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Style file: Valentine's lingerie

Avoid the bigger brands and high street chains when you go underwear shopping. Instead, seek out under-the-radar lingerie labels, says Emma Akbareian

Buying lingerie for Valentine’s Day can be a risky business. The first rule is to steer clear of anything cheap; bargain-bucket underwear will be received about as well as a bad smell. The second is tastefulness; the line between sexy and sleazy is all too easily crossed. 

Tempting as it may be to tread the usual paths when it comes to lingerie shopping, there is a whole host of brands awaiting discovery that offer a little more than your everyday Marks and Sparks pants.

ID Sarrieri isn’t a new brand as such; it’s been quietly kitting out customers in luxury lingerie for nearly 20 years. Where the leading names in the luxury underwear market mostly go for bold, brash, in-your-face designs, ID Sarrieri’s approach is far more subtle: delicate lace hand-crafted into more elegant, understated pieces.

Coco de Mer is better known as a purveyor of raunchy lingerie and its various accoutrements. Lesser-known is the vast array of brands stocked online and in store. While there are some well-known favourites, including Stella McCartney and Damaris, it’s with lesser-known labels such as Fleur of England and Kriss Soonik that the store really comes into its own. Something Wicked is a new addition; it’s a home-grown label specialising in strong, fashion-led designs, with English craftsmanship at its heart.

Two university friends with a love of lingerie set up Beautiful Bottoms, a brand that aims to do what it says on the tin. Their trademark style is incorporating pretty prints into delicate silk pieces.

The price point is appealing, too; a little more expensive than your regular high street garb, but far cheaper than ultra expensive designer labels.