Not everyone can pull off every look, and the quickest way to feeling un-sexy is to wear something that highlights an area you view as a problem spot. This doesn't necessarily mean covering up, although that's an option. It may just mean working with colors, patterns and proportions to accentuate the positive and downplay everything else.
In this way, lingerie is no different from any other clothing category: Certain cuts will flatter your body type more than others. So once you have your Valentine's-night style in mind, you can filter your product choices by knowing which ones are your friend.
Pear -- You're larger on bottom than on top. To make your body look more evenly proportioned, you want to do two things: Minimize the bottom, and draw the eye up.
- Avoid: boy shorts, thongs, garters and baby dolls
- Look for: bustiers, long gowns with a flowing skirt and low-cut top, and loose, mid-length chemises with detailing up top
Apple -- You're biggest in the middle. You want to downplay the tummy area and draw attention to your bust and legs.
- Avoid: fitted waists, crop tops, bra-and-panty sets teddies
- Look for: loose, short chemises, A-line gowns, vintage-style peignoir sets and anything that shows off your shapely legs or your cleavage, if you've got 'em
Inverted Triangle -- You're bigger up top or broad in the shoulders and narrower in the hips. Your goal is to balance that out by adding volume below the waist and drawing the eye down.
- Avoid: any fancy detailing up top, puff sleeves or racer-back cuts
- Look for: full-skirted gowns, wide shoulder straps and anything that add draping over the hips and derrière
Boyish -- You're pretty much straight and narrow from top to bottom, with a small bust and hips. You want to create the illusion of curves by adding volume on the top and bottom and drawing the eye to a narrower waist.
- Avoid: column dresses, bandeaus, long, loose gowns
- Look for: two-piece sets, top-and-bottom draping, tanga bottoms, push-up tops, anything with a sheer or open mid-section
Hourglass -- You've got '50s pinup proportions, with a small waist and larger, roughly equal bust and hip measurements. Your goal is to play this up for all it's worth.
- Avoid: Nothing.
- Look for: Anything.
Hourglass is the shape the lingerie companies have in mind for most of their designs, so if that's you, you've got a lot of options that will flatter you figure.
Women of other shapes will have to be more selective, and guess what: If you're still not completely comfortable, even in your ideal va-va-voom look, you don't have to wear it on its own! While bathrobes are definitely out, lingerie robes are definitely in. They are our very good friends. Wrap yourself in something long, flowing and sensuously silky, and leave the rest of the goodies for the dark.
For more information on lingerie, Valentine's Day, and dressing for your body type, check out the links on the next page.