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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 5, 2010

Do some research for the perfect lingerie gift

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer


A Valentine's Day gift disaster may be averted by heeding a few tips.

1. Size matters.

Take a peek inside her lingerie drawer. Check the labels on her bras, panties, slips and nighties to see what size she wears.

2. Know her personal style.

Check out what styles she typically wears. Does she prefer bras with an underwire, with or without padding? Does she wear thongs, bikinis, boy shorts or teddies? Sexy chemise or flannel PJs?

3. Color me correct.

There will be a ton of red and black out there, beckoning you to buy. Don't listen to that siren call if you have never seen her wearing red or black. If she's a lavender or pink or green girl, red or black will undoubtedly be returned to the store.

4. No shame.

Don't be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help. A good sales person will ask a lot of questions about her lifestyle, what she likes to do, what kind of clothes she wears. This will help her help you.

5. Comfort first.

Remember that lingerie is the closest thing to her skin, so feel the fabrics. Look for something soft, smooth and comfy so nothing will itch or poke. Buy the best quality you can afford. With lingerie, you truly get what you pay for.

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Lingerie is often among the most desired Valentine's Day gifts: Men love to give it; women love to receive it. But what happens when a clueless man arrives in the lingerie department? What will he walk out with? That's a scary thought. He might choose a sexy bustier for a woman whose personal preference is flannel PJs. Or a red low-cut lace bra for an earth mother. You get the picture. It's easy to lose at the lingerie game.

Lingerie is a highly personal form of self-expression because it is worn next to the skin. It can fit and flatter or make her feel out of shape.

Lisa Thorson, lingerie fit stylist for Nordstrom's Hawaii region, says men should not be embarrassed to ask for help.

"Every man is in the same position," she said. "When they get in the lingerie department, something happens to them and they forget everything. Sometimes they can't even get into the department. They just pace around the perimeter, and we have to go get them."

Asked whether a man should choose what he likes or what he thinks she likes, Thorson said it's a toss-up. "It depends on the man. I think women have a tendency to be very practical because a lot of times they put themselves last after taking care of everyone else. It's the thought of giving" that gets her.

It's flattering for him to buy a beautiful lacy confection, after all; it shows he still thinks you're sexy.

If the woman has shopped in a store like Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus or Morgan Beret or Ai Luxury Lingerie previously, chances are there will be a record of what she bought. Try ask.

An ideal way to find the right lingerie gift, Thorson said, is to take your Valentine on a shopping date and see what attracts her. "It's a win-win. She may step out and pick something she might not pick on her own when she's with her guy." And, of course, he gets a clue or two.