Advice | February 4, 2022 10:26 am

Take It From a Woman: How to Buy Lingerie She’ll Actually Wear

Remember it’s for her, not you.

A vintage cartoon of a woman in her underwear
Keep it simple.
Getty Images

Gifting lingerie is easy. Gifting lingerie the lady in your life will actually wear with enjoyment is trickier. Sorry, you can’t merely buy the first lacy, strappy garment that makes you horny.

It’s why I, a woman, spoke to a few other women and compiled a lingerie-buying guide for you, a man who wants to give a piece of lingerie to his partner but is worried about screwing it up, ruining his relationship and wasting his money. All of which can happen if you don’t heed these essential tips:

Make a shopping trip out of it

Naturally, I picked the brain of InsideHook’s sex and relationship editor Kayla Kibbe for her expert take on lingerie buying. Her advice? Let her pick her own lingerie out, or turn it into a fun shopping experience you two can do together. “Lingerie is just such a personal thing, and there are so many different kinds and styles that are so different that I feel like it would be really easy to fuck up and get her something that she hates or doesn’t fit.” 

But what if I want to surprise her? Well, that’s entirely fine. (Personally, I love a surprise.) Just see below:

Remember it’s for her, not you

While lingerie is a gift you both can unquestionably enjoy, this is not an opportunity for you to play dress-up. Don’t buy her something that’s meant to fulfill all of your fantasies. While we love unwrapping a romantic piece of lingerie you’ve picked out specifically for us and our bodies, we don’t appreciate someone else’s fantasy being thrust upon us under the guise of a selfless gesture and thoughtful gift.

“Hopefully, there’s not too much discrepancy between what she wants to wear and what you want to see her in, but make sure you’re prioritizing her taste over your own,” says Kibbe.

Know her size

Speaking from personal experience, nothing brings me to the brink of a total mental breakdown faster than trying on an article of clothing I imagined would look bomb in my head only to find it doesn’t fit quite right. While fashion’s erratic sizing problem makes finding the “perfect fit” immensely difficult, undergarment sizing, for the most part, is pretty consistent across brands. So to avoid any distress, don’t guess. Know her measurements. Wait till she’s in the shower and take a non-creepy peek inside her underwear drawer to get her sizes.

Reference what she owns

While your lady might be all for trying new things, to ensure she’ll actually wear what you buy her, the safest bet is to get something similar in style and color to the apparel she already owns. 

“Think about the clothes she has and the colors she wears and get something in that color scheme,” offers Caroline, a Digital Media Analyst. “For example, I wear a lot of cool tones and I don’t like myself in red, so I don’t really want bright red lingerie, which is counter-intuitive to Valentine’s Day — sorry.”

“Just pay attention to what she wears regularly and don’t overthink it. Chances are her taste in lingerie isn’t really all that different from her taste in other clothes,” echoes Kibbe. “One time this guy gave me this hot pink negligee and I was like you have literally only ever seen me in black, white and red. Those are the three main colors of lingerie I wear and yet you show up here with this pink nightmare?”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

“If you go to a store in-person definitely take advantage of a salesperson,” says Emily, a Digital Account Manager. Salespeople are there for a reason, and will gladly help you pick something that suits your partner’s style. Or, if it’s not an uncomfortable topic of conversation, confer to another woman in your life.

Go for the entire set

Most lingerie sets have to be bought separately and typically consist of four matching items: a bra, underwear, garter belt and robe. If you really want to impress, splurge on the entire collection (especially that silk robe).

Oh, and stay away from anything overtly kinky (unless you know 100% it’s something she’s into)

Anything obviously kinky like, fetishwear or costumes, should probably be avoided says Kibbe — unless you know for a fact that’s something she’s interested in.

While we delight in sexy things, taking hours to figure out how to put on a leather harness or some strappy monstrosity is most likely going to frustrate the hell out of us and kill the vibe, so when in doubt, keep it simple. And if you know your gal, picking out something she won’t utterly despise should be, too.