**Today’s guest post is from devoted husband, father, and brafficionado Kim Slawson, founder of The Clothing Library (read the interview by StackDD+ here). A man who is as knowledgable about bras as some of the most bra-educated women in the world can be sometimes rare to find, but Kim is one of those men! Today, Kim provides a man’s perspective on holiday lingerie shopping. **
I was asked to write a guest post for Nicole on men buying lingerie and bras for their significant others. There have been other articles written about dos and don’ts regarding bra shopping for your wife, both online and in print. Many of those articles take a simplistic approach and offer advice of questionable value—especially pertaining to fit and size estimation—please spare me comparisons between your wife’s breasts and various and sundry types of fruit!
In this article I will eschew comparing oranges to grapefruits and instead focus on broader topics: what fits, what is comfortable, and what she likes and dislikes in lingerie. (hint: it may be a far cry from what you like!)
It is important to have some idea of where to start, both size-wise and in terms of style, whether you have just started dating the person for whom you are buying intimate items or whether you have been together for 40 years.
Sizing Her Up
Do some reconnaissance in her lingerie drawer. Don’t be surprised if you find a range of sizes; many women regularly fluctuate by as much as one or two cup sizes. Sizes and fit also vary between brands and even between models made by the same brand. Note not only what sizes fit her, but also her go-to items versus the ones that never see the light of day. Chances are, if she doesn’t wear that sexy black bustier gathering dust in the back of her drawer, she won’t wear a similar one you buy this year either.
I Spy With My Little Eye
Be observant about both the articles she wears and the ones she shuns. If you never see her wear a particular cami or bra, it may be the wrong size, it may not suit her figure, or she may just have fallen out of love with it. On the other hand, if she never leaves the house without her beloved bra, then it’s a safe bet she might be happy with more of the same. Iterate on styles within the same brand or vary brands but stick to items with the same fit and style as her “old faithful”.
If All Else Fails, Ask!
She may be aching to try something new, and it might not be what you have in mind. Perhaps she’s never worn nighties or negligees before but wants to try them? Maybe she needs a new swimsuit but isn’t eager to take the plunge? You’ll never know unless you ask. Chances are she’ll be flattered that you are taking an interest in her intimate wear and she’ll open up to you. The two of you might even have a bonding experience over the topic of underwear!
Get It Off Your Chest
If you have an unfufilled desire or fetish in the intimate apparel landscape, now is the time to bring it up with your partner. She may be surprised to hear that you’ve always wanted her to try corsetry or see how she looks in a longline bra. Voicing these desires will potentially lead to a more fulfilling relationship and open exciting frontiers in both intimacy and intimate apparel.
What Works and What Doesn’t
Regardless of her size or figure, your wife, girlfriend, lover, or friend has her own idea of what works for her. Work with her and not against her on this. If she’s a utilitarian girl that never wears underwires or things with ribbons or bows then don’t make the mistake of buying her that sexy push-up bra (even if it does get rave reviews). Heed her cues about what she likes and doesn’t like. Use your powers of observation and listening skills. Turn off your assumptions and tune into her likes, style, and preferences.
Same-Sex Couples buying Lingerie
If you are in a lesbian relationship with your partner, then you have a range of experience and personal knowledge that a man buying lingerie for a women almost certainly lacks. As a woman, you know how lingerie can fit and flatter your body, show off your assets, and make you feel sexy, powerful, or feminine. This intimate familiarity with the fit and finish of bras, panties, bustiers, camisoles, and lingerie can be a double-edged sword, however, as your preferences and peccadilloes may not be shared by your partner. If you tend to wear 32B bras but your partner is more like a 36G, then you might choose to wear entirely different items on the lingerie spectrum (whether by choice or out of necessity).
Things to Remember
- Some types of lingerie are either unavailable or unsupportive to the larger bust, for example, making it tricky to find a flattering fit with chemises, babydolls, and nightwear of that ilk. A better bet for the busty might be underwired bras, longline bras, corsets, or bustiers, depending upon the size needed.
- Some brands and styles are not available in some combinations of band and cup size. It takes a lot of resources for manufacturers to offer a broad range of sizes, so some simply stick to the median to save expenses. Don’t buy her an ill-fitting 32B if she should really be wearing a 28D; you won’t be doing her any favors.
- “You can find anything you want / on the Internet” (apologies to Arlo Guthrie). There is a whole world of lingerie beyond what you can find at your local mall or even at your nearby boutique. The diversity of brands, styles, and items available online is staggering. Sometimes last season’s items or overstocked items are available at deep discounts. Many retailers offer no-hassle returns and exchanges as well, making orderling online less onerous.
- Great places to buy lingerie online are: BraStop.com, LoveBras.com, BareNecessities.com, Nordstrom.com, Bravissimo.com, and of course SophisticatedPair.com
Give Her The Support She Needs
Whether you are a man buying lingerie for your lady, or you are a woman buying for your ladyfriend, please keep in mind that you may not have the same thing in mind as your significant other when it comes to what is sexy, what is comfortable, and even what fits. Certainly this presents a challenge, but it is our duty as faithful partners to rise to the occasion and support our better halves.
**Kim covers a lot of really great information in his guest post. What would you add to this information, for partners who want to buy for their significant other? What are some of the hits and misses that you have experienced when giving/receiving lingerie for the holidays? On another note, do you think it’s important to include a man’s perspective about bras and lingerie?**