Lingerie is downright beautiful, but it can also be downright terrifying. It takes the world of undergarments to a place that for some, is completely unexplored. Garter belts? Teddies? Balconette? Chemise? Yes, there is way more to educate yourself on than simply a bra and underwear. Since Valentine's Day is coming up, we figured some of you might be considering slipping into something a little lacy in the coming week, and we want to be sure you do it with complete confidence.
Allison Beale, brand director of Journelle, was kind enough to inform us of the dos and don'ts when it comes to tackling these often intimidating underpinnings. Whether it's your first time wearing lingerie or you consider it part of your daily wardrobe, we can guarantee that Beale's tips cover it all.
Scroll to see what this expert has to say about wearing and buying lingerie!
"My first bit of advice would be to head to your local independent lingerie boutique for a fitting. There will be fit experts on hand, and you'll get the best and most knowledgeable service. Second of all, don't get too hung up on your size. Bra fitting and lingerie as a whole are about finding styles and sizes that fit well and look great. It's important to ensure there's no gaping at the cup and that the band is snug against your back as the majority of support comes from the band.
"Don't stress about your measured size. Wear what feels best on you; it will look the best on you, I promise."
"If you're a lingerie newbie, begin to invest in great-fitting, great-looking sets (and yes, go for the set rather than just the bra) to build your wardrobe: a T-shirt bra, a plunge bra, and definitely an unlined lace demi. These will be your lingerie workhorses, so to speak, so be sure to take special care of them.
If you're an advanced lingerie lover, go for the wow factor. There's nothing like purchasing an over-the-top set complete with suspenders, a super-sleek bodysuit, or cheeky ouvert bottoms that you've fallen in love with and simply must have. It doesn't have to be a splurge, just something over-the-top and unexpected, and maybe not 100% practical. I promise it will continue to delight long after you've unwrapped it.
"Don't go straight for the three-piece garter set. Start slow and figure out your tastes and level of comfort. Then go all in!"
"So many things! There's of course the technical standpoint—does it fit correctly, are the fabrics high quality, is the construction solid—but going beyond that is the je ne sais quoi of the garment, which is so important to lingerie. That is where beautiful laces and silks, special embellishments, unique design, and construction come into the picture.
"Don't be afraid of a little whimsy. If you love the plunge bra with aubergine lace, get it. You'll feel fantastic every time you wear it."
"Lingerie is the first thing you put on in the morning; you need to love it. And in order to love it, you need to look great in it and know you look great in it. That comes from fit and style, but also attachment to certain pieces. It begins with loving what you're wearing. I promise the right lingerie set—one you love—will make you taller.
"Don't forget that lingerie is FOR YOU. Purchase and wear only the styles that make you feel incredible."
"I can't say this enough: Hand-washing your lingerie is the absolute best care you can give it. It may sound tedious, but it's actually not. Fill the sink basin with lukewarm water and add a capful of delicate lingerie wash; I'm partial to the signature Linden Lingerie Wash ($18) we created with The Laundress, as those girls know how to care for delicates. Then, swish your pieces around in the water a bit, rinse, gently squeeze out the water, and lay flat to dry.
"Bras can be stored in a drawer; place them behind each and take care to ensure clasps are hooked and cups are not twisted or turned inside out. Chemises and special pieces should be hung on hangers made specifically for delicate fabrics so as not to snag sheer mesh, lace, or embellishments.
"Don't, under any circumstance, stick your lingerie in the dryer."
"Lingerie is somewhat like fashion in that there are certain pieces or styles that lend themselves to the changing seasons. Right now, it's sweater weather and a great time to try out heavier laces, embellished styles, or even bodysuits. Our Journelle Gemma bodysuit has been featured heavily in my fall and winter wardrobe this year beneath sweaters and shirtdresses and peeking out from silk blouses. It's also stocking season, and there's no better time to try out suspenders, stockings, or stay-ups. I urge you to trade in your tights for stockings and suspenders for just one evening and see if you feel different.
"Don't limit yourself to only neutral tones — be bold!"