The Everything Lingerie Guide

Your glossary to the sexiest styles—and how to choose one for the wedding night.
by Elena Donovan Mauer
Bridal lingerie

Your wedding night—and honeymoon—call for some special lingerie. But there’s a whole lingerie lingo to get to know when you’re shopping. Chemise versus camisole, bustier versus corset—what’s the difference anyhow? We’ve got the lowdown on the most popular types of lingerie, and how to wear each lingerie style for your first night together as newlyweds and beyond.

Bikini

A sexy pair of underwear can stand solo or be paired with a matching cami or bra for a low-maintenance wedding night look. A bikini specifically is a classic cut. Its rise is low, but not too low, and it offers coverage in the back without getting into granny panty territory.

Bikini for bride

Betsey Johnson Newlywed bikini underwear, $14, DavidsBridal.com

Lace bikini

Calvin Klein Seductive Comfort lace bikini, $23, Jet.com

Pink bikini

Clo Intimo Fortuna low-rise bikini, $40, Anthropologie.com

Bodysuit

Think: bra and underwear in one. (Sometimes you’ll see this called a teddy.) And 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 perfection.

White bridal bodysuit

Hanky Panky Ophelia bodysuit, $118, Journelle.com

Lace bodysuit

Free People Intimately FP Too Cute to Handle bodysuit, $68, Nordstrom.com

Black bodysuit

Le Mystere Sophia strapless bodysuit, $89, LordandTaylor.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 can be worn in the future. 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, so it has that “just married” flair.

Tulle bra

Myla Columbia Road embroidered tulle underwired bra, $165, Net-a-Porter.com

Collared bra

Kaviar Lingerie Violette collared bra, $40, OhLaLaCheri.com

Beige bra

Palindrome Sugarbalconette bra, $90, BHLDN.com

Bralette

A bralette is a bra without underwire or other structural elements. They often work better for women who have smaller breasts, since they don’t offer much support. Though, we’re guessing you won’t have it on long postwedding, so lack of support may not be a deal breaker. Note that some bralettes don’t have clasp closures and need to be removed over your head.

White lace bralette

Eberjey Kiss the Bride The Flutter bralette, $35, Amazon.com

Triangle bralette

Only Hearts Baby Blue triangle bralette, $65, Journelle.com

White bralette

Top Shop crochet lace bralette, $38, TopShop.com

Bustier

Want to add extra va-va-voom to the wedding night? Wear this lingerie style to accentuate your cleavage and flatter your waist. 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 racy? Try attached garters, so you can add thigh-high stockings.

Black bustier

Victoria’s Secret Dream Angels lace bustier, $68, VictoriasSecret.com

Push up bustier

Maidenform Super Sexy strapless floral lace push-up bustier, $68, Macys.com

Black bustier

Dita von Teese Madame X bustier, $148, BareNecessities.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 are lingerie short-shorts. Choose this look if you want something on the comfy side for the wedding night. It’s not as over-the-top sexy as some other types of lingerie, but it definitely will make you feel pampered. A cami could also be worn with a thong or any other underwear bottoms, to show a little more skin.

Floral cami and shorts

Violet & Wren Chatelaine Iris straight-neck cami, $140, Journelle.com; Chatelaine Iris sports short, $120, Journelle.com

Black camisol

In Bloom vintage crochet halter cami and shorts sleep set, $68, Soma.com

Satin pajama

Olivia von Halle Bella silk-satin pajama set, $295, Net-a-Porter.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 super feminine and flirty—kind of like a wedding dress, only skimpier.

V neck chemise

Rya Collection embroidered floral V-neck chemise, $98, LordandTaylor.com

Black chemise

Natori Zen Floral chemise, $130, Shop.Nordstrom.com

Silk chemise

Stella McCartney Whispering stretch silk chemise, $255, SaksFifthAvenue.com

Corset

In the past, corsets tangibly cinched the waist and had grommets and ties that would be pulled tight, squeezing the midsection. And some corsets today are shapewear that help smooth the appearance of the torso. But a wedding night corset isn’t about slimming the waist under clothes. It’s about offering a flattering look that stands on its own and can be a throwback to the look of corsets of the past. Some may have boning in them (totally fine) but we seriously recommend avoiding any lingerie styles that include painful cinching. For your wedding night, look for a corset with details such as lace, grommets, satin straps or attached garters.

Corset

Va Bien Angelique corset, $80, BHLDN.com

Latex bridal basque

Elissa Poppy pretty latex bridal basque, $395, US.ASOS.com

Blue lace

Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy crochet lace corset, $88, VictoriasSecret.com

Garter 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 bridal belt

Journelle Natalia suspender belt, $48, Journelle.com

Black belt

Bluebella Emerson garter belt, $48, Amazon.com

Lace belt

Agent Provocateur Daizy floral-lace suspender belt, $200, Net-a-Porter.com

Hipster

This underwear cut sits low on the hips and covers the back side with a little extra length on the bottom (but 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.

Black lingerie

Parfait Sandrine hipster, $28, DavidsBridal.com

Black lingerie

H&M hipster briefs, $15 for set of 3, HM.com

Lace lingerie

DKNY sheer lace hipster, $13, Macys.com

Robe

A 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 choose a more luxurious fabric.

Satin kimono robe

Flora Nikrooz Gabby satin kimono robe, $88, Shop.Nordstrom.com

Lace robe

In Bloom blush lace wrapper, $54, LordandTaylor.com

Bridal robe

Jonquil lace duster robe, $158, SaksFifthAvenue.com

Romper

In the lingerie world, a romper is basically a cami and tap short in one. In other words, a one-piece with short-shorts attached. They tend to have a playful vibe and may be made of cotton or other comfy material and 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.

Navy romper

Journelle Laure romper, $82, Journelle.com

Bridal romper

Eberjey lace-trimmed stretch-modal jersey playsuit, $110, Net-a-Porter.com

Thong

Thong underwear is super skimpy, with only a small strip of fabric in the back to show off your back side. On the wedding night, you can pair your thong with a cami, chemise, bustier, corset and/or a garter belt and thigh-highs—or nothing at all.

Bridal thong

Jewel lace thong with rhinestone mini veil, $15, DavidsBridal.com

Strappy thong

For Love & Lemons Sophie strappy thong, $84, BHLDN.com

Black thong

La Senza Diva thong panty, $15, LaSenza.com


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