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The Top 13 Types of Lingerie (And What You Need to Know About Them)

Shop our guide to all the sexiest styles—and how to wear them.
chemise and garter belt lingerie
emma lawler - the knot
by Emma Lawler
emma lawler - the knot
Emma Lawler
The Knot Contributor
  • Emma creates e-commerce content for The Knot.
  • In her role as content writer, she writes descriptions for The Knot Worldwide's wedding vendors.
  • Emma has a Master of Arts in Literature and Publishing from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Updated Sep 09, 2020
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Whether it's for your wedding night, your honeymoon or just because, special lingerie is a fun purchase. First things first, though: What is lingerie? To put it simply, "lingerie" means undergarments or sleepwear—and usually, styles that are a little fancier than your typical, everyday essentials. But there's a whole bunch of other lingo to get to know while you're shopping. Chemise or camisole? Bustier or corset? What's the difference, anyhow? We've got the lowdown on the most popular types of lingerie, plus how to wear each lingerie style for an unforgettable look.

Items in this article:

Bikini

A sexy pair of underwear can stand solo or be paired with a matching cami or bra for a low-maintenance (but high-impact) look. A bikini specifically is a classic cut. Its rise is low, but not too low, and it offers coverage in the back while still looking cute and flirty.

blue lace bikini underwear

We love the scalloped lace edging on this bikini underwear. Why not go for the matching bra for a coordinated look?

ThirdLove Artisan lace bikini, $24, ThirdLove.com 

personalized white bikini

Celebrating your first night as newlyweds? Go for a pair of personalized panties customized with your new married name or your monogram.

Craftyholic Anonymous personalized bride string bikini underwear, $12, Etsy.com 

lace trimmed bikini

A lace trim makes this bikini perfect for a romantic night. There are seven different colors for you to choose from, but the classic red is our favorite.

Cosabella Amore plus-size Love bikini panty, $20, Kohls.com 

floral embroidered bikini

Sweet floral embroidery meets daring mesh paneling in this lacy lingerie.

Wacoal Embrace lace bikini underwear, $27, Macys.com 

Bodysuit

Think: a bra and underwear in one. (Sometimes, you'll see this called a teddy.) Even though a bodysuit offers more coverage than two separate pieces, it's somehow sexier. Probably because it's got "special occasion" written all over it, making it wedding night (or Valentine's Day, or your anniversary—you get the idea) perfection.

strappy black bodysuit

Looking for lingerie with straps? This bodysuit features strappy harness detailing on the front, as well as a strappy cutout back.

Torrid lace and mesh strappy cutout back underwire bodysuit, $80, Torrid.com

blush lace bodysuit

The plunging lace of this bodysuit is a bold look that's bound to captivate. Plus, how beautiful is that blush color?

HAH Liselle bodysuit in Copper Rose, $88, Anthropologie.com 

rust colored bodysuit with lace

We adore the velvet belt and dainty bow on this lacy bodysuit. The burgundy color is so stunning.

iCollection plus-size Selena stretch lace and mesh bodysuit in Burgundy, $60, Macys.com

grey lace bodysuit

This one-piece lingerie combines two of our favorite things: lace and floral detailing. 

Aerie Garden Party lace bodysuit, $50, Aerie.com 

Bra

Obviously, you know what a bra is. A delicate bra and underwear set alone can make a sexy statement on the wedding night and every other day of the year. Bras come in a variety of styles: triangle, push-up, demi, balconette and more—you can really choose whichever you love most. Look for a bra embellished with embroidery or lace to elevate it to special-occasion status.

white lace bra

This balcony bra is made for romantic nights together, with cups covered in sheer eyelash lace and a delicate bow.

Figleaves Pulse lace underwire balcony bra in B-G, $54, Figleaves.com 

pale pink lace bra

This lace and tulle bra has underwire for support, but it's unpadded for extra comfort. There's a matching thong, too!

