8 Lingerie Brands You Need to Know About

An NSFW guide to lingerie for all body types

by Stephanie Kaloi

warning: NSFW Content

woman walking under a tree

Georgia Mesh Dress via Unluky ($120 AUD)

I went to my first bachelorette party a month or two after I got married. I had no idea what actually happened at such events, but I assumed the bride-to-be would be opening up bundles of honeymoon lingerie, which is what happened after our meal at our local Mexican chain restaurant. Trust: Once she opened one bag, our fellow diners were increasingly interested in what else we had in those bags.

The guest who gave the second or third gift prefaced her bag by saying, “I got you something practical, because men aren’t really into all of that other stuff anyway.” She presented a bag that contained long-sleeved flannel pajamas. Of course, I was next, and of course my bag contained something that was more straight-up skanky. I was unable to preface my gift with anything, and the ensuing tension was palpable.

And really, that sums up the eternal (feminist) question. Are men into lingerie? Are female partners? Do we even care?

A quick poll of the APW staff answered the latter question with a resounding: NO. Apparently we don’t care much if our partners are into lacy underthings (though, they all seem to be), because, well, they make us feel hot. So today we’re skipping right past “the best lingerie is a man’s shirt” thing, and giving you the lowdown on what brands we hit up for rip-them-off-lacy-nothings for all body types and styles. Please share your best finds with us in the comments.

woman wearing white lingerie

Nastygal: While known mostly for their party dresses, NastyGal actually has some of the prettiest lingerie around, and basically none of it is made for big boobs. Their stuff ranges from sweet to sexy to the bra equivalent of the furry bedroom shoes from that one episode of SATC. And the Skivvies line, in particular, is full of gorgeous stuff that I want to wear as regular clothing even if it would break a bunch of indecency laws. Featured: For Love & Lemons Lucia Halter Bralette ($116)

woman wearing black lingerie

Unlucky Lingerie: For the ample-breasted, nobody does lingerie better than Brits and Aussies. Case in point: Unlucky Lingerie. They sell both standard sizes and plus sizes (yay for everyone!) and have a mission that’s built around body positivity. They say, “Why should underwear cost the earth? Why is it that everything that looks cute isn’t in your size? Why are big cup sizes automatically only made in beige? We get it. We really do… We believe that beautiful lingerie is worn for oneself so it’s designed for lazy days, pizza dates, fancy nights with whomever else you wish to show.” We concur. Featured: Boho Lace Teddy ($58.95 AUD)

photo of lingerie and laptop on bed

Freya: Sometimes it’s even harder to find lingerie for big boobs when you’re not plus sized, because bra makers assume that your cup and band size are proportional (as if). And if they do make something in your size, good luck finding anything that isn’t beige or black. But there are a few retailers leading the charge on pretty bras and lingerie for fuller cup sizes. This list from Sweet Nothings has all the recommendations you need. Freya is an APW staff favorite, though. They have beautiful pieces ranging in cup size from B to K that are constructed to support large boobs, but don’t have that “all work, no play” look of most D cup and up bras. Featured: Freya Kiyoko Half Cup Bra ($70)

woman wearing black lingerie

Lovechild Boudoir: If your tastes run more leather than lace, Lovechild Boudoir is the place to go for strappy lingerie that is equal parts clothing and art. Plus, they sell these badass feather epaulets that you can wear with your lingerie, and I don’t know why we don’t all run around looking like couture super heroes in them every day. Featured: Alabama Red Cage Lace Playsuit (£95.00 GBP)


FOXERS: Not all lingerie needs to be sexy lacy nothingness. If you are looking for something a little more gender-bending, or just want your butt covered, Foxers has a whole line of boxer briefs cut specifically for women. Featured: Charcoal Grey Tomboy Boxer Brief ($30) 

woman wearing black and white lane bryant lingerie

Cacique by Lane Bryant: Y’all, Lane Bryant has upped their lingerie game. It is modern and H-O-T. And the best part? Most of their lingerie is available in cup sizes. Which means you don’t have to choose between too big in the band for the right cup size, or too tiny cups for the right band size (and their size range is huge, ranging from 36 to 46 band size, and C to H cup sizes). Also surprising? Lane Bryant is into some light bondage. Who’d have guessed? Featured: Strappy Back Cheeky Panty ($18.50-$20.50) 

woman wearing black lingerie and pushing a stroller

Cache Coeur: If you’re looking for sophisticated nursing bras, leave it to the French. Cache Coeur has really pretty, understated lingerie and the nursing bras are to die for. Bonus points for high waist maternity underwear.  Featured: Nursing Bra Garçonne ($100) and High Waist Brief with Removable Garters ($70)


