Learn Your Lingerie: 12 Styles That You Should Know

Shopping for lingerie is fun — if you know what you’re looking for.

It’s personal, after all. Whether you prefer an ultra-feminine and lacy chemise or lean towards racier, leather look—lingerie, it’s all about you.

So it certainly helps if you know exactly which style best suits your taste, preference, and body type.

Can you distinguish a corset from a bustier? Do you know the difference between panties from boy shorts? How about a camisole versus a chemise?

Don’t worry, our research shows you’re in good company! But we’re more than happy help you learn your lingerie in this post. Check out our guide below:

1. Panties

Let’s start with the basics – panties.

Panties can run the gamut of styles – from sensible, cotton basics, to delicate, sexy pairs. Cuts can also vary, with the bikini being considered a classic. It features a regular rise that’s not too low, with ample coverage in the back, and shows enough leg to be comfortable.

Some of the more common cuts include the boy shorts, which feature longer leg cuts and typically rests at the hip; and thongs, which definitely raise the bar of sexy with its high leg and barely any coverage at the back.

Cuts, styles, and fabric for panties are often mixed and matched to create the right type of lingerie that you need.

For example, boys shorts in cotton are usually the go-to choice for women who want to relax and unwind. But they can definitely take the fancy, flirty route as well, like this high waisted, lacy number.

The high waist, ribbon tie and keyhole cut-out are both feminine and attention demanding.
The high waist, ribbon tie and keyhole cut-out are both feminine and attention demanding.

Thongs in a seamless fabric are preferred by those who want no-show underwear; while barely-there, lacy styles are the top choice when they’re going for something flirty and fun.

2. Camisoles

Camisoles are delicate pieces of lingerie with thin straps, typically made from materials like silk, satin, or soft cotton, sometimes embellished with lace or velvet.

While camisoles offer full torso coverage, they tend to be cut low, with a looser, comfortable fit, which makes them perfect for a wide range of body types.

While normally worn as undergarments, camisoles are now definitely enjoying a fashion moment with women choosing to wear them under jackets and blazers as a fashion statement. This is a testament to how versatile this particular piece of lingerie can be.

My top pick is this two-piece lace and satin camisole set that’s equal parts casual and sexy.

Gorgeous detailing combined with earthy hues make for a very sensual outfit.
Gorgeous detailing combined with earthy hues make for a very sensual outfit.

3. Bodysuit

A bodysuit is a bra and panty combo in one. Think: a one-piece swimsuit made from more delicate materials.

While it typically offers more coverage than the traditional bra and panty set, it does tend to hug the body more and use materials like sheer lace as accents. Given this, most women tend to choose the bodysuit for date nights and do so with the intent to dress-to-impress.

Try this effortlessly chic full-cupped bra with lace cutouts with a semi-sheer bodice; or this leather trimmed lace bodysuit with a deep-v.

cy bodysuits worn under a luxurious floor length robe exude unmatched old world glam.
Lacy bodysuits worn under a luxurious floor length robe exude unmatched old world glam.

4. Bra

Like panties, the bra is a lingerie staple available in a variety of styles. There’s no doubt that everyone knows exactly what a bra is, but the sheer number of fabrics, cuts, and styles available can make choosing one a little overwhelming.

Bras can come in triangle cups, which give minimal support but are often chosen for being cute and casual. The push-up, which is meant to emphasize your cleavage using underwire or padding. Demi-cups or balconettes, which are half cups that provide great support but show a little more (or a lot more) decolletage!

Demi-cups or balconettes, which are half cups that provide great support but show a little more (or a lot more) decolletage!
Demi-cups or balconettes, which are half cups that provide great support but show a little more (or a lot more) decolletage!

as well as the more traditional styles and strapless cuts.

5. Bralettes

While technically the same as a bra, a bralette gets its own category because bralettes are made without the traditional bra’s structural elements such as underwires, cup support or clasps. Bralettes are usually worn by slipping it over your head like a sweater. Braletts also offer less support, which can be a deal-breaker for some but a preferred feature for others. It really depends on how well the style fits you.

This gorgeous matching lace bralette set features delicate lace detail and comes in both sultry black or dainty white.

6. Bustier

Among all the lingerie styles, bustiers are best known for their ability to accentuate your cleavage. Built to be an extended bra top that covers almost your entire torso, bustiers gently cinch at the waist and help push your cleavage up, which definitely pumps up the sex appeal.

This black lace three piece bustier set features a wired, full cup bustier with built-in boning and a matching panty and garter set.

This black lace three piece bustier set features a wired, full cup bustier with built-in boning and a matching panty and garter set.
This black lace three piece bustier set features a wired, full cup bustier with built-in boning and a matching panty and garter set.

7. Chemise

A chemise or a slip is a short shift dress that was historically worn under garments. Today, they’re worn under dresses or over matching bra and panties. It’s also typically made using thin, delicate fabrics that hang straight from the shoulders and is worn by dropping it over the head.

Available in various combinations of styles and fabrics, our favorites include this body hugging leather number with lace accents; or this ultra-dainty fusion of lace and satin cotton…

A satin and lace trimmed cotton sleep chemise.
A satin and lace trimmed cotton sleep chemise.

8. Corsets

Often confused with bustiers, corsets were historically designed as shapewear meant to visibly cinch the waist using a system of grommets and ties that are adjusted to squeeze the midsection.

Modern corsets are now rarely used for slimming, and instead are worn to make a sexy fashion statement and amp up the flirty fun.

Traditional structural details, such as the grommets and straps, are often still featured in corsets, although mostly for design and aesthetics instead of function. Usual features such as lace and attached garters are also added as accents.

Nothing makes a more powerful lingerie statement than a corset.
Nothing makes a more powerful lingerie statement than a corset.

Make a big, sexy statement with this eye-catching corset available in black, white, and red.

9. Garter Belts

Garter belts or suspender belts are meant to hold up thigh high stockings using clips.

Historically, garter belts were necessary to hold stockings up and keep them in place. But as fabric technology evolved and improved through the years, this was a piece of lingerie that again transformed to become more for aesthetics and style than function.

Today, garter belts are worn with a matching bra and pantry, and are meant to make the traditional matching set into something incredibly sultry. Try this faux leather teddy set that comes with an accent collar and garters for a playful evening. Or for a daintier option, this chiffon number with a suspender belt is available in a soft, blush shade.

10. Robes

Lingerie robes function much in the same way as your traditional dressing gown. However, instead of the usual cotton, flannel, or terry cloth, lingerie robes use more luxurious fabric such as silk, satin, lace, chiffon, or a combination of these.

For options, check out this gorgeous night robe with short lace sleeves with fur edging or channel old Hollywood glam with this sheer, floor-length robe with luxurious marabou edging.

Hollywood comes to the bedroom with this sheer gown trimmed with fur!
Hollywood comes to the bedroom with this sheer gown trimmed with fur!

11. Romper

A romper is essentially a one piece with attached boy shorts. Aesthetically, it looks more casual and playful. But in the lingerie world, the same cut is recreated using delicate fabrics like mesh, lace, or tulle with luxurious accents.

In terms of fit, lingerie rompers tend to hug the body more, even if it does offer a bit more coverage.

12. Bodystockings

A bodystocking is a one-piece, skintight lingerie piece that covers your torso, the full-length of your legs, and sometimes your arms. It’s usually made from stretchy, sheer fabrics used in hosiery such as stockings or pantyhose.

Check out this gorgeous bodystocking with delicate prints featuring three-quarter sleeves; or if you want something a little racier, try this fishnet style.

Which lingerie styles are at the top of your wish list? Be sure to check out your options over at My Secret Drawer.

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