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It’s OK to admit it. You’ve decided to pick out some lingerie for the lady in your life, but there’s just one little problem: you don’t speak the language. And it’s no surprise – with so many different cuts, fits, and details, it’s a whole new fashion territory, and unless you understand the terminology, it’ll be next to impossible to figure out which pieces are right for her.

Fret not – we’ve decoded some of the most common styles to choose from so you can be a smarter shopper.


Padded bra 

padded bra 1 - The Guy's Guide To Lingerie Styles | Lingerie Shopping 101

Parfait Charlotte Padded Bra 6901 | Parfait Charlotte Bikini 6905 in Bronze

As the name suggests, these bras contain padding that helps to add some fullness to the appearance of the bustline. Make sure she wears padded bras before opting for this style (you’ll be able to feel the padding), as some women prefer an unlined bra, particularly if they are already large-busted.

Push-up bra 

how does push up bra work

Parfait Lynn Push-Up Strapless Bra P13112 | Parfait Lynn Brazilian Thong P13014 in Black

These bras are designed to enhance cleavage, but contrary to popular belief, aren’t necessarily only for small-breasted women. Many women like the lift and support they get from this style. Again, be sure your girlfriend has at least one pushup bra (or has expressed wanting one) before giving her one.

Plunge bra 

 what is a plunge bra

Parfait Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra P5351 | Parfait Sandrine Hipster P5355 in Cameo Rose

Your girlfriend is bound to reach for this style when she’s sporting a low-cut dress or top, as it’s cut with a plunging neckline. The result? She can show off more skin without her bra showing. A plunge bra is always a sexy choice, but it’s also a practical addition to most lingerie collections.

Demi-cup bra

what is a demi cup bra

Parfait Casey Unlined Wire Bra 2802 | Parfait Casey Boyshort 2805 in Nude

The cups on these bras have slightly less coverage. However, demi-cup bras can still offer sufficient coverage – but they definitely provide a hint of cleavage, making them a perfect compromise between a full-cup bra and a plunge bra.

Related: The Guy’s Guide To Buying Lingerie For Your Girlfriend



what is the difference between panties and thongs

Parfait Lynn Push-Up Strapless Bra P13112 | Parfait Lynn Brazilian Thong P13014 in Nude

With minimal coverage in the back, the thong style is perfect for avoiding visible panty lines under form-fitting ensembles while also flaunting her backside. Note that the Brazilian thong typically features a lower rise and a tad more fabric in the back at the top of the derrière.


what are hipster panties

Parfait Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra P5351 | Parfait Sandrine Hipster P5355 in Black

This playful fit offers moderate coverage in the front and the back, and extends a little farther down the leg than the bikini. True to its name, the hipster typically sits lower on the hips, and comes in both comfy everyday styles as well as sheer, lacy ones for special occasions.


what are bikini panties

Parfait Elissa Strapless Contour Underwire Bra P5011 | Parfait Elissa Bikini P5013 in Nude

With universally flattering high-cut legs, a moderate to low rise and a cut that works under most clothes, the bikini is a basic that most women will have in their collection in some form – and with the right detailing, can still be undeniably sexy.


what are boyshort panties

Parfait Casey Plunge Molded Bra 2801 | Parfait Casey Boyshort 2805 in Ruby Wine

This style is often confused with the hipster. However, boyshort panties offer slightly more coverage at the top of the thigh and in the back. They’re a popular pick among many women for the comfort factor.


what are modern brief panties

Parfait Charlotte Padded Bra 6901 | Parfait Charlotte High Waist Brief 6917 in Red/Black

With the most coverage of the bunch, the brief extends slightly farther down past her hips than a bikini. Some women like the tummy-slimming effect and retro vibe that the high-waist brief boasts.

Other Styles


what is babydoll lingerie

Parfait Elissa Unlined Wire Babydoll P5018 in Pearl White

This lingerie piece is essentially a very short, sleeveless nightie. A babydoll is a phenomenal gift choice because it’s a garment she can lounge around in and sleep in while still feeling a little bit sultry.

Knowledge is power – and with your newfound understanding of lingerie’s many different fits and forms, you’re ready to pick out some luxe underthings your girlfriend will certainly cherish for a long time.

Related: When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Buy Lingerie?

Featured image lingerie:
Parfait Casey Plunge Molded Bra 2801 | Parfait Casey Boyshort 2805 in Ruby Wine
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Published by

Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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