentlemen, the act of choosing and buying lingerie for your lady is fraught with difficulty. A daunting prospect, this is one step above even buying flowers for your significant other. Get it right and you’ll reap the rewards – get it wrong and you’ll suffer the silent treatment.

Fear not, though, as Sarah Jenkins of luxury lingerie brand Damaris and Mimi Holliday is on hand to answer everything you ever need to know about the underwear purchasing process.

“Everybody loves presents,” says Jenkins, “so you’re on reasonably safe ground. But, if she’s never shown an interest in lingerie, or you haven’t been together for too long, perhaps stick with some beautiful silk sleepwear – which can still be incredibly sexy.”

“If she does love her lingerie, however, go for it. But there are certain things you should bear in mind…”

Buy for her, not for you

Many men may fantasise about seeing their significant others in clingy latex catsuits, but the chance are that if she doesn’t already own one, she’s not going to thank you when you hand her the talc. Sarah Jenkins suggests men think about what she already owns, and then taking it from there.

“Look at how adventurous she is, but also consider the occasion. You can choose something a little outside her usual if it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or if you have a special weekend planned. Trust your instincts, however, and don’t stray too far from safety.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

There are few clichés as gut-wrenchingly embarrassing than an awkward man shuffling around an underwear shop. But, rather than rifling through the racks with your head hung in shame, try actually asking a member of staff for help.

“We love to help gentlemen buy their partners treats, and we do recognise that bras and knickers can be tricky to delve into.

“But cocksure and arrogant can be just as bad as shy. Remember, these shops are full of professionals, so they’re not at all going to make you feel uncomfortable talking about underwear. It’s the ultimate safe place and there really is no such thing as a stupid question.

“You could even bring in an item or set you know she loves, and the staff will help you find something similar, but different enough to show you put real thought into it.”

Don’t guess her size

This is the cardinal sin of buying lingerie for a woman – and few things will upset or enrage a woman more than being given the wrong size of underwear. Too small and she’ll be livid that you don’t know her size. Too big and she’ll be embarrassed that it doesn’t fit.

“Sneak a look at her favourite underwear and try to find out her size. But, if you can’t – or don’t want to be caught sneaking around – always remember this…”

It doesn’t have to be a bra set

“A good option can always be a body, or nightwear,” advises Jenkins. “Not only can it be easier to fit, but it will also feel more like ‘occasion wear’. Remember, if lingerie feels contrived, it’s not hot for anything. But, if risqué is her thing, then go for it!”

Think about colours and styles

Whilst most men are stuck with the preconception that red and black are the go-to underwear colour choices, your girlfriend might think differently. Instead, try sticking with colours she wears on a daily basis – and don’t buy styles of underwear you’ve never seen her in before. The likelihood is that these are styles she either doesn’t find flattering, or that are uncomfortable.

“If you’re buying for her daily life,” says Sarah Jenkins, “we’d suggest you rethink. It’s better to be thoughtful and get a romantic gift.”

Gift it in the right way

“Give her your gift whenever it feels right. There are no rules for when’s best to present lingerie to your partner, because every couple has their own flow and a present is a present whenever you give it.

“Wrap it up beautifully – most places will help you with this – to show that it’s special, and perhaps give it to her after dinner as a nice touch for a special occasion – the added surprise would be very sweet. As long as it’s private, anything goes.”

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