A woman's lingerie is a personal affair. It's a reflection of her view of her beauty, sexuality and strength, and is chosen to match her changing style and moods, and even the time of the year. It's no wonder that buying it for her can be a difficult endeavour for the uninitiated.
Even those of us who boldly stride into the realms of lace bustiers and sheer body suits can quickly discover that our confidence abandoned us at the door. For despite what we think we may know, chances are that we haven't yet mastered the art of buying lingerie for a lover.
But there is hope. Accordingly to Karolina Stysiak, founder and designer of Perth-based lingerie label Karolina Couture, it's really not that hard. Passionate about finer details and well-practiced at creating that 1940's sultry silhouette, here are a few of her tips on how to get it right.
Rule Number One: It's Not For You
The most important consideration of buying lingerie is also the simplest: it's not for you, gents, and it's not about sex. Sure, you'll probably love seeing her in it, and yes, it's more than likely to spice things up a little in the bedroom. But if you ask any girl in the lingerie community (such a thing exists), they'll be quick to assure you that lingerie isn't about girls wanting to be seen sexually, and often not even seen at all.
Like wearing a fine timepiece under a suit, lingerie is about making the wearer feel good, confident (and a little sexy), even when no-one sees it. It's about the personal feeling that a woman gets for herself from wearing it - that she's attractive, empowered and in control.
It follows that if you buy the raciest thing imaginable, something that really gets your carnal blood pumping , you risk objectifying your lady and making her feel that the gift is more for you. But gifting her something elegant and of high quality will tell her that you're into her and in tune with her, that you want her to feel good, and that you like her for who she is.
Rule Number Two: Know What To Look For
To make sure that your gift is something that she'll like, know what it is that you're looking for before you go looking for it. Importantly, base your feeling of what you think she may like on her body shape, personality, colour and style.
Ask yourself whether she's a classic girl who likes to dress simply and conservatively, or one who prefers something a little more risqué, edgy and experimental. Is she a femme fatale, always of an alluring appearance in an understated way?
Does she tend to wear only black and white, or is colour a favourite stylistic expression of hers? If the latter, what are some favourites, and what matches her skin tone, hair and eyes?
Consider too her personality. Is she cute and fun, sexy and bold, confident, outspoken and outrageous? Or is she more sensitive and shy?
When it comes to her body size, choose something that will be comfortable for her when she wears it. If there are parts of her body that she is embarrassed by, look for something that flatters those parts, and accentuates the parts that she likes the most. And if she's more than a D cup, you'll need to find brands that cater for bigger busts.
For hints, steal a glance in her wardrobe and at the tags of any lingerie that she may already have, especially for size and style. The more effort you put in to this, the better chance you have of bringing home something that she'll love.
Rule Number Three: Take Your Time
When it is time to take the plunge and go looking, make sure that you take your time. Don't let nerves or the feeling of being out of place lead to a hasty, ill-fated decision. If you don't feel comfortable alone in a lingerie store, take a female friend.
Ask for help from a sales assistant, make a joke out of your inexperience, and let them take the stress of the search from your shoulders. Confide in her (or him) what it is that you're looking for, show them a photo of your girl, and always choose something that you think she'll love.
Or if online shopping is more your caper, email Karolina at firstname.lastname@example.org for her expert advice on what may please your lady. Plus, she'll take $100 off any lingerie set or bodysuit, handwrite a note and gift-wrap it for you, just in time for Christmas.