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Illustrations by Mr Joe McKendry

It's your first Valentine's Day together. You're enjoying the haze of new-found affection and lust, and as such, lingerie seems like the perfectly pitched gesture. You aim for something chic and expensive. You leave with overpriced dental floss that spends the rest of its short life stuffed into a drawer. You got it wrong. Again. Next time, here's how you get it right.

Underwear shopping can be embarrassing and for some cruel reason, the person you come face to face with is usually unfeasibly hot. Don't let your trousers or her charms lead you in the wrong direction. Research and buy online so you won't get distracted.

If she's ample up top, then she'll need an underwired bra. If she has more than enough, the service of specific brands will be required (Elle Macpherson Intimates and Stella McCartney go all the way up to E, F and G cups). Whatever you do, avoid anything that calls itself a "soft cup". These little beauties are more suited to barely-there types.

If you can't figure out what strap, clasp or clip goes where, chances are she won't either. If it's got more strings and things than a cat's cradle, I can pretty much guarantee it will be worn once and then never see the light of day again. Simple is often sexiest.

Men tend to think small when it comes to buying lingerie. Whether this is wishful thinking, a misjudged sort of kindness or an innate inability to gauge size and distance (wink, wink) remains a mystery to women the world over. Whatever the cause, stop it. Use your head. SpongeBob SquarePants wouldn't fit into Patrick Star's shorts and attempting to make him fit would be humiliating. Point made.

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