Lingerie Glossary: How Intimately Aware Are You?

Can you tell a bustier apart from a corset? How about a camisole apart from a negligee?

If you’re drawing a blank here, your lingerie knowledge may well start with bras and end with panties. From bustiers to balconettes to briefs, women’s underwear comes in all shapes and sizes and it’s time to bring out the sensuality in you! We’re going to help you understand different pieces of lingerie and what they are really meant for.

1. Camisole
This is a short, vest-like top which extends till the hip. It comes in materials like silk and cotton, with embroidered trims or lace.
How To Wear It: Depending on the fabric, a camisole can be worn to bed or used as an undershirt with jackets and blazers. Pick one out here.

Camisole

2. Bustier
The main purpose of a bustier is to provide additional support to the breasts and also to give a more shapely look. The fitted garment extends till the waist and may or may not have straps. Although similar to a corset, the bustier provides lighter support.
How To Wear It: Most women team bustiers or corsets with pants or skirts, under jackets or under other formfitting clothes.

Bustier

3. Thong
This is one ‘cheeky’ piece. This panty style has a relatively thick band around the waist, which narrows down near the crotch area and becomes a thin strip along the bottom, revealing the butt cheeks.
How To Wear It: Thongs are usually worn under fitted pants, skirts or dresses to avoid the appearance of dreaded panty lines.

Thong

4. Chemise
One of the earliest developed pieces of lingerie, the chemise is a long, sleeveless top, ending right above the knee. Since it’s meant purely for comfort, soft fabrics like silk and satin are used. It may be slightly fitted or free flowing, but with a shapely cut.
How To Wear It: As nightwear or under loose dresses to protect from sweat and oil.

Chemise

5. Balconette
Fun fact—the word balconette comes from a time when men would sit in balconies of theatres where the female actors would perform on stage. A balconette bra was not visible from the top! As you’ve probably guessed, the balconette has a deep neckline, almost sitting horizontally across the breasts. Also called the demi-bra or the shelf bra, it supports the breasts along the bottom.
How To Wear It: The lower cut of the bra makes it suitable for low or square-cut blouses and tops.

Balconette

6. Babydoll
This one’s nothing like the name! If you’ve seen the 1956 classic Baby Doll, you know what we’re talking about. Teasing fabrics like see-through lace and nets with ribbons and bows give this piece some extra oomph. Ending almost at the buttocks, this short nightie usually comes with matching panties
How To Wear It: By itself! Check out some options here.

Babydoll

7. Garter
A garter is a strap attached to bustiers or belts that hold up hosiery. Garter belts or leg garters usually have clasps that can be attached to stockings.
How To Wear It: A garter can hold up everything from stockings to shirt sleeves to even socks!

Garter

You know your lingerie can make or break an outfit. Try these options to transform your look!

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Images courtesy: realsimple.com, coolspotters.com, enjoysilk.com, bouxavenue.com, shop.nordstrom.com, ruralking.com

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