Beginner's Guide to Lingerie Styles

If you're baffled by basques or confused by corsets, Lovehoney's beginner’s lingerie guide has you covered.

In this guide, we’re going to give you the exact run down on structured lingerie (basques, corsets and other figure-flaunting garments) and unstructured lingerie (flirty, comfortable styles such as babydolls, camisole sets and chemises) to find your new favourite piece.

We also explain the different types of underwear, thongs and G-strings as well as sex-on-legs hosiery such as stockings, bodystockings, pantyhose and garters.

Strap in for a journey covering everything you need to know about lingerie!

The Easy Guide to Underwear Styles

In this video guide by Lovehoney’s lingerie expert, discover the best underwear style for you.

Structured Lingerie and Corsets

With figure-hugging and body-sculpting effects, structured lingerie is the perfect way to create a classically seductive lingerie look, while enhancing your shape at the same time.



Structured lingerie is beautifully designed to sinch your waist and boost your bust. Under this category, corsets are a major turn-on when they’re laced up right and tight. While most corsets cover the gals, underbust corsets leave very little to the imagination and expose your lifted breasts in full glory. With figure-hugging and body-sculpting elements, structured lingerie is a winner to create a classically seductive lingerie look and enhance your silhouette.

Lovehoney recommends: Coquette Zip Front Longline Corset with Suspenders



Bustiers look similar to a longline bra and don’t sit as far down the torso as basques or corsets can. Some bustiers feature figure-sculpting boning, while others are soft and complement your natural frame. Bustiers are best for shaping the upper part of your torso and supporting the bust.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Peek-A-Boo Merry Widow Black Bustier Set



A basque is like a corset or bustier, but has cups and is usually made from lacier materials. Think of a basque as a longer version of a bra. Basques sometimes include plastic boning to give extra shape but won't reduce your waist as a corset can.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Plus Size Boudoir Belle Blush Pink Push-Up Basque Set

Merry Widow


A merry widow is a basque-like piece of lingerie with built-in suspender straps extending from the hemline. Merry widows are a classic lingerie choice when paired with stockings and heels.

Lovehoney recommends: Exposed Liquid Onyx Cupless Merry Widow Bustier Set



Make like Catwoman in a skin-tight, sexy, shiny catsuit! Catsuits are a full-body, tight-fitting suit that usually features a zip all along the front (and sometimes hold a crotchless secret). There’s a BDSM fetish look to the catsuit that will have you feeling your most confident self.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Fierce Wet Look Zip-Around Catsuit

Mini Dress


Just like how it sounds, this is a mini-dress style of lingerie. Mini-dress lingerie is essentially a dress with a super cheeky hemline, usually tight-fitting and booty-skimming. If you’re feeling bold, a slinky mini-dress can take you right from the nightclub to the bedroom.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Black Halterneck Mini Dress

Unstructured Lingerie: Flirty & Feminine

If you prefer a less restrictive and more flirtatious lingerie, style then choose something playful and floaty that allows you to roll around the bed (or kitchen counter) without restriction.



With cups and a full skirt, a babydoll shows off your tatas and pins like no other. The beautiful, flowy material flares out from under the bust, making it ideal for drawing attention away from the midriff and emphasising your other prized areas. Not to mention, it’s comfy enough to catch some z’s in! We suggest babydolls if you prefer a less restrictive piece of lingerie, yet something playful that you can both lounge in and get down and dirty in.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Late Night Liaison Blue Lace Babydoll Set



If you love the look of a babydoll but want to show off your torso at the same time, a flyaway lingerie style is for you. Flyaways take the best features of a babydoll and offer something a bit more risque, exposing a split front, back or both.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Unwrap Me Red Lace Babydoll



Chemises are a practical yet sexy option and can be worn as nightwear or loungewear. They're loose-fitting, with gentle tailoring at the waist and a slim fit at the hips for a slinky look. Chemises are flattering for all body shapes, so make for an ideal gift.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Parisienne Wine Lace Plunge Chemise