La Perla Adele Leavers lace-trimmed stretch-tulle underwired bra, $240, NET-A-PORTER.com 

lace balconette bra

What about a pretty lace bra that's as comfy to wear as your softest T-shirt bra? This style has cups fitted with memory foam, making it a bra you'll love to rewear.

ThirdLove 24/7 lace balconette bra, $76, ThirdLove.com 

pink petite lace bra

This brand focuses on the perfect fit for smaller busts. The bra's super-cute lace trim is just another bonus.

Pepper Laidback Lace bra, $54, WearPepper.com

Bralette

A bralette is a bra without underwire or other structural elements, so it tends to offer less support. For some, that's a draw, but for others, it's a deal-breaker—try the fit out for yourself. Note that some bralettes don't have clasp closures and need to be removed over your head.

black lace bralette

This pretty lace bralette features slits on the cups with ribbon ties for a racy style.

Hanky Panky After Midnight open bralette, $52, Shopbop.com

plunge racerback bralette

A plunging neckline and sheer cups make this racerback bralette something special.

SavageX Fenty floral lace racerback bralette, $40 (or $30 with a VIP membership), SavageX.com 

pale pink lace bralette

Pair this sassy front-clasp bralette with the matching lace thong for a show-stopping look.

Oh Là Là Chéri Stephanie plus-size lace bralette, $25, DavidsBridal.com 

sheer ruffle bralette

What about something totally sheer? This unique longline bralette features Swiss dot tulle and ruffles that you'll adore.

BHLDN Aphra bralette, $55, Anthropologie.com

Bustier

Want to add extra va-va-voom to the wedding night? Wear this lingerie style to accentuate your cleavage. A bustier is an extended bra top that usually covers all or most of the torso, though there are bustier bras that end well above the belly button. For an ultra-bridal look, go white and lacy. If you're looking to pump up the sex appeal, go for a strappier style in black or red. Want something extra extravagant? Try attached garters, so you can add thigh-high stockings.

white lace bustier set

This two-piece white lace bustier set comes with matching underwear. The bustier features silky satin straps and removable garters to help you complete the look.

Dreamgirl plus-size satin bustier set in White, $55, Macys.com 

lace up bustier

The sheer panel and lace-up detailing on this risqué bustier are two seriously seductive touches.

Pour Moi Imagine bustier garter, $79, BareNecessities.com 

green lace bustier

This head-turning green bustier has details you'll love—eyelash lace, velvet, removable garter straps and matching panties to boot. It also comes in extended sizes.

Seven 'Til Midnight Bold Desires bustier set in Green, $43, Yandy.com 

short white bustier

If you prefer a more subtle and sleek look, then this white bustier might be the one for you. It still keeps things special though, with understated lace details decorating the bodice. 

Parfait Elissa strapless contour bustier in White, $58, Macys.com 

Camisole (and Tap Short)

A camisole (aka cami) is a lingerie tank top, usually with spaghetti straps. Choose one in a silky or satin fabric with lace accents for a luxe vibe, and pair it with tap shorts, which is the name for lingerie short-shorts. Choose this look if you want something comfy and pajama-esque for the wedding night (or beyond). It's not as over-the-top sexy as some other types of lingerie, but it'll definitely make you feel pampered. A cami could also be worn with a thong (or any other underwear bottoms) to show a little more skin.

satin cami set

This silky soft cami and shorts set is ideal for wearing again and again, but especially for those big nights. 

Anine Bing Gwyneth silk-satin camisole, $150, NET-A-PORTER.com; Anine Bing Jade silk-satin pajama shorts, $182, NET-A-PORTER.com

shoulder tie cami set

We love the tie-shoulder details and ruffled shorts in this adorable cami set.

Plum Pretty Sugar Ventana ruffled shortie set, $65, PlumPrettySugar.com

satin cami and shorts set

Lacy overlays and soft satin fabric make this type of lingerie equal parts comfy and cute.

