Lingerie, pronounced as “lon-jer-rae” in English, is a French word that has been adopted into the English lexicon decades ago. It is derived from the French word “lin” for linen. In French, the term refers to undergarments for either sex. In English, it specially applies to visually appealing or erotic garments for the female.
The French is credited as having perfected the art of feminine expression in the bedroom and are the professionals when it comes to women’s intimate or boudoir wears. That is why the mention of French Maids conjures saucy images of pretty lasses in visually appealing articles of clothing that set the hormones raging in the male audience.
However, the concept of lingerie in its present form did not really materialized until the early 1960’s. Before that, the female’s undergarments were for practical purposes; i.e. for hygiene, functional purposes (like shaping the body or providing support) or modesty (covering the essential bits). It was not until after the Second World War that nightwear evolved from being primarily utilitarian to being erotic or sensuous.
The industry as a whole was firmly established when numerous brands of lingerie begin to emerge during the late 20th Century. Partly driven by marketing ploys and partly by the changing viewpoints of women from around the world about their sexuality, women were making an expression of their individual styles or personalities with their bedroom wears. Today, in the 21st Century, lingerie is no longer just reserved for the private occasions but is taunted and sold as inner-outer wears as well.
There are currently literally thousands of brands of lingerie in the world, from retail brands to the more exotic tailor-made. The amazing range and styles available is testament to the popularity of lingerie to the femme fatale.
It would perhaps be safe to assume that a very high proportion of women above the age of consent would have probably bought or received lingerie as a gift. The key phrase here is “above the age of consent” as the ultimate objective of wearing lingerie is to send out provocative signals that one is in an amorous mood and engaging in visual foreplay.
Ultimately, every woman wants to express their inner desires. They want to be sexy, saucy, seductive and visually appealing. Underneath all that, every woman also wants to retain their charm, intrigue and confidence of their own persona. That’s why most modern women are in control of the situation in their boudoir– they want to be what they want to be and when they want to be. They have an opinion of themselves and want to express their own individuality and personality.
The beauty of lingerie as a gift is that since it is not a daily wear item, it is acceptable even if they are in colors that you or your partner would be shocked to wear in your normal routine. They are also never out of season or fashion simply because their ultimate functionality is to enhance the wearer. It is a bit like getting to unwrap a Christmas or birthday present — the ultimate aim is to unwrap and discover what lies within the wrappers. By themselves they are an inanimate object that is incapable of providing the kind of exuberant visual gratification. Put it on a female form and new dimensions come into play. The minds of the audience go into hyper-drive and their imagination runs wild. This is women’s ultimate weapon in visual foreplay.
So, if you are a novice and are considering buying lingerie, what do you do? Are you bold enough to make that first move?
Firstly, understanding the typology of lingerie will be useful though not crucial. Unless you are in a tricky situation of having to describe the style of lingerie that you want to purchase to someone over the phone without the benefit of references to pictures of that item, it is really of no consequence. However, it does help when you are a beginner in the art of visual foreplay. It helps narrow down your selection and certainly helps in your choices.
If you are window shopping at a physical store, deciding on what you want to purchase should not be much of a hassle. You can try out the item that sparks an interest in you and see how it fits. But what if you are buying it as a gift and you are a male? Well, knowing her clothe size would be useful. As to which lingerie to pick, that’s really up to your imagination.
However, being male and in a store that sells exclusively ladies intimate wears could be quite unnerving. Sometimes even for a lady. This is where shopping online comes to the rescue.
For starters, I have simplified the categories of lingerie for easy reference.
Broad Categories of Lingerie
Baby Dolls A short, sleeveless mini gown with pre-formed cups usually made from sheer or lacy materials with hems normally at least six inches above the knee or just below the hip. They come with matching panties or thongs and are considered easy-fits as they are designed to be loose fitting. They are easily the best choice for beginners and usually hold the largest in terms of product range.
Bustier It looks somewhat like a Basque (a longer version of the bustier, generally extending past the hips offering little or no figure-molding compression) but is shorter in length. Is essentially a bra with fitted sides that extend down the waist or just covering the rib-cage, exposing the midriff. Its primary function is to provide an hourglass look by pushing up the bust via the tightening of the material against the upper midriff and thus forcing the breasts to move up and at the same time enhancing the shape of the waist. Like the corset, it is also gaining popularity as a daily wear under an open jacket.
Camisole A camisole or “cami” is a sleeveless and tight fitting undergarment that either covers the top portion of the female body or cropped to expose the midriff. Some have built-in pre-formed bras and comes with or without lace trimmings. It can be worn with or without a bra and of late has been marketed as an outer wear as well.
Chemise A contour-hugging slip traditionally with spaghetti straps, that is designed to be slipped off the shoulders. It ranges from length, usually with the hemline from the top of the thigh to mid-thigh. The Shelf Chemise, which is essentially a variant with the top portion of the chemise beginning just beneath the breasts, thus acting as a shelf to uplift and thrust the breasts forward, hence exposing them.
Corsets Though it conjures images of Victorian times and the French Revolution, the present day corsets are a far cry from their historical ancestors. They are definitely more comfortable and certainly easier to put on, though they still depend on boning to hold their form and prevent wrinkling of the material. They are basically a strapless bra with fitted sides to the waist. To form the hourglass shape, the laces are pulled tight and tied off in the back. It could even be worn under an open jacket for that personal fashion statement. It could be worn with or without garter belts.
Garter Belts This sexy item is worn at the waist or hips and is made of elastic materials to which garters are attached to hold up stockings. In the UK they are also known as Suspender Belts. Often coordinates with matching bras and bikinis.
Teddy This is a cami with a built-in panty, all in one piece. It is designed to be slipped off the shoulder or with built-in easy access at the crotch
Teddiette This is a variation of the teddy and is generally comes with garters and to be worn with stockings.
Thong Usually the term is used interchangeably with G-String. Like the latter, it is the barest and most body-conscious clothing item. It is a nice alternative if no VPL (visible panty lines) are required or instead of the no panties option.
G-String A type of thong which could be made from leather, cloth or plastic. It is a narrow piece of material. Barely a panty, with just a small patch of material that covers the private parts, passes between the buttock and is attached via a tie by the sides or is attached to a band around the hips. It is the barest lingerie article. Several variants exist: V-string- a thong with a triangular “V” piece of cloth at the top of the rear, T-string- where a single string passes around the waist and between the legs, forming a T between the buttocks. Gowns/Peignoirs Comes as long or short gowns and are usually made of sheer materials and sold with a matching robe and panty.
With the above information, you are now ready to go shopping!