With Lingerie, White is Right

Girl in Lingerie - Liska

Valentine's Day has been and gone, and maybe you got a pants present. That is, an immaculately wrapped presentation box containing layers of tissue paper with expensive lingerie. Not underwear, lingerie.

While its purpose is to heat things up on an otherwise cold day, we obviously don't buy or wear it because of its thermal properties. We want it to look hot. So did it work out for you on the big day?

If the answer is not so well, it's time for a quick review - and being a guy, I am going to be superficial and dwell on colour. After all, why would I care about comfort, durability or washing instructions?

If you bought your better half red, lacy items, you are male, brave, middle-aged, mad or all of the above. Nothing says "I am desperate to spice things up in the bedroom" more than red undies. At least that's how she'd interpret it. And she'd be right.

But if you're a woman and you got some high-end lingerie in red shades (think soft satin in cerise), he might have appreciated it as an aesthetic experience, but it didn't make the earth move - for him at least.

So what about black? It used to be naughty, saucy and downright nasty. But that was when our mothers were young (a scary thought, I know). Nowadays black undies are everywhere, and even the trusted stockings-and-suspenders combo is so universal that it's become a cliché. And like most clichés, it has its uses, but can also go down (no pun intended) like a lead balloon. It somehow smacks of desperation.

And as for multiple colours? I am not a fashion man, but I say don't go there. A tasty leopard pattern or rose/floral print might look good in the catalogue (or more often these days, on the web) but says "buy me" to a lady much more than it says "do me" to the guy. Sorry, we're just not sophisticated like that. A possible exception is the black-and-pink theme created by Agent Provocateur, but even that has become cliché-laden.   

So we're left with white. Good old white. Boring? Not at all.

When surveyed, women said that they think men prefer red undies, and men think women prefer black - but both sexes actually overwhelmingly prefer white. It's nice, clean and invokes a altogether saucy-yet-classy virginal/bridal image.

OK, so we're not talking about sensible multi-pack pants here, but lacy, wispy items from individual hangers with more straps, attachments and hooks than your grandma would know what to do with. But they float our boat.

White lingerie also makes those of you who are fair-skinned look better, since invariably a fair amount of winter-pale skin is left exposed. Readers who are more well-endowed in the pigment department can experiment with pastel shades (peach, pink and lime, which are all essentially off-white), but chances are, you'll also look better in plain white.

A friend once said about fine wines that "great content mostly comes with a plain label", and something similar applies to lingerie, I think. Certainly you can spend a fortune at Agent Provocateur or Myla, and equally buy the lingerie-equivalent of vinegar at Anne Summers. The extensive range of labels and styles is yours to choose from.

But in terms of colour, you can do worse than sticking with white: after all - the king of wines is Champagne.

All you need to add is the sparkle.