Valentine's Day is upon us and it means the malls are flooded with people trying to find just the right gift for the person who their heart swoon. But let's be honest, with the upcoming release of 50 Shades of Grey, everyone's minds are a little more focused on what usually comes at the end of Valentine's Day--Sex.
I've been helping people spice up their sex lives for years. No, I don't have a red room of pain. What I do have is an extensive knowledge of intimate apparel.
I have been in the lingerie business for nearly 10 years, and a lingerie connoisseur for even longer. I've seen countess customers completely lost when it comes to buying lingerie, so I know people could use some tips when shopping for lingerie for themselves and when shopping for something sexy for their partner.
Here are my 10 tips:
- See an Expert:
You are shopping for an intimate gift for an intimate occasion. Do you really want to do this while you're also buying groceries and picking up a prescription of your spouse's foot fungus medication? Head to a lingerie store, and I don't recommend one that has Angels. After all, no one really wants an Angel in the bedroom anyways. You will have much better luck finding what you are looking for in a store that specializes in lingerie.
- Size Matters:
Know your partner's size before heading to the store. If you don't know and don't want to spoil the surprise and ask, then I give you permission to snoop. Go ahead and look in her panty drawer. Be sure to look at more than one item. Most women have a range of sizes, so see what size she has the most of. Even better, look in her dirty clothes because you can be certain that size fits her right now. Things to look for are bra size, panty size, regular dress/clothing size, and shoe size. If you are shopping for yourself, get measured. An astounding 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size, so chances are you are one of them. Reputable lingerie stores know how do a bra fitting and will not charge for this service. I also encourage you to try items on in the store to see how the store's sizes will fit you.
- Get Something Different:
I tell my customers this ALL THE TIME. Get something that doesn't look like everything else in your closet. You want it to be special and different from the usual items you put on. So if you have nothing but black, go for color. If you usually go for sweet girly baby dolls, try a sexy fishnet ensemble. Never tried a corset, go for it. They work for every body type and have been around for hundreds of years for a reason. Not to mention a great look for a pirate wench. If you are shopping for someone else, go for different, but stick with their personality. The goal is to get something she will wear, so don't go too far off the deep end in your choices. However, I have learned over the years that the less I like something, the more my husband likes it. I think this is because it is something different that I would instinctively choose for myself.
- Trust the Salesperson:
If you followed my advice so far and headed to a true lingerie store, then you are surrounded by professionals. They do this for a living and help people look their sexiest all day. If you are completely lost with what to pick for yourself, ask for their opinion. They can find something that will flatter your figure and fit your taste. If you are overwhelmed at the options for your partner and don't know where to start, they will ask the right questions to narrow it down. If you forgot to do your research for tip #2, the salesperson can help get close to the right size. It is perfectly OK to point out someone in the store that is your lady's size, but be polite and avoid saying things like "not as big as you" or "can you try this on for me?" That is a sure fire way to be labeled as creepy.
- Quality Counts:
Chances are if you made it into a specialty store for lingerie that the quality will be better, but not always. Quality materials will be softer and more conducive to a romantic encounter than something itchy and polyester. If you pick something that is well made it will last for quite some time. That means you can use it over and over and over again. If you intend to rip it off, then maybe quality isn't your concern. However, I know very few women that actually enjoy having their pretty underthings destroyed, even if it is in the name of sexy time.
- Show off the Assets:
Highlight what you love about yourself, or what you love about your partner. If you've got a great rack, try a shelf bra. If you are blessed with a lovely pirate booty, try some cage back panties. (Look it up, they make your butt look great) If you aren't so thrilled with your midsection, then avoid the two pieces and find something with ruching to conceal it. There really is something out there for everyone and the trusty salesperson can help with this too.
- Confidence is Key:
This really is so important. Lingerie is there to make you feel sexy and to get you and your partner in the mood for love. If you aren't feeling confident in what you've picked out, that makes things awkward. Remember this when you are buying a gift too. Don't take her too far out of her comfort zone or you may not get the end result you were hoping for. However, also keep in mind that your partner loves you and your body, and we are always too hard on ourselves.
- Complete the Look:
You wouldn't get all dressed in a fancy dress for your date and skip putting on shoes, right? Well lingerie is the same way. Complete the look from head to toe and don't skip the crucial elements. Does the item need stockings for the attached garters? Did you get a panty to match the selected piece? How about a satin robe to complement the look. These are all things to consider. A tip is to browse through a catalog and see what the models are wearing. (Fun and you can call it research)
- Keep Shopping:
This is a tip I have never seen anywhere else, and it is crucial. DO NOT make this her only gift. Although we love lingerie and feeling sexy, it is essentially a gift for the giver as well. Be sure to get something that shows how much you appreciate your partner. It doesn't have to be jewelry, it just needs to be thoughtful.
- Gift Early and Gift Smart:
Another tip that you will only get from the inside of the lingerie business. Give her the gift at least a day before you want her to wear it. This is twofold. The first reason being this gives her the chance to try it on. If it fits, good job, and she can actually wear it. If it doesn't fit, there is still time to exchange it. The second reason for gifting early is to allow the time to wash it. People don't consider this step often, but a lot of people touched that garment in its time from the factory to your shopping bag. There can also still be leftover fabric dye that hasn't rinsed out all the way and may bother sensitive skin. As for gifting smart, this has to do with presentation. Your partner will be more inclined to wear your gift if you present it as such. It is a gift, not a demand for sex. Say something like "I thought this color would look great on you, I hope you like it," Avoid things like, "Put this on and let's do it!" There just isn't as much romance in that approach.