When it comes to lingerie, I'm as fussy as can be. I want comfort and a perfect fit, but I also demand that my underwear mustn't look like it has given up on being beautifully designed or a little bit sassy. Practical T-shirt bras are all well and good (and these staple underwear items deserve just as much time and attention from you), but right now, I'm finding that luxurious lingerie can be the mood-boosting foundation to my daily, perhaps more casual, outfits.
There are some eye-wateringly expensive options out there in the world of high-fashion underwear, and some are worth parting more cash with than others. Lingerie fabrics—the very finest ones—are often pricey, complicated to produce, and very delicate to manufacture into bras and knickers. Doing so requires a great deal of technical know-how in order to make pieces feel both supportive and effortless so they can be worn all day.
As such, there are heritage brands that I trust time and again with my most important lingerie purchases. These companies have spent decades perfecting the cut and detailing it takes to craft bras and pants of the very highest order: You can't beat somewhere like Rigby & Peller or Simone Perele when it comes to supportive styles for bigger busts, for example.
But there are some new kids on the block who have arrived to shake up an industry that has long seen the same names and ideas at the fore. Beija is a London-based brand whose inclusive sizing and cool designs put it into a new league of labels that are managing to put practicality and panache into one package. The brand is also doing a lot to highlight and represent a more diverse range of women when it comes to its advertising and promotional materials. Then, there's Skims, the shapewear and underwear solutions from Kim Kardashian West. Its popularity speaks volumes. The shade range is excellent, and the effectiveness of the shapewear is exactly what you'd expect from a woman who is nothing if not diligent when it comes to outlining her figure. Plus, the price point isn't actually as prohibitive as you might imagine.
I have a database of the best luxury lingerie brands I revisit whenever my underwear drawer is in need of a more indulgent update, and I hope they become your go-tos when you feel like branching out. And don't forget to use our bra-size calculator before you buy online.
French lingerie label Simone Perele is masterful at creating delicate lace pieces like this set but also producing the kind of easy-peasy T-shirt bras I wear every day—look out for its Spacer 3D fabric. It's patented and is the comfiest thing I've ever had against my skin.
It's worth bearing in mind that some European brands have a slightly different sizing guide and that you may have to go up a cup in order to get your usual fit.
British brand Myla has been undergoing something of a transformation recently, and its newest creations manage to combine trend-led details with a high standard of fit and performance.
This Sunbury set is just too good to not feature—wear it under a loose-fitting jumper dress and you'll feel like you've made a huge amount of effort!
La Perla is the leading name in Italian lingerie, and you can always rely on this brand for soft shades, pretty finishes, and something a little more dainty.
Some special-edition styles from La Perla can be incredibly expensive, but its day-to-day offering is more reasonable considering the craftsmanship and quality fabrics the brand employs.
I've never felt quite as wonderful and confident as I did when I had a one-on-one appointment with an expert at Agent Provocateur. Although that IRL experience isn't currently available, the great fit and alluring designs still work their magic. If you're going for AP, then go all out—get red, get lace, get the matching suspenders just in case.
As I mentioned in my intro, Beija has become my regular underwear pit stop. Each bra design is adapted for three different size ranges, without scrimping on the original look. So it means that (finally!) you can buy bigger cup options that are supportive yet delicate looking.
There are often different briefs to match your chosen bra, and they have just as much detail and consideration going into creating them.
If you like your lingerie to tap into a more minimalistic aesthetic, then you'll enjoy the hushed luxury of French brand Eres. Its simple shapes are rendered from super-soft, extra-comfortable fabrics and can easily slot into your underwear drawer as a mix-and-match option.
If you get really hooked, it's worth remembering that Eres also creates some of the chicest swimwear out there.
Georgia Larsen had been a lingerie buyer for many years before setting up this label, so I have high hopes that these sumptuous styles fit as beautifully as they look. Possibly the coolest colours and combinations I've seen anywhere, I'm desperate to try this brand…
Check out the full range on Net-a-Porter and you'll see why I'm so obsessed.
There are certain lingerie brands that people get evangelical about, and Skims is certainly one of them. The fact that there is finally a range of shapewear that caters to different skin tones is a (very overdue) game changer.
The bodysuits are good enough to wear as tops, and we think Kardashian West would be encouraging of that idea.
New Zealand–born brand Lonely offers a decent range of sizes, yet its designs are still really beautiful and intricate.
Also, the brand is great at creating big pants that don't look frumpy!
If you like your undies to be super soft and unrestrictive, then NYC-based label Araks should become a name at the top of your list.
What I also appreciate with Araks is the bright hues and more unusual fabric combinations. You'll always find something jolly and different from this brand.
Commando's pared-back pieces may not look like much, but there's a reason why every A-lister and their stylist always call upon this brand—it produces the best seam-free, no VPL, and barely-there underpinnings.
It's hard to imagine that a thong could be legendary, but this is the wonder garment every fashion editor will swear by.
Stalwarts of the British lingerie scene, Rigby & Peller can't be beaten for fit and sizing options. Yes, the full experience would be best appreciated in-store, but for now, the range online is really vast.
You may not find the most directional designs, but you will be able to pick out cute, practical styles that effortlessly blend into your current underwear selection.
If you're after something that's all-out frou-frou and certainly not for wearing to your WFH office, then London-based Gilda & Pearl is the answer.