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Far too many guys buy romantic lingerie for their girlfriends or wives with their hearts (or other parts of their bodies) and not their heads. It is one of the great romantic ironies that in this area more than any other, you need information, advanced planning, and some cash in the bank. You need information so that when you go to make a purchase, you have the confidence to do it correctly. You need advanced planning so that you know what to purchase to light up her life and you will need some cash in the bank to buy the best.
The Danger and The Bliss
All women are concerned about their looks. The further away the garment is from her skin, the less perfect is has to be. A flower for her hair is not a big deal if it is not the perfect color. A hat or jacket can be returned. Getting a bit closer, a blouse needs to go with her clothes and style. Romantic lingerie needs to be just right.
Being in direct contact with her, intimate apparel needs to be perfect. The reason is that any gift from you is a reflection on how you want her to be. If you present her with a teddy that is cheap and sleazy, she will believe that you think of her that way. Even if you want her to be a tigress, your gift needs to reflect a sophisticated tigress, not an alley cat.
If you buy the wrong size, may whatever Higher Authority you believe in help you. If you buy a size too small, she will feel fat and your gift will be a strong hint that you want her to loose weight. You can apologize all you want, but you will be going down in flames for a long, lonely time. If you purchase something too large, there are two possible bad reactions.
Bad Reaction #1: If the too large item is worn below the waist, she will think that YOU think that her derriere is too large.
Bad Reaction #2: If the too large item is worn above the waist, she will believe that she is deficient in that area since you chose something obviously larger than she is.
Finally, if you actually want her to wear it, the color needs to be correct. There are some safe harbors here that we will discuss below. There are some great ways to pick out the perfect romantic lingerie. When done correctly, you will be one of the very few men on earth who can correctly purchase romantic lingerie for their women.
The first thing you need is information about lingerie. Like anything else, romantic lingerie has a vocabulary all its own. If you think it is funny to hear a woman trying to explain to a mechanic the noise her worn brake pads make, you should hear an uniformed guy try to explain what size his girlfriend wears to a intimate apparel salesperson. (By the way, if the idea of going into the lingerie section of the store to make this purchase makes your knees shake, take heart, I am going to show you how to talk intelligently about the subject of romantic lingerie.) Confidence is the result of knowledge and that is what we are about here.
Romantic Lingerie Terms By Clothing Item
Sizing – Bras have two parts to their size, a measurement in inches and a cup size, i.e. 34D. The measurement is the distance around her rib cage just under her breasts plus 4 or 5 inches or the measurement under her armpits, but above the breast. The cup size is alphabetic (A, B, C, etc.) and reflects the fullness of the breast. There are experts in stores who specialize in getting this right for women. Don’t even think about guessing here. Find out what size she wears. There are suggested ways of quietly finding out below.
Bustier – This bra has material that extends down to the waist. It looks similar to a corset, but stops at the waist and does not have strings in the back.
Corset – This is the garment that laces in the back. It can either cover the breasts or not. There are many corsets in catalogs and some in stores. This garment has to fit perfectly in many ways. My advice here is to go for something simpler or go to a shop in large city and have a corset custom made for her. Expect to spend $200 to $600. If you buy one off the rack, be prepared for it to be put in a drawer and never see the sunlight of day or the candlelight of night!
Demi Cups – These bras have cups that only come about halfway over the breasts and have straps that are further apart.
Open Bust/Tip – Open bust bras have no cup at all. The bra is decorative and simply outlines the area. They usually look better on the perfect model than they will on your special girl. They also may be on the cheap side. The open tip (peek-a-boo) bra has cups, but openings so that the tips are exposed. Usually the tips and the opening do not line up and the bra is a failure. My advice is to steer clear of both unless you are sure she will like it, and that it will fit.
Padded Cups – No matter what type of bra you are contemplating; you need to know what padding (if any) she likes. There are more types of padding than you would believe. There are push-up, push together, gel, removable and combination types.
Shelf Cups – This bra has cups that support the breast from underneath with no coverage above. They sound sexy, but again, the fit has to be perfect and the lady has to be a bit daring.
Underwired – If your lady is well endowed, she probably wears an underwire bra. It has a wire sewn into the bottom of the cups to provide support. I am sure that there is engineering involved here that is beyond the scope of this page. Just know that if she normally wears an underwired bra and you get her one without one, the effect may be less than what you planned and she will know that you did not care enough to get the best for her.
Sizing – Sizing for panties is easier than for bras. The measurement is basically her hip size. Like bras, find out her size first.
Bikini – Panties that ride lower on the hips than full briefs, but have a full back – not a thong. Bikini panties often have strings or thin strips of elastic along the sides.
Boy Shorts – These are panties that are what they say. They are a feminine version of our boxers, but they are short and fit her in a much nicer way.
Briefs/Panties – Panties with a full back that come up to the waist (not low cut). These are usually fairly conservative.
Brazilian Back – I have not seen many of these lately. They have less coverage in the back than a brief, but more than a thong. If she is not well toned, stay away from these as they will just ride up and be uncomfortable. Lack of comfort is not conducive to romantic interludes.
Decorated Back – Thongs or g-stings with something fancy at the T in the back. This is usually jewels, rhinestones or beads.
Derriere – The area of the body that you are covering with this purchase. This is actually a great term to use in public when making a purchase.
G-String – A small triangle of fabric with elastic everywhere else. Thongs are more popular, but g-string panties are still around. Make sure she likes this style before purchasing. Just as important, make sure the elastic is soft and good quality. Scratchy, cheap material will kill the mood. If you feel wierd about checking the fabric, ask a sales person to help.
