February 1st, 2014 / posted by paularath

A few looks from Victoria’s Secret

There are some really classic categories of Valentine’s Day gifts. Among them: lingerie, fragrance, flowers and chocolates. If a guy goofs on flowers or chocolates, it’s not that big a deal. But a boo-boo with lingerie or fragrance can be a costly, and sometimes even disastrous, blow to a relationship. So if you think your Valentine just might be thinking about getting you lingerie or fragrance, please send him a link to this blog, and one regarding fragrance that will follow shortly.

I once interviewed Lisa Thorson, who was then the lingerie fit stylist for Nordstrom’s Hawaii region. She emphasized the importance of asking for help in the lingerie department. “Every man is in the same position. When they get in the lingerie department, something happens to them and they forget everything. Sometimes they can’t even get into the department. They just pace around the perimeter, and we have to go get them.”

A lingerie look from Princesse TamTam, sold locally at Allure in Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

If your Valentine is a flannel PJs kind of woman, would she really wear a beautiful lacy confection? Does it matter? The message it sends is that you still think she’s sexy and what’s the harm in that?

If you really want to find something that’s just her style, an ideal way is to take your Valentine on a shopping date and see what attracts her. “It’s a win-win. She may step out and pick something she might not pick on her own when she’s with her guy,” Thorson said. In any case, you will get some clues from watching her reacting to what she sees.

When it comes to any kind of clothing, size matters. But when it comes to lingerie, it can be disastrous to get it too wrong. Here are some practical tips that may help you avert a Valentine’s Day gift disaster:

1. Size Matters

Take a peek inside her lingerie drawer. Check the labels on her bras, panties, PJs and nighties to see what brands and what sizes she wears. When in doubt, buy her a larger size bra, bustier or top and smaller size panty or pants. She’ll love that you think she has big boobs and a small butt. It’s best not to buy sets, as women seldom fit both the top and the bottom of a matching set.

We all wish we looked like this. Let us think you think we do!

2. Know her personal style.

Check out what styles she typically wears. Doe she prefer bras with an underwire, with or without padding? Does she wear thongs, bikinis, boy shorts or briefs? Sexy chemise or flannel nighties? (And if you don’t know any of these terms, be sure to go someplace where you can get good customer service!)

A good old fashioned Lanz flannel nightie, like the ones we wore when we were little.

3. Color me correct.

There will be a ton of red and black out there, beckoning you to buy. Don’t listen to that siren call if you have never seen her wearing red or black. If she’s a lavender or pink girl, red and black will undoubtedly be returned to the store.

4. No shame.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. A good sales person will ask a lot of questions about her lifestyle and the kind of clothes she wears. This will help you make your choices.

5. Comfort first.

Remember that lingerie is the closest thing to her skin, so feel the fabrics. Look for something soft, smooth  and comfy so nothing will itch or poke. Buy the best quality you can afford. With lingerie, you truly get what you pay for.

If you shop somewhere that she regularly shops, chances are a sales associate is going to have a sense of what she likes. Stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus keep records of purchases and can look up the brands and styles she likes. Specialty boutiques such as Allure,  La Perla or Victoria’s Secret may also have helpful sales associates.

Find Honolulu Cookie Company cookies at Ward Warehouse, in Makai market at Ala Moana Center, or in their Waikiki stores.

In case he chickens out on lingerie and decides to go for sweets – or you want to get him something sweet –  I highly recommend the special Valentine’s Day gift boxes from Honolulu Cookie Company. Their cookies are so popular that they fly out the door so you know the box you buy will always be super fresh. And who doesn’t love cookies?

Next up: How to choose a fragrance you both will love.

– Paula Rath



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