A Man's Guide: How to Buy Lingerie

Posted by , 02 December 2010


  • #01

    Men's lingerie buyer's guide: the glossary

  • Introduction
  • #05

    Men's lingerie buyer's guide: the basics

Men are obsessed with looking at women in lingerie, Ann Summers, Agent Provocateur, La Senza and Victoria's Secret advertisers know this. But if you're out buying rather than perving, it's not good enough to pick the sexiest thing in 'a melon sized cup' and hope that she'll like it. It's an intricate affair with lots to consider. These days you should be able to shop for it, name it correctly and remove it – often while still handcuffed – smoothly. 

Just imagine a world where women were as fascinated by male underwear as we are by their corsets, bras, french knickers, thongs and anything labeled hosiery. Fashion supplements would be dedicated to the humble Y-front. Trunk colour would be deliberated endlessly – “candy stripes good, brown stripes bad." It would, in other words, be a world gone mad.

Thankfully, beyond occasionally cooing over Cristano Ronaldo’s heavily photoshopped package, women do not much ponder over pants. They couldn’t give two hoots what keks you’ve got on, provided they are not the same pair you had on yesterday (and the day before that).

We've covered lingerie before with our eye popping FHMTV lingerie buyer's guide series, but we feel it's time to update the guide and broaden it out. This section is packed with truly useful information about all things lingerie, but because you still need some ‘inspiration’ before you set off shopping there’s also lots of pretty pictures. Lots of them.

In total, we've got five brand new shoots with four of our favourite FHM girlfriends. Each shoot is designed to ‘showcase’ a different aspect of lingerie’s myriad pleasures, from comfy sleepovers to hardcore fetish gear, and we've got an accompanying guide to go with it. Think of it like a Haynes manual for bras rather than cars.

The History of Lingerie

As an extra treat, we've got this little nugget of lingerie wisdom for you to keep you even more informed about the lacy stuff. Learn about lingerie through the ages with this FHM timeline:

1550’s The corset or ‘pair of bodies’ as it was known, is the main item of female underwear. They’re commonly supported with whale and elephant bones.

1829 The first front-fastening corsets are created, allowing women to remove corsets without help. Lesbian handmaidens everywhere shed tears.

1913 New York socialite Mary-Phelps Jacobs patents the brassiere. 91 years later, her modern day equivalent, Paris Hilton, gives us the sex tape.

1935 American bra company Warners introduces four cup sizes: A, B, C and D, whilst British firms continue to use coy terms like medium, junior and table top until the 1950’s.

1939 Mayor of New York, Fiorello La Guardia orders the nude dancers at the city’s World’s Fair to cover up. The thong is hastily invented to do the job. Just.

1944 British women construct their own underwear during the war. Big granny pants made from parachutes are all the rage.

1968 Gossard produce the original Wonderbra and it’s a hit. The world high-fives each other.

1968 Feminists protest with ‘bra burnings’ except no bras are actually burnt (they couldn’t get a permit). Bras, garters, false eyelashes and copies of Playboy are put in bins to protest against a beauty pageant.

1974 The term ‘going commando’ enters the public’s consciousness. Although ‘upskirts’ doesn’t appear until after the millennium.

1990’s Madonna wears a Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra during her Blonde Ambition tour. Men are both aroused and terrified.

1992 The Wonderbra becomes a massive hit. Again. With no small thanks to Eva Herzigová and the infamous ‘Hello Boys’ poster campaign.

2000 Sisqo releases Thong Song. It’s no Stairway To Heaven, but the video is undeniably amazing.

2001 Renée Zellweger makes big granny pants okay again in the awful Bridget Jones movie.

2007 Dr. Joanne Morgan invents an entirely strapless bra for big-breasted women but shockingly doesn’t win a Nobel Prize.

2009 Elena Bodnar invents a bra that can be converted into two gas masks and wins an Ig Nobel Prize (for inventions that make you laugh, then think).

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Relationship and sex advice from the FHM team. How to please your woman, talk to girls, have great relationships and be a Ron Jeremy in the bedroom.