Tap Pant – These have been largely replaced by boy shorts. They are a loose fitting short panty that gathers with elastic at the waist.
Thong – This panty has a thin strip of material in the back that exposes most of the derriere.
Sizing – One of the nice things about nighties is that they are easier to size. Most come in small, medium or large.
Baby Doll – A top with spaghetti (string) straps that has formed cups and loose material beneath that falls to the waist.
Camisole – Not technically a nightie, but can be. It is more like the top half of a slip that can be worn under a blouse or to bed.
Chemise – This is a short slip that can be used under clothing or for eveningwear.
Peignoir – I don’t see these as much as I used to, but a peignoir is a dressing gown that goes over a nightie. It may also be called a negligee.
Teddy – Another item that can be worn under clothing or as eveningwear. This is like a slip at the top, but goes between the legs. It is usually cut high on the thighs and has a thong styled back. The problem with buying a teddy can be the length. It can be too tight on a tall girl and way too loose on a short one.
Sleep Shirt/Night Shirt – These are great for gift giving. They tend to come in easy to figure sizes (S, M, L, etc.) and are available in everything from fun, comfortable cotton, to fun, comfortable romantic fabrics. Hey, even if it has a picture of Snoopy on it, she will be thinking of you every night at bedtime. There are worse situations to be in.
Stocking and Garters
Sizing – Stockings usually come in small, medium, large, XL etc. My wife is short, but has beautiful, long legs and wears a medium. Did I mention tat you need to know what size she wears?
Back Seams – Stockings with a vertical seam up the back. These look like the original “nylons” that could only be made with a seam.
Cuban Foot – Hosiery that has a contrasting color on the bottom of the foot and color coming up the back of the ankle.
Fishnet – This is a stocking material that is coming back into fashion. If has an open mesh fabric that looks like . . . fishnet!
French Cut – Pantyhose with a decorative panty that is pat of the pantyhose.
Garter Belt – This used to be a requirement to hold up stockings. It is made of elastic that goes around the waist with vertical pieces of elastic that have clips on them (garters) that hold up the stockings. They are great to look at, but will tend to show as lumps under modern clothing. If you purchase them as a gift, get some stay-up stockings to go with them and keep in mind that they will only work under certain types of street clothes.
Pantyhose – Panties and hose in one as the name suggests. Easier for most women as they do no have to deal with garters, stockings and underwear separately. In the process, we lost a bit of the sensuality in the undergarments. If she refuses to deal with stockings, try the French cut pantyhose that she normally would not buy for herself. She will think of you when she wears them.
Stay-Up – These are great in that they have the look of old fashioned stockings, but they have elastic in the top to keep tem from falling down. They can also be worn with a garter belt.
The advanced planning in purchasing romantic lingerie involves determining what to get her and her size. If you are getting a nightshirt, it will probably be easy. Find a style that she likes and determine her shirt size. Walk into a department store and you may be done. If your heart is telling you to get a matching bra and panty set, more planning is needed. Here are a few approaches.
First and fastest, if she has a best friend that likes you (that last part is critical), ask for help. The friend has to be able to keep a secret, but she can get a lot of information that you do not have – what styles does your girlfriend like? What lingerie sizes does she wear? Does your girlfriend like you enough to accept an intimate gift like this? If you have an inside coach – take her advice and run with it.
The second approach is to find out what sizes she wears by sneaking a peak in her dresser. Many comedy sketches have been written about men getting caught doing this, none of them very funny from the guy’s point of view.
To me the best way is to sit down with a tasteful catalog of romantic lingerie and pick out some things together. If she asks why, tell her that you might want to buy her some nice romantic lingerie one day and that you are interested in what she likes. The conversation itself can be sensual as she tells you what she prefers and why. Point out things that you like, but if she says no, stay away from those styles. Also, ask her what designers she likes. If the answer is Target and Penny’s, ask her who makes the best lingerie in the world, then start saving up.
Along with styles, find out what colors she likes in romantic lingerie. In general, lingerie colors are tied to hair color. Brunettes tend to look great in white or red. Blonde hair goes with black and shades of blue. Redheads look great in green. If in doubt, black goes with nearly everything.
The best time for doing this planing is between holidays, so that the conversation is separated a bit from the actual gift giving. Next it is time to make the purchase.
Do Not Buy The Cheap Stuff!
I cannot say this enough. If you are wanting to make a good romantic impression, stay away from the cheap stuff. She will know in an instant that it is poorly made and that it will be uncomfortable. She will believe that you believe that she has poor taste as well. If you give her some open cup babydoll with a g-string made out of scratchy red elastic, you are on your own.
If there is any doubt, go with something from an upscale store. You should know her sizes and have what you want to get in mind. Go to the intimate apparel department and tell the salesperson what you are trying to do. Tell her that you want to get something sensuous for your girlfriend or wife, but that you want it to be comfortable for her to wear and very well made. The fact that you are asking the right questions will get you a level of respect reserved only for gentlemen and you will get some great advice. My preference is to visit a smaller shop that specializes in intimate apparel. You may get better service and the salesperson will become part of your team to make sure the item is perfect. You can even tell your special love that you “consulted with Kim at ABC shop and she specifically said that if it is not perfect, that you should go see her and she will make it so.” This is a whole lot better than, “I got this for you and I hope you like it.” You should be confident in this endeavor and your confidence should show.
Finally, include a card! It shows you care and it will tie the romantic lingerie gift to your feelings for her. This also is a final fail-safe. It makes clear your feelings and intentions and if the garment is not the perfect size, it lets her know that you think she is perfect just the way that she is.