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I’ve always wanted to buy lingerie for my girlfriend, but I really don’t know where to start. What do I need to know so that I don’t embarrass myself -- and get her something she’ll actually wear?

I’ve always wanted to buy lingerie for my girlfriend, but I really don’t know where to start. What do I need to know so that I don’t embarrass myself -- and get her something she’ll actually wear?


What is it with men and lingerie? They love it on ladies, but most of them are hapless at buying it. Instead of purchasing something that makes a woman feel sexy, sensual and stylish, they invariably go for the pole-dancer special that screams “Tear me off” and “Take me now.” It’s no wonder that most women dread getting the silky stuff as a present from their man -- most guys choose outfits that make women feel like things to do, rather than queens to admire and desire.

The good news here is that the better lingerie stores know this and now cater to both men and women. The staff is trained to help guys feel more comfortable and select appropriate items for their wives or girlfriends.

Do some research online and look for an upscale lingerie store in your area, or visit the lingerie department of one of the nicer department stores. You’ll get better customer service and increase your chances of finding something unique that will make your gift all the more special.

But before you run feverously down to your local Victoria’s Secret, prepare properly for the experience:

Undiecover Research
First, it sounds dangerous and a bit perverse, but go through your girl’s dainty drawer when she’s not around. It will offer some useful clues about her likes and dislikes. If the drawer is full of white cotton panties or boy shorts and sports bras, she probably won’t appreciate a hot pink bra and G-string. Sorry fellas, I know your pain.

Correct size is just as important here. It can be challenging even for a woman to figure out her own size, so jot down all of the information on the labels from several bra and panty sets. Even if you don’t understand what the numbers mean, you’ll be able to share them later with the person assisting you at the store.

What to Budget

Beautiful lingerie is an investment. It’s something you want the woman in your life to treasure for a long time to come, so don’t be a cheapskate. You should budget about $100 to $150 for a high-quality gift she’ll really appreciate and enjoy wearing.

Sexy Garters or Conservative Camisoles?
In addition to peeking in her panty drawer, think about your lady’s personal style and what she does for a living to give you some clues as to what she will enjoy wearing. A career woman might want something sexy and pretty to wear under her clothes, whereas a woman who is a mother and a homemaker may prefer something elegant she can wear around the house and behind closed doors.

Sheer black stockings and a matching garter belt might not be something your partner would buy for herself, so they could make a fun gift. Alternately, think about a beautiful matching bra and panty set, or for something more relaxed, like a nice silk chemise or nightgown.

Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/dspn


About the Expert

Margaret Shrum has been in the lingerie business for more than 20 years. She offers a personal lingerie shopping service in both New York City and Miami. Shrum is also the author of the e-book The Lingerie Diet and the owner of TheLingerieGoddess.com.

Tags: Gifts , women