Treating yourself to some lovely lingerie to impress that special someone has become a time-honoured Valentine’s Day tradition. But with the array of underwear on offer, it can be hard to know where to start - and what suits.
“Lingerie is such a personal choice and is very much about enhancing your body shape - it should fit impeccably,” says Marks and Spencer’s head of lingerie design Soozie Jenkinson.
“Get fitted!” she urges. “At least every six months. There are lots of factors which can affect your body shape and size, so It’s important to check your size when you buy new bras, to ensure you’re wearing the right size for your current shape.”
And how do you know when a bra fits properly?
“Make sure the wire is not digging in, and the centre front of bra should sit flat against the chest,” Jenkinson advises. “Make sure your bust is contained fully within cup, and ensure your bra straps are secure but not tight. If you remove the straps, your bra should continue to support your breast.”
Whether you’re skinny, curvy or anywhere in between, here’s some expert advice on the styles to flatter every figure...
When it comes to clothes, straight-up-and-down boyish frames make everything look good, but lingerie can be a bit trickier.
“If you want to create curves, then look for a padded bra; there are lots of different types of padding for either a subtle enhancement or a more dramatic effect,” says Agnes Dewhirst, junior buyer at Figleaves.com. “There are also lots of beautiful triangle shape bras or half cup bras that look great on more petite figures, from brands like Aubade or Calvin Klein.”
:: Calvin Klein Seductive Comfort Lift Bra (A-DD), £32, and Thong, £19 (Figleaves.com)
:: Fleur Soft Cup Triangle Bra (S-L), £61, and Hipster Briefs, £45 (www.princessetamtam.co.uk)
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
If you’re in possession of hourglass curves, lucky you, almost any type of lingerie suits, so it’s up to you whether you want to enhance what you’ve got, go all-out in a seriously seductive set, or choose something more delicate and demure.
“Having a bigger bust used to mean boring and frumpy bras, but not any more,” says Dewhirst. “There is a lot more choice, no matter your cup size, with bras that have been designed with both support and style in mind. For something sexier, try the Pour Moi Forbidden range.”
:: Wonderbra Glamour Line Balcony Bra (A-G), £29, and Brazilian Shorty, £14 (Figleaves.com)
:: Pour Moi Boudoir Nude Black Half Padded Bra (B-G), £28, and Brief, £15 (www.pourmoi-lingerie.co.uk)
:: Rosa Faia Josephine Body (B-F), £89 (Amplebosom.com)
For pear shapes, a well-fitting bra is just as important, but finding flattering bottoms is the tricky part.
“Generally, a brief shape or any knicker style that is narrower at the hip will be more flattering on a pear-shaped figure. A deep short may enhance the width of your hips, but if the styling has a vintage feel, this can also create a desirable pin-up effect,” says Dewhirst. “A basque really adds to a seductive look, especially with the addition of stockings. Or alternatively, choose a baby-doll, either with a built in bra or soft cups.”
:: Bestform Medellin Underwired Bra (B-DD), £29, and High Leg Brief, £12.50 (Figleaves.com)
:: Gossard Silk Mix Suspenders, £54 (www.kaleidoscope.co.uk)
:: Brigitte Babydoll And Thong Set, £38 (Bluebella.com)
For top-heavy ladies, lingerie that’s as supportive as it is sexy is the Holy Grail - but luckily, it’s not that difficult to find.
“Women with larger cup sizes may feel more secure in a side support style, or a bra made in a more rigid embroidery to give more support,” Dewhirst says. “If you are fuller in the top of your breasts, look for bras with lace at the top of the cup, as this will stretch and be more forgiving, while also providing support in the bottom of the cup.”
“A T-shirt bra can also offer great support from a D up to a GG cup,” she suggests, “as the foam helps to provide support for the bust.”
:: Strappy Amber Balconette Bra (B-FF), £30; Suspender Belt, £20; Thong, £14, and Plain Top 15 Denier Glossy Stockings, £8 (www.bouxavenue.com)
:: M&S Collection Light Control Lace Body (DD-G), £27.50 (www.marksandspencer.com)
:: Parfait Elena Unlined Wired Bra (D-G), £40, and Hipster Briefs, £24 (Naturalcurves.co.uk)