Naja: YOU GUYS. Jane The Virgin (real name: Gina Rodriguez) is co-founder of an online lingerie shop and it slays all day. Their mission? To create lingerie that makes you feel empowered, not objectified. With an eye for sustainability, Naja works to make sure their designs are eco-friendly, and that their production helps support women in developing countries. Some of them are even made from recycled materials (the one above is made out of recycled plastic bottles). Which clearly doesn’t take away from the hot factor. Featured: Noelle Bustier Royal Hound ($125)

Where to find more info on all things boobs and bras

group of women wearing lingerie

Resources: If you’re just getting started or aren’t sure what styles you like, it might be easier to browse through one of the big online lingerie retailers that carries a little bit of everything. First up, True & Co. has a handy quiz for figuring out your lingerie style and address any fit issues you might be having with your existing undergarments. Then HerRoom and Bare Necessities both have an immense inventory of just about any major lingerie brand you could hope, shopable by size. And if you really want to fall down the lingerie rabbit hole, check out The Lingerie Addict, Sweet Nothings, and The Breast Life for advice, reviews, and more shopping.

Do You Wear lingerie? If so, what are your favorite shops (online and off)?

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! ? ? ?).

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  • Jenny

    Nursing lingerie, damn APW, you are the best!

  • Mary Jo TC

    Thanks for including nursing bras! I’m having trouble with my nursing bras right now because it seems like all mine are both too constricting and not supportive enough. Also, one breast is probably 2 cup sizes bigger than the other. My breasts are so heavy right now! As much as I love pretty lacy things, I don’t care how utilitarian a bra is if it’s comfortable at this point.

    • Lmba

      I’ve been continuously nursing for the past 3 years and probably have at least another year to go! I have been seriously lacking in decent lingerie during this period of life, but I find it pretty hard to commit to an expensive piece when, yeah, the mismatched cup sizes, plus the fluctuations in size generally that have been very extreme for me over the past 3 years. I never felt ready to pull the trigger because my size would change a few months later! My old nursing bras were all stretched and destroyed and frankly weren’t doing much of anything, so I bit the bullet and bought a couple of cheapish new ones. BEST DECISION EVER. My boobs are a zillion times happier and so am I.

      I will note that they actually felt uncomfortable and constricting for the first couple of days, but then I got used to them and they feel fine now. Which is unfortunately the least helpful information ever.

  • Lisa

    Thanks for so many great recommendations. I’m excited to check out some of these companies (particularly Naja’s eco-friendly line!).

    I have to say that I’m surprised and disappointed and you’re recommending Urban Outfitters, though, after all of the controversial and offensive decisions they’ve made over the past few years. Here are a few examples of their more offensive products (and there are many more), if you’re unaware: http://theweek.com/articles/480961/15-urban-outfitters-controversies. There has been a lot of discussion of how being offensive is actually a business strategy for the company. I know we all make our decisions about where we shop, but it seems like recommending them isn’t in line with APW’s values.

    • Jessica

      They had a super sale on lingerie a couple years ago and I was extremely disappointed in their quality (this is judging it as a $25/pair full price, not as a $5/pair discount). Holes immediately appeared in the seams and it was poor quality mesh.

      They are not a great company, they do not make ethical decisions, and they make terrible underwear.

    • Lmba

      I was disappointed to see Urban Outfitters on the list too. I wasn’t aware of all the controversies on the link, but the illegal use of the term “Navajo” on their products was enough for me. No thanks!

      I don’t judge anyone who shops there because I recognize that buying consumer goods is ethically complex, and there are so many factors to juggle (environmental friendliness, women-friendly company, sweatshop-free, budget-conscious, locally-made, fair trade, etc, etc, forever.). But I wouldn’t want people seeing them on an APW list and thinking, “Oh, I guess that is a good company to give my $$$$ to!”

    • eating words

      I had the same reaction to the UO recommendation. That is a company I have some serious problems with, and as Lisa said, not at all in line with APW’s values.

    • stephanie

      Hey guys, thanks for pointing out the issues with Urban. We are totally aware of them and don’t disagree, but we made a judgment call and included them. That said, we took them out of the post in this instance since that doesn’t necessarily mean they need more of our support.

  • Amy March

    I’ve had pretty good luck finding my brands of choice on Amazon for cheaper than anywhere else. And word to the wise- HerRoom and BareNecessities are great for selection but keep an eye on the dates, their return policies are pretty strict.

    • Jessica

      Natori = super cheap and extra comfy bras that you can buy on Amazon.

