Lingerie Types

There are all sorts of different cuts and styles, this is a brief guide to the different styles available.

Pants

Also known as panties (US), knickers or smalls

Pants which have a string or strap that goes up between the buttocks are popular with those who do not want pants lines showing under tight clothing, ie G-strings or thongs. It is fashionable to wear designer or expensive thongs with the waistband showing over the top of hipster-style trousers. Body-shaping underwear pulls in hips, bottoms or tummies. A control panel in the top front of a pants holds the lower stomach in. Briefs or hotpants are like small shorts and are much bigger, coming up to just under the belly button and covering most of the buttocks. These make hips look slimmer and can pull the tummy in. Pants which are cut diagonally across the buttock lift the bottom and those with a high-leg cut, so the sides of the pants are high up over the hip, make the legs look longer.

Bras

Underwired bras have wire threaded through the bottom half of the cups to give more support and are better for larger busts.

Balcony or balconette bras have underwiring to lift the breasts but leave the upper part of the breast exposed.

Pushup bras push the breasts upwards and inwards to give a more flattering cleavage. These look very sexy under a low-cut top. Smaller sizes have removable padding at the sides of the cups to increase the size and squeeze the breasts together.

Padded bras are available for those who have a smaller chest and would like to be bigger.

Multiway bras give options such as removing the shoulder straps to wear under strapless tops or having the back strap going lower down the back to wear under backless dresses.

Sports bras are designed to give maximum support while exercising and minimising the bounce factor. Exercising in an inadequate bra can be very uncomfortable is bad for your breasts in the long-term as the tissue stretches and sags and never regains its elasticity. Minimising bras are available for larger women who want to make their bust look smaller.

Tops

There is a bewildering array of garments for women's top halves. Corsets, basques and bustiers are tight-fitting, sleeveless garments which accentuate the female shape and give support. They are low cut across the breasts and can have straps attached to the bottom for attaching stockings. Basques tend to be quite sexy and vampy in style. Bustiers do not have shoulder straps. Corsets have boning (usually not real bone these days) sewn into the lining to pull in the waist for a trimmer figure. Camisoles are loose-fitting sleeveless tops which can come in a matching set with loose knickers like frilly shorts. Baby doll style garments have a bra top with loose-fitting material falling around the torso for a little-girl look.

Bodies

Teddies are all-in-one sleeveless garments like a swimming costume or leotard, with a flap over the crotch which can be undone for ease of access. Teddiettes are like teddies but with garters (straps for attaching stockings) attached. Chemises are short slips, like a small, sleeveless dress, or there are long slips.

Hosiery

Tights or stockings are sheer coverings for the legs made out of nylon or silk. Tights are all-in-one and cover the whole of the lower part of the body up to the waist. Stockings come up to mid-thigh and are then attached by straps to the top garment or a belt. Hold-ups stay up with an elasticated top so no need for straps. Stockings have more old-fashioned, sexy look but may not be as comfortable.

Nightwear

Night dresses or nighties for wearing in bed are available, or pajamas which consist of a shirt and trousers and can be made of silk, satin, cotton or flannel. Dressing gowns or robes are worn over nightwear for getting up in the night or before going to bed.