Lingerie Terms Glossary

Lingerie Terms Glossary

Babydoll- Babydolls are short negligees or nighties that are designed as sleeping clothes for women but they can also be quite sexy. While they can be simple satin or cotton, many are trimmed with everything from lace to bows and ribbons. Babydolls are usually above-the-knee length and are usually made of a fabric that’s translucent and feminine, such as silk or nylon. Most have spaghetti straps.

Bikini- A bikini is a kind of underwear that can be worn both by women and men. Bikinis are usually revealing and provide less coverage than traditional underwear. There is no design specific to the term “bikini” but generally any underwear that’s skimpy, tight or very revealing can be identified as a bikini.

Bodystocking- Bodystockings are similar to a catsuit or a leotard. They usually have long legs, but can also have short legs or no legs at all (like a leotard). Bodystockings are usually made of a sheer material similar to the materials used for tights and stockings. Sometimes they are made of fishnet material. Bodystockings can be worn under clothing or on their own – they are often considered erotic.

Bra (or brassiere)- Bras are traditionally called brassieres, but most people these days use the less formal term. Designed to cover and elevate the breasts, bras are worn as undergarments, but can also be worn alone with other lingerie items and can be quite sexy. Bras can be all about function and be quite simple or they can be made from silk, lace and other luxurious fabrics to create a sultry bra.

Built-in bras- Built-in bras are the supportive structure often added to other garments like swimsuits or tank tops; adding these can provide built-in support so the wearer doesn’t need to also wear a bra for support. Most garments will feature a built-in bra that features a simple horizontal elastic strip, though some garments include built-in bras that feature cups and underwires like traditional bras.

Bustier- Bustiers are form fitting and often worn as lingerie, though they can also be worn on their own or under jackets or other garments. Bustiers are designed to slim the waist of the woman wearing them while also enhancing the bust. Bustiers can also have detachable garter straps that hold up stockings when desired.

Camisole- A camisole is often referred to as a cami. These undergarments generally cover the top part of the body and are sleeveless and form fitting. This fit lends itself well to being worn under clothing, though many women like to wear their camisoles without a garment over. Camisoles are also less functional and are instead worn as pieces of lingerie and can be made from silk, satin or various stretch fabrics like spandex, lycra and nylon. Camisole can be worn over a bra or alone. Some camisoles offer more support in the form of built-in bras.

Chemise- See babydoll.

Club Wear- Club wear is a term used to describe revealing or provocative (even fetish) clothing that is worn to night clubs. These clubs usually feature sensual environments that offer a relaxed and open dress code.

Convertible bra- Offering the ultimate in versatility, the convertible bra has straps that detach and that can be rearranged in different ways depending on the clothing you’re wearing and the kind of bra that might be best suited for that clothing style.

Corset- Designed to shape and mold the torso into a desired shape; when worn as lingerie the corset creates a pleasing aesthetic.

Corselette- This garment is a combination of a brassiere and a light corset but a corselette will usually be without boning and may be similar in design to a camisole. Some have underwire cups and some do not.

Costume- Those looking to dress up as a particular character other than who they are might like to try a costume. Popular on Halloween, costumes can also be worn for fun parties and other events. Many women and men like to wear costumes in the bedroom for unexpected fun.

Crotchless panties- Underwear with openings at the genitals.

Fishnet- Often used for stocking material, fishnet is a material with an open, diamond-shaped pattern. Also used for tights and bodystockings, fishnet is often worn by people who favour punk and goth fashion, but fishnet is also commonly found in pieces of sexy lingerie.

Fetish clothing- Any kind of clothing that becomes fetish for its wearers is considered fetish clothing. Common fetish clothing includes underwear and skin-tight clothing. The materials are often of a different nature than the traditional and can include rubber, spandex, satin, fishnet and fabrics made from unusual materials like plastic or PVC. Some examples of fetish clothing include corsets, thigh-high boots, collars, bondage masks and catsuits.

Foundation garment- Designed to change and enhance the wearer’s shape, foundation garments are designed to provide a fashionable figure. Foundation garments are also called shapewear.

Full figured- See plus size.

Full support bras- Popular with plus-sized women, full support bras are designed to offer full support of the whole breast and are ideal for everyday wear.

Garter belts- Designed to provide a base for stockings that can attach to the garter belt, these belts (also called suspender belts) feature from four to eight dangling clips that hold the stockings up. Ideal for wear under clothing, garter belts are also a natural addition to a sexy lingerie collection.

Gothic- Dark colors are the hallmark of the gothic style, which includes a dark and often eroticised fashion style. Common gothic styles for women include veils, dark eyeliner, long gowns and corsets. Some women might also wear black nail polish and fishnets. The most common gothic colors include black, red and dark purple.

G-string- G-string panties are worn by men or women and are marked by the style, which features a narrow piece of cloth that’s attached to a band around the hips. The narrow fabric passes between the legs, which combined with the hip band, creates a strikingly revealing look. The term refers to that narrow band between the legs, which often looks like a “string”.

Hook and eye closure- A kind of fastener that’s used to secure corsets, some shapewear and many bras. It features a small hook that’s secured on one side of the garment while a small loop (or the eye) is secured to the other side. When fastened together, they create a common style of closure.

Negligee- A common form of sexy nightwear for women, the negligee can be long or short and is often made of a silky fabric like satin or silk.

Nightgown (nightie)- This term can refer to any sleepwear, but particularly to night dresses like chemises and negligees.

Novelty bra- Novelty bras are less about practicality and more about sensuality. They are more for show and include styles like peek-a-boo bras and can include unusual fabrics, like leather.

Open bust- Open bust bras provide no coverage or support over the bust area and are designed for show rather than for practicality.

Padded bras- Padded bras are usually designed to add size for smaller breasts, and are not like push-up bras. While push-up bras often contain pads, bras that are designed as padded bras are not a push-up style but are instead designed to add volume to smaller breasts.

Panty- This term refers to underwear for women.

Peek-a-boo bra- These bras are designed more for novelty than functionality. They allow the wearer to show their breasts and have cups that barely cover the breast, often with an open area at the nipple.

Plus size- Clothing that’s designed for the fuller figured woman; a plus size is a size 14 or higher in North American and Australian sizing and a size 16 or higher in UK sizing.

Push-up bra- These bras are designed to lift the breasts and emphasize the cleavage. A good example of a well-known push-up bra is the Wonderbra. Most push-up bras contain some kind of padding, usually made from foam or rubber. Some contain filling made from water, gel or an oil and water mixture.

PVC material- An abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride, this material is often used in lingerie.

Robe- Robes are loose-fitting garments worn over lingerie or other nightwear. They usually have sleeves.

Shapewear- See foundation garment.

Shelf bra- This underwire push-up bra pushes up the breasts without covering them, or provides a thin strip of fabric across the breast.

Sheer- Refers to a kind of fabric that’s transparent or semi-transparent.

Sleepwear- This term can refer to pajamas or any clothing that you sleep in. Sleepwear can be one piece or two pieces, and can include nightgowns, pajamas and lingerie items.

Stockings- This close-fitting garment is designed to cover the foot and lower part of the leg. While they cover part of the leg, stockings are not meant to conceal the leg and are usually somewhat transparent.

Strapless bra- Bras with no shoulder straps, strapless bras are designed to be worn with clothes that reveal the shoulders, such as halter tops. Many brides also wear strapless bras with their wedding gowns.

Suspender belt- See garter belt.

Teddie/Teddy- Like a bodysuit, a teddy is looser fitting than a bodysuit and is usually designed to slip off the shoulders rather than open at the crotch.

Thong- See g-string.

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