Building a Lingerie Wardrobe

Whether it was a New Year’s Resolution, a quarantine project, or a Marie Kondo conversion, everyone has taken time to clean out a closets, and been blown away by how much unworn, unloved, useless stuff they’ve found there.

A cruise around even the most tightly curated lingerie shop will make you wonder: how much of this do I actually need? Let’s break it down into four categories: everyday, special occasion, foundation garments, and sleepwear.

Everyday

To get yourself through the work week without doing laundry over and over, get three workhorse bras (a black and two nudes usually does it), seven pairs of comfortable underwear, and as many pairs of tights or pantyhose as you need. A stretchy skin-colored camisole and a black bra with pretty straps round out your daily pieces— this lets you wear sheer tops to work without compromising the silhouette of the garment and not stress about wide-neck tops showing your bra straps, respectively. If you stop right here, you’re already set for 99% of situations.

Special Occasions

Let’s get this clear: by special occasions, we mean “whenever the hell you want.” The sky’s the limit with these pieces, but having two pretty bra-and-panty sets that make you feel like a million bucks is a great start. Putting on something fun that feels great before getting dressed can change the course of the rest of the day; you’ll feel a little more confident, and it’s just for you. If you like the look, grab a garter belt that matches one of those sets, too! Black thigh-highs are a safe bet in almost all scenarios, and those four pieces taken together give you some glamorous options.

Foundation Garments

We hate the word “shapewear.” Your shape is great how it is. Despite this universal truth, sometimes you don’t want everyone seeing everything. To build out the foundation garment section of your wardrobe, think about the kinds of things you actually wear. You probably don’t need a thousand different single-function bras, right? Right. Invest in a supportive, high-quality convertible bra (we have them in every size, don’t worry), a half slip, a full ship, a pretty camisole, and a shaping slip and you’re done. A great convertible bra will provide invisible structure to strapless, wide-neck, one-shoulder, and low-back dresses, while the half slip and full slip will give you a little more coverage and prevent your skirt from sticking to your legs. A nice camisole adds a little visual interest to an otherwise meh top, and it makes a too-low shirt office appropriate. A shaping slip need not be too constricting; you just want something that will smooth out any lines in a body-con dress. If you hate the feel of these, skip it.

Sleepwear

You spend a third of your life asleep, so you may as well be happy with your outfit. We recommend getting two robes: a cozy, warm robe for wearing on chilly mornings, and silky cover-up for chicer lounging. Your pajama wardrobe can consist of just two sets if you like: a comfy two-piece set and a cute tap pant-bralette combo.

With just a couple pieces, you can get the look you want without stuffing your closet full of stuff you’ll wear just once or twice. If you have questions about what some of these pieces actually look like in practice, check out this video for a tour of a minimal lingerie wardrobe that’s built to last.

Kirsten Schofield