Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Les Rituelles.
What’s your lingerie style? You might answer that you don’t really have one, or, conversely, you might be able to answer that question instantly and succinctly: “I like smoothing t-shirt bras” maybe, or “It’s usually black”. The best place to be, in my opinion, is a middle ground between the two, where you have a good understanding of which styles work well for you but you’re also open to experimenting and switching things up from time to time.
Knowing what you like is great. But really boxing yourself into a single aesthetic/style is not, especially if you’re just buying that underwear design over and over because it’s the same one you’ve always shopped for, without taking the time to investigate the other options out there and whether they might work for you too.
Read on for the six reasons I feel every lingerie drawer benefits from having at least a little variety.
Lingerie is a great opportunity to experiment with self-expression
While the lingerie as outerwear trend is the strongest it’s ever been, for most of us, lingerie is still something we wear privately rather than showing it off to the world. So whether you need to wear certain clothing for work, feel societal pressure to dress a particular way, or are just not all that confident about trying something new, lingerie is one area of the fashion industry where you can have fun and try out different styles without worrying about what other people might say or think.
Besides a few particular situations, such as a white shirt needing a skin-tone bra if you want your lingerie invisible, who’s going to know what you’ve got on under your clothes? That makes it the perfect area of your wardrobe to play around with not just garment shapes but also things such as colour and fabric, to discover what makes you feel the happiest and most confident.
Underwear can (intentionally) influence your mood
The clothing we wear can impact how we feel not just physically (e.g. comfortable) but also mentally (e.g. confident), and since lingerie is the first thing you put on, it’s a great tool to help set the tone for the day ahead. That could mean choosing a vibrant pop of colour when you want to feel energised for a busy day at work, reaching for a bold print to get into a creative headspace, picking out something sexy or glamorous for date night, or opting for a soft fabric in a calming colour when you want to feel totally relaxed on a chilled day at home.
Having multiple options available in your lingerie drawer will mean that however you’re hoping to feel on any given day, you’ve got the underwear to enhance it.
Different outfits call for different underpinnings
Sometimes, certain lingerie designs just don’t mesh well with certain clothing items. Big, ruffled knickers under a pencil skirt? That’s going to look like a lumpy mess! Even regular knickers can show through as VPL under tighter-fitting garments or slinky satins. This is where having either thongs or knickers with elastic-free leglines (such as the laser-cut styles by Esquisse) comes in handy for a smoother look.
Chances are that your wardrobe also features a variety of necklines. Assuming you want your bra cups and straps to stay out of sight, then lower-cut V necks demand a plunge bra, boat necklines often warrant balconettes (which have wider-set straps), and halter or racerback tops naturally pair well with a convertible bra that can be worn in the same halter or racerback configuration.
Again, having a variety of lingerie shapes and styles to hand, instead of ten near-identical t-shirt bras, ensures you’ll always have just the thing to go underneath your chosen outfit.
You can create a look that’s truly ‘you’
I love a matching lingerie set. It’s what makes me feel put-together and like I’ve made an effort. But for the longest time I felt like I had to be wearing a matching set to be doing stylish lingerie ‘right’, and that’s simply not true.
Sometimes, you see a set and you love the bra but not the bottoms, or vice versa. Whereas in the past I’ve made the mistake of buying both pieces anyway and then never feeling entirely happy with it, nowadays I’m much more open to mixing and matching. Pairing pieces from different brands allows you to personalise the look to your unique tastes and wardrobe needs, so you can build a look you are 100% in love with.
I find that the easiest way to tie two non-matching pieces together is through colour; I might for example wear the Paloma Casile Jane bra in Bordeaux with the Bordelle Cadi thong in very similar Morello. Or maybe I’d layer Atelier Amour’s open-cupped Cosmic Dream bustier over a simple black bralette, for added support and to bring special-occasion drama to what would normally be an everyday staple. You’re not limited to just pairing fancy with fancy, or basic with basic.
Sticking rigidly to one aesthetic can feel too limiting
Some people are able to develop a clearly-defined personal style, and that’s great! But despite what all of the “What’s my aesthetic?” quizzes may have you think, you don’t have to pick one look and then completely embody it in order to dress well. It’s totally normal to find yourself drawn to multiple aesthetics, and confining yourself to a narrowly-defined set of styles rules can start to suck the fun out of experimenting with fashion.
Plus, pulling in elements from different aesthetics to create your own look is how you build a personal style that’s truly personal. If you like a boho-chic vibe but also feel your hottest in black lingerie, maybe the crochet-look guipure of the Paloma Casile Maxine collection will appeal to you. If you like ultra-minimalist looks but also want something that’s racy, maybe the completely sheer Stay Simple bodysuit by Undress Code will be your thing.
Additionally, while I get that buying things that match well with your existing wardrobe is generally a good idea when it comes to outer clothing, the hidden nature of lingerie means it doesn’t have that same limitation. If you see something you like, you should feel free to wear it whether it fits your usual vibe or not. There’s no rule that says it has to match what’s on top!
You might miss out on discovering a new favourite
While having a clear understanding of the lingerie shapes (balconette vs. plunge bra, mid-rise vs. high-waisted brief etc.) that you like is obviously great, if you haven’t ever tried a particular style on, you won’t know for sure that you don’t like that one too. You might be surprised; I’d always assumed that cupless and quarter-cup bras weren’t going to look good on me until I actually tried some on and liked them. It was also only through actually wearing high-apex bras that I realised just how well this shape works with my body morphology.
This is why it pays to keep experimenting, especially as your body changes over time. The lingerie that I gravitate towards now is very different in shape and construction to the lingerie I wore a decade ago, and my best-fitting and comfiest bras never would have made it to my lingerie drawer had I just kept buying the padded, moulded-cup bras I always had done.
Ready to start experimenting with new lingerie styles? If you always buy your underwear in the same one or two chain stores, I recommend starting with an independent lingerie boutique instead which is more likely to carry a variety of styles, since they carry a variety of brands.
I just love the selection available at Les Rituelles, which feels carefully curated and yet still encompasses many different styles, from fashion-forward everyday basics to more premium stuff. You can shop their store online, but they also have a physical boutique in Paris – if you’re ever in the city, definitely stop by and make a point to try some new-to-you stuff on!
So, do you have a lingerie style? And is it influenced by your outerwear style, or is what you wear under your clothes nothing like the aesthetic you show off to the world? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.