I look at lingerie like I do cupcakes: I’d enjoy an unfrosted one, but a nicely decorated cupcake feels extra special. I want to be the frosted cupcake. But there’s an inverse to that, too — the wrong frosting can overpower the cupcake. So, as with cupcakes, there’s a balance with lingerie. It needs to be comfortable while still appearing sexy. It needs to fit right without being impossible to escape from. And it ought to be luxurious enough without being so absurd that you only ever wear it once.
Gifting lingerie, as one may do this upcoming Valentine’s Day, puts this balance beneath a magnifying glass. How the fuck are you supposed to know what’ll be comfortable? What if you’d rather just see your partner naked? Can’t you just let a 19-year-old Victoria’s Secret employee berate you into buying whatever they’re shilling?
For guidance, I turned to the true experts — OnlyFans creators who wear lingerie for a living. So much of keeping things fresh on OnlyFans comes down to wearing different outfits, meaning lots of creators have tons of experience with lingerie. This can range from the cheap stuff you can find on Amazon to sets that cost half your rent. The sweet spot, though, is somewhere in between.
The most common recommendation I heard from creators was Honey Birdette, an Australian lingerie company with a handful of boutiques in the U.S. Elaina St. James, Anya Braddock and Victoria Silver all cited it as their pick for higher-end lingerie. It’s a favorite of mine, too — Honey Birdette lingerie is both luxe and playful; fun without seeming tacky. While it would be easy to spend your whole paycheck here, it’s not required. At full price, bra and panty sets cost around $170 to $190, and sets that include a garter belt cost around $50 to $100 more. In my humble opinion, the garter belt is a worthwhile addition, because it’s a piece of lingerie that you can actually keep on during sex.
If you’re on a tighter budget, there are bodysuits and pajama-esque gift sets that are closer to $150. Since it’s so close to Valentine’s Day, nothing is on sale, but if you shop at the right times of the year, they often have sets on sale for 50 percent off or more. It also comes in a fancy little box, so you don’t even really need to wrap it.
Molly (aka @DoSomeMolly on Twitter) as well as Braddock both recommended Thistle and Spire, too. If you’ve got a goth GF in your life, this is a particularly good choice — much of their lingerie is black, and many of their most popular designs feature serpents on them in a way that somehow manages to be sexy. But even for the non-goths, there’s tons of mature, unique options. Better yet, it’s easy to put together a bra and panty set for under $100. Their garters are also fun — some have added chain details, some feature a removable choker, all for around $38 each. There’s a good sale section, too.
Rihanna’s lingerie brand, Savage X Fenty, was also cited by both Braddock and Violet Valentine as a favorite. The brand carries lingerie for basically every style, from campy red vinyl crotchless bodysuits to classic and simple lace sets. Unlike many other lingerie brands, Savage X also has a line of men’s lingerie, ranging from silky boxers to jock straps to mesh crop tops. There are often sales, but usually, you can expect to spend around $60 for a full look. Be careful with checking out, though — Savage X functions on a “membership” system, where you’re automatically enrolled as a “VIP” and charged a monthly credit unless you uncheck a specific box when cashing out.
As for some more indie favorites, Braddock likes Kimotoki, an anime-inspired, Black woman-owned brand. There currently aren’t many options available, but what’s still online is very affordable at $60 a set. It looks like the site is only doing pre-orders at the moment, meaning you won’t get it in time for the holiday, but it’s a brand to keep in mind for the anime gals in your life. Silver also recommends Love Vera, another Black woman-owned business that emphasizes inclusive sizing. Their newest sets, which feature a bra, panty and garter belt, are going for $130, but most everything else on the site is on sale. You could get a different three-piece set, for example, for $60.
While all of the aforementioned brands carry plus-size options and have bra offerings in some styles up to a G or H cup, the sizing selections can be limited. And for plenty of women, an H cup simply isn’t enough. Erika Love, for example, is a creator with K-cup breasts. She recommends the brands Curvy Kate, which specializes in bra sizes D through K, and Hips and Curves, a plus-size-centric brand, for women with her body type. Both are super affordable, with plenty of options for full sets (bra, panties and maybe a garter) under $50.
All this to say, there’s a big world of lingerie out there. The stores at the mall can be fine, but they don’t always carry sizes to reflect all body types, and sometimes you just want something different. As an aside, whenever you’re in need of ideas for gifts for women (especially lingerie), it’s worth checking out the wishlists of OnlyFans creators and other online sex workers. If it’s good enough for them to add to their wishlist, it’s definitely something to consider. Perhaps their style isn’t exactly the same as the person you’re shopping for, but it can be a decent starting point. At very least, let them inspire you to seek options beyond Victoria’s Secret.
I mean, don’t we all deserve to feel like sexy cupcakes on Valentine’s Day?