the best. really.

What Is the Best Lingerie?

Photo: AMC

Buying lingerie is one of those ultra-personal choices that’s more about the person wearing them than the intended viewer: it’s all about how it makes you feel. Some women favor ultra-sheer, lacy options when they’re lounging (or for special occasions), while others go for tamer, high-waisted options that feel flattering and structured. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, we interviewed 11 designers, creatives, and models on their sexy skivvies of choice — wearing them might make you arouse even yourself, as one writer recently put it.

Lonely Label Lena Underwire Bra
$56 at Garmentory

“Finding lingerie is always a pain in the neck because I am extremely particular about bras. I like to wear bras that have an underwire with no padding, but they are so hard to find. I got these on a friend’s recommendation, and now they’re my favorite. I like this high-waist Lena because it keeps my body looking smooth under my high-waist clothes (I don’t do the Spanx-type-things). My stomach doesn’t get cut off mid-section, giving me two stomach blobs. And you know what? It’s nice to wear a matching set every once in a while, even when it’s not for a special occasion. Like you’re a real adult woman, ready to take on the world.” —Laia Garcia, deputy editor of The Wing’s No Man’s Land

Lonely Label Lena Brief
$55 at Garmentory
Araks Yanelis Bralette
$100 at Need Supply

“I love Araks because the lingerie comes in the most beautiful colors — like lime green or pale orange. I wear lots of black-and-white, so it’s nice to have a pop of color under my clothes. The Yanelis bralette is so comfortable, great for those who don’t need too much support on top, and the matching underwear is made from the softest cotton. They also aren’t overtly ‘sexy,’ just feminine and fun and so flattering. This set has panels of silk charmeuse, which makes it pretty for a special occasion.” —Doria Santlofer, stylist

Araks Licelott Panty
$75 at Need Supply
Dita von Teese Madame X Wireless Bra
$70 at Bloomingdales

“No one does lingerie like Dita Von Teese. Often, celebrity lingerie lines are underwhelming — just a rehash of something you’ve already seen or own. But Dita Von Teese went to her own extensive vintage lingerie archives for her namesake collection, and it shows. The Madame X bra set, with its trapunto stitching and thoroughly seductive strappy accents is a favorite of lingerie addicts everywhere — myself included. I especially love this for lingerie-as-outerwear looks; it’s perfect peeking out from a under a sheer or low-necked top.” —Cora Harrington, founder and editor-in-chief of The Lingerie Addict

Dita von Teese Madame X Bikini
$42 at Bloomingdales
Eres Farniente Mimosa Soft Cup Bra
$355 at Barneys

“For a long while all I’d ever known (and owned) was boring, seamless beige underwear. Drawers full. My French grandma insisted, as a young woman, I be more ‘soignée,’ or give myself more care and self-love, especially in the lingerie department. It wasn’t until I tried my first set of Eres lingerie that I finally understood what she was talking about. To this day, one of my absolute favorite lingerie sets is from Eres. I love that the pieces are very simple, elegant, and beautifully made, with fabrics and lace that are comfortable and soft, with just the right amount of structure and substance. As a smaller-chested woman, my ideal bra is one that both enhances my silhouette and feels comfortable and lightweight, like this triangle bra. With its delicate lace, wearing it feels like a gift I give myself whenever needed.” —Alex Noiret, model

Eres Farniente Nirvana High-Waist Briefs
$220 at Barneys
The Great Eros Canova Underwire Bra
$98 at Garmentory

“I​ prefer pieces that are comfortable and sexy at the same time. To me having the right set on really sets me up to be able to conquer my day. I love how ​the ​Eros​ brand​ plays with the idea of being ​sensual and ​understated yet detail​ and quality focused​ at the same time. The wire bra gives me just enough​ natural​ lift​ and shape​ without the look of a padded bra, and the extra high cut bottoms gives the look of legs for days​.​” —Stella Simona, co-owner of Amarilo and Haati Chai

The Great Eros Canova High Waist Overt
$48 at Garmentory
Araks Antonia Bralett
$75 at Need Supply

