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A (How-To) Guide On Buying Lingerie

This simple and easy to understand guide is intended to help those of you looking to buy lingerie for the first time.  We’ve compiled some important things to know and some easy mistakes to avoid, based off some of the frequent questions we get asked by clients.

What Do You want?

Firstly, get a clear picture of what it is you want. There is a vast range of garments available today, in a variety of styles. Identifying when you are going to wear your new lingerie can be really helpful. For example is it once a year piece? For examples on Valentines Day, a special birthday or is it something for everyday wear like a comfy bralette?

Maybe you need something a specific colour to combine it with a dress of the same colour for a wedding or event.

Getting this right from the start means you’ll spend less time trawling through stuff that doesn’t suit your needs and hopefully avoid buying something that you’ll need to return later.

Some brands may focus more on glamour rather than comfort and function so bare this in mind and check what people are saying in reviews.

To get a better understanding of each type of lingerie we’ve posted a helpful list here.

Buying Lingerie Online

With many lingerie brands selling online it can be difficult choosing between them. Brands have different price points, different types of garments and different principles. Victoria’s Secret might be more affordable than an independent designer, but independent designers are more likely to ethically produce their garments and offer bespoke services. So check with the brand to see if they have the type of garment you want, at the right price and that your hard earned money is going to a good business.

On a tighter budget? We’ll go over that in a moment.

How does it look?

Ever ordered something online and the colour looks totally different to what you ordered? It can be difficult as a business to produce accurate photos especially with certain fabrics. Which in turn makes it difficult for the consumer to see the accurate colour. This is something we struggled with with our first ever product photos. One of the main reasons garments vary is different quality in screens. Before ordering check out what the web page looks like on your phone, laptop & tablet to get a real sense of what the colour is. Newer screens are usually more accurate and more colourful.


Make sure to check the size chart of the website and of the person your are ordering for, whether that is yourself, mum, partner etc. If it is a gift try to get their measurements from other clothes they own (if appropriate). Most websites have product photographs of a model wearing the garment, check the description to see if the size is listed. This helps to give the correct size and scale of the garment in your mind.

A Women Measuring Herself For Lingerie

Some helpful measurements to know are:

  • Bust – Important for bralettes, slips, bra’s, camisoles & night wear
  • Hips – Important for knickers, slips, body suits & night wear
  • Waist – Good for ordering slips, knickers (when they’re high-waisted) pyjama pants
  • Back Length – Not always essential but useful for purchasing cami tops, full slips & teddy’s
  • Height – Can also be useful for an array of garments

It’s vital to know the person’s bra size and really useful to know the dress size too.

If the website has a contact section, get in touch with any questions you might have. Check with the website to see their returns & refunds policy in case you do get the wrong size.


Be aware of delivery time if you need it for a special occasion like a birthday or wedding. If it’s a bespoke piece, or made to order, obviously it’s going to take longer to arrive. Depending on the business it may take a couple of days or a couple of weeks, so make sure to check. Big brands that are manufactured on a larger scale are able to ship their products straight away which means you will get it faster.

Buying Lingerie Locally

Shopping locally is a great way to see the lingerie in person, and avoid some of the pitfalls of ordering online. For example you won’t have to pay for shipping, returning an item is much easier, but you will usually pay more for the personalised service. Your options or choices will be more limited. But by shopping locally you support local economy and often smaller brands.

You will be able to see, touch and feel the quality and fabric of the garment. Getting a sense of it’s size, colour and appreciate the details. There may be consultation services available with a bespoke designer. At the Hot Knickers Lingerie studio clients often book appointments for the consultation/bespoke service.

Booking a consultation as part of a gift voucher package is a wonderful experience for any woman.

Designer Ali Wheeler Adjusting Model
Hot Knickers Lingerie designer, Ali Wheeler, adjusting model Ruby, before a photo-shoot.


If you are on a super tight budget but still want to buy something glamorous, try to get in when the sales are on around January & July. Cora Harrington of Lingerie Addict has a great section in her blog, on sales that are going on across different lingerie companies.

Although you can save by opting for something cheaper, we would recommend trying to save up and buy that something extra special. Because it’s going to last longer and is a lovely addition to any women’s wardrobe.

The person’s personality & lifestyle

Lingerie is an intimate gift and it’s important to bear in mind what the person likes to wear. If the person is shy maybe a slip or kimono that allows her to feel comfy and sexy at the same time. If the woman is more flamboyant, perhaps something black and lacy may be more suitable. When ordering nude or flesh tones make sure that it compliments the woman’s skin tones. We have a super helpful post on the best lingerie to wear depending on their body type.

To Finish

We hope this has helped you with buying lingerie in the future. If there is anything that you want to add leave a comment down below, or is there something you have found useful that we didn’t include?

One thought on “A (How-To) Guide On Buying Lingerie

  1. Roz Rayner-Rix says:

    Lots of really good advice here well worth reading and following. I am sure most women have bought lingerie on impulse only to be disappointed when they see themselves in a mirror actually wearing their hasty purchase…

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