Lingerie is a woman’s most intimate piece of apparel.  Figuring out what it is can be a little tricky, but, really, it’s just underwear, sleepwear, and the general term for intimate apparel.  It includes bras, too.

We want you to treat your lingerie with the utmost care.  Whether shopping for a new piece or figuring out how to properly care for the lingerie pieces you already own, we at Bits of Lace have a few tips to share with you, the modern woman.  After all, we’ve been providing our expertise throughout Charleston and beyond for four decades, since 1976.

We present to you the new rules of lingerie, eleven pieces of advice that we feel every woman should know.

Let’s start at the beginning, shopping for lingerie.


Develop a range that’s affordable for you. 

We place the emphasis on the for youbecause affordable means something different for everyone.  Do your research, and come up with a range that works for you.  For one person, affordable might mean spending no more than $25 on a pair of underwear.  For another, it could mean spending $25 on a bra.  So we stress determining what “affordable” means for you.  Bits of Lace provides a range of lingerie pieces that fit any budget, from our regular priced pieces to our sales items

We also suggest that you take a look at the different stores that are out there—there are many—and check out bras that are both in your price range and style.  Make sure that you focus on both elements.  If you focus only on things in your price range, you will be doing yourself a disservice in terms of lingerie that will make you feel good about yourself when wearing it.  You might get something that is priced within your range, but the quality might be low.  Make a decision with both quality and price.  It will give you a more realistic number of options that will ultimately provide a happy medium. 

Also, be specific about your price range.  A vague idea won’t work in this case, because a cute lace chemise might inspire you to drop a hundred dollars more than you were expecting, and we honestly don’t want you to regret something that you shouldn’t have a single shred of regret about. 

Put yourself first. 

Okay, so the term selfish sometimes gets a bad rap, but we honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting yourself first when it comes to lingerie.  There’s nothing wrong with being a little selfish ;).  How can you be your best for others if you’re not the best for yourself first?  This rule of thumb doesn’t only go for relationships with family, friends, or significant others, but it goes for lingerie, too.  You should always wear lingerie that you like.  If you wear it for that someone special, that is obviously your choice.  However, don’t feel guilty about wearing something because you like the way it looks and/or feels against your skin.   

Buy the bra or other undergarment that you feel your best self in.  Put yourself first, and you will more than likely radiate a positivity and confidence that draws people to you, particularly that special someone in your life.  By the way, it’s completely okay to buy lingerie when you’re single.  Embrace your femininity at all times of your life.  After all, you’re a woman and deserve to radiate the natural femininity that you were born with,  and nothing can do that more than the right piece of lingerie.

Know your bra size. 

Maybe your cups runneth over; maybe they don’t.  It is important to know your bra size for the times you see that amazing bra online (perhaps one of ours), and just have to have it.  After all, after following Tip #1, it’s both the style that you want and completely within your budget.  See this YouTube video for an idea on how to find your bra size yourself, although ideally you should follow Tip #4 and be fitted by an expert fitter.

Get fitted by an expert. 

National bra chains do train their employees to fit you for a bra, but we would suggest going to a smaller boutique style bra shop to get the personalized service that you—and your bust—deserve.  Did you know that sizes run as small as 28AAA and as large as 50I (the letter “I”, not 1)?  The largest recorded bust size is actually 52I (the letter “I”, not 1) by Annie Hawkins-Turner. Her cups definitely runneth over.  She is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest breasts in the world.  Wow.  So, as long a woman’s chest needs support, there are bras that will provide the needed support, no matter the cup size.  Contact us today for an expert fitting.

We will also select the bras that we feel will look the best on you after fitting you, giving an honest professional assessment on which bras we feel flatter you the most, and which provide you with the most support.  Being fitted by an expert will also open your eyes to the many possibilities for bra sizes, which brings us to Tip#5: looking in a variety of places before deciding that your size doesn’t exist.

Look before you say that they don’t have your size. 

So you’ve been fitted for a bra by an expert fitter, and know that you have a bra size that isn’t too common.  Or maybe you see a style that you love, but the store only carries a piece in a cup size too small or a band too wide.  What do you do when you don’t see your size?  Keep looking.  Ask these shops first if their online inventory might carry your size, and then, if not, see if they can provide a referral.  We also carry a large selection of bras for various sizes, including plus sizes, too.   

Be reasonable.

We don’t want you to settle for just any bra out there—you do deserve the best.  However, if you’ve experienced demands that are impossible to meet, it can be beyond frustrating.  Whether at work, or in life, it can be difficult to explain to a person that wants something that can’t be done, that it can’t be done. The tale rings especially true for lingerie.  Not all requests can be accommodated.    