“Araks has the most beautiful colors, but this set is the best for me because I am flat chested and I normally don’t wear bras unless it is for fun. I love the vibe because it makes you feel like you’re in something as beautiful underneath your clothes as on top of them. The pants are also the perfect rise. Not high-waisted, not too low, just right.” —Brianna Lance, creative director, stylist, and musician

Araks Isabella Panty
$45 at Need Supply
Journelle Cassandra Open Cup Bra
$48 at Journelle

“I used to design a lingerie collection that consisted of predominantly vintage inspired silhouettes that were cheeky enough for the bedroom yet comfortable enough for day-to-day wear, so for the longest time those were my go-to bedroom pieces. This Christmas my husband picked out a set that is about as different as possible from the black lacy high-waist styles I typically don and I absolutely love it. It’s tiny, pale, and frilly where my designs were dark, lacy, and high but maintains the sense of humor that I appreciate in my lingerie drawer. The set is really only for bedroom time (since your boobs and bum are out) which means when the lingerie goes on sexy times are sure to follow.” —Hannah Kristina Metz, womenswear designer

Journelle Cassandra Suspender Belt
$46 at Journelle
Journelle Cassandra Ouvert
$32 at Journelle
Victoria’s Secret Chantilly Lace Plunge Teddy
$40 at Victoria’s Secret

“I never used to think that lingerie was for me. I find that the more traditional two piece sets rarely suit my small chest and wide hips. But this teddy is a game changer. The material is delicate yet sturdy, and the cut is to die for. The second I put it on I fell in love with the way it accentuates all my best features. The plunging neckline lays perfectly on my chest and the material hugs my waist and hips in all the right places. I feel so sexy and powerful in this teddy: It’s my all-time favorite, go-to, hit-him-with-that-sexy lingerie piece.” —Nina Huynh, blogger

Lonely Label Bonnie Soft Cup Bra
$80 at Journelle

“This year, I made a promise to myself to stop buying black lingerie because my collection made me look like Lydia Deetz if she were a dominatrix (all black and lots of peek-a-boos and strings and straps). This set looks like nothing special on the hanger, but when I put it on, I remember saying ‘Woah,’ to myself aloud. The lace is devastatingly gorgeous. I get more wide-eye reactions from my partners than from any of my hyper-sexy stuff combined. The pink looks nice against my skin (most pinks when it comes to lingerie look syrupy sweet or Barbie-ish) and the best part? Lonely Lingerie is a body-positive company I like to support because they use models of all shapes, sizes, and ages.” —Dana Hamilton, freelance writer

Lonely Label Bonnie Full Brief
$50 at Journelle
Curvy Couture Luminous Lace Bralette
$62 at Curvy Couture

“My favorite lingerie brand is Curvy Couture. I have almost every set they’ve ever made and I have a different Curvy Couture set for every mood. I saw this bralette at a trade show months before it was released and the design never left my mind. It’s genius: it has the look and feel of a bralette but it also offers structural support a plus-size babe needs! It’s sexy, innovative, and most importantly, it’s comfortable. Made from a nylon and spandex blend with a double-lined front liner, these panties wear like a dream.” —Alysse Dalessandro, size-inclusive designer and writer at Ready to Stare

Curvy Couture Luminous Lace Hipsters
$24 at Curvy Couture
Bettie Page Emerald Green Spiral Stitch Bra
$51 at Playful Promises

“I wear lingerie to rebel against the fact that I couldn’t wear it all my life. I think my whole transition was a form of rebellion against my parents’ and society’s way of viewing gender. My favorite right now is the emerald set from Playful Promises. They’re a great brand that celebrates women in all gender and forms. I think their lingerie is very daring and I love the fit on this particular one, plus the color and design. It’s not something I would wear on a regular basis but it’s great for a special occasion.” —Vikki Le, model, activist, and writer

Bettie Page Emerald Green Suspender Belt
$51 at Playful Promises
Bettie Page Emerald Green High Waist Brief
$41 at Playful Promises

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What Is the Best Lingerie?