Cherlot plus-size satin cami pajama set, from $58, Etsy.com

ivory camisole set

You can wear this cami and short set in the bedroom or around the house on lazy Sunday mornings. Our favorite part? The Art Deco-esque lace trim.

BHLDN Cleo pajama set, $68, BHLDN.com 

Chemise

A chemise is a short slip dress that's simple to literally slip into and can be paired with a matching bikini or thong. It'll make you feel so beautiful and flirty—kind of like a wedding dress, only skimpier.

black lace chemise

The babydoll shape of this chemise is both sultry and super comfy. It's semi-sheer and covered in lace, making it totally unforgettable.

Torrid lace babydoll chemise, $50, Torrid.com 

sheer ivory chemise

Looking for something a bit more demure? The pleated texture of this ivory chemise offers a subtler sheer effect.

Rya Collection Magic chemise in Ivory, $115, BHLDN.com 

floral and lace chemise

Floral prints are always a hit with us, especially on a pretty lace-trimmed chemise.

INC International Concepts floral chemise nightgown, $55, Macys.com 

black silky chemise

An empire-waist silhouette and semi-sheer lace cups combine to create a luxurious, silky piece of lingerie.

La Perla Adele Leavers lace-trimmed stretch-satin chemise, $515, NET-A-PORTER.com 

Corset

In the past, corsets tangibly cinched the waist and had grommets and ties that would be pulled tight, squeezing the midsection. Today, some corsets are still worn as shapewear that help smooth the appearance of the torso. But a wedding night corset isn't about slimming anything—it's worn just for fashion's sake. Some may have boning in them for style and support, but skip any lingerie styles with painful squeezing! For your special day, look for a corset with details such as lace, grommets, satin straps or attached garters.

lace torsolette corset

Whether you want to wear it under your clothes or on its own, this lace corset is a guaranteed success. Finish your lingerie look with the matching briefs.

Dominique embroidered lace torsolette, $79, DavidsBridal.com 

jacquard corset

The jacquard fabric of this corset is seriously decadent. It's finished off with some light boning and a lace trim.

Frederick's of Hollywood Hollywood Dream sweetheart corset, $70, Fredericks.com

black satin corset

And now for something ultra luxurious. This satin corset from Agent Provocateur is form-fitting and features lace-up detailing on the back. 

Agent Provocateur Mercy satin corset, $590, AgentProvocateur.com 

multiway ivory basque

Made specifically for those with larger busts, this elegant basque is a stunning piece of boudoir lingerie.

Curvy Kate Luxe strapless basque multiway, $88, ASOS.com 

Garter or Suspender Belt

A garter belt (aka suspender belt) has clips that allow it to hold up thigh-high stockings, and you can add it to almost any type of lingerie. Match it with a coordinating bra and panty to take it from ordinary to super sultry.

white floral applique garter belt

This white suspender belt has delicate floral appliqué details that really pop with the matching bra and panty.

Bluebella Nova suspender belt in Ivory, $40, Bluebella.us 

black lace garter

Pair this garter belt with your other favorite styles of black lace lingerie. 

Torrid black lace garter belt in Rich Black, $21, Torrid.com

yellow lace garter belt

Add a splash of color to your outfit with a bright and playful suspender belt. All you need to add are the stockings for the satin straps. 

Myla Columbia Road satin embroidered tulle suspender belt in Yellow, $110, NET-A-PORTER.com 

sheer nude suspender belt

A sheer nude suspender belt that'll go with any color? Yes, please! We especially like the scalloped edges and small bow.

Agent Provocateur Lorna suspender belt, $95, AgentProvocateur.com 

Hipster

This underwear cut sits low on the hips and covers the back side with a little extra length on the bottom (but it's not as long as a boy short). It has more coverage and lends a more youthful and trendy look than traditional cuts, like the bikini, do. A lace style can be paired with a matching bra.

rose lace hipster

This lacy pair of hipsters comes in black and a soft rose shade, for both sultry and sweet looks.

