Valentine’s Day: 9 best lingerie sets that make you look and feel great

From balconettes to babydolls, these pieces promise to get you in the mood

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Wednesday 20 January 2021 17:08
<p>Don't reserve your new underwear for special occasions – make it part of your daily wardrobe</p>

Don't reserve your new underwear for special occasions – make it part of your daily wardrobe

While you certainly don’t need a reason to buy a new lingerie set, Valentine’s Day is as good an excuse as any to treat yourself, whether you're a single pringle or a long-term lover.

Getting dressed up in a great-fitting pair of undies is a brilliant way to feel empowered whatever your relationship status, and thanks to a plethora of new and exciting brands such as Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty galvanising people of all sizes and ages to embrace their sexuality, many are pulling on pretty balconettes and chemises for their own pleasure, just as much as anyone else’s.

But, while lingerie is beautiful, for many it can also be downright terrifying. So, whether you’re buying for yourself or your valentine, and you’re not sure where to start, we can help.

The need for various sizes and fits has been embraced by lingerie brands, meaning there really is something for everyone, from fuller-bust bras to flattering small-cup silhouettes and bottoms that run the gamut of styles, from thongs to pin-up-inspired briefs.

When shopping online for smalls, be sure to check out each brand’s size guide and, if you’re new to them, give the online review section a browse too, to find out what other shoppers really have to say.

To help make finding the perfect pair a breeze, we’ve found nine top garments that are sure to put a smile on your face – from beautiful bras to romantic babydolls.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

M&S sheer kiss bralette, knickers and suspender

Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to wear more playful lingerie, like this printed set from high street stalwart M&S. A brand that’s well known for its collection of everyday underpinnings, it’s great to see M&S branch out into more glamorous options for special occasions, and fans will be glad to hear that this does not come at the cost of comfort.

The entire set is made from sheer black mesh and flocked with an all-over red kiss motif that lends a touch of mischief to an otherwise modest silhouette. While the bralette doesn’t have padding or underwiring, there is an elasticated underband that provides some support and plenty of fabric to ensure your breasts are suitably covered. We also love the addition of the delicate frilled edges for a girly finish.

The matching knickers are cut in a bikini style, meaning they sit low on the hips and cover the majority of your bottom, forsaking a slight cutaway at the sides. We found this shape to be particularly flattering on a curvy bottom and liked that it gives you just the right amount of skin on show to pair with the suspender belt.

We really love how this set perfectly marries playfulness with seduction, and that it works just as well for romantic liaisons as it does for everyday wear – minus the suspender, of course. It’s also very inclusive, with the bra available in sizes 6 to 22 and the knickers and suspender in sizes 6 to 28. Is there anything M&S can’t do? You can sign up for notifications for when the suspenders are back in stock. 

But bralette now

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Savage x Fenty candy hearts lace bra and lace g-string

If you don’t have any Savage x Fenty smalls in your drawers, now is the time to invest as this month saw the launch of the brand’s hotly anticipated Valentine’s range.

Our top pick is this red candy lace balconette bra, which is guaranteed to become a staple in your lingerie collection. The balconette cut boosts your bust, making it perfect for wearing with low-cut necklines, and provides a rounded shape with lots of support, giving it an almost Fifties, pin-up aesthetic. The lace feels soft against the skin and features a delicate love heart motif that provides a subtle nod to the annual celebration of love. We also really enjoyed the addition of the light-hearted “do me” charm, which hangs at the centre front.

When it comes to the bottoms, there is the option to invest in a crotchless pair, but if that feels too risqué you can pick up the G-string instead, which is made with the same embroidered lace and cheeky charm at the centre back. The sizing was spot on here and, despite reservations, the G-string makes for a comfortable fit, meaning it can be worn all day long.

The brand also gets major plus points for its inclusive sizing. Founded by singer Rihanna in 2018, Savage x Fenty revolutionised the lingerie industry with its collection of fashion-forward pieces that cater for a wide range of bodies in sizes 32A to 46H for bras and XS (UK0) to 3X (UK22) in briefs. Bravo RiRi.

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Love Stories love lace leopard bra and wild rose leopard brief

Let out your wild side via your underwear drawer with this set from Dutch brand Love Stories. Featuring a statement leopard print cup that is surrounded by fanciful black lace trims, the bralette looks just as elegant as it is bold and the fabric feels great against your skin. While it doesn’t feature an underwire, the bra is made with a wide elasticated underband that provides support for a confidence-inducing fit, while the delicate straps are also adjustable, so you can adapt them to your body. The brand’s sizing is slightly confusing at first, ranging from 1 to 4, but a quick peek at Womanhood’s handy size guide tells us this equates to a 32A through to 38D.  

While the bra could easily be paired with a plain black pair of knickers, we suggest picking up the matching briefs. Designed in a tanga style, the front is cut from the same silky leopard print fabric as the bra, with a black elasticated waistband that extends around the sides of your waist and connects to a semi-sheer, black lace rear. Despite initial concerns, the elastic does not dig into your hips and actually makes for a flattering fit that can be worn high-rise if you wish. We also loved how soft the lace on the back of the bottoms was, and found that it didn’t bunch up throughout the day. Sizes range from 1 to 5, which equates to 6 to 16.

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Ann Summers enticing babydoll

If it’s something with a bit more coverage you’re after, try out a satin slip dress like this one, which reveals and conceals in just the right places. With a flared hem and flattering babydoll shape, the satin body glides over your figure and finishes mid-thigh, making a nice change from some of the more bottom-skimming styles you can find on the high street.

