Lingerie: a guide for men

Unfortunately, buying lingerie for a woman—Valentine’s Day, the wedding night or just because—isn’t as easy as watching her wear it.

Lingerie must be THE perfect gift. It lasts longer than flowers and provides the giver with much more satisfaction than he would get had he opted for a box of Darrel Lea chocolates.

Many guys would consider themselves to be something of a connoisseur when it comes to lingerie. But having plenty of practice looking at ladies in lacy knickers doesn’t equate to knowing how to actually buy them—evidenced by the fact that nothing says ‘confusion’ quite like the face of a man in a lingerie store.

So because we’re blokes, EG figured it best to get the low-down from someone who’d know. A woman.

Not just any woman. Chanel Costabir, a former professional lingerie fitter and founder of, has spent many years of her life telling guys how to pick out panties, so she set up Australia’s first online advisory service for fellas.

While men can use the service for personal advice, Costabir has a few tips for any guy. In her experience, men either get wracked with anxiety or let their X-rated fantasies guide them—a mistake. “When I worked in retail, often the guy would come in and buy something super sexy and his partner will come in the following week and exchange it for something more demure and pretty,” she says. So, the fire engine red crotchless knickers and nipple tassles may be more your speed, but probably not hers.

1. Snoop for size
This is the easy bit. And rather fun too because it involves rifling around in her underwear drawer. Don’t get distracted—write down both the number and letter on her bra (you’ll need both) and check whether her briefs are small, medium or large. “If there are a variety of sizes, pick the most frequent,” Costabir says. Should finding the size prove an issue, go for a chemise—those skimpy little nighgowns—or a luxe pyjama set. “These range from size XS-L and are not bra size specific.”

2. Stick to familiar territory
Whilst you’re elbow deep in her smalls, notice if there’s a theme going on. Does she prefer pink? Is she fond of a padded bra? Then pink padded bras are the way to go. “If you would like to mix things up, only change one element,” Costabir says. "Never both." Stick to a favourite colour and try a different style, or vice versa. That way you stay in the safe zone. 

3. Give good lace
Sure, lace looks all soft and pretty, but if it’s cheap and nasty, it can be a total (b)itch to wear. “The softest and most luxurious lace comes out of Europe”, Costabir says. It’s no time to skimp, lace or no lace. Soft, higher quality fabrics feel comfortable and sensual on the skin, so for a few extra bucks you can get her something she’ll never want to take off. Hopefully.

4. Packaging counts
Think for a moment about the sheer joy you will have unwrapping her from that lingerie. That’s roughly equivalent to the amount of pleasure she will get from unwrapping the lingerie from a stunningly-wrapped package. For some reason, women love untying ribbons and ploughing through swathes of tissue paper just as much as men hate wrapping. Luckily, “any good boutique will gift wrap the lingerie,” Costabir advises.


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