Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, this question is worth asking: “for whom do you wear lingerie?” {Or, “who do you wear lingerie for” but I’m being my own grammar police.} I’m bringing it up now because this is traditionally the time of year when people dress up in pretty lingerie for their partners, or even buy lingerie for their partners to wear. Hurray! And. Let’s take a deeper look.

I love lingerie. And when I say “lingerie”, I really mean all undergarments, pretty things, and nighttime attire, whether it’s meant for the boudoir or as an everyday support garment. I include it all. And in this case we’re paying particular attention to items that may be deemed as “special occasion” or “sexy”. I am using some massive quotations marks here because this is such a subjective term. Some people may think lingerie is a bustier and thigh highs, or a sexy lace garment, or a costume. In most cases, the people I interviewed think of lingerie as something we reserve only for special nights and for a special someone to see. Hurray to that. And. I don’t see lingerie in that way. I started using the term “lingerie” to describe even my everyday bras and underwear. Not just because of what it looked like (some of it is quite basic and functional while others are made of lace and gorgeousness) but also because of my intention behind wearing it. More on this below. But first, some context.

{Special thanks to Chantelle for the gorgeous bra and panty set I am wearing in this post that made me feel very ooh la la!}

Since 2005, I have helped thousands of clients shop for supportive, comfortable, well fitting bras and undergarments. I’ve worked at a “mom and pop shop” devoted to fitting cup sizes AA-N, at high end department stores on 5th Avenue, and for one of the most luxurious lingerie brands in the world. So I’ve seen many different approaches to why someone may wear lingerie. And that includes for whom they wear it. And I’ve noticed some dominating themes. Almost always, some good basic, smooth, neutral and black t-shirt bras were the top priority for my clients. So when I would suggest trying something more adventurous, or sexy, I would usually (not always) get one of these responses: “Oh, my husband doesn’t really care about lingerie so I’m going to pass.” or “I don’t have a boyfriend right now, so why spend the money?” or “I’m not sure what my partner would want me to wear, so I’ll come back.” I’ve also witnessed a woman feel heavenly in a set, only to feel defeated when she showed her boyfriend and it was met with disapproval or disdain. The power she just felt was whisked away and promptly given to someone else.

I am going to be very very very very clear about something here: there is nothing wrong with wanting to please a partner. You are no less of an individual for wearing or doing something with the specific purpose of exciting your partner. I support this. I get it. AND. If that is the only reason, or the only person you are wearing it for, then I’m excited to tell you that you have a rich opportunity to dive into an exploration of your own desires and deservedness right now. Hur-freaking-ray!

Use lingerie as a starting point to explore deeper

I often use lingerie as a starting point to go deeper. Because undergarments, underwear, and lingerie are ripe with possibility to dive into the exploration of such questions as:

  • “Who am I wearing this for?”
  • “If I wasn’t worried about what my partner thought, what do I really desire: emotionally, physically, sexually?”
  • “How can I practice standing in my truth and my desires without feeling guilty?”
  • “How do I determine how I adorn my body?”
  • “How does this make me feel?”
  • “Do I believe I deserve to spend/wear this?”
  • “What have I been told about what I can or cannot wear in my past?”
  • “What stories am I making up, or misbeliefs have I bought into that I can let go?”
  • “If no one else sees this, will I still invest in it for me?”
  • “How do I relate to my partner and their desires?”
  • “How can I please myself and my partner?”

Imagine using lingerie as a tool to start a deeper exploration on your journey to asking yourself bigger questions around almost any topic, like your job, your finances, your relationships:

  • “Am I doing this for me or for someone else?”
  • “How do I balance my desires and that of others?”
  • “Am I seeking permission from an outside source?”
  • “Am I giving away my power to someone else?”
  • “How can I affirm that I am truly, deeply, loved without the need of someone else’s affirmation?”

See? We can go deeeeeeeeeeeeep with this. Lingerie is just the start. 

I also believe that starting with lingerie is so hurray because lingerie, bras and panties, cover two of the most sacred parts of the body. These body parts are ripe with emotions linked to our deepest desires and strongest sense of self. Our breasts and vulvas carry stories about our identity, our sexuality, and our lovability. Ooooh I could go on and on. So let’s take a look at for whom we may wear lingerie!

For your partner

Again. Nothing wrong with wearing something to please your partner. In fact, shopping for lingerie together can be a great way to discuss your and your partner’s desires. And wearing something you know they are into can give you confidence when stripping down to get intimate. It also feels good to please your partner! And, it’s so much easier to truly please your partner when you feel pleased. There’s room to explore how you can please your partner while pleasing yourself. As in any aspect of a relationship, there has to be some give and take or compromise in order for the love exchange to feel equal and supportive. It feels best when it feels good for all parties involved.

