So Fellas, You Want to Buy Lingerie for Ladies

I imagine that most ladies who set out to buy lingerie for other ladies will have a pretty solid idea of where to start.  After all, ladies are likely already familiar with the stuff, since lots of us, you know, wear it.  We can probably ask/find out our partner’s size without too much drama.  Ladies share things like that, and if you’re shopping for a surprise for your girlfriend/wife, you probably know her taste and bra size, or you could find it out without raising suspicion.  So this one is for the dudes who love ladies who love lingerie.

Men, if you want to buy your lady lingerie, and you’re hell-bent on surprising her and giving no hint of what’s in store, let’s talk this through, shall we?

From La Petite Coquette:

No. No, no, no. Also, no.

IGNORE THIS, YOU MORONS.  I’m sorry, you’re not morons, because you’re reading this trying to make sure you get your lady a gift that fits, and that’s really thoughtful and caring of you and really smart.  But seriously, this graphic makes me ragey, in part because it assumes you ARE morons.  Do you really want to be the grown-ass man slinking into a nice lingerie store, holding out a grapefruit and saying “the boobs, they go like this?”  La Petite Coquette is pretty good at fitting, and they have some verrrry sexy high-end lingerie, and they have, well, at least a few (expensive!) full-bust options, but this chart does a disservice to every woman (and man) who walks through their (admittedly gorgeous) doors.

There are so many things that are dreadful about step #4 that I just start blurting out thoughts: Women’s bodies aren’t food.  They’re human bodies.  The language used to describe the women is cutesy and infantilizing.  It assumes that men are hapless imbeciles who can only relate to food.  Just identifying a woman by her cup size is reductive, insulting, and inaccurate: a woman is not her boobs, and a cup size is meaningless without a band size attached to it, so even if you guess the fruit right, you’re still flying blind.  Fellas, feminist theory aside, this chart will not help you.  I promise.  Bra fitting is hard enough for women to figure out.  A woman who wears a 32D is still a very, very slim woman.  You will never guess her size standing in a store holding an orange in your hand, and if you ask a shop assistant or fitter to do it for you, she will laugh, and you do not want to get laughed at in a women’s lingerie store, trust.

Credit where credit is due: I think La Petite Coquette is dead on with step number one.  You are presumably buying lingerie for a person you know, shall we say, intimately?  Are you in her bedroom?  Is she in the shower or drying her hair?  Is she out walking the dog or running an errand?  Walk over to her drawer, open it up, and quickly jot down the sizes you see on the tags.  I’d also recommend snapping a picture on your phone (not creepily, and kindly delete once you’re done please).  The tags will give you an idea of her size, and don’t panic if you see they’re not all the same; a good lingerie store will help you figure it out.  The picture you snapped will give you an idea of the fabrics, colors, and styles she likes, as well as what kind of accessories she prefers, and if you visit a store in person, the shop assistants will most likely be able to identify the brands and styles and suggest similar options.

What are you hoping to accomplish with this gift of lingerie?  I ASSUME, since you’re a handsome, intelligent, grown-ass man, that you’re hoping to buy her a present that makes her feel beautiful and sexy and fabulous.  I sincerely hope, for your sake, that you’re not buying her a gift of lingerie solely for your own pleasure.  Unless she has specifically said to you “I’m really interested in trying a latex bodysuit” or “Fishnet bodystockings are where it’s at”, I strongly recommend taking your cue from the styles she already wears.  Purchasing something that deviates wildly from her current lingerie wardrobe without any provocation or prior discussion could make her feel uncomfortable, pressured, and unlovely, like what she’s currently wearing isn’t good enough for you.  It’s absolutely okay to like the way your lady looks in lingerie.  It’s absolutely NOT okay to demand that she change her style completely to suit your tastes.

Along those lines, I also agree with La Petite Coquette’s “beware the back of the drawer” warning.  The stuff on top of the drawer or the stuff dangling on her drying rack is where it’s at: she wears it the most because she likes it the most.  The only exception is if the back of the drawer contains her sexy special times underwear, in which case you’ll just have to call it like you see it.  If you feel uncertain about buying the correct size despite your preparations, ask the store or retailer about their return/exchange policy.  Ask about gift cards.  Look into luxuries that don’t have to involve cup sizes: tap pants, silk pajamas, marabou slippers, elegant stockings, and slinky chemises are all wonderfully sexy surprises that will get plenty of use.  If you think she might like something that she currently doesn’t own, but you’re not sure what it’s called, take a look at the Lingerie Dictionary and find out!