    • Jenny

      I was just going to say that I find amazon to be a great place to try new brands because their return policy is so great. I can order a few different sizes and return the ones that don’t work. Her room is great for brands/style I already know work for me, but their return policy is tough, and it takes FOREVER for them to credit your cards back, or it has for me.

      • rg223

        I mean this as a genuine question but I can’t think of a non-snarky-in-print way of saying it: what are the positives of Amazon’s return policy? Because I’ve found its been difficult to return things to them, and they are far stricter than other companies I’ve bought from online. But, most of my returns were gifts from other people, and that was definitely a big part of the problems I’ve had. Plus they were baby items (and a 3D cat puzzle that I didn’t even order… and they made me return it to them… and it probably costs less than the cost of shipping… which was really annoying and part of the above frustration). Are they particularly good with clothes?

        • Eenie

          It depends on if you are buying from Amazon that qualifies for free returns or something just sold through the site and fulfilled by a different vendor. If it’s prime eligible, it probably has free returns, but I think I’ve been burned once relying on that. I now won’t buy something that comes with free shipping if I think I may need to return it I pay a little more for prime shipping.

        • Jenny

          Ugh, sorry to hear about your amazon experience. We have prime, so maybe that is why my experience has been good, but with clothes if they don’t fit I just print a return label and ship it back ups, or usps depending on which one is more convenient for me (sometimes I have to drop it off, but it’s already postage paid so no waiting in line, and depending on the reason for the return, they also sometimes have free UPS pickup). I even ordered a pair of capris that I wore, and washed according to instructions and then they had stretched out and didn’t fit and they took them back no problem. I like that the items only have to be mailed by whatever day (30-90 depending on the item/reason), not arrive to their warehouse by then (burned by modcloth on that policy). Even with our gift registry for our wedding returns were super easy. We had a few duplicates and one broken item, and they shipped a replacement for the broken item and gave us amazon credit for the returns. PLus I get the money back once the item ships, not months later after it’s been all processed (modcloth, herroom). I have literally not had a single problem with them on returns, once we accidentally ordered 2 of the same DVD and when we went to return it they credited us the money and just told us to keep the extra DVD. We order stuff almost weekly (I so miss having a Target close by) and return stuff probably once or twice a month.

  • Natasha

    For help finding your correct bra size and bra styles that suit your breasts, is highly recommend checking out Reddit.com/r/abrathatfits

    They’ve got a great community there and tons resources.

    • toomanybooks

      Ooh, I used that too after realizing my size was probably not “mainstream” enough to go to most stores for a fitting. Bratabase is also a nice place to find reviews & pictures of bras to see how they actually work out for people. I definitely just have to do a lot of research online and hope for the best when it comes to ordering bras, because I stopped being able to buy them in stores a long time ago.

  • mjh

    Love this post. I’m usually34J, and I’m all about sexy/pretty bras that fit.

    I’m going to bravengelize for a minute. Lots of us are wearing bras that don’t fit us well without realizing that there are better options available to us. If your bra size works for you, great, do your thing. Just throwing this out for people who might have fit issues and not realize what their options are.

    I spent years and years thinking I was a 38 DDD/E because it was the largest cup size I was finding around. After stuffing myself into whatever DDs I could find at target/thrift stores etc as a teen, I had a Victoria’s Secret fitting when I was 19, and the fitter told me I was a little off the charts and that was the best size I’d be able to find. She told me they didn’t carry it at VS, but I could find it at Macy’s, so I did and that was the best fit I’d had so far. I would get deep (temporary) red lines and welts in the sides of my breasts from underwires digging into flesh that was obviously larger than what the cup was built to accommodate, but I dealt with it because I thought that was an unavoidable crappy part of big boobed life.Turns out it’s not. A proper fitting a few years later showed me that my actual size was one I didn’t even know existed. I’d been wearing bras that were about 8 (!) cup sizes too small and a size or two too large in the band. I bought one bra in the correct size and it was a total game changer.

    There are so many resources out there, I just have to share a few.

    For figuring out your size, check out this guide- http://www.thinandcurvy.com/2010/10/how-to-measure-your-bra-size-correct.html I recommend measuring without a bra, but I think it’s a great guide to get a basic idea of fit otherwise.

