Lingerie for Newbies: 7 Perfect Pieces to Start Your Collection
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Lingerie for Newbies: 7 Perfect Pieces to Start Your Collection

After a couple of weeks of writer's block (mostly brought on by the fact I had a lot going on in my personal life), I've been trying to look at my blog through fresh eyes lately. I've been pretty open about the reasons why I started blogging, and even though I'm not the same person I was back in April 2008 (when I made my very first blog post), I never want The Lingerie Addict to completely lose sight of its roots.

Making lingerie accessible to the everyday woman is what drives TLA,, but sometimes I forget just how much "stuff" I've learned in the last four years. Knowledge I take for granted now would have been completely foreign to me even a year and a half ago. Yet The Lingerie Addict gets dozens of new readers everyday, and judging from the questions I get in my inbox, there are still hundreds (if not thousands of women) who have just started their lingerie journey.

Looking back, one of hardest things for me when I first became interested in lingerie was knowing where to spend my money. There are so many lingerie boutiques and and so many brands (way more than when I started blogging) that just knowing where to start without resorting to expensive trial and error is overwhelming. And I wish I'd had someone to help sort everything and at least give me a place to start shopping.

So this blog post is all about sharing a few of those discoveries I wish I'd made earlier with you. These are my lingerie drawer staples, the brands I buy with my own money all the time. And whether you're new to lingerie or an 'old hand' at it, I hope this list of seven pieces (in no particular order) helps you when you're shopping.

Of course, because this list is personal (I actually do own everything on it), it's also limited, mostly by my size (34B/C up top, Large on the bottom). So if there are brands that work really well for you that aren't included here, definitely feel free to leave them in the comments. After all, more knowledge is more better in my book.

(Edit: There are no affiliate links in this post. Everything I'm recommending here, I'm recommending because I love it.)

Tea, via Girdlebound

1) Rago Lacette Corselette - Also known as a girdle dress or even a garter dress, I consider the corselette to be an an essential piece of shapewear, particularly under dresses and especially under vintage-style dresses. The great thing about this piece is that it's also beautiful enough to wear on its own, either in the bedroom or for the ever-popular boudoir/pinup photoshoot. I like Rago's corselette because it helps you feel shapely and cinched, but not like you're stuffed into a sausage casing (at least if you buy your right size). One small note: pear-shaped women with smaller boobs (like myself) may need to go up a size and purchase bullet bra pads to fill out the cups. But this is one of the first pieces of lingerie I bought and I'm still in love with it. That link above goes to Girdlebound, which I recommend since they can custom dye your corselette any shade you like. They also carry all the other "official" colorways like Mocha and Pink & Black or Red & Black.

Hanky Panky Signature Lace Camisole and Boyshort

2) Hanky Panky boyshorts (or thongs, or briefs, or whatever you prefer) - I only began wearing Hanky Panky last year, but they've pretty much made it impossible for me to wear anything else. This is the comfiest panty in the world, and the stretch lace is fun, flirty, and feminine without being over the top. I tend to take companies' press releases with a grain of salt, but these panties are everything Hanky Panky says they are and more. Believe me when I say they will spoil you forever. Oh! And did I mention you can machine wash these? And that they're available up to a size 24? Accept no substitutes. Everyone's doing stretch lace now, but if the panty doesn't say Hanky Panky, it just won't be the same quality. And if you're on a budget (and who isn't, really?) buy the seasonal colorways when they go on sale. It's still the exact same lace, and they're a great way to perk up your lingerie wardrobe.

Eberjey Robe

3) Eberjey Classic Robe - Have you ever bought something, and then wondered how you lived without it before? Yeah... that's how I feel about my Eberjey robe. I've bought one or two robes before, usually of the sheer, bedroom-only variety. But this was the first robe I bought exclusively for lounging around the house. And now I wear it all the time. It's super soft, super comfy, and covers up everything quite nicely (so you can feel okay wandering around the house in it, even if you have company or kids). I confess I didn't quite understand the point of a robe before I bought this one. Now my only regret is that I didn't get it sooner.

Simone Perele 'Nina' Demi Bra & Boyshort

4)  Simone Perele 'Nina' Demi Bra - If you're looking for something a bit more high-end, either because you adore luxury lingerie or because it's a special occasion, I present to you Simone Perele's 'Nina' set. You're looking at stretch French Leavers lace, and it's even more beautiful in person. Even better, the fit of this bra is so perfect, it's mind-blowing (because 'pricey' and 'ill-fitting' go together like oil and water in my mind). In fact, it's so comfy, that you can use it as an everyday set. And did I mention it looks amazing on? Sexy, sexy, sexy. If you're able, invest in every color (especially when the seasonal ones go on sale). You won't regret it.