My last suggestion is to Look At Her and Listen To Her.  How does she talk about her body and her boobs around her friends?  Around you?  When she’s getting ready in the morning, does she get fully dressed immediately, or does she primp in her delicates?  When she looks at herself in the mirror, how does her posture change?  Does she fidget with or adjust anything?  Does she say she wishes her boobs were bigger/smaller/perkier?  Do you catch her safety-pinning her blouses closed?  Does she smile when she sees herself in the mirror?  Does her wardrobe reflect a distinct personal style?  You certainly don’t have to answer all of these questions.  I don’t think I could answer them about myself, come to think of it.  But it may help you when you’re in the lingerie shop, and it may suggest ideas beyond “Girlfriend/Wife, you’re beautiful, and I got you beautiful underwear.”  If her personal style says “vintage” or “romantic”, but she’s dashing into her clothes, might she like a long and flowing peignoir to wrap herself in while she’s doing her makeup, or an old-fashioned atomizer filled with her favorite perfume?  If she’s futzing with her clothes, might she like some new wardrobe items that make her feel comfortable and beautiful more than new underwear?  If she seems dissatisfied with or uninterested in lingerie, or self-conscious about her breasts, might she enjoy a scheduled fitting and mini-shopping spree, courtesy of you?  I hope your lady knows and believes she’s sexy, but if there are any indications that she doesn’t, you might wind up giving her a gift that is more than something soft and silky.  You might be able help her turn some of the love you feel for her into love she feels for herself.

13 Comments on So Fellas, You Want to Buy Lingerie for Ladies

  1. Tilly
    November 14, 2012 at 10:43 am (7 years ago)

    Such a great article!

    Also, I think it’s wise to advise men to find the size of something she wears regularly. We all have random sized bras at the back of our drawers we keep because they’re just too pretty even though they don’t fit!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      November 14, 2012 at 10:47 am (7 years ago)

      Oooh, good point. I definitely have random sizes lying around that I just can’t bear to part with!

      Reply
  2. thelingerielesbian
    November 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm (7 years ago)

    You assume WAY too much about women buying other women lingerie– I know way too many who look at a lingerie drawer with more colors than black/white/beige and their eyes glaze over in panic. But, yes, excellent article, especially the part about NOT comparing boobs to fruit because that will not help you at all. I think I’m going to write my own “how to buy lingerie gifts” guide, which will take a radically different approach– I’m afraid my feelings about how good someone might be at buying lingerie for someone are much more pessimistic!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      November 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm (7 years ago)

      Yikes, thanks for pointing that out– I unfairly assumed all women were as lingerie-obsessed as I am! I really look forward to reading your post, because you’re right: lingerie can cause panic, whether it’s because of sizing worries or styling worries. I’m glad we can all agree forever after that boobs =/= fruit. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Fussy Busty
    November 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm (7 years ago)

    Interesting post!

    I have a post in progress that will be about shopping for lingerie from a man’s perspective (from Jesus the creator of Bratabase, and Kim Slawson), so it will be interesting to see what they have to say, as well!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      November 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm (7 years ago)

      Oooh, that’s fantastic! Honestly, I’ve never had a dude buy me lingerie before (probably because I’m so darned particular), so I wrote this post while thinking about what I WOULD say to a guy who wants to buy a girl lingerie. It’ll be really nice to hear what real-life guys have to say about the experience!

      Reply
  4. Stephanie
    November 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm (7 years ago)

    Thank you for this article. I agree with you that the “Size Matters Chart” that La Petite Coquette provided did a disservice to both men and women. As a small busted woman, I found the descriptions used for the woman’s bust size offensive as they progressively were described as being more appealing as the bust size increased.

    It’s difficult enough for small busted women who have to deal with this type of mentality from the media, but to hear it from a lingerie company was disappointing. I would hope that a lingerie company would be aware of the fact that all women are sensitive to their bust size (regardless of what it is). To equate their cup size to fruit and to describe it in a way that portrays a larger busted woman as being “va va voom” vs. the “cute and compact” smaller busted woman was derogatory.

    For men who may be searching for lingerie for their girlfriend/wife/partner who may be petite busted, they may be interested in visiting our website. There is a shortage of lingerie companies who cater to small busted women which is what inspired me to design my own line of lingerie. Our products are made in the USA and can be seen at http://www.bellapetitelingerie.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NHBellaPetite.