    If you’re down with reddit, the sub A Bra That Fits has great detailed fit discussion- https://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits

    Bare Necessities and HerRoom are great when you’re trying things out. Figleaves used to have free return shipping, which was great when I was trying different brands and shapes. Nordstom, though pricey, often stocks larger cups in store. I’ve found a lot of their fitters to be knowledgeable, too (don’t know if it’s hit or miss, but I’ve had good luck). Nordstrom rack sometimes has bras from Freya, Curvy Kate and other large bust friendly brands at great prices. It’s not like you can necessarily go in and find your size on any given day since their inventory varies greatly, but sometimes you can score big.

    If you know your size pretty well and are comfortable with ordering from abroad, you might want to check out Ewa Michalak http://www.ewa-michalak.pl/eng_m_BRAS_ALL-189.html. She has some great styles and doesn’t shy away from fully sheer cups and the like in larger cup sizes. Even though I live in the US, the pricing works out so that it’s usually cheaper for me to order EM bras from Poland than it is to get local bras or bras from US based websites. Bonus- the models on EM’s site have varying body types and the photos of them modeling the lingerie are not retouched.

    I saw that Freya is on the list and they have some great lingerie, but I wanted to note one thing for people who might not know. Their sheer-throughout-the-cup bras like Arabella and Lola are available in a range of sizes, but if you order them in sizes above a certain cutoff point (I think it’s G cup and above, not certain), they use an opaque liner for a large part of the cup. Just wanted to throw that out there for anyone who takes a large cup and falls in love with a sheer cupped Freya bra.

    • Totch

      Same story other direction: I spent far too long wearing 36Cs and Ds because that’s the size I could find and fit into at VS. I also just thought bras sucked. Turns out I’m a 40B. Still not fun to shop for, since my boobs don’t need half the support they throw on bras with a 40 band (thicker straps, more coverage, etc.). But it’s way better than it used to be!

      Right now my mission is to find a goddamn no-underwire bralette that understands that I have a big ribcage and small boobs.

  • Alexandra

    Lingerie depresses me right now. Just starting my second pregnancy…the first one already destroyed my previously fairly athletic body. Working full time and taking care of a baby with no family around makes it hard to have regular workouts. And now pregnancy #2 is sure to make everything go south even more. Which is fine. Babies are worth it. My husband doesn’t mind.

    Anyway, I threw away all my honeymoon lingerie because that ship has sailed. My husband was so sad when I threw it away, and I was shocked because I didn’t think he even cared. I hardly ever wore it, anyway.

    I am totally missing how lingerie is supposed to work when it comes to sex. You can’t wear the super sexy kind to work; it shows underneath your clothes. What do you do? Change into it before you have sex, just to have it all come off five minutes later? I want to figure this out, because I know I’m missing something.

    • emmers

      Yea, I’ll either change into it right before, or maybe wear it all day if it’s a weekend, or if I’m just feeling it and it’s not super uncomfortable. But usually I’ll either put it on when come home from work, and wear it under my post-work sweats, or just put it on right before. I don’t always wear it so I think of it as a nice surprise.

      • Shawna

        Yeah, I’m all for everyday nicer undies! I just got a bunch of lacy soft things from VS (I think they’re in the Body collection). It’s made a real difference in how I feel about myself and our relationship from a desirability perspective since there are a bunch of tense things around sexual intimacy for us and I’ve gained weight from a particularly stressful year. I also converted to Thinx for period underwear and that is HUGE as I can now reserve only a couple of pairs of old underwear as opposed to half a little drawer for that time of the month (plus spotting, etc). For lingerie, I have a few lacy jersey nightgowns that I wear when I’ve take the time to shave my legs ;) (somehow I don’t mind not shaving if I’m just plain naked but dressing up in lingerie I feel like I should be smooth?!) but neither of us are into lingerie that’s not practical. I would love to wear something totally unusual for a boudoir photoshoot someday, though, because that stuff is SO PRETTY.

  • Kayjayoh

    As a 32F who likes pretty bras *and* needs sports bras (and would like ones that don’t look like armor) bra shopping is fraught for me. I’m definitely going to check some of these links. (And have already bookmarked those feather epaulets.)

    Definitely agree with the Urban Outfitters dismay. I hate the number of times they have been found to have ripped off independent artists.

    Also, something interesting on the cost of bras: http://www.teenvogue.com/story/cost-of-lingerie-explainer

  • Ebloom

    Just a quick note about material made from recycled plastic from a textile nerd: it does shed plastic fibers when you wash it, that are too tiny to be filtered from going into the ocean. Obviously one has to wash their clothes, but if you purchase a plastic piece, try not to wash it with every wear.

  • eating words

    I don’t know if this qualifies as lingerie, but if anyone has had success with anything backless/strapless, I’d love to know about it.

  • So, never bought anything from them, but I oogle over What Katie Did vintage-style lingerie allll the time. Does anybody have any personal experience with them?

