Guide to Lingerie Styles

Guide to Lingerie Styles

by Lovehoney

on 2 May 2017

If you're baffled by basques or confused by corsets, Lovehoney's easy lingerie guide will explain everything. Armed with this information, choosing the perfect lingerie to make you or your partner feel sexy and confident should be easy.

We've split this guide into structured lingerie (basques, corsets and other figure-hugging and body-sculpting garments) and unstructured lingerie (flirty, feminine and comfortable lingerie like babydolls, chemises and camisole sets) to suit your mood or your partner's style. We also explain the different types of knickers, thongs and G-strings as well as sex-on-legs hosiery (from stockings and suspenders, to bodystockings and tights).

Structured Lingerie: Stylish & Seductive

With figure-hugging and body-sculpting effects, structured lingerie is the perfect way to create a classically seductive lingerie look, while enhancing your shape at the same time.

  1. Corset

    What is a Corset

    Corsets are specifically designed to reduce your waist, boost your bust and when laced up tight, they're a huge turn-on. Most corsets cover the bust whereas others (underbust corsets) expose the breasts.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Coquette Zip Front Longline Corset with Suspenders

    Coquette Zip Front Longline Corset with Suspenders

  2. Bustier

    What is a Bustier

    Bustiers look more like a longline bra, and don't sit as far down the body as basques or corsets. Some feature figure-scultping boning, and some are soft, but they're best for shaping the upper part of your torso.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Provocatease Black Fishnet and Lace Bustier Set

    Lovehoney Provocatease Black Fishnet and Lace Bustier Set (in base or plus size)

  3. Basque

    What is a Basque

    A basque is like a corset or bustier, but has cups and is made from lacier materials. Think of it a bit like a longer version of a bra. It may have plastic boning to give extra shape, but it won't reduce your waist.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Plus Size Boudoir Belle Blush Pink Push-Up Basque Set

    Lovehoney Boudoir Belle Blush Pink Basque Set (in base or plus size)

  1. Merry Widow

    Merry Widow

    A merry widow is basque-like lingerie with built-in suspender straps extending from the hemline. Merry widows are a classic lingerie choice when paired with stockings and heels.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Black and White Lace Peek-A-Boo Merry Widow Bustier

    Lovehoney Black and White Lace Peek-A-Boo Merry Widow Bustier (in base or plus size)

  2. Catsuit

    What is a Catsuit

    Make like Catwoman in a sleek, sexy catsuit! Catsuits are a full-body, tight-fitting suit that normally feature a zip along the front (and sometimes hold a crotchless secret!)

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Fierce Wet Look Zip-Around Catsuit

    Lovehoney Fierce Wet Look Zip-Around Catsuit (in base or plus size)

  3. Mini Dress

    What is a Mini Dress

    A mini dress is just that - a dress with a shorter-than-normal hemline. Normally tight-fitting, a slinky mini dress can take you from nightclub to bedroom.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Plus Size Black Lace Keyhole Front Mini Dress

    Lovehoney Black Lace Keyhole Front Mini Dress (in base or plus size)

Unstructured Lingerie: Flirty & Feminine

If you prefer a less restrictive and more flirtatious lingerie style then choose something playful and floaty that allows you to roll around the bed (or kitchen counter) without restriction.

  1. Babydoll

    What is a Babydoll

    With cups and a full skirt, a babydoll is a playful and provocative piece of lingerie that enhances the bust and shows the legs. Because babydolls flare out from under the bust, a babydoll is great for drawing attention away from your tummy.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Free Spirit Pink Lace Cut-out Babydoll Set

    Lovehoney Free Spirit Pink Lace Cut-out Babydoll Set (in base or plus size)

  2. Flyaway

    What is a Flyaway Babydoll

    If you love the look of a babydoll but want to show off your stomach at the same time, a flyaway option is for you. It takes all the best features of a babydoll and makes them that little bit more exposing with a split front or back (or both).

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Unwrap Me Red Lace Babydoll

    Lovehoney Unwrap Me Babydoll (in base or plus size)

  3. Chemise

    What is a Chemise

    Chemises are practical yet sexy, and can be worn easily as nightwear or loungewear. They're loose fitting, with gentle tailoring at the waist and a slim fit at the hips for a slinky look. Chemises are flattering for all body shapes, so make an ideal gift.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Parisienne Wine Lace Plunge Chemise

    Lovehoney Parisienne Wine Lace Plunge Chemise (in base or plus size)

  1. Body

    What is a Body

    A body is similar to a teddy, but much closer-fitting: it's shaped like a traditional one piece swimsuit, with the vest top and bikini style briefs in one. Showing off more of your legs than a teddy, a body is a great choice for those who want to display their curves in a cosy, close-fitting, all-in-one garment.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Fierce Plunging Mesh and Leather-Look Body

