In Lingerie, a Babydoll is not a toy... and a Tanga is not a drink!
If you don't know the difference between a corset and a bustier, or boy shorts and briefs, relax; here you will learn that and much more!
Using the text and accompanying photos, you can learn the correct name of an item that you are interested in, and general information about it.
By understanding the information in this lingerie glossary, you will know more about your lingerie than most women. Also, you will shop more confidently; knowing more of what is available, what you prefer, and what would look and feel great on you!
Also, if you would like me to send you a copy of my newsletter each month (a new feature I am starting in January, 2010) with lingerie tips, trends, current sales, photos, raffle winners and entrants, and more; please subscribe, in the box on the left. Think of it as a way to make each month a little more beautiful!
When possible, I have included a link for the lingerie item, to one or more of my
"Top 5" favorite lingerie stores online,
usually HerRoom, so that you can see more examples, different styles, etc. If you wish you can also purchase lingerie from these trusted sites.
Note: The below information is based on my experience and a lot of research. In lingerie there is a vast range of styles, within a category, and some items bend their definition.
So, while I have done my best to provide you with correct and useful information, please understand this is not "precise science", it is more like art, so you will see many exceptions to every "rule".
Also, some terms I use will be different than what you would use, depending on where you live in the world.
You can view the glossary by scrolling down the page; or you can just use the links below to "jump" to the items you are interested in.
A babydoll is basically a short nightgown, or a short negligee. They have the very desirable ability to emphasize the bust, minimize the waist, and accentuate the rear and upper thighs.
Generally, the lower edge of a babydoll is at about the height of the upper thigh, as in the photo. Most babydolls are cut to hold the bust, be narrow under the bust, and below that to be loose and flowing. They are often trimmed with bows, ribbons, lace and ruffles. They are usually made of sheer material, such as chiffon or sheer mesh; they sometimes come with matching panties.
Babydolls are especially nice in the Summer, and are often used as pajamas. Many women find them comfortable, easy to wear, and able to bring out their best features!
A basque is a form fitting bodice. It looks much like a corset at first glance, except that it does not extend down the waist to the hips, like a corset does.
It is usually made of lighter and thinner material than a corset, and is not really intended to shape the body (though some do, to a small extent). The basque is shaped to visually elongate the waist, and narrow the hips.
A basque can have shoulder straps, like a bra, and garters for stockings, though the one shown in this photo has neither.
A basque is usually full cup, as the one shown here, though the material can be very thin, even see-through.
In addition to the obvious romantic uses, a basque, is a versatile piece of lingerie item that can be worn all day, under a light semi-transparent blouse, with a skirt or pantsuit, giving an exciting twist to your wardrobe! They can also be worn as the foundational garment of a wedding dress, and other formal wear.
See another Basque, at HerRoom.
A bodystocking is a one-piece garment (usually full-body, and often long-sleeved) that looks just like its name implies.
Bodystockings are rapidly growing in popularity, and I have heard from some sources that they are now the most popular item they sell! Obviously a woman who wears one should be very comfortable with her body, as they reveal a lot of skin.
It is made from tightfitting but stretchy nylon material, much like stockings, but they are a bit thicker and more durable. They come in several types of patterns such as fishnet, opaque, fencenet (like the one in the photo), spiderweb, crochet, and many others.
The styles of bodystocking are unlimited, from almost modest, to daring, to totally decadent!
Bodystockings are usually worn as a piece of erotic clothing, perhaps taking the place of a negligee; but they can be worn (depending on the style) during the day under other clothing, giving you a whole new "feel" to your day!
Bodystockings are not worn as support garments, see "Bodysuit" (below) for that.
Though they are not technically lingerie, I am including bodysuits in this glossary, for completeness.
In terms of overall style, a bodysuit can be thought of as a very glamorous leotard. Very tight fitting, they are designed to be a "foundational" garment, to give shaping and smoothing to the body.
They are very effective; you will be amazed at the number of actresses who are wearing them under their clothes while being filmed (such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Beyonce), causing them to appear pounds lighter and even more shapely than they actually are!
Some bodysuits cover most of the body, though the one in the picture leaves the arms and most of the legs bare. By properly color-matching, and "coverage matching", you could wear some type of bodysuit under virtually any clothing; which is exactly the idea- to support and shape without being seen. See more Bodysuits, at HerRoom.
A bustier is a very "structured" garment, which covers from bust to hip. Many bustiers have flexible boning for additional shaping, like a corset does.
The main differences between a bustier and a corset are that the bustier does not really "cinch" the waist, as a corset does; it does shape the figure, but not to the same extent. Also, the corset runs lower on the hips (see the corset photo, below) than a bustier does, to shape the entire torso.
Bustiers close in the back (or front) by lacing or with a long row of hooks and eyes, many bustiers also include removable garters.
Another advantage of the bustier, though seldom mentioned, is that a properly fitted bustier can help straighten your posture, improving your poise; helping to boost your natural confidence and radiate your inner sensuality.
Smooth bustiers are perfect under special occasion wear (such as, under a wedding gown) as they provide both shaping and uplift.
But, they are not limited to special occasions; a comfortable bustier can be worn with virtually anything!
