As Valentine’s Day approaches faster than cupid’s arrow, you’re likely interested in shopping for some sexy lingerie for yourself or as a gift for your sweetheart. What do you do, though, if you know exactly what look you want, but you don’t know what to call it?
Getting to know the basic lingerie terminology we define here will make it much easier to narrow down your choices as you comb the racks or the websites full of pink & red intimate fashion delights. The different names for different types of lingerie can be confusing, as many styles have multiple similarities to one another, but there are some simple basic rules that tend to apply to each category.
This list of the seven most popular (and most frequently confused) styles may not be quite all-encompassing, but it’s good enough give you a refresher course if your lingerie lingo is a little rusty. Hopefully this info will come in handy when you’re shopping for romantic and sexy looks to heat up your bedroom for V-day or any day at all!
Teddies are probably the first word or image that pops into someone’s head when they think of lingerie. Sometimes also known as a bodysuit, a teddy is a form-fitting lingerie piece cut similarly to a (very skimpy & sexy) one-piece bathing suit. They traditionally cover the bust, abdomen, and bikini line, but there are many variations. Low, plunging necklines and high leg lines are often features of a teddy.
A teddy is typically made from materials like lace, satin, mesh, velvet, or a little of each, along with plenty of elastic straps and/or ribbons. They often have spaghetti straps that go over the shoulders, a soft yet highly decorative bodice, and a bikini-style crotch. The Melanie Lace Teddy pictured on the right is a gorgeous example of the general shape to expect. Teddies may or may not have garter straps for holding up your sexy stockings to complete your smoldering bedroom look.
A chemise has many traits in common with a teddy. The biggest difference is that they are open at the bottom like a snug slip or super-short dress. Typically covering the bust, abdomen, and bottom with curve-hugging, stretchy materials, they are usually worn with a matching G-string panty. Some people love chemises since this style makes for easier access when your bedroom adventures really heat up.
Chemises are the perfect choice for a steamy romantic evening in. Slip into the classic black Noor Mesh & Lace Criss Cross chemise, pictured on the left, or a Naughty Neon chemise for a punch of color. Dim the lights, light some candles, and turn your seduction up to 11. You probably won’t actually be wearing it for long!
Babydolls are similar to chemises, but with a softer, sweeter side. Lots of people envision a babydoll when they think of lingerie. With a barely breast-baring bodice on top and an attached flowy skirt on the bottom, babydolls are worn with matching G-string or bikini panties for that sweet & innocent romantic feel. If your cool wine aunt gave you lingerie for your wedding shower or bachelorette party, it’s probably one of these.
Babydolls come in every soft & sultry fabric, shape, size, and color under the sun. The flowy open bottom and soft, swingy skirting is what sets them apart. Good for Valentine’s or anytime at all, the All Mine Heart Mesh Babydoll or the Candy Heart Mesh Babydoll pictured on the right is a picture-perfect example of this flirty, flouncy lingerie lewk.
B is for Bustier and B stands for “boost”. This fancy French lingerie style, pronounced “boost-ee-yay”, is the epitome of femininity and sex appeal. Made to give your lady lumps a little lift without being TOO restrictive, bustiers often have underwires or some thin plastic boning, just enough to smooth out your naturally nice shape.
Bustiers have open bottoms that usually cut off either just above the navel or right at the hips, and they are worn with matching panties. The Diamond Mesh and Lace Trimmed Bustier pictured on the left is a perfectly polished example of how sweet but seductive a bustier can be. They can have straps or be strapless, and may frequently have garter straps to hold up some foxy fishnets that complement the look.
C is for corset and C stands for “cinch”. Corsets are designed to cinch in the waist and provide that classic hourglass figure, though sometimes at the cost of comfort. Traditionally made from steel or hard plastic boning and heavier materials than most lingerie, corsets are the original shapewear, if you will. They typically close with some combination of zippers, heavy duty hook & eye closures, and lacing, so they can often be snugged up for a supportive custom fit. Lots of ladies (and their lovers) love them for the perfect curves and boosted breasts a corset can provide.
The Lavish Lace Corset pictured on the right is an example of an overbust corset. Underbust corsets are also a thing. They can be paired with a favorite bra and panty set, or can even be worn by the daring as decorative daywear over your tank tops or blouse. Even though they were popularized in the 16th century, corsets still provide a modern and desirable romantic look any time you want to wear one. Just make sure not to lace it too tight…breathing is important!
While spell check is telling me this isn’t an actual word, anyone into lingerie will tell you it most certainly is. Like super-hot hosiery that hugs your whole body, bodystockings are slinky, stretchy outfits that are hard to resist. They come in so many different cuts and colors, it’s easy to find one you like. The super-stretchy materials also mean they’re super flattering on every body!
Like the Sexy Opaque Halter Dress with Stockings pictured on the left, bodystockings may shaped similarly to teddies, dresses, chemises, or bustiers. Some even have long legs and/or long sleeves. The supple, squeezy fit of the fabric is what sets them apart from those other categories. Made of highly decorative stretchy mesh, lace, fishnet, or nylon just like your favorite pantyhose, bodystockings hug whatever parts of your body you prefer perfectly for your next bedroom rendezvous. And for those styles of bodystocking that go between your legs, they are often made crotchless so you don’t have to completely defrock to get your lovin’ on.
Rompers are similar to teddies or bodysuits/playsuits, but usually a little more forgiving. They are made from softer, stretchier fabrics than many more traditional lingerie styles. They typically have a looser fit and are sometimes cinched at the waist, like the Soft Jersey Romper pictured on the right.
Halter-style tops instead of straps and a little more coverage on the bottom are a few popular features that set some rompers apart from other styles. Speaking of bottoms, some rompers even have fun and fetishy flaps or cutouts; use your imagination as to what you can do with those. Rompers are probably the most comfortable choice in the world of lingerie, making them great loungewear for just chilling around the house, or for a sexy weekend in bed with your lover.