If I didn’t have to change diapers and give my dog daily dandruff baths, my personal style would be a combination of White Diamonds–era Elizabeth Taylor and Dolly Parton (in any decade). Mama likes to look sexy, y’all. That’s why I buy myself gorgeous underwear and lingerie on a regular basis, and you should too. I like knowing that beneath the same pair of black leggings that get washed once a week (if they’re lucky) and an old maternity t-shirt, I’m wearing a hot push-up bra and barely-there underwear. I wasn’t always the confident lady you’ve all come to know and love, though. The first time I bought lingerie for myself, I morphed into a 13-year-old girl trying on her friend’s mom’s bras at a sleepover. I giggled awkwardly as I perused teddies and strategically-placed keyhole undies until I finally settled on a piece of lingerie that was slightly more sexy than a nightgown that Laura Ingalls might have worn on Little House on the Prairie. But I took it home, and when I put it on, I immediately felt bolder. It was totally empowering to buy lingerie for myself. So I bought more. If you think that lingerie is reserved only for anniversaries or to spice up your sex life, it’s time to think again, you beautiful tropical fish.
Here’s a secret: Buying lingerie is basically the same as going to the gym.
Okay, that’s not exactly true. But according to Kimberly Hershenson, a New York–based therapist specializing in eating disorders and body-confidence issues, putting yourself first can have a powerful positive effect on your health. “In our society, we are often taught that if we put our needs first, we are being selfish; however self-care and being selfish are two different things,” says Hershenson. “Self-care involves activities and practices that we engage in to help enhance our health and well-being. Wearing lingerie just for yourself is a great form of self-care. Lingerie has a way of making one feel sexy and confident. It can be an effective way of boosting your self-esteem.” Sort of like when Samantha wants to buy herself a particular expensive ring in Sex and the City—there’s something very empowering about buying yourself lingerie. But unlike the new shoes your kid had to have this week or new tires for your car, lingerie is a totally frivolous, fun purchase just for you. You’re allowed to be selfish sometimes. And sometimes that means spending money on lingerie that no one will see but you. Because listen up, ladies: It’s 2018! And though some people feel that women can’t do certain things, like eat regular Doritos, you do not need to have a partner to buy yourself lingerie this Valentine’s Day. Lucky for you, I went lingerie shopping (hey, it was all for research!). Here are a few of my favorite lingerie pieces for every style.
Make like Vin Diesel and go XXX.
See what I did there? Or is that joke too dated? Either way, if you feel like (a lot) less is more, the Hollywood Exxtreme Lace Teddy ($48.50) from OG lingerie retailer Frederick’s of Hollywood is totally impractical, but it’s also a really hot piece of lingerie. I dare you to feel frumpy when you put it on. If the teddy is a little too racy for your bedtime routine, channel your sexiest Morticia Addams in this Oh La La Cheri Eyelash Lace Robe Set from Bare Necessities ($35.50) which comes in sizes small to 4x.
Sustainability never looked so sexy.
Want lingerie that makes you look good while doing good? This Origami Customs Cage Bra ($37) from Bluestockings Boutique is sustainably sexy, stylish, and completely handmade in Canada. Bluestockings Boutique’s mission is “to empower people who have been marginalized by the mainstream lingerie industry and to offer them an experience that reflects their identities, their bodies, and their values.” Whatever your lingerie style, they’ve truly got something for everyone, no matter what pronoun you use. Azura Bay only carries sustainably and ethically produced lingerie, like the Floral Lana Lyocell Bra ($89) from Underprotection, which is fair trade–produced in India with eco-friendly materials, so you don’t have to worry about your underwear being bad for the environment.
Maternity Lingerie? Yes, please!
Have you seen the mesh panties the hospital sends you home in? The only thing they share in common with lingerie is that both are designed to cover your lady parts. Treat yourself to some seriously sexy maternity lingerie, like the Chloe Maternity/Nursing Bra $59.99 from Nestling and Co. Pair it with the matching Chloe underwear ($17.99) for a lingerie set that will make you feel like a million bucks, even though you haven’t showered in days.
Comfort is key.
You know what? I’m just going to say it. No one really likes thong underwear. You know what women do like? Being comfortable and sexy at the same time. Hands down, the most comfortable lingerie I’ve ever bought is the Gilligan & O’Malley Long Line Bra ($14.99) from Target. It’s ultra-flattering for every body type but comfortable enough to wear every day—and its price point can’t be beat. Plus, it comes in a ton of colors. If your definition of comfortable means wire-free lingerie, then try Else Sheer Bare Sporty Top, a barely-there take on the classic sports bra ($85) from Journelle.
Ready to take your lingerie to the next level?
Teddies, babydoll nighties, and sexy bras are great, but sometimes you need lingerie that’s just a little extra. That’s where an open-cup or peekaboo bra like the Vintage Lace Shelf Bra ($22.21) comes in. All the important parts of the bra that provide lift and support are there, but your breasts will be on full display. You can choose to wear a cute pair of pasties, like this gorgeous rhinestone set ($40) from Etsy seller Gothfox Designs, or go au naturel for a more daring look. For a lingerie set that will make you feel sexier than Claire Fraser and Anastasia Steele combined, consider pairing a peekaboo bra with a pair of crotchless panties. Only you have to know what you’re wearing, and that can provide an extra boost of bravado when you need it most. Edible underwear are the punchline to many a joke, I know. And most are really sort of gross. But, I actually don’t mind this rainbow candy g-string. For one, it’s the only edible underwear I’ve seen that actually looks anything like underwear. Second, I didn’t so much wear these as snack on them while binge-watching The Crown, but hey—you’re buying them for you, so do what you want! Still, if you’re looking to sweeten your lingerie game, candy undies are deliciously appropriate. If you’ve never treated yourself to lingerie, then now is the time. So take advantage of those Valentine’s Day sales and buy yourself a little something sexy. Because single, taken, or just here for the party, you deserve it!