A camisole (or cami) covers the top part of the body, much like a "tank top". It is sleeveless and tight fitting unlike a loose-fitting chemise. A camisole is sometimes cropped allowing midriff exposure, but often covers the entire torso.
A basic camisole is very flexible, giving you "more bang for the buck". They can be worn under sweaters, sleek tops, dresses, and many other clothing options. They are a very feminine T-shirt, pajama top, and so much more! With matching panties, they make a very fetching outfit for intimate wear.
Camisoles are manufactured from satin or silk, or stretch materials such as lycra, nylon, or spandex, though cotton based materials are more common.
A camisole can be worn over a (strapless) bra, or without one. Some camisoles come with a built-in underwire bra or other support which eliminates the need for a bra.
A corset is the most "structured" lingerie garment. It is form fitted and extends from the bust (either over-bust or under-bust) to the hips. Corsets are making yet another fashion come-back, and are very popular today, as inner or outer wear! Corsets are available for women of all sizes, petites to pluses.
Most corsets lace up the front (or "hook and eye"), and the back, or both. How tight the lacings are tied determines how much waist reduction is achieved. Under a corset, an easily washable liner is often worn.
Flexible "boning" runs up and down the corset for additional shaping, usually made of plastic (basic quality) or metal (better quality). Corsets usually include removable garters.
The main foundational advantage of a corset, over a bustier is that a corset reduces the waist, up to about 4 inches, and increases the bust, or at least the appearance of the bust. Some women use a technique of gradually tightening the corset over time to reduce even further. A corset pulls in the waist and flattens the tummy area giving a pleasing silhouette, the classic "hourglass" figure.
If you fancy yourself wearing a lovely and well fitted corset, such as in this picture, here are a few words of advice: Corsets are different from any other item of lingerie in so many ways. For one thing, proper fit is more critical than with most other items. There are shops (online and on the street) that specialize in corsets. They have hundreds of styles to choose from, for all occasions (bridal, formal wear, club wear, fetish wear, intimate wear, etc.) These top of the line businesses will take your measurements and the style and color(s) you want, and will either make, or have on hand, a corset that fits you perfectly, looks stunning, and will outlast most marriages.
A good corset can cost several hundred dollars. So, be prepared to shop around, and do your homework, before you invest in a good corset.
Alternatively, if you don't feel you want to invest in the custom made corset treatment, you can purchase a beautiful ready made corset, from many online stores, for around $40 or so.
Again, fit is very important (though not as critical as it is in custom made corsets), so carefully read and follow their sizing instructions to have the best chance of success, the first time! See more Corsets, at HerRoom.
A chemise is similar to a babydoll, except that a chemise is usually closer fitting than a babydoll is, and a chemise can be as short as hip-length, or as long as floor-length, whereas a babydoll seldom extends below or above the upper thigh. Like a babydoll, a chemise is always sleeveless, and can be trimmed with ribbons, bows, lace, etc.
The chemise, like the babydoll, flatters many body types; it can be sized to emphasize your good curves and minimize any you don't like so much. With a wide range of styles and materials available, you can achieve any look from coy and comfortable to super hot and sensual!
Of course, the chemise is an excellent choice for sleepwear.
These days there are various types of clothing that can be called a chemise, not only lingerie but also regular tops and blouses, and full length dress type garments.
A garter belt is worn around the waist, and has four or more clips on short straps (which are the actual "garters") to keep stockings up properly. The clips are attached to the stockings, and prevent them from sliding down, twisting, etc.
So much can be said about garter belts, that I don't know where to start! Firstly perhaps is that the wearing of a nice garter belt with stockings seems to just supercharge your sense of erotic power and sensuality! Most men find them fantastically erotic; a nice bra/panty/garter belt/stockings set (like the one in the picture) will have you feeling like the queen of the world, and your man in total agreement.
One thing to note is that some garter belts can be just for fun (not intended to really support stockings in normal daily wear) whereas others are designed for actual support of stockings throughout a busy day.
One easy way to tell them apart is that the daily wear garter belts have more garters, at least 3 per leg, often 4. This does a far better job in preventing the stocking from slipping or twisting throughout the day. The lovely garter belt in this photo, is more for fun.
Garter belts of course are color matched to the panties, and stockings. Also, they look best when matched with the total outfit that is being worn; not only in terms of color, but also in style and material.
A night gown is a loose dress worn in bed. They are also called called a nightie. They are usually about ankle length, and made of materials ranging from cotton to lace, to silk. Often, they are short sleeved or sleeveless.
A very similar item of lingerie is a "negligee", which is a French term for a very sheer and usually lace trimmed night gown. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there is that difference.
Night gowns and negligees are another item that can flatter anyBODY; petites to pluses. Also, you can strike any mood, from modest and comfy to hot and dramatic, as in the photo!
A Teddy is basically a camisole and panty made in one piece, much like a one-piece swimsuit.
They are usually fitted to the body, as in the picture, but can also be found in looser styles.
Teddys are worn as sleep wear and intimate wear; but depending on the style they can also be worn under clothing, where it can be seen through a semi-transparent blouse, enhancing the effect of the outfit.