Parfait Sandrine hipster, $28, DavidsBridal.com

lace trimmed floral hipsters

This lace-trimmed pair comes in several different shades, but we're partial toward the floral options.

Cacique no-show hipster panty with lace trim, from $12, Cacique.com 

lace hipsters

Can't decide what color to wear? This set comes with a pair in white and a second pair in orange.

H&M lace hipster briefs, $15 for a set of 2, HM.com 

soft lacy hipsters

This hipster is super soft and so pretty—talk about a win-win! Plus, you have so many colors to choose from.

Playtex Secrets Incredibly Smooth cheeky hipster, $13, JustMySize.com 

Robe

luxe robe can be worn prewedding while you're getting ready. Afterward, in the honeymoon suite, open it to reveal the sexy underthings of your choice—or nothing at all. Skip the typical terry cloth bathrobe and treat yourself to a more luxurious fabric.

satin robe with ruffled sleeves

We love the frill detail on the sleeves of this satin robe. It's machine washable, ideal for lounging around in as much as you like.

Nordstrom Forever tie waist satin robe, $69, Nordstrom.com 

satin floral kimono

Or, opt for a luxe silk kimono in a bold floral print. It's sure to make you feel like royalty.

Genevie Lily Night silk kimono, $218, WolfandBadger.com 

sheer lace long robe

A floor-length, sheer lace robe is a daring move that's sure to pay off. Choose from black or white lace.

Rya Collection Darling sheer lace robe, $142, Nordstrom.com

short floral satin robe

Or maybe you'd prefer something colorful? This eye-catching satin floral robe comes in loads of different base shades, from white to navy.

Apt. 9 satin wrap robe, $36, Kohls.com 

Romper

In the lingerie world, a romper is basically a cami and tap short in one. In other words, this style of lingerie is a one-piece with short-shorts attached. Rompers tend to have a playful vibe and may be made of cotton or other comfy materials that are cozy enough to lounge around in the morning after the wedding. Others are made of mesh or tulle, and are see-through strictly for sex appeal.

sheer lace romper

How about a piece that's made for the bedroom only? From the deep plunge neck to the sheer lace fabric, this is lingerie that's bound to impress.

Yandy Midnight Infatuation lace romper, $30, Yandy.com 

satin and mesh romper

This satin and mesh romper offers slightly more coverage than our first option and comes in a rich jewel-toned teal shade. (But maybe throw the matching robe over it if you want to wear it around the house.)

iCollection sleep romper with mesh panels in Teal, $47, Macys.com

floral romper with lace

This floral romper ticks all the boxes—a deep neckline, lace trim and strappy open back. What more could you ask for?

Oh Là Là Chéri Ariana romper, $43, BareNecessities.com

white sleep romper

Lingerie that doubles as sleepwear? Sign us up! The super-soft jersey fabric of this piece is elevated by the delicate lace detailing.

Eberjey Cecilia Enchanted sleep teddy, $97, Shopbop.com 

Thong

Thong underwear is one of the most revealing types of lingerie, with only a small strip of fabric in the back to show off your back side. For the big night, you can pair your thong with a cami, chemise, bustier, corset and/or a garter belt and thigh-highs—or nothing at all.

white thong with floral applique

You'll be pretty as a picture in these panties, thanks to their eye-catching double strap detail at the waist and floral appliqués.

BHLDN Showstopper thong, $30, BHLDN.com 

lace thong

Equal parts naughty and nice, a classic lace thong is always a good choice.

Skarlett Blue Entice eyelash lace trim thong, $22, Macys.com

thong with lace trim

With a rainbow of color choices, you're sure to find a pair of panties to suit your favorite bra. Or maybe you want to wear it on its own? It's totally up to you.

Cosabella Amore Adore lace thong, $16, Kohls.com  

thong panty with lace panels

The lace band and pink bow of this thong make for a simple yet sweet piece of lingerie.

Cacique lace thong panty in White, $19, Cacique.com

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