Also known as a playsuit, a teddy is lingerie that combines a vest top and shorts in one piece. Teddys are extremely sensual, perfect for flattering all figures. They range from offering fair coverage to being super revealing, with options to suit all.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Plus Size Empress Red Satin and Lace Body



A body is similar to a teddy, but much closer-fitting. It’s shaped like a one-piece swimsuit, showing off more of your legs than a teddy. A body is an incredible option for those who want to flaunt their curves in a cosy, all-in-one garment.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Late Night Liaison Blue Crotchless Lace Body

Cut-Out Body


This is a more daring style of body lingerie. It’s slinkier and skimpier than the one-piece body, featuring tantalising cut-outs and open sections to show off your gorgeous skin. It’s a confident look that’s a cheeky alternative to the class bra and panties set. A cut-out body is perfect for outlining your jaw-dropping curves.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Seduce Me Red Push-Up Crotchless Cut-Out Body


The easiest and typically least expensive way to add something new to your underwear drawer is a new pair of panties. Choose from panties and briefs for fuller coverage. Or, select something skimpier or of the crotchless variety to showcase a peachy bum.

Briefs & Shorts


Briefs, booty shorts, French knickers, hot pants… With so many names, it’s no wonder so many people get their panties in a twist trying to navigate the world of sexy underwear! These styles offer full coverage across the front and your derrière for a demurely sexy look.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Crotchless Lace Ruffle-Back Knickers



A modern classic, the thong leaves your bum cheekily exposed. Perfect for avoiding VPL, a thong is highly erotic for the wearer as well as the lucky viewer, making this the perfect choice for the bedroom or everyday wear under body-skimming clothing.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Crotchless Pearl Thong



The main difference between a thong and G-string is the width of the fabric that passes between the buttocks: in a G-string, there’s minimum fabric. The skimpy rear gives an even more revealing look for your lover to see your tush in its full glory.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Crotchless Lace G-String

Hosiery & Stockings

Stockings are the perfect way to complete a lingerie set for a top-to-toe sexy look. Whether you want sheer, fishnet, fencenet or back-seamed, choose from hosiery to smooth your legs (and body).



With smoothing and shaping properties, tights are fantastic for creating a sexy silhouette. Many people find tights extremely sexy and are often worn as part of an everyday outfit rather than with a lingerie set. If that's the case for you, why not look at a crotchless design instead?

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Patterned Fishnet Suspender Tights



Hold-up stockings and thigh-highs have elasticated tops or gripping silicone material, so they stay in place without needing a suspender belt. Unlike tights, they have a feature at the top of the garment which can be trimmed with lace, ribbon or PVC.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Sheer Lace Top Hold Up Stockings

Garter Belt


Sometimes called a suspender belt, a garter belt is a strip of fabric that fastens around the waist with straps that attach to suspender stockings to hold them up. Garter belts usually have 4 straps, but some retro-inspired styles have even more.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Love Me Lace Suspender Belt



A stretch head-to-toe sexy garment, bodystockings are made from the same materials as tights for an ultra-comfy fit. They’re a stunning base for outfits as well as a sexy all-in-one lingerie style. Although they cover large areas of the body, the sheer fabrics and crotchless varieties make them a super hot option.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Fishnet and Lace Bodystocking



Last but certainly not least, stockings offer the classic seduction of tights without crotch coverage. Stockings need a suspender belt or straps to stay up. Stocking syles include sheet, fishnet, fence net or back-seamed. For an added element of sexiness, match your suspender stockings to your lingerie for a show-stopping outcome.

Lovehoney recommends: Lovehoney Sheer Lace Top Thigh High Stockings

Shop Lovehoney Lingerie today

Find your new favourite piece of lingerie that you feel out of this world confident in. Shop the Lovehoney Lingerie range today.

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