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The North American Field Guide to Lingerie

For your new age girlfriend, you can play it safe and go with the usual dozen overpriced roses or a box of chocolates. Which she will appreciate. Or you can ratchet up the Sexy Factor and get her some lingerie. Which you'll BOTH appreciate.

But like many guys, you probably don't know a chemise from a chamois, let alone the difference between a corset and bustier. Or more importantly, what would look best on your girl, given her specific physical attributes. And Erotic Comfort Level.

Purely in the interest of education, we give you this essential field guide to lingerie to help you spot and identify the various and varied styles worn by the women in your life. Since feeling sexy in what she's wearing is the most important thing to a woman when she's with you, alone, in the bedroom, you'll want to make sure you get her just the right thing to make her comfortable enough to unleash her inner porn star. Not make her want to hide in the closet. (Unless, of course, that's your thing.)

[Special thanks to Shirley of Hollywood for their expertise and photography. And if you think that's Leanne Tweeden or Playmate Tyran Richard you see modeling some of Shirley's lingerie, you're right.]


The bra just turned 100 years old, and has come a long way from its initial conception: a pair of handkerchiefs held together by ribbon. Think bras only come in pushup, cross-over and Wonder? Not so. In the world of sexy lingerie there are several more interesting choices. Here are a few.


They can be bra-like or bikini-like. Or more like a half-shirt. The one on the left is a tube style in mesh, with no over-the-shoulder straps. Next is a halter style with a curved, form-following bottom. She'll love these if she's got a sporty side. Or if the twins need a little more support.


With strategically placed front openings (some even come with ribbon ties you pull to open), this bra is worn by the woman who wants that "always excited to see you" look. (Is it cold in here?)


Lifts and separates, yet let's your girl have that all-natural feeling of going commando. Just like the name implies, this bra provides a platform on which to proudly display her trophies.

Open Bust:

Not much more than some fabric in the rough outline of a bra, the Open Bust is only for the free-wheeling, free-swinging, free-spirited lady who doesn't like to keep things to herself. Yet feels going topless in front of you is a little too forward.


Here, too, we have a wide variety of choices for a wide variety of ladies with a wide variety of shapes and personalities. And if you always thought g-strings and thongs were the same thing, read on.


Just enough coverage in the front, and a thin strip of fabric in the back, these are great for showing your girl you've noticed that incredible booty she's been sculpting in Pilates class. For added appreciation go high end and give her a pair with a little something special in the back.


Like its cousin the thong, the g-string covers just enough up front, but it's got even less around back, leaving nothing covered back there. (Hence its nickname, "Butt Floss".) Only those with perfect rears (or a lot of confidence in the one she has), should apply.

Open Front:

Sometimes referred to as "crotchless", both thongs and g-strings are available with a convenient opening in the front. In case there just isn't enough time to remove them in an emergency.

Boy Shorts:

These evolved from her habit of slipping on your BVDs after some sheet time. We knew she looked better in them than we did, and fortunately lingerie designers agreed, making a version cut just for her. She loves to wear these around the house, just in case you start to forget how sexy she is, and they're even better for sleeping. Don't let the masculine name fool you. They are designed to show off every bit of her femininity.


If wearing the boy short doesn't show off enough of her femininity, get her a pair of tangas, so she can show off a lot more perfectly rounded cheek in the back.

Tap Pants:

Similar to her boy shorts, tap pants fit a little looser, leaving more to the imagination. (Until you pull the ribbons on the side.) If she's got a fun and flirtatious side - and loves to tease - get her the tap pants.


The skirtini is a skirt that's shorter than any micro-mini she may have dared wear in public. Imagine a band of lacy material around her waist. Open at the bottom. Too short to really cover anything. (Ok, stop imagining, you're drooling on your keyboard.)


Let's say she'd look great in a skirtini, but modesty is keeping her from letting the cat completely out of the bag. So to speak. The skong is a skirtini (usually sheer), with an attached thong to keep things under wraps. For the time being.


The style most often thought of when talking about lingerie, the teddy has been popular for decades. Although it comes in a ton of styles - some more revealing than others - the term "teddy" generally refers to a one-piece, form-fitting garment that covers both her top and bottom. Most of it anyway.


Cute and sexy, baby dolls are dress-like, short and flow softly out at the sides. They're easy to buy because you don’t need to know her exact size. And women like them because they can hide imperfections. Add in the new push-up version (third from left), that can make her look like Pamela Anderson up top, and you've got the perfect storm of sexy.


OK, so what if she doesn't have any imperfections to hide? Steer toward a chemise, which is usually a little longer than the baby doll, and more form-fitting to hug those curves.


The go-to seductive accessories for centuries, their purpose is to slim the hips while pushing up the bust. (And what woman doesn't feel sexier with slimmer hips and a pushed up bust?) The corset and bustier have made a comeback in recent years, even moving out of the bedroom and out into public as a fashion statement. Not to mention single handedly making The Pussycat Dolls a pop music sensation. (You didn't actually think it was the singing, did you?) With ribbon ties and clasps common in their styling, they're perfect for the girl who loves romance novels, or has an inner dominatrix fighting to get out. (The difference between the two? A bustier usually has cups, the corset does not. The two left pics are bustiers, the right two are corsets.)


The hottest new thing in fashion, it has the same waist slimming ability of the corset and bustier, but without the annoyance of covering up all the fun parts. She can pair it with a bra and panty set, or let it fly solo for that "Technically, I'm not naked" look.


We can thank comic books for our love of women in bodysuits. They come in just about any fabric, from Catwoman latex, to Susan Storm spandex, to the ever popular fishnet. Not as common as some of the other choices, the woman who wears one is likely to be fiercely adventurous and independent. And possibly have the ability to make herself invisible.


Let's get this straight: garters are the elastic straps that hold up her stockings. They can be attached to the bottom of a corset or bustier, or even a thong or skirtini. A garter belt is a separate piece entirely that the top of the garters attach to, if she's not wearing something that already has garter clips. Either way, there is almost nothing sexier than a woman wearing stockings and garters. Especially if that's all she's wearing.


The frosting on the cake, the cherry on the sundae, stockings bring the sexy to a whole new level. Knee high, thigh high, sheer, fishnet, with tiny bows down the back, or trimmed in feathers, any enhance whatever she's wearing. Or work perfectly fine all by themselves.


Think it ends for her with just wearing the bra and panties? Nope. Women have been playing dress-up since they were old enough to open mom's closet door. And just like back then, it's still all about the accessories. Long silk gloves, fuck-me pumps, feather boas, hats, a wig, even whips and riding crops, all add to her excitement. And yours.

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