If you’re curious about wearing lingerie but don’t know your teddies from your bustiers, you’ve come to the right place. Our complete guide to lingerie breaks down the various types of lingerie, how to wear them, and common features.
What is lingerie?
Lingerie is intimate apparel, largely designed to be worn in the bedroom or during sensual moments. Lingerie is often made of lightweight materials such as satin and may be embellished with lace, bows, fishnet, and other adornments and tends to connote a sexy style.
Different types of lingerie
There are many different lingerie types that each have their own terminology. Here, we’ve broken down the most common lingerie styles along with examples of each one. Click through on each style to see more of them.
A teddy is a one-piece type of lingerie that covers the torso and crotch (unless it’s a crotchless teddy, which has an opening). A teddy combines the effect of a camisole top and panty into one garment. Many teddies are made of eye-catching materials such as lace. Teddies will likely show off the wearer’s cleavage.
A bodysuit is similar to a teddy, a bodysuit can also be worn as part of a fashion outfit rather than intended solely for the bedroom. Bodysuits tend to have a tighter fit than teddies, and are more like a one-piece bathing suit in their construction.
Babydoll lingerie is a one-piece short nightgown that’s snug around the chest, like a bra, and then loose and flowing below, with the hemline usually landing between the belly button and waist. Babydolls are often made of sheer material and may come with matching panties.
A chemise is a type of lingerie that’s similar on top to a babydoll, but is more snug below and may end at a lower point, such as the upper thigh or knees. A chemise may appear similar to a teddy, but it’s open at the bottom, and often worn with garters. A chemise can be worn with panties or without them.
A corset is a garment designed to minimize the waist and uplift the breasts. Historically, corsets have had boning made from baleen in them and were often secured extremely tightly. Modern corsets are designed to be more wearable but still provide an hourglass figure. The two main types of corsets are overbust (as seen above) and underbust. Overbust corsets cover the bust (breasts), while underbust corsets push the bust upward from below, and may be worn with a bra.
A bustier is similar to a corset since it also pushes up the bust, but it’s less restrictive and tight. Bustiers typically end at the waist or hips and are likely to be more comfortable to wear than corsets. A bustier is an excellent option for those who want to enhance the appearance of their breasts; a bustier performs a similar role to a push-up bra, with an even more dramatic presentation.
A bodystocking is a one-piece type of lingerie covering the full body including torso and legs, and sometimes the arms. Some specific types of body stockings include fishnet as well as crotchless, which are open at the crotch area. Body stockings are an especially sexy style of lingerie.
A bra is an undergarment designed to support the breasts. Most bras have shoulder straps; strapless bras run across the chest horizontally. Bras may have underwire for added support. Common types of bras include padded, unpadded, t-shirt bras, push-up bras, and demi bras, among others.
A bralette is a type of bra that generally doesn’t have wire and offers lighter support. Bralettes can easily be worn as bra tops underneath a jacket or sheer top or on their own as a mini crop top.
Pasties are small, often circular-shaped items that cover the nipples. They can feature a range of colors and designs, and may have tassels, which are often seen in burlesque shows. Many people wear pasties to festivals as an easy way to look fashionable and cover up. Pasties can be used in place of a bra.
A garter is a band of fabric, usually made with elastic, worn around the thigh to keep stockings in place. A garter is a traditional part of weddings in which the garter is tossed into the crowd of guests as a symbol of good luck. The more common garter belt is worn around the waist, with straps attached that are used to keep stockings held in place. Garter belts can be worn on their own or with a matching lingerie set. They are often used more for decorative purposes than everyday use in modern times.
Hosiery refers to types of leg covering such as stockings, tights, or pantyhose. Hosiery is sometimes known as legwear. Hosiery may cover the feet or be footless. Hosiery can be full coverage (from feet to waist), thigh-high, which may have elastic to stay up on its own or be supported by garters, or knee-high. Hosiery can be paired with other lingerie styles or with fashion outfits to accentuate the legs.
A lingerie dress is a sexy dress that could be worn as lingerie in the bedroom or as a dress to wear out and about. A typical lingerie dress is short and sexy.
Fantasy lingerie is all about getting into character and role-playing in an erotic way. Common fantasy lingerie themes are nurse or doctor, student, and cop. These sexy outfits are often worn as a way to help usher in a sensual mood, followed by dirty talk dialogue as your chosen “character.” One or all partners can dress up in fantasy lingerie.
Bridal lingerie is white lingerie worn by a bride, often during their honeymoon. Bridal lingerie is often given to a bride at their wedding shower and typically emphasizes a delicate, pretty pattern befitting the occasion.
