Kiki de Montparnasse
$250 bra, $75 bikini
The new fall items at Kiki de Montparnasse had just hit the shelves, and my first discovery was a shiny stretch-satin bra-and-panty set. I liked the black handcuff print in black on silver—you had to look closely to see the naughty design. The full brief had a sheer black edge at the legs, which flatteringly did not cut into the thigh at all, and the balconette-style bra had structured cups that provided the perfect amount of cleavage. Kiki de Montparnasse, 79 Greene St., nr. Spring St.; 212-965-8070.
$100 bra, $65 briefs
I avoided the crotchless panties and pearl thongs at Agent Provocateur and gravitated toward a sheer, bright-orange set with a matching garter belt. The full briefs were simple and surprisingly high-cut, but the bra was so low that it actually rested below the nipple—not practical or attractive. I liked the neon bright color, but as I haven’t been practicing my pole-dancing routine recently, I put the bra back on the rack. Agent Provocateur, 133 Mercer St., nr. Prince St.; 212-965-0339.
$56 bra, $20 thong
La Petite Coquette has supplied me with an enormous variety of underpinnings for years, so I wanted to check out their current stock. I discovered that the maker of my very favorite low-rise thong, Hanky Panky, now makes bras. I picked out a cheerful cherry-red one that was very comfortable and lacy, but it was high-cut and offered too much coverage for my chest. It was better suited for the more voluptuous ladies among us. The thong, however, was perfect for everyone. La Petite Coquette, 51 University Pl., nr. 10th St.; 212-473-2478.
The Lake & Stars
$88 bra, $38 panty
In Henri Bendel’s intimates department, I found pieces by the Lake & Stars—named after a Victorian term for a woman well versed in the bedroom. Immediately intrigued, I picked out a tan set made from a soft mesh. The bra straps and panty edging were done in a very light blue, and both top and bottom were embellished with silvery lace. The fit was exceptional—the triangle bra and full brief were sexy without being too revealing, and both pieces were extremely comfortable. I wished this set came in more colors. Henri Bendel, 712 Fifth Ave., nr. 56th St.; 212-247-1100.
$230 bra, $110 thong
I’ve never actually been brave enough to step foot inside La Perla before. Luckily, the sales staff was incredibly nice and helped me choose a mint-green lacy underwire bra with a matching thong. The color was exquisite, like a vibrant sea foam with a metallic lacy appliqué and a thin lining. I slipped on the garments carefully and waited for the magic to happen. But sadly, I did not turn into Sophia Loren. Instead, I was annoyed by the itchy lace and the tight straps. The thong was cut too high, and both pieces, though well made and delicate, were just not flattering. La Perla, 425 W. 14th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-242-6662.
$95 bra, $75 panty
As I rifled through the racks at Catriona MacKechnie, my fingers came across the most unbelievably soft fabric. The light, gauzy pieces by Araks were navy-blue cotton edged with contrasting stretchy gray mesh. Both the bra and the rear of the panties had elastic, creating shirring down the centers of both, which made my butt look five times its actual size. Plus, the top was so thin and flimsy it offered absolutely no support. Catriona MacKechnie, 400 W. 14th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-242-3200.
$39 bra, $29 panty
Sleep in Williamsburg regularly stocks Belabumbum, a great brand with a silly name that I’ve liked for years. This cotton set was a light hospital blue with white trim and small, embroidered butterflies. The bra fit great and would be perfect for everyday, but the boy shorts had elastic on the legs and were too puffy to be worn underneath anything. They looked more like a diaper than cute lingerie. Sadly, there was no brief or thong that matched the bra. Sleep, 110 N. 6th St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-384-3211.
I strolled into the massive Williamsburg American Apparel to purchase a striped sweatshirt before I remembered that they sold bras and panties too. Behind a rack of gold-lamé leggings, I came across multicolored goods, all of which looked very plain and boring. They all fit fine, but the shapelessness of plain cotton bandeaus and basic stretchy panties reminded me strongly of training bras and little girls’ Hanes—especially in this pale-pink color. American Apparel, 104 N. 6th St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-218-6417.