Wolford Satin Touch 20 Tights

5) Wolford Satin Touch 20 Tights - It wouldn't be fair to my roots as Stockings Addict to have a list of my seven favorite lingerie finds without including hosiery. And Wolford is the queen of hosiery. Sometimes this brand gets a bad rap for being so expensive, and I get that. But these are worth it. Not only are these tights sheer enough for work (you could call them pantyhose). Not only do they give your legs a gorgeous, "yes, I just exfoliated and moisturized" sheen. Not only do they come in a range of skintones. In addition to all that I just mentioned... they last forever. Unless you machine wash them. Which I really don't recommend because it removes whatever magic these get in the factory. Basically, don't buy these unless you want to be ruined for every other hosiery brand forever.

Betsey Johnson Eyelet Lace Demi Bra

6) Betsey Johnson Demi Bra - If Hanky Panky is my go-brand for knickers, then Betsey Johnson is the same for bras. While I like all their styles, I'm a special fan of the demi bra. For me, this is the perfect everyday bra. They're crazy comfortable. They fit true to size (maybe even to the point of being generously sized). And they're super durable (yes, mine have taken a turn or three in the washing machine and come out no worse for the wear). Even better, this bra comes in fun, seasonal colors. Oh, and it's reasonably priced. As you've probably already guessed, I stock up when the seasonal colors go on sale (recognize a pattern here yet?), which is every six months or so. Because really, who's going to call you out for wearing last season's underwear?

Timeless Trends Pink and Blue Silk Corset

7) Timeless Trends Corset - One of the questions I'm asked most often, by far, is "Where can I find a good, affordable corset?" And while I'm of the opinion that the best corsets are custom made, I also know that's not within everyone's reach. So when it comes to an inexpensive, off the rack, yet still well-made corsetry, I always recommend Timeless Trends. Now these won't fit as well as custom, and you should never try waist training in them, but if you're wanting an authentic, multi-layered, steel-boned corset that won't tear up or warp or be rendered completely useless after one wearing, this is the place to go. I especially recommend them for people who are brand new to corsets and still on the fence about investing several hundred dollars in a custom one. Because plain and simple, you won't find a better quality corset for less money.

These are the seven pieces of lingerie I wish I'd known about when I first started blogging. If you liked this post, let me know in the comments, and I'll do a Part 2. After all, there were definitely some favorites left off of this list. ;-)

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Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

46 Comments on this post

  1. Jai says:

    Hi there! Thanks for this post! I stumbled onto your blog today and I’m so glad I did. You have tons of good info throughout your site!!

  2. SCM says:

    Hi Cora,
    Thanks for this post. I clicked through to the Girdlebound site and noticed their designs only offer a few band sizes and cup sizes. I’m petite and I tend to wear a 28F or a 30DD. I’d love to have an everyday corselette or basque or something that’s beautiful, provides a layer under thin dresses, and offers light support (just because I actually enjoy the feeling of being evenly compressed a little bit!). Do you have any suggestions for where to find such a beast? (Of course if it didn’t cost the price of a small island, either, that would be ideal.)

  3. Julie S says:

    Eeee! I had to comment even though this post is old – as a complete lingerie newbie I got myself the Simone Perele Nina set (in black, thankyouverymuch) for my wedding night lingerie a few years ago. It IS gorgeous! I guess I did good. Now I am nursing and everything has changed…. thanks for your comprehensive site.

    • Cora says:

      Yay! I’m so glad to hear that. The ‘Nina’ has since been discontinued, which makes me really sad because it was an awesome lace for a wonderful bra.

  4. Lisa says:

    Your passion for lingerie is contagious. While I have been around lingerie for years it is very refreshing to find somone and a blog that shows such enthusiasm for these products. Each time I look back at your choices I find something I like about all of them. I always like the addition of the cost of the products as I like to know if I can and will afford to buy it for myself. Thanks so much!

  5. Amelia.. says:

    My favorite continues to be Miss Mandalay bra. Mainly because of the reason that they have big size bras in both plain and floral prints. Recently they have come up with bras with mesh fabric and ribbon detailing which is so chic and stylish. The under wiring provides proper support and are very comfortable to wear. Not only my bra, but swimwear, knickers etc are all from this brand. They have introduced an electric zebra halter bikini which I am planning to buy next. Now that summer is round the corner I need to have a good collection of swimwear.

    • Ophelia Bitz says:

      I absolutely adore Miss Mandalay! The sexiest bigger bras I’ve found so far, and they last forever. Even if you abuse them in the washing machine like me (oops)

  6. Carol Mascali says:

    First time on your site and LOVED your post. Fabulous! I LOVE Rago so much that when my friend and I created a piece of shapewear for the boobs…we took it to Rago to manufacture. They put their amazing fabric and function into our garment and now The Perky Lift is shaping women’s bodies and lifting “the girls”.