Keep in mind that you are beautiful and desirable no matter what you wear – and if dressing up in something you know your partner will like helps you attune to that truth, hurray! Just mind yourself if you are relying on your partner’s positive reaction for you to feel positively about yourself. They may not always give you the love dose you’re looking for. Forgive yourself for any misunderstandings you may be having around how lovable you are, or what you need to do or how you need to be in order to have someone’s love. Fill up your own tank with love so you can share that love with them.

Questions to consider: Does your partner’s and your desires match up or conflict? Do you feel like there’s an equal give and take in pleasing each other? Do you find joy in dressing for your partner, or dread? How can you compassionately speak about and own your desires without guilt? What feels good for you to wear AND pleases your partner? How does wearing something you love vs. wearing something you do not like affect how you show up to your time with your partner?

For your job

Sometimes wearing an undergarment that supports your outfit, or the way you present yourself in your professional life is necessary. Your job (and colleagues and employer) may indeed play a role in how you dress underneath. Some of my clients wear a molded cup or nipple covers at a corporate job, or as a teacher to avoid feeling overexposed. They specifically choose and buy undergarments to support the way they want to show up for their profession. On the other hand, some clients of mine have been sex workers, and trust me we have an entirely different set of terms for purchasing what they wear! In many cases, they are searching for items that are for specific client fetishes or come via special request.

I personally wear lingerie for my job and for YOU when I do photo shoots around the world! Part of me showing up fully means showing you how I use lingerie as a way to say hurray – so I often pick items or work with brands based on what I want to show you. And what I wear on this blog and on Instagram may be very different (of the same) as what I wear underneath my jeans, or in the bedroom. But in all cases, I wear what makes ME feel good.

Questions to consider: Are you deciding what you wear underneath based on your job alone? Does what you wear for your job match your own desires of what kind of undergarments or lingerie you want to wear? Is there a way to modify, update, or change what you wear underneath to be more in alignment with what you want to wear, and how you want to feel?

For example, if you have been wearing a smooth, thick molded cup to hide nipples at the office, could you try a beautiful sheer bra, with nipple covers? Or, if you have to wear a uniform with a white shirt and a basic neutral bra underneath, could you wear a sexy or colorful pair of underwear to say hurray? Explore!

For yourself

I don’t wear lingerie just to be seen by someone else. I’m married and in a loving, sexy relationship and if my husband happens to see what I’m wearing underneath – hurray for him! And if he doesn’t – hurray still! A loving word to my single ladies: do not wait to buy lingerie for a lover. Practice loving yourself a little bit more and more with something you feel your very best in. This act of love can be so simple and so powerful. And to my coupled ladies: don’t wait to wear your finest lingerie or to be your finest self with your partner. Stoke the fire from within and watch it heat up all aspects of your life – including your relationship with your partner.

How do I practice what I preach on the regular? I adorn my body in how I want to feel and how I want to show up to that day or night. I wear it to feel powerful when going into a big meeting or on national TV. I wear it to remind myself of my beauty. I wear it to feel polished and put together. I wear it to feel excited and sexy. It can vary between: beautiful, basic, supportive, comfortable, elegant, vibrant, simple, sweet, naughty, sexy, breathtaking, or chill lingerie. And more. In essence, I use lingerie as a way to say hurray on the inside, outside, and underneath™ – not just as a tool to seduce another.

The wonderful thing is that wearing lingerie for yourself often benefits those around you – just like any other energy investment in yourself. So when I am feeling my best and most sexy and empowered, my honey notices. He can sense my confidence and charisma without even seeing what’s going on underneath or inside. And that, my friends, is attractive. And that leads to sexy times. Plus, when I fill up my lingerie love tank, I’m so much happier and joyful, and that affects every interaction I have with another person: a stranger on the street, my husband, or my colleague. We’re all happier and better off when I’m wearing something that makes ME say hurray – not when I’m just trying to people please others.

Questions to consider: How does pleasing yourself first serve the highest good of all involved? How can I use lingerie and undergarments to practice self care and self love? What am I telling myself about making an investment if I’m the only one who will see it? How is lingerie a safe way to start exploring my desires?

From Hurray Kimmay Readers and Friends

To get you started on the journey, here are few viewpoints from other people that may help you decide how you want to share or hide your lingerie.