  • Sarah McClelland

    If you wanted to support a small business, check out ohh lulu: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ohhhlulu?section_id=12306410

    She makes some really lovely things.

  • AmandaBee

    Great post, though I wish there were more lines that tailored to small chested ladies. A lot of brands cut for larger sizes and then just scale down, but don’t really account for differences in proportions. And the way that cup sizes are measured often doesn’t work for some smaller-chested women (me included), particularly if the girls are further apart than average. Most lingerie either gaps, squeezes, or digs into my ribs, none of which feels sexy.

    There used to be a great website called Eve’s Apples that tailored to sizes AAA-C, and they had articles about a lot of the fit issues that are specific to small boobs. It wasn’t until I found that site that I realized how badly my bras fit, and how the standard way of measuring bra size just doesn’t work for me because of my specific size and shape. The EA site had a really detailed set of articles on measuring your size and account for different factors, then would recommend bras that worked for you specifically. Unfortunately it closed down awhile back, and I haven’t really found a good replacement.

    Any smaller chested ladies found brands that consistently work for them?

    • Rue

      The only one that works for me (size 28C) is The Little Bra Company. Kind of hate the name, but the bras are really well constructed. I have two from the site that I’ve kept in heavy rotation (out of about 4 bras total) for more than a year and they’re just starting to look a little tired. I did have to order many styles and a few sizes to find which ones worked for me, but once you know one or two that fit, the website does have a pretty good “you might also like…” sidebar, when you click on a particular style. Hope that helps! And you’re not alone in finding this SUPER frustrating. <3 Oh — and they have a guide at the bottom that tells you whether a style is sized for widely spaced ladies, which is me too!

      • AmandaBee

        Thanks! I’ll check them out for sure.

  • Anonymous Kate

    I’ve pretty much given up on lingerie. I’m a 34 H or 36 G depending on the brand, and I don’t like lace or satin, and am not really into florals. I would love to find cute paisley or polka dot lingerie that is sexy but doesn’t have any lace. I think it just doesn’t exist. Lingerie seems very same-y to me, probably because I don’t care for lace.

    • TheOtherLiz

      Have you considered custom-made? I recommend On The Inside, an Etsy shop. :)

  • Rebecca

    For anyone in Melbourne, Australia (sorry rest of the world), Brava
    lingerie is ah-mazing. They stock D-cup and up. Those women really know
    how to fit you, and the bras are beautiful. They also stock brands I haven’t found in other brick-and-mortar stores, like Prima Donna.

    True story: a good friend always had trouble finding bras that fit, and
    needed a reliable strapless bra for her illusion neckline wedding dress.
    She went to Brava and it turns out the reason she always had so much
    trouble is because she’s a 6F!!! (I think that’s 28F in the states.) They had three
    options for her to choose from!

    They also do swimwear, maternity wear and exercise bras.

  • VirginiaMarie

    Just want to say thank you for the NSFW label and for the lead picture not being too scandalous for workplace settings. It feels like APW listened to the readers about the issue. While the team was clear that Mondays are going to be NSFW-ish, and I appreciate your adding the labels for those of us who can’t keep that in our head until after we’ve clicked the link!

  • Rue

    Bratabase helped me figure out I had been wearing the wrong size my entire adult life. I’ve since learned that almost every American who wears a bra should likely size DOWN in the band and UP in the cup, even if you don’t think that’s possible to do. Because you may discover that “32A is the smallest size I can find?” is not your size. 28C might actually be your size, even though you didn’t know that was a bra size.

    Down side of my discovery is that only one website carries my size consistently: The Little Bra Company. Slightly awful name, but if you’re really sincerely a 28C, it’s the way to go. Don’t be fooled by other websites that stock maybe one bra in your size, or all the places that have very pretty 30B bras that don’t fit quiiiite right.

    That said, my favorite place for just-for-fun/window shopping is Journelle. I have a few bodysuits from there that make me feel awesome, and a silk slip that is super handy in addition to being old school understated sexy. With my small band size, bralettes tend to NOT FIT me, which is a huge disappointment, cause everyone thinks, “small endowment, at least you can wear the pretty little lacy numbers.” But nope — although I’m thinking about sewing the band smaller on one or two that I have already. No bralette is “pretty” when the band rides up to your nipples while you’re just sitting on the couch, and you have to pull the entire object aggressively back down, but try to be all casual about it.

  • Joni Bravo

    Hi , guys !
    Thanks for so many good recommendations.Good topic. Well I found this brand – Tiara Galiano. I recommend it.