  7. Taryn says:

    I’ve been hoping for a post like this since I started following this blog! I always find your posts helpful but this one is especially great!

  8. I love these kinds of posts. Sometimes it just feels great to go back to the basics– and it’s funny that, except for Wolford, I have worn NONE of the pieces or brands mentioned. I love seeing how we’ve taken such different lingerie paths! I’m a wee bit more adventurous and less retro, I think… but my lingerie collection always has room for more.

  9. Leticia Chavis says:

    Thank you so much for all of your fabulous blogs. You never cease to amaze me with the passion you show for lingerie. I hope to see you at CURVE!

    Leticia Chavis

  10. Lily says:

    oh yes, part 2 please :D Been pondering on the rago for awhile….

  11. Thursday says:

    Loved reading your list, Treacle! Mine would be very different, but that’s the fun, of course:)

    • Treacle says:

      Exactly! Out of curiosity, what are a few of the things that would go on your list? :)

      • Thursday says:

        Only a few? We’ll see how short I can keep it!

        I definitely wish I’d found the Kiss Me Deadly Van Doren six strap suspender belt so much earlier. It’s comfortable, sturdy and keeps your stockings in place whilst also being sexy. I had so many problems with other belts I tried before I found it, it was a revelation.

        I’ve only recently discovered full-skirted slips, and only found them via ASOS so far (This one is particularly good: Not only do they have fewer fit problems for a pear-shaped body than fitted slips, they also work really nicely under the fuller skirted dresses I often wear.

        Hands down the best plus-size tights I’ve found are the Cette Dublin opaques ( They come in lovely colours, have the best fit I’ve found so far and fantastic durability. The first pairs I bought are on their third year of wear and still going strong. These are definitely on the list of things I’d wish I’d known about much sooner.

        One find that came through your blog, Treacle, is the Hips and Curves lace cage-back knicker – much more comfortable to wear than it looks, and it makes me feel very, very sexy. The boyfriend seems to agree.

        For bras, it’s hard not to mention Cacique for making comfortable, pretty bras for large band/small bust sizes. Special shout out goes to the Implicite Azote bra ( for being my absolute favourite bra. It’s luxe yet comfortable and practical. I have worn it so much the writing on the tag has worn off from washing – which is a bit annoying because I can’t figure out what size it is so I can invest in more Implicite!

        I could write my own essays on giant knickers, fully-fashioned stockings, corsetry and girdles, but those are the basics:)

  12. Elegy says:

    I love this, now I get to sit and try to remember what my first few lingerie pieces were.


    Maybe you should set up a button that leads to a “New to Lingerie? Click here!” round up of articles.

  13. Cherry says:

    That corselette is to die for!

    Wonderful post, as always <3

  14. ashley says:

    oh my my my my, I just can’t wait to try! I absolutely love posts like this; they are beyond helpful they are amazing!

  15. Holly says:

    Hanky Panky was the brand that made me realize that thongs could be comfortable. I really love them and have been meaning to try some of their boy shorts and lace tops when they go on sale. The long sleeved ones would be great for winter.

    WIth proper care, how long do your Wolfords last?

    • Treacle says:

      Years. Literally. I have Wolfords that are over 3 years old. And I can’t say that about any other brand of hosiery.

      • Catherine says:

        I find that with quite a few of the good quality brands – I’ve got Falke and Gerbe hold-ups that I’ve had for years :)

        • Treacle says:

          Yup yup! I still think Falke makes the best hold up stockings. Unfortunately, I discovered Gerbe a little late in the game…I kind of always forget about them in place of Cervin.

  16. H. Swann says:

    You can get the Nina Perele boy shorts in Azalea from Nordstrom for $27.97, but only if you’re a size large! I miss out, but maybe someone else can benefit!

    • Treacle says:

      Great find…thanks for sharing! I own these and they’re great. The size L fits a bit more like an XL though. I have to go down to a M when I buy these.

  17. Scarlet says:

    This is the kind of post I love because, even though I’ve been a fan of lingerie forever, I still feel like a newbie when it comes to pieces outside my frame of reference. Thanks Treacle!

  18. Gabrielle says:

    Yay for corsets, I bought one a few months ago, I know its lingerie but I would urge people to consider wearing them as outwear. I wear a lot of black and blue corset jazzes Winter outfits up. Plus the bulky laces at the back make them tricky to wear under clothes

    • Treacle says:

      Definitely. I don’t even think of corsets as underwear anymore, especially off the rack ones, since today’s clothing really isn’t made to accomodate them without lumps and bumps.

      There are some corsetieres who make corsets to wear under clothing – like Electra Designs- but those are almost always custom, and they’re usually less fancy (i.e. plain and made with basic materials like bamboo, cotton, or coutil since they’re always under clothing).

  19. Estelle says:

    Love the Simon Perele bra set!

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