    Thanks again for sharing this article and for the tips you provided for the guys out there.

    Kind Regards,
    Stephanie
    President, Bella Petite Lingerie

    Reply
    • Sweets
      November 15, 2012 at 7:45 am (7 years ago)

      Thanks for the tips! I, too, continue to be amazed at some of the subtly judgmental language certain lingerie retailers choose to use. Words have meaning, and the fact of the matter is that all breasts are wonderful. I know it’s harder to understand fit than it is to imagine a piece of fruit, but if someone is buying a gift and can’t be arsed to do a little homework, then maybe he or she should buy a different gift, right? 😉

      Reply
  5. One guy
    November 15, 2012 at 7:04 am (7 years ago)

    Hi!
    I’m just another lingerie addicted guy, surfing through the blogosphere trying to find something nice for my lady, new ideas and items to help her start seeing herself in a new way, seeing the beauty and sexiness I see in her. A tough job, her being so utterly self-conscious. But it breaks my heart seeing her sloughing and hiding her amazing body and therefore her whole self in despise of her body image, something that weight gain and pregnancy haven’t much helped either. She is still darn sexy but she doesn’t see it nor feel that way. Her comments about herself make me angry and sad, how could she say so terrible things about someone I love so much?

    I’d like to help her feel better about herself and the best way in my mind would be by trying to help her look differently what she sees in the mirror. Here’s where the lingerie comes in. She complains about upper back/shoulder pain and has stated that of course big breasts will cause that, like it’d be a stone cold fact! How wrong could she be? I’d like to help her get so comfortable with the bra matters that she would actually try and find a proper fit to support her breasts and feel comfortable and get rid of the pain! And after finding her true size, seeing the gates of the world of sexy and supportive lingerie open! When seeing herself in the mirror feeling comfortable in a sexy lingerie, perhaps she would finally start seeing herself in a new, sexy way, and start feeling comfortable and sexy in that adorable body she’s in!

    Now I’ve read hundreds of bra fitting guides and bra reviews and gotten highly braducated, yet I’m not far from where I started, I still struggle with the issue of how to braducate her without causing bad feelings and it’s going to be a challenge to explain how I know all I know without insulting her by making her feel I would only read these blogs to see other women half-naked, but it’s not about me, it’s about her and my intentions are pure.. Just don’t know how to make her see that. :/

    Back to the subject, I’d love to surprise her with a new sexy lingerie set, but I know too much to just buy something blindfolded by guessing. I know the sizes she wears but then I also know they’re only near the right size. If it wasn’t about money I’d order everything in every size near and encourage her for a home fitting, as she’s not comfortable with bra shops nor fitters and neither is my wallet, and I’m concerned that she’d be fitted wrongly by false standards (+4 etc) and start feeling even more awkward about herself and lingerie, and I don’t know any reliably fitting stores here either. This means the possible bra shopping would anyway happen online due to our budget, and the fit should be right on first try. So there goes the surprise then..

    Again back to the subject, I’m not sure if lingerie is actually a good gift at all for so many things could get wrong, unless the styles and sizes or fit are surely known, because the returning/refunding with all the waiting and hassle would take off the whole joy the gift would bring..

    Anyway it’s a nice blog and the subject you’re writing about is a good and important read here in the verge of Christmas.

    Reply
    • Sweets
      November 15, 2012 at 7:41 am (7 years ago)

      It really sounds like you care about your lady, and you’re thinking about her with a good deal of sensitivity. It’s so hard to know what to do in every situation, but I’ll try to offer two suggestions. The first is to approach the subject of lingerie from the point of view of concern for her comfort. You’ve heard her say that she has back/shoulder pain; why not suggest a Skype fitting with Claire of Butterfly Collection? You could be there with her to help with measurements and things, and then she wouldn’t feel embarrassed about being the only one who needs “education”. You can approach it from the point of view of your wanting to know how to buy her a gift, and she’d get a friendly, kind expert to see if the pain issue can be resolved while you’re at it. My second suggestion is related to your last concern about lingerie’s being a good gift, because sizing can be so sensitive and tricky. You’re absolutely right, but there are lots of lingerie-related gifts that don’t require bra sizes but would still tell her that you think she’s sexy. What about a lovely silk robe, pair of silk tap pants, or a frilled sleep mask? Any of those will feel good against her skin, and the sizing is much more flexible. It sounds like you care a good deal about her, so I wish you best of luck!

      Reply

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