Lingerie drawers. You’d think they’d be silky, lacy and, naturally, sexy affairs, but the honest truth is that this isn't the case for most of us. To the women who are perfectly matched in the underwear department day in, day out—congratulations. To the rest (read: majority) who treat themselves once a year to a fresh pack of M&S cotton knickers, I say enough. It’s time to put some love into your lingerie.
You’ve probably read this sentence in women’s magazines since you got your first training bra, but it’s true—wearing lingerie that is pretty, comfortable and freshly washed (baby steps) is something like a natural endorphin. It makes you feel more put together, end of discussion.
Okay, so you’re at a loss on where to start. Luckily, the style set is fairly au fait with not only posting photos in their undergarments but tagging the provenance of said pieces. Blogger Lucy Williams recently popped such a pic on Instagram, showing her toned, tanned torso clad in a white lace confection from Gooseberry Intimates (6000 likes and counting). So get some drawer separators from IKEA and read on for the 10 best out-of-the-ordinary brands to shop now.
For bralettes and knickers that are playfully printed with tiger stripes, stars and leopard spots, it has to be Amsterdam-based Love Stories Intimates. The name might ring a bell if you’ve seen the latest cover of Love magazine (recap: Nicole Kidman. In a cowboy hat and a red lace-up swimsuit by, you guessed it, Love Stories.) Its bralettes start from around £40 and can be matched or clashed with its similarly colourful selection of briefs.
Swedish label & Other Stories makes the prettiest lingerie on the high street hands down. It also makes the argument, “Why would I spend money on something only I see?” nil and void. It has great matching sets (roughly around £45), but it’s worth bearing in mind that their bras are mostly suited to smaller chests because of the padding situation (or lack thereof).
The word “eberjey” means joy in Nigerian and was chosen by founders Alejandrina Mejia and Mariela Rovito because of a shared wish to make the clothing nearest the heart and body something filled with love. Try the Colette racerback bralet, with its mesh-lined cups and beautifully scalloped lace, and you’ll wholeheartedly agree with their mantra.
This lingerie brand is much less tarty than its name would suggest (gooseberries = really quite sour in case you didn’t know). Gooseberry’s flagship is in Bali, but you can get free shipping for orders over $200, so why not club together with a friend who has a similarly depressing pants drawer? My pick would be the balconette bra (£50 before shipping and duties).
Ayten Gasson handmakes all her silk lingerie from her charming shop in Brighton. Pop in and you’ll find her merrily sewing away on a production line of three Brother sewing machines, and she’ll happily pop an extra bow or button onto any purchase free of charge. Her cotton knickers are reasonably priced at £26 and—praise be!—machine washable.
Beija London is all about pared-back smalls that are less about bells and whistles and more about feel-good comfort. Its bras come in all kinds of subtle neutrals and pastels and are helpfully categorised into X (wireless), Y (B-D cups) and Z (DD-G cups). Be sure to swing by its new shop in Covent Garden’s Seven Dials.
If you want something more original than Victoria’s Secret for your nuptials, surf Else’s selection of white wedding lingerie. Its bralettes, crop tops and bodysuits all come in gossamer-fine lace and have elegant slices cut out at the back and sternum.
If you think thongs are one of life’s necessary evils, then you obviously haven’t tried Hanky Panky’s. They’re stretch-lace designs don’t ride up, feel as comfortable as granny pants and won’t make you think the words “dental floss” after five minutes of wear. They don’t exactly come cheap, but Net-a-Porter has pleasingly tonal sets of three for £65.
Think Calvin Klein for the millennial generation. Baserange is based around the philosophy that sustainable products shouldn’t be a luxury, hence the affordable prices and the fact that all the organic cotton/bamboo/natural silk smalls are made in family-based factories in Porto and Izmir. It has minimal crop tops with ticker-tape style slogans that run on the elastic or velour bras and panties in putty or hot pink for the exhibitionists.
New York–based Skin makes the kind of bras that you imagine ballerinas might wear. They’re sparing on fussy details but big on organic cotton with a little bit of stretch and sporty details like slim cross-over straps. My favourite is the mulberry-coloured Corinna soft-cup bra with a little triangle of tulle between the shoulder blades.