A scenario might be that a customer is looking for a strapless bra for a strapless bodycon dress.  Simple enough.  The bra fitter brings out a few styles to choose from, all with underwire.  The customer then says, “No, I don’t want a bra with underwire.  None of the bras with underwire are very pretty.”  Well, um, would you like the “un-pretty” bra or the unflattering silhouette?  While many styles of wireless bras exist, it can be more than difficult to find a bra that is both wireless and strapless.  Without the straps to support her chest, the customer does not understand that she will be doing the form-fitting dress a real disservice by not selecting the bra with wiring, which will give her chest the most support while still fitting her strapless dress. 

Of course, sometimes we learn these things over time.  How will you know what doesn’t work if you don’t ask these types of questions first?  We are understanding when it comes to questions and requests.  However, we do want women to stay informed and continue to always learn more about lingerie and what looks best on their bodies (and this includes everyone at Bits of Lace, too).  In this way, it is easy to understand what requests are reasonable for both parties.


Stock up on the basics. 

Just like with clothing, we want to have everyday go-to pieces of lingerie for rainy days, emergencies, and days when you just want to throw on a comfortable piece quickly without taking time to decide.  So, for basics, we would suggest having at least one flesh-colored bra and one black bra, a go-to classic.  We also suggest having a sports bra for workouts and a strapless bra for shirts or dresses with very thin straps or no straps at all.  Because underwear tends to be significantly less expensive than bras and other pieces of lingerie, we suggest a couple of pairs of black undies, at least one skin-tone, and the rest is up to you.  A basic chemise or teddy in black to start off your lingerie collection is also a good idea, too.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. 

As we’ve opined, we believe in making sure that you’re ecstatic about your choice in lingerie, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun and experiment.  Be adventurous, and mix and match pieces that might seem unconventional, but fit perfectly to you.  Try bright and bold colors and patterns.  Also, experiment with fabric.  Lace definitely feels great, but try silk, satin, and mesh, too.  Just as in life, we should always be growing and becoming more of who we were meant to be in this world.  The same should go for your lingerie.  So, keep things interesting by trying a piece that you’ve always wanted to try, but which maybe the fashion rules have kept you from trying.  It’s ultimately your world that you’re creating, and the lingerie pieces you choose should make you happy and add something new to the pot.

Know the story behind the material or store. 

Basically, be conscious of what you buy.  Not every store focuses on hiring individuals who are of legal working age and pays livable wages, and it would behoove you to do a little research on the establishment before deciding to buy.  Of course, the choice will always be yours, but we believe in a universe where the world should function under a few rules, including not subjecting children to hard labor, and paying people sustainable wages.  Your hard-earned dollar should go to a company whose practices you agree with, and we stand behind that.

When something fits well enough, but not perfectly, get the piece tailored. 

Because we all have bodies that are unique, two people can have the same size, but still fit each piece differently.  A piece of lingerie could fit perfectly, except for along your waist, which is about the same size as your hips, or much, much smaller than them.  In this case, have the piece tailored.  Generally, we want the items that you buy to fit perfectly, but there’s no guarantee that they always will.  So develop a list of tailors in your area, check out their websites, call them up, and ask a few questions.  After you’ve done your research, home in on one or two that you’d like to get your materials tailored by, or you can ask us to do it.  We have a list of people on hand that we know as well.

Be comfortable, but don’t completely nix a selected piece because there’s a wee bit of discomfort. 

It’s funny that we’re saying that comfort should come first, when it’s very clear that a girl (well, you know, woman ) might buy a pair of uncomfortable but cute shoes just because they go well with her jeans.  But when it comes to lingerie, your undergarments are your base.  They should be comfortable, because your shirt, pants, skirt, or anything else you place on your body sits squarely on this foundation.  Even spritz on a little perfume, and the overall impact of your outfit will be affected by the way you feel overall, starting with the bra and underwear you’ve decided to wear for the day. 

So, first and foremost, your lingerie should be comfortable.  However, if you’re still head over heels with your first choice, and it’s a wee bit uncomfortable—but not so much that it ruins the way you feel about your selection—go ahead and get it.  This is a rare exception, when we believe that your overall feeling about it (going back to Tip #2) is most important.  Also, if you also have the option of getting something tailored to fit you better, so it is something that can also be fixed with a little tailoring, then what’s keeping you from getting something that you ultimately like and will enjoy?

We want you, the modern woman, to have fun with lingerie.  So take these eleven rules, and enjoy every single one.  If you don’t know already, learn your bra size; and, if you know but want an expert opinion, contact us today. Don’t be afraid to buy lingerie for yourself just because you want to.  Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors, or try something funky.  Enjoy yourself, because your cute assets are yours and yours alone, and you should love and handle them with care.

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