The Top 13 Types of Lingerie (And What You Need to Know About Them)
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.
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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.
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
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
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
Sweet floral embroidery meets daring mesh paneling in this lacy lingerie.
Wacoal Embrace lace bikini underwear, $27, Macys.com
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.
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
HAH Liselle bodysuit in Copper Rose, $88, Anthropologie.com
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
Aerie Garden Party lace bodysuit, $50, Aerie.com
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.
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
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
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
Pepper Laidback Lace bra, $54, WearPepper.com
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.
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
A plunging neckline and sheer cups make this racerback bralette something special.
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
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
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.
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
The sheer panel and lace-up detailing on this risqué bustier are two seriously seductive touches.
Pour Moi Imagine bustier garter, $79, BareNecessities.com
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
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.
This silky soft cami and shorts set is ideal for wearing again and again, but especially for those big nights.
We love the tie-shoulder details and ruffled shorts in this adorable cami set.
Plum Pretty Sugar Ventana ruffled shortie set, $65, PlumPrettySugar.com
Cherlot plus-size satin cami pajama set, from $58, Etsy.com
BHLDN Cleo pajama set, $68, BHLDN.com
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.
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
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 prints are always a hit with us, especially on a pretty lace-trimmed chemise.
INC International Concepts floral chemise nightgown, $55, Macys.com
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Bluebella Nova suspender belt in Ivory, $40, Bluebella.us
Pair this garter belt with your other favorite styles of black lace lingerie.
Torrid black lace garter belt in Rich Black, $21, Torrid.com
Myla Columbia Road satin embroidered tulle suspender belt in Yellow, $110, NET-A-PORTER.com
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
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.
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
Cacique no-show hipster panty with lace trim, from $12, Cacique.com
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
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
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 treat yourself to a more luxurious fabric.
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
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
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
Apt. 9 satin wrap robe, $36, Kohls.com
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.
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
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
Oh Là Là Chéri Ariana romper, $43, BareNecessities.com
Eberjey Cecilia Enchanted sleep teddy, $97, Shopbop.com
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.
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
Equal parts naughty and nice, a classic lace thong is always a good choice.
Skarlett Blue Entice eyelash lace trim thong, $22, Macys.com
Cosabella Amore Adore lace thong, $16, Kohls.com
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