Alright, if there's one thing that we and women can agree upon, it is how absolutely fantastic a gift lingerie makes. Women like to wear it, and men sure as hell like to look at it.
Now, men are usually alright if we walk into a department or specialty store in our quest to find a gift for our lovers: sales associates, usually women themselves, can help us out immensely. But with more and more deals being found online today, we are often left to fend for ourselves. Would this look good on her? Would she be insulted by this bustier? Is this a good color-match with her hair?
You can't ask your significant other for help, surely: that would ruin the surprise, and lingerie is nothing without excitement. And you can't just get something and return it if things go south; on the internet, shipping costs and time preclude that.
Before we begin getting into cup sizes and all of those confusing numbers and measurements, we should start out with selecting the type of lingerie that you want - or rather, the type of lingerie that SHE wants, because if you end up ordering what YOU want, you won't be getting what you want, if you get my meaning.
These are a few of the common types of lingerie out there:
These are sleeveless nightgowns that usually consist of cups over the breasts and loose-fitting silky fabric for everything below. They go down past the hips and end at the thighs. Panties of various styles are usually worn underneath them, but it's far from necessary.
Chemises are like nightgowns that go down the thighs and are held onto the shoulders by thin spaghetti straps. Honestly, these are the easiest items to buy, because it's very hard to go wrong here.
Camisoles are like sexy singlet-tops. In fact, camisoles can be counted as basic underwear when there is little more than a singlet-top being worn under a woman's regular clothing. Camisoles designed as intimate lingerie are typically made of softer materials, more silk-like, and with lacy portions. These are some of the best lingerie items to buy, they fit a wide array of body types, you really can't go wrong with a camisole.
They lace up the back and cinch a woman's waist into a pleasing shape. The Corset has been a lingerie mainstay for over a century; while they were originally intended to permanently transform a woman's body into an elegant hourglass shape, today's corsets are meant to be worn for far shorter periods of time. They fit around the torso, and more commonly cover the breasts, but lack the cups that a bustier would have. They include hard plastic "boning" elements that shape the body to varying degrees.
Often confused with the corset, the bustier is strapless like the aforementioned garment, but with added cups for the breasts. They come measured in bra sizes, as opposed to the corset's more familiar numeric designations.
The bustier, like the corset, cinches the waist into a pleasing shape. Bustiers can also be worn as outerwear. It is one of the hottest items of lingerie available.
A favorite piece of lingerie for many a man. A garter belt attaches to stockings or hosiery, holding them up when they lack an elastic to do the job. Or, at least that was their purpose, before stockings came with elastic bands as a matter of convenience. Today, they are mostly for sex appeal. Garter belts aren't things that you'd normally by for your lover separately; they're more part of set.
Now comes the difficult part - figuring out what's right for your partner. If you know her particularly well, this shouldn't be too difficult, but you can never really know for sure, can you? Watch her behavior - see whether she's worried about any parts of her body, and take note. If she feels self-conscious about her butt or stomach, it would perhaps be best not to buy any lingerie that would emphasize these areas. Likewise, however, you shouldn't buy her lingerie which is designed to hide these areas, either: you want to get something that complements her.
That strategy can be applied to material as well - oh yes: velvet, silk, satin, lace, and even common cotton - lingerie comes in a bewildering variety of fabrics.
Chances are you aren't buying lingerie for her to wear on a day-to-day basis, but the material should still be comfortable enough that you both like to touch it.
When it comes to size, bra sizes - for example, 32C - are used for bras, bustiers, and other items which have cups for the breasts built in. These articles tend to have to be well-fitted, and thus require information that is more specific than simply
"S," "M," or "L." Bra size should be determined by sneaking a peak at your significant other's existing stash of intimates.
If you're really pressed for size, try getting the looser pieces of lingerie - chemises, teddies, camisoles, and baby dolls don't have to fit perfectly, and many have adjustable straps.