Whether it’s Christmas, your birthday or the annual celebration of love and libido, Valentine’s Day, buying a new set of lingerie doesn’t require a special occasion.
And now, thanks to the industry’s ever-expanding offering of bras and knickers, getting fancy undies doesn’t have to be all about provocation either.
While many associate lingerie with those in the first flushes of romance, most women are doing it for themselves and investing in well-fitting underwear that makes them feel empowered
Sure, we all have our favourite undies and bras – that probably don’t even match – but investing in a new set of lingerie can feel like a true indulgence, whether you’re single, in a long-term relationship, or somewhere in-between, it doesn’t matter.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to purchasing new underwear. It can feel like a bit of a risk to buy your intimates online, because let’s be honest, size is relative when it comes to bras and knickers, but, most online retailers offer size guides and have handy online review sections so you can read what other shoppers have to say about them.
Similarly, a bra just isn’t a bra these days as they come in a manifold of styles from delicate triangle versions to padded plunge, balconette and full-coverage. If you’ve settled on a specific style, filter your online search accordingly to narrow down the selection or, if you’re still unsure, check to see if a retailer offers aids such as tips and tricks videos or an online advisor you can ask questions to.
From the full brief knickers to a lacy body, here’s our roundup of the best lingerie.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Savage x Fenty eye heart u 2-piece set: £64, Savage x Fenty
In 2018, Rihanna revolutionised the lingerie industry with the launch of her size-inclusive brand Savage x Fenty, which offers fashion-forward pieces in sizes 32A to 46H in bras and XS (UK0) to 3X (UK22) in briefs.
A great option for women of all shapes and sizes, we suggest picking up this playful set which includes an unlined and underwired demi-cup bra and matching bikini-style bottoms that are made from super-soft tulle and embroidered with fun illustrations of eyes, lips and the word “cute”. Ideal for lingerie lovers who don’t like to take themselves too seriously.
The bra, gently lifts and supports the cleavage, with larger cup sizes benefitting from wider straps that don’t dig in, meaning it works for everyday as well as special occasions – as any good underwear set should.
There are fewer things more annoying than knickers that bunch up or don’t feel breathable, but these briefs, which feature flattering string sides, almost feel like you’re not wearing any at all. What’s more the soft tulle scalloped waistband mean they actually look pretty too.
Cache Coeur Agatha nursing bra and maternity shorts: £46 and £20, La Redoute
If you’re postpartum or currently expecting a child, then a growing bump, tender breasts and the need to breastfeed (should you so wish) on demand means that your underwear now comes with a whole new set of requirements.
French lingerie brand Cache Coeur offers a range of maternity wear that not only looks great but is practical and comfortable too. While there are plenty of options to choose from, we love this floral set, which includes a non-padded, underwired bra that features breastfeeding clips for nursing. The maternity shorts can be worn during and even after pregnancy thanks to their low-cut waist design and are made from super-soft satin-microfiber for ultimate comfort.
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Figleaves pulse lace underwired balcony bra and pulse high waist brief: £46, Figleaves
Women with larger breasts can often feel as though their options are limited when it comes to buying underwear. Luckily, the underwear industry has come a long way and now a whole host of brands offer bras that provide all the support you need while still looking stylish.
This balconette bra proves that larger cup sizes can be sheer, sexy and supportive all at the same time, with eyelash lace detailing, gold accents and a pretty centre bow. Meanwhile, the high centre front and structured wings – the strips of fabric that go around the sides and back of your body – help to lift and support the bust up to a G cup.
Finish the look with a pair of matching high-waisted knickers that provide maximum coverage and accentuate the female silhouette. Alternatively, invest in the matching thong or Brazilian brief. Also available in red.
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Monki satin feel bra and satin shorts: £15 each, Monki
This two-piece set is as silky-smooth as underwear gets and will ensure you feel your sexiest on cosy nights in. We think its allure lies in its off-white shade and floaty feminine details.
The bra doesn’t offer much in terms of support, featuring no padding and a ruffled elastic band below the bust, but it sure does look pretty. Meanwhile the partially elasticated waistband on the shorts ensures comfort. The ultimate combo for a night of Netflix and chill.
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Bluebella Natalia body black: £38, Bluebella
If you’re on the hunt for a piece of lingerie that will make you feel feminine without exposing too much, consider investing in a bodysuit.
A modern and fashion-forward approach to underwear, a bodysuit lends itself perfectly to those who are tummy-conscious, want to try something a little different, or are fans of the underwear as outerwear fashion trend.
This one from Bluebella feels far beyond its modest price tag, with a plunging neckline, a seductive halter neck ribbon and delicate black lace feels soft against your skin and looks great when worn beneath jumpers and peeking out from silk blouses. Prefer a brighter colour? It comes in pale pink too.
Agent Provocateur Rozlyn balconette underwired bra and Rozlyn suspender: £155 and £145, Agent Provocateur
For advanced lingerie lovers, there’s really only one choice: Agent Provocateur. A brand that has become globally recognised since its inception in the early 1990s, it might not be the most affordable option but, if its quality craftmanship you’re after, this is the place to shop.
There’s nothing like purchasing an over-the-top set complete with suspenders, and this one ticks all the boxes with an unpadded, underwired 1950s-inspired balconette bra that helps to lift and support your cleavage without sacrificing comfort.
The matching thong, which doubles up as a suspender belt, only serves to ramp up the glamour and fastens like a corset at the back to boost your silhouette. This set is quite a splurge and isn’t exactly practical, but it does promise to make you feel fantastic every time you wear it.
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Ann Summers Lipsy Emilea plunge bra and Lipsy Emilea brazilian knickers: £12 and £6, Ann Summers
Boasting nearly 50 years’ experience experimenting with classic lingerie – from basques to babydolls – Ann Summers is a master when it comes to creating underwear that’s sleek, sexy and subject to repeat wear.
For a set that promises to brighten up your lingerie collection, this set is the kind of lingerie you can wear just as comfortably under jeans and tees as you can on its own. The padded bra provides your cleavage with a subtle boost and the delicate lace overlay gives it an irresistible vintage feel while remaining nearly invisible under lightweight fabrics.
The briefs are also made to flatter, with a high leg design that elongates the leg and matching lace details which add a delicate touch. Also available in black and red.
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Cos triangle microfibre bra and stretch knickers: £17 and £8, Cos
While it’s relatively easy to nab yourself a beautiful piece of lingerie, finding a truly comfortable set can prove slightly more challenging, especially if you want it to look the part too.
Luckily, you don’t have to choose between comfort and style with this sage green set from contemporary fashion brand Cos, thanks to its minimal aesthetic and light, stretchy recycled material that doesn’t dig into the skin or leave marks.
The triangle bra is made from a stretchy microfibre fabric that maximises comfort and, while it might not provide the most support, the clever darts ensure it moulds to the shape and size of your breasts meaning you feel secure.
As for the briefs, you can wave goodbye to VPL (visible pant lines), because the bonded edges and discreet seams mean they lie flat against your body, making them untraceable under even the slimmest going-out dress.
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The verdict: Lingerie sets
Savage x Fenty’s eye heart u 2-piece set comes out on top for delivering lingerie that not only fits perfectly, but is flattering and accessible to all women, no matter their size.
For a set that delivers on comfort, support and value, we loved Cos’ microfibre triangle bra and briefs that are great investment for anyone looking to add to its underwear collection.
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