    Lovehoney Fierce Plunging Mesh and Leather-Look Body (in base or plus size)

  2. Cut-Out Body

    what-is-a-cut-out-body

    A more daring style of body, this slinkier, skimpier version of the one-piece features daring cut-outs and open sections to show off your skin. It's a confident look that's the perfect alternative to a traditional bra and knickers set, and perfect for creating jaw-dropping curves if you have a more athletic figure.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Seduce Me Red Push-Up Crotchless Cut-Out Body

    Lovehoney Seduce Me Red Push-Up Crotchless Cut-Out Body(in base size)

  3. Teddy

    What is a Teddy

    A teddy (also called a playsuit) is bodysuit-like lingerie that combines a vest top and shorts in one. They are extremely sensual to wear and are perfect for flattering both athletic and curvy figures. They range from being fairly covering (great if you're body conscious) to very revealing, if that's your desired look.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Barely There Wine Sheer Crotchless Teddy

    Lovehoney Barely There Wine Sheer Crotchless Teddy (in base or plus size)


Knickers

The easiest (and least expensive) way to add something new to your underwear drawer, feeling sexy starts with a new pair of knickers. Choose from knickers and briefs for fuller coverage or something skimpier to showcase a peachy bum.

  1. Briefs & Shorts

    What are Briefs

    Briefs, French knickers, booty shorts and hot pants - with so many names, they can get confusing! All these types of knickers have a full front and a covered rear for a demurely sexy look.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Crotchless Cutout Lace Back KnickersLovehoney Lace Back Knickers
  2. Thong

    What is a Thong

    A modern classic, the thong leaves your bottom cheekily exposed. Perfect for avoiding VPL, a thong is highly erotic for the wearer as well as the onlooker, making this the perfect choice for bedroom or everyday wear.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Crotchless Wide Waist Lace ThongLovehoney Crotchless Wide Waist Lace Thong
  3. G-String

    What is a G-String

    The main difference between a thong and G-string is the width of the fabric that passes between the buttocks - in a G-string it's barely there. The skimpy rear gives an even more revealing bedroom look.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Crotchless Lace G-StringLovehoney Crotchless Lace G-String

Hosiery & Stockings

Stockings are the perfect way to complete a lingerie set for a top-to-toe sexy look. Whether you want sheer, fishnet, fencenet or back-seamed, choose from hosiery to smooth your legs (and body).

  1. Hold-Ups

    What are Hold Ups

    Hold-up stockings and thigh-highs have elasticated tops or gripping silicone material, so they stay in place without needing a suspender belt. Unlike tights, they make a feature of their tops which can be trimmed with lace, ribbon or PVC.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Sheer Lace Top Hold Up Stockings

    Lovehoney Sheer Lace Top Hold Up Stockings (in base or plus size)

  2. Stockings

    What are Stockings

    Stockings need a suspender belt or straps on your lingerie to stay up, otherwise they will end up around your ankles. Matching your suspender stockings to your lingerie is an art form, but when it's pulled off the effects are eye-popping.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Sheer Lace Top Thigh High Stockings

    Lovehoney Sheer Lace Top Thigh High Stockings (in base or plus size)

  3. Suspender Belt

    What is a Suspender Belt

    A suspender belt, sometimes called a garter belt, is a strip of fabric that fastens around the waist with straps that attach to suspender stockings to hold them up. They usually have 4 straps but some retro-styled belts have more straps.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Love Me Lace Suspender Belt

    Lovehoney Love Me Lace Deep Suspender Belt Black (in base or plus size)

  1. Bodystocking

    What is a Bodystocking

    Bodystockings are stretchy head-to-toe garments made from the same materials as tights. They're a fantastic base for outfits as well as a sexy all-in-one lingerie solution. Although they cover large areas of the body, the fabrics make them sexy and crotchless varieties don't stop play.

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Fishnet and Lace Bodystocking

    Lovehoney Fishnet and Lace Bodystocking (in base or plus size)

  2. Tights

    What are Tights

    With smoothing and shaping properties, tights are fantastic for creating a sexy silhouette. While many people find tights extremely sexy, they are usually worn as part of an everyday outfit rather than with a lingerie set. If that's the case for you, why not look at a crotchless design instead?

    Lovehoney recommends:

    Lovehoney Patterned Fishnet Suspender Tights

    Lovehoney Patterned Fishnet Suspender Tights (in base or plus size)

Need more help?

You can Contact Customer Care, who will be able to help you find the right lingerie. You can email, telephone or live chat to an experienced advisor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact Lovehoney Customer Care


  1. How do I buy lingerie for my partner? A Bloke's Guide to Buying Lingerie
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Originally published on 2 May 2017. Updated on 5 Aug 2020
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