Valentine gift-giving guide for men.
Words by Kristy Elik
Ask any man about the most terrifying experience of his life and lingerie shopping for his significant other is sure to rank right up at the top of his list, along with skydiving and public speaking.
“Navigating through racks of tiny thongs, satin teddies and lacy bras to purchase that special something she’ll love—and wear—can be a daunting task,” says Lida Lisney of Inside Story Lingerie II, located at Sherwood Forrest Mall (www.insidestory.ca).
“I’ve seen all different types of male shoppers,” she continues, “from the nervous, ‘I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing’ guy to the more experienced, ‘I’ve-got-this-one-in-the-bag’ lingerie expert.”
If you make the right purchase, though, you’ll win huge points with her. Women love to receive little luxuries that they might never buy for themselves, and the gift of lingerie is as intimate as it gets.
If you’re considering dazzling your partner on Valentine’s Day with the gift of a perfect silky something, take our advice and heed these pointers before you head out to shop.
The most important consideration of all, says Lisney, is your partner’s size. Men often step into lingerie shops without much more than a vague idea of what size their girlfriend or wife may be.
“Men tend to say to me, ‘she’s about your size,’” says Lisney. But even the most well-meaning guys typically underestimate their partners’ true sizes.
“Many items, especially those that are European, tend to fit quite small,” explains Lisney, saying she often helps women exchange clothing for a larger size, which can be downright embarrassing.
“It’s no fun when you buy your partner a 32B and she’s really a 36A,” says Lisney. “But it’s not your fault! So many women wear all different bra sizes because they don’t even know their proper size.”
The size factor has driven many lingerie boutiques to adopt special return policies for Christmas or Valentine’s gifts, which makes sense when, as at Inside Story, many of the items can cost over $100.
HER OWN PRIVATE WISH LIST
Make use of a service that many fine lingerie stores now provide: her own personal profile. “We keep all of our customers’ sizes, plus colour and fit preferences on file here at the store,” says Lisney “and we’ll make note of any special items she’s set her heart on.”
PRACTICAL IS SEXY
One of the most practical gifts you can give is a gift certificate towards a proper bra fitting—a gift that will keep on giving for years to come. Statistics say that up to 85 percent of women wear the wrong bra size, so showing you care about her comfort and the way she feels in her lingerie will earn you many points.
“The ideal lingerie both looks and feels amazing,” says Lisney. “And what nicer way to show her you care than to buy her something beautiful and comfortable?”
And what about those, er, special items a man might purchase for his lady, the ones that aren’t meant to be practical and worn all day but rather taken off quite quickly?
Many close-fitting outfits are final sale, for obvious health reasons, so make sure you get the size down, especially because these items tend to be very expensive.
And what if you have the wrong idea about what apparel turns her on?
Here’s yet another reason to make use of the aforementioned lingerie wish list: you can retain that all-important element of surprise, while being assured that the unmentionables you’ve purchased for that special someone will actually fit.
Lisney doesn’t discourage men from braving the lingerie store. In fact, she feels women who receive that size extra-small thong should look past the teeny gift and focus on the thought that spurred it on.
“It’s a wonderful gesture for someone to buy an intimate gift for another person,” she says. “It’s important for women to stop and look at the gift and realize that someone got them lingerie for a reason. He’s saying, ‘I love you no matter what and I want you to feel beautiful.’”
A LITTLE EFFORT GOES A LONG WAY
When it comes to choosing lingerie, it’s the thought that counts the most, says Susan Longley of Susan’s Fine Lingerie (www.susansfinelingerie.com). “You want to send a message to her: you care about her so much that you’ve done your research and have taken the time to pick out something really special,” Longley explains. “Take her out beforehand to a nice lingerie store, and note what she picks up,” she continues. “Listen to what she says, and watch which items make her eyes shine.”
THE THREE Ps
To keep you out of the doghouse, Longley has a fail-proof strategy for men when it comes to buying lingerie.
“Follow the rule of the three Ps,” she explains. “Choose something that’s pretty, practical and personal, and you can’t go wrong.”
Finally, it’s vital to remember that many modern lingerie stores offer sexy and functional solutions for ladies with special requirements. Marion Klinnert of Private Moments Lingerie (www.privatemoments.ca), for one, is passionate about providing innovative, customized products that ensure the highest level of post-mastectomy well-being.
“After all, it’s about being comfortable,” she says.
So guys, take a chance for Valentine’s Day!