I wear lingerie for ME. I love lingerie, but bras never fit me, so I pretty much only buy panties nowadays. I have a boyfriend of 6+ years who appreciates it, but knows I’m wearing it for myself first. Nothing feels better than when you’re having a bad day and you put something awesome on to sit around the house by yourself. I have everything from Agent Provocateur to cheap fishnet undies. It’s a way for me to be excited about the same old wardrobe haha Also, I always wear something that screams “power” under my clothes to job interviews/special occasions. Maybe it’s silly? I just like knowing it’s there.

-Taylor S.

Just for my partner! Taking care of my man in any capacity makes me feel happy, and it satisfies me when he enjoys that I’ve taken the time to pick something he likes. Before we lived together, I once showed up at his door in a trench coat and lingerie and his face as he opened the door is something I will never forget. It made me feel empowered to do that for him even though I normally wouldn’t wear it for myself, and I hate when other women have shamed me for wanting to cater to him like that. I love pleasing him and in turn I am pleased when it comes off and he gives me hella great sex.
If I’m wearing lingerie for myself it’s super comfy, but 99% of the time I’m in sweatpants and a T-shirt. However, I’m super OCD and my bra and undies always need to match.

-Cassandra L.

I have ONLY every bought lingerie for boyfriends who cared. I do like feeling sexy and I will buy bras or sets like that, but my ex was not into lingerie, so I kind of put it in the back of the drawer. Current beau does like lingerie and makes me feel sexy wearing it. But I can’t think of a time when I bought something sexy just for me…This would be an experiment I am willing to participate in!

-Miranda P.

When it comes to wearing lingerie for me or for my partner, it’s a little bit of both for me. I feel good in it, and much more confident. and I noticed my partner feeling good because I dressed up “for him” (for us, really, but he liked the effort either way). It was always a win/win.

-Angela P.

What does it say about me that my answer is 100% partner? I might put on some undies with a little lace sometimes but usually only because I haven’t done laundry. I hate wearing lingerie – it feels like a chore to me. Maybe I should try pretty-ing up my undies and see if it makes me feel a way. I guess when I think “lingerie”, I’m thinking like maid costumes and lots of things to tie lol

-Alexandria D.

I wear it mostly for me. That dude doesn’t know Agent Provocateur from Amazon and when it’s bone time I don’t really set aside time to change for him.
That said, it makes me a lot more confident and that makes him aroused so it ends up benefiting him anyway. And he appreciates it. Just not as much as I do.

-Ela D.

I wear lingerie for myself. I love putting on some cute lingerie pinning my hair up and just lounging around the house.

Rachael P., Reiki Master, age 30

With my husband, I compromise. Luckily, we have very similar tastes. He does like certain cuts that just would not flatter me, though. So I typically make the decisions for the cut/style. I don’t think he (or anyone) realizes how strategic I am with clothes. My body is pretty distorted from pregnancies, c-sections, & 100+lb weight loss. So, there are a LOT of styles I just won’t wear. I usually stick to his preference for colors (white & earthy basics) and fabrics (the softer, smoother the better and minimal or no lace), though I don’t really care as much about that part – but he does. And I like the same colors anyway. I definitely take his opinion into consideration. He is the (only) one I’m trying to turn on (other than myself, obviously) so it seems counterproductive to buy something he doesn’t like. But I would also never buy something I dislike just because he does Iike it. Compromise! {Before my husband, though — I just bought whatever I liked! My lingerie lasted way longer than any of those relationships!}

-Stefanie W., Mom, age 33

I was with my ex-fiancé for nearly 8 years, and with him I always bought/wore what I knew he liked. We separated in August and since then I completely replaced my lingerie collection with things for ME. And even though I’ve started dating/casually hooking up again, I’m still dressing for ME from the foundation up, and I’ve never felt sexier or more confident.

-Elizabeth F.

Your Turn: For whom do you wear lingerie? Do you stand up for your own desires – when it comes to lingerie or in other areas of your life? What makes YOU say hurray for lingerie? How can you practice wearing what makes you feel good? Take a read through some of the questions and prompts throughout this article and journal, talk with a friend, or leave a comment here!

Credits: The images in this article were taken by Becky Yee during a #hurrayvacay in Paris. No airbrushing. Ever. I’m wearing a bra and panty set (embroidered with my initials!) that was a gift from Parisian lingerie company, Chantelle in size 30E and Small. This Chantelle Intuition Demi is no longer available, but you can browse other beautiful and/or practical Chantelle bras here. The hat was a gift from my mother-in-law! Ha! Full disclosure: I had the flu and was staying in a freezing cold, 7th floor walk up flat in Paris when we shot this. Oh, the glamorous lingerie life! But it was so worth it to take such a truly Parisian photo and say hurray!