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How to Buy Lingerie for Your Valentine

Years ago, my ex bought me a red satin and black lace corset for Valentine’s Day.  I thought it was a gag gift.  It wasn’t.  So last week, when I saw a man pacing aimlessly through the lingerie department at Macy’s, I knew I had to do something.  Men need tips on how to buy lingerie, and as luck would have it, I have a lingerie expert on speed dial.  

Valerie is the owner of Coup de Foudre boutique in Penn Quarter.  They specialize in unmentionables in both the practical and scandalous variety.  Plus, she’s French.  And who knows more about lingerie than a French lady?  Here are her thoughts, sprinkled with some of my own, and the photos of some of my favorite pieces from her shop.

At Coup de Foudre Lingerie, we understand that, for men, it can be very intimidating to buy lingerie for their significant other, especially as a Valentine’s Day gift.  The prospect of buying lingerie typically generates questions like:  Should I buy lingerie?  What’s her style?  What’s her size? 

Answering these questions can be difficult, but don’t worry, we are here to help!  

Should I Buy Lingerie?

The answer to this question depends entirely on how well you know her.  For instance, if you’ve been married for quite a while, you should already know the answer.  And, perhaps most importantly, you should know whether she trusts your judgment or wants to choose her own lingerie. 

In our experience, many of our married female customers feel more comfortable choosing their own lingerie, rather than receiving a lingerie set from their husband.  If this sounds familiar, you should indulge her with a gift certificate or something else that she will enjoy.  

This strategy may apply just as equally, however, if you are not married.  In the end, it really depends on how well you know the woman who you are buying for.  It is important to consider how the gift will be received, especially if you have not yet been intimate with her.  Absent a strong indication that she wants to become intimate, chocolate, flowers, and dinner are always safe.  

(Belle note: Some women just don’t want lingerie as a gift.  If your lady friend has ever asked you what kind of lingerie you like, then you are probably safe buying lingerie.  If she hasn’t, then you might want to choose something else.)

Goddess Silk Chemise ($233)

What Size Do I Buy?

The first step to buying lingerie is to figure out her size.  Giving her lingerie in the wrong size may produce a negative reaction, undercutting your plans for intimacy.  So, please, do not guess her size. (Belle nods in agreement like a bobblehead doll.)

If you do not know her size, rather than ask her directly, you can always look at the tags on her current lingerie.  It is imporant to look at the “current” lingerie, since many women keep both larger and smaller items on hand for when their weight fluctuates.  You want to avoid a situation where, say, your wife still has a bra from when she was pregnant, and you buy her that sized bra.

For the best results, grab her favorite bra from the laundry (because if it’s being washed, it’s being worn) to learn her size.  A number and a letter indicate the size — for example, 36B.  The number refers to the band, and the letter refers to the depth of the cup.  Write down her sizes!  And, since sizes vary considerably in women’s clothing from brand to brand, you also should write down the brand to which the size corresponds.   

One male customer even cut the tags out of his girlfriend’s favorite bra.  That was very good thinking!

If you don’t want to snoop through her dresser drawers, you could always ask her ahead of time for her various sizes — for example, shoe size, pant size, dress size, bra size, ring size, etc.).  That way, you will keep her guessing about how you plan to use this information, particularly on Valentine’s Day!

In lieu of all this, however, you could simply bring her to Coup de Foudre Lingerie and you could shop together, or we could collect the information for you.  With her measurements and brand preferences maintained in her personal profile, we can help you find the perfect lingerie sets.  It’s stress free!  

Chantelle Demi Set ($102)

What is Her Style?  What is the Right Color?  

To ensure that she wears your gift, buy her lingerie that is in her “comfort zone.”   One common mistake that men make is to buy lingerie that they want to see on their girlfriends or wives instead of what she feels most comfortable wearing.


What’s her “comfort zone”?  It’s the style she already wears.  For instance, if she feels most comfortable and sexy wearing “boy shorts” underwear, that’s probably your best bet.  If she doesn’t wear thongs, don’t buy her a thong! And if she’s a bit reserved, then don’t expect her to be thrilled if you present her with a see-through, skimpy peak-a-boo chemise. 

Unless your woman has surprised you with a garter belt and stockings, you may want to avoid the more “racy” lingerie. In the end, your lingerie gift should convey the message that she is attractive and desirable. And don’t worry if you aren’t sure about her “favorites”!  (In any event, we recommend that, if your budget allows, you buy her two different lingerie sets, one for everyday and the other for special occasions (that is, more sexy, lacy). That way, you have covered all her needs and yours!)

If you take a close look at her wardrobe you will spot her favorite colors. Think about her favorite colors or which hues look good on her. Her favorite colors might be the ones she most often wears. Does she wear a lot of blues, pinks or black? You could always look through her closet and drawers to figure out which colors she most often wears. Consider what colors compliment her skin tone or what shades play up the color of her eyes. Don’t forget to take the color of her hair into consideration as well. If you just can’t decide on a particular color, go with black. Black is a timeless, classic color that looks great on every women.

(Belle note: If you’re still stumped about color, buy black.  It’s sexy, it’s elegant and it’s not trashy like say, red satin with black lace.  Also, if you buy lingerie that she is comfortable wearing, she’ll wear it more often.  This is good for you, you want this.  So if you love thongs and she doesn’t, try either sheer boy shorts or a low cut silk nightgown that she can wear anything (nothing) under.

If you’re still lost, think about the last time she decided to wear lingerie for you (without you suggesting it), what did she choose? Now, try to replicate that.)

If she already wears lingerie?

Then it’s time for accessories.  Garter belts, stockings, masks, a riding crop, you know whatever you think she’ll like.  Now, if she has all of that, then I’d say she’s set on the lingerie front and you should start thinking outside the box.  



  1. A Lacey Perspective says:


    I used to manage at a Victoria's Secret (it helped me pay my way through college) and this is exactly what I would tell men. Fantastic post. Already passed it off to the bf. 🙂


    February 10, 2011/Reply
  2. Marie-Christine says:

    Good post, especially the advice on abstaining if you aren't sure. It's all too easy to have lingerie presents fall into the 'if you really loved me you'd wear this' category. Note the current status of the corset buyer mentioned at the beginning..
    Personally, I've only met 2 girls in my entire life that chocolate wouldn't work on :-).

    February 10, 2011/Reply