The top section of the babydoll slip is made from black lace that extends down slightly further than your bustline, while a pretty bow sits at the front for a feminine finishing touch. The cups don’t have padding, but they are underwired for extra support and the slender shoulder straps are adjustable for a personalised fit. The dress also has an open back which adds a touch of extra elegance and, while it isn’t the softest satin style we’ve tried, for the price it promises to make a lovely addition to your most treasured boudoir pieces.

We love the all-black version but it is available in an array of other colours, including white, blue and red. We’re also really impressed with Ann Summers’s size range, as the slip comes in XS to XXL, which equates to size 6 to 26.

Boux Avenue nettie longline bra and briefs

As appropriately romantic as you would expect from lingerie brand Boux Avenue, this nettie bra has a longline silhouette that looks just like you’re wearing a bustier, only without any of the discomfort.

The non-padded cups are made from a soft spotted mesh and lace that’s finished with pretty 3D embroidered flower detailing. We also really liked that the underwiring is covered in satin, meaning it feels almost undetectable and provides effortless support under clothing. What really sets this bra apart is its optional racerback. The only downside is that wearing it in this way can make it a bit tricky to put on but, once you’ve figured it out, it provides amazing support and is a versatile design for both special occasions and every day. Available in sizes 30C to 38G.

We really loved the deep navy hue of this set but it also comes in Valentine’s-friendly red and pink. Wear yours with the matching thong or briefs, which are available in sizes 6 to 18.

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Buy thong now

Buy briefs now

Les girls les boys daisy lace triangle bra and string

A brand best known for its chic pyjamas and comfy loungewear, les girls les boys has earned itself a cult following on Instagram since its launch in 2017. So much so that you can barely scroll through your feed without coming across a trendy fashion influencer sporting its wares.

But the brand also offers a seriously stylish range of underwear that’s both practical and cool. While the designs are a world away from Agent Provocateur’s upfront glamour, the brand is actually owned by AP’s founder, Serena Rees. So you know you’re in safe hands.

For lingerie that’s equal parts comfortable and sensual, we recommend this daisy lace set, which comes in black and our favourite neon pink. The bra is inspired by lingerie styles from the Sixties and features soft lace cups with a fun daisy motif. It has thin straps that are soft on the skin, don’t dig in and, unlike most bras, fastens with a bikini-style swan hook that makes it a breeze to take on and off. The bra has no padding or underwiring and, while this makes for a light fit, it could pose a problem for larger busts, as the elastic underband is quite thin and thus provides little support. If you do have a larger bust, we’d recommend investing in the underwired version instead. Available in sizes 30A to 36DD.

For a matching set, pick up the brand’s classic G-string thong, which features the same daisy lace design and scallop trim. Available in sizes 6 to 16, the bottoms sit low on the waist and we found it comfortable enough to wear all day. If you’re not a fan of this style, you can also buy classic briefs.

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Asos premium embroidered lace bra and thong

Strappy and seductive, this set is provocative lingerie at its finest, and great value too. The bra features mesh cups that are embroidered with a leafy design, which helps to create a soft contrast to the graphic banding that connects them to the straps. The extra banding lends a flattering shape to your decolletage and also provides additional support to the underwire, making this a great option for all sizes. If you’re worried about them being uncomfortable, there’s no need, because we hardly noticed them at all. We also love that the lace extends beyond the underband, giving it an elongated look for a truly special finish.

For a flirtatious set, pair with the coordinating thong, which is designed with the same slim banding that can be raised towards the hips. The bra is available in sizes 30A to 38D, while the bottoms come in sizes 4 to 18.

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Monki satin triangle bra and high-waisted briefs

Channel the Fifties and sculpt your curves with this retro-inspired set from Monki. The triangle bra is decorated with a romantic floral design with sheer lace trims and has a super-soft satin feel that extends to the adjustable straps, making it the perfect choice for a Valentine’s night in. The comfort levels are only strengthened by the elasticated underband, which gives the classic hook-and-eye closure a little more wiggle room.

We couldn’t get enough of the high-waisted briefs that come in this set and think they are a must-have addition to any woman’s delicates drawer. The bottoms really accentuate your waist, provide support for your stomach and feature the same satin floral design as the bra, with the addition of a complete mesh reverse, which gives the briefs more of a sultry tone. Both the bra and briefs are available in sizes 6 to 20.

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Pour Moi opulence underwired body

If you find wearing a separate bra and briefs uncomfortable, too revealing or simply want to try something different, we suggest investing in a bodysuit such as this lacy style.

A piece that ensures both comfort and allure, the body is made with a built-in, underwired bra that has full lace-trimmed cups so you still get the same level of support as you would wearing a two piece. We really liked how the body helps to frame your figure, with lace panelling down the centre and an elasticated waistband that accentuates your waist.

If you’re a fan of the underwear as outerwear trend, you could even pair it with some high-waisted denim jeans and an unbuttoned oversized shirt for your first post-lockdown date night. We love the magenta pink for Valentine’s Day, but it also comes in other, more subtle, colours, including forest green and black.

One thing to point out here is that, depending on the size of your bust, it can be difficult to fasten the hook and eye clasp yourself. Available in sizes 32B to 38G.

The verdict: Valentine’s lingerie sets

You can forgive a glaring Valentine’s Day theme when it’s as fabulous as Marks & Spencer’s kiss print set. We love how it manages to perfectly straddle the line between suggestive and pretty, not to mention the fact it’s seriously comfortable. Affordable and stylish, this is the one we’ll be wearing again and again.

If you’re thinking about investing in good quality and don’t mind a higher price, Savage x Fenty’s candy red set is well worth considering. A brand that lives up to its hype, the bra and bottoms look great, feel amazing and, perhaps most importantly, make you feel like a million dollars.

From make-up to skincare, we’ve found the best Valentine’s beauty gifts

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