More Lingerie Info
How to choose your lingerie
Choosing lingerie will likely involve some trial and error as you figure out which styles you prefer and which make you look and feel your most sensual. First, think about what kind of sensations you prefer; do you like tight and slinky, or loose and flowy? Do you want to bare a little or a lot of skin? Look for lingerie in your favorite colors that you’ll feel good about wearing. You want to select lingerie that feels right for you. If you want to show off a lot of skin, you can choose a very skimpy teddy. If you want to feel more covered, you can go with a bodystocking.
Think about what you plan to do with your lingerie; is it to wear to bed on your own or to wear with a partner? This may help you narrow down the style and fabric you prefer. You may want to experiment and try something you wouldn’t typically wear just to see how it feels on you. Part of the fun of lingerie is that it shows off and enhances your body’s curves. You won’t know exactly how a given piece looks on you until you try it. Once you do, then you can use your feelings about that piece of lingerie to guide you with future purchases.
FAQs About Lingerie
What’s the sexiest type of lingerie?
There’s no single type of lingerie that’s sexiest because sexy is in the eye of the beholder. However, many people seek out lingerie because it’s inherently sexy. Much of the key to looking sexy in lingerie is being confident and feeling sexy. If putting on lingerie helps you feel transformed into your sexiest self, then it’s sexy, and anyone who sees you in it is sure to appreciate that.
How can I tell what size lingerie will fit me?
Make sure you have your most recent measurements for bust and hips handy. Then, using those measurements as your guide, look at the sizing for the lingerie you’re interested in. If you typically wear a medium, you will likely fit into a medium style of most lingerie. If you typically wear plus-size clothing, you’ll want to look at plus-size lingerie. Some lingerie styles like body stockings tend to be one size fits most.
How do I shop for lingerie for myself?
You can experiment by trying on different types of lingerie and looking at yourself in the mirror or taking selfies to see which ones appeal to you. There will likely be some trial and error in figuring out which type of lingerie you’re most attracted to and which best suits your body’s shape. If you discover that you particularly like babydolls, for instance, you can try out different styles, cuts, and colors of babydolls. Look through your favorite fashion magazines or photos online and see which types of lingerie speak to you. Ask your friends which types of lingerie they wear and what they like about them. You want to be sure that you’re selecting lingerie that doesn’t just look good in theory, but makes you look and feel amazing when you put it on.
Also, think about what kinds of sensations you enjoy and feel most comfortable wearing. Are you looking for something sensual and flowy or something tight and body-hugging? Do you want your lingerie to scream “sexy,” or do you want it to be slightly more refined? Are you looking for lingerie to wear with a partner or on your own? These questions may be helpful as you approach your decision-making.
If you need some inspiration, check out our blog post on the best lingerie for every star sign.
How do I shop for lingerie for my wife, girlfriend, or partner?
If you’re shopping for lingerie for your girlfriend, wife, or partner, consider the types of lingerie they already own and how frequently they wear them. Does your partner favor babydolls or corsets? Do they like a plunging teddy or a full bodystocking? How much skin do they like to show? If you’re not sure, you can always opt for a set like a black lace teddy and a robe to give them the option of covering up a little more at first. If they don’t have much lingerie, but they wear bras and panties, use those as a guide to help you select lingerie. If you find lots of lacy bras, you may want to try a lace teddy or other lace styles. If they’re more no-nonsense, try a bodysuit that can be worn in the bedroom or out.
Then, think about the kind of lingerie you think your partner would look best in. This can be a delicate balancing act because you want to select a type of lingerie that will flatter their figure and make them look and feel their best. They may appreciate you taking the lead and selecting something that you like, as long as it’s in the ballpark of styles they might choose for themself.
What type of lingerie should I buy for a wedding shower?
Bridal lingerie is your best bet for items to gift at a wedding shower. If you know the bride’s favorite color or preferred styles, you may want to choose something that seems like it would suit them, making sure it’s returnable if they prefer another style.
Can I wear lingerie as part of an outfit?
Yes! You can easily incorporate many forms of lingerie into your everyday fashion. Many styles such as bodysuits, corsets, and bralettes pair perfectly with shorts, pants, or skirts. They can be worn on their own or with a sheer top or jacket over them to show them off. You can choose to try to match your lingerie with whatever you want to pair it with or go for complementary colors. For more suggestions, see our blog post on how to wear lingerie in public.
Can only women wear lingerie?
While women are the traditional lingerie wearers, people of any gender can wear lingerie. Lingerie is designed to be sensual and sexy, so any lingerie pieces that make you feel that way can work with your body.
How can I care for and store my lingerie?
Lingerie is usually made of delicate material, so it needs special attention when it comes to care and storage. Always follow the directions on your lingerie packaging. We recommend hand washing with a detergent designed for lingerie, which will ensure a longer life for your garments. Carefully fold or hang your lingerie in a dry place away from sunlight.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the different types of lingerie. We have dozens of styles of affordable sexy lingerie to suit every personality.