A Guide to buying lingerie

Between silhouettes, sizes, fabrics and fastenings, lingerie can be confusing. Whether you are buying lingerie for yourself or finding your partner the perfect set, this guide is all you need to get it right.

Finding Your Lingerie Size

The most important element of your lingerie is that it fits correctly. We recommend having a bra fitting once a year, or whenever you feel your body may have changed, to be sure you are always properly supported. Our Coco de Mer boutique team is trained to fit you perfectly, so please ask for a fitting on your next visit if you are unsure of your size. 

How to work out the correct bra size at home

If you are unable to be fit by a professional, you can work out your size at home using the following method:

Step 1 - Band measurement: Standing upright and braless, use a measuring tape to measure around your underbust, keeping the tape level and snug to the body. The tape should sit where the band of a bra would typically sit. Measuring in inches, round up to the nearest whole number and add 5. If that number is even, that is your band size. If odd, round it up to the nearest inch to work out your band size.

Step 2 - Bust measurement: There are a few methods to work out the cup size; but, the easiest way is to wear an unpadded bra you own that fits comfortably in the cup. Keeping the tape level, measure around the fullest part of your chest and note down your number in inches. 

Next, subtract your band measurement from your cup measurement. The difference between the band and the cup measurement will equate to your cup size, using the following sequence: 0=AA; 1=A; 2=B; 3=C; 4=D; 5=DD; 6=F; 7=FF; 8=G; 9=GG; 10=H; 11=HH; 12=J; 13=JJ; 14=K, and so on.

Finally, combine your band size with your cup letter to work out your bra size. While different brands, styles and fabrics will have different fits that need to be considered, this method is a great starting point if you are unsure of your size. 

How do you know if a bra fits?

You'll know your bra is the right fit when it feels comfortable, snug and supportive, without any gaping, spilling, riding up or digging in. Take time at first to adjust the straps - you should be able to slide one finger under the straps but shouldn't be able to lift them higher. The gore should fit as flat to the sternum as possible, sitting in the centre of the breasts. The band should be level to the floor and is too loose if you find it rises at the back or sides. An excellent way to test the bra's fit is to see if you can fit two fingers underneath the band all the way around - if this is uncomfortable to do, then it is too tight. It is best to wear your bra on the loosest hook and eye fastening initially, then with wear, you can tighten it as the fabric loosens over time.

Bra Style Guide

If you find you are still having fit issues after these checks, you may be wearing the wrong bra style for your body type. 

Balcony Bras

This style is perfect for fuller or wide-set breasts as the straps sit at the side of the cup rather than the top. If you find you have issues with side spillage, this could be a perfect style for you.

Plunge Bras

This style works for many different body types, but it can be especially beneficial for those with narrow shoulders due to its thinner sitting straps. People with outward-facing breasts may like this style as it pushes the breasts to the centre and creates cleavage, too. If you struggle with your bra's gore sitting flat on your sternum, a plunge bra can eliminate that issue.

Triangle Bras

Smaller busted women and those that find underwires uncomfortable may benefit from a triangle bra. These bras provide natural support and shape without the use of an underwire.

Open Bras

Although this style isn't intended to provide support, the style you choose may change depending on the lift and silhouette you are looking for. For a next-to-naked look, the open triangle bra style will work wonders, but if you are looking for a lifted and supported shape, the quarter cup bra is best.

Knicker Style Guide

Bikini Brief

This style sits low on the hip with narrow sides, following the look of bikini bottoms. 

Brazilian Brief

Again sitting low on the hip, the Brazilian knicker offers less coverage than a brief but more coverage than a thong, making it an all-around flattering cut. 


A perfect low coverage style, perfect for minimising VPL and showing some skin.


The most minimal knicker design, the G-string has a barely-there look perfect for wearing under slinky, tight-fitting clothing. 

Open Knicker

The open knicker is erotic lingerie that leaves the crotch area completely open, usually with two single straps attaching the front and the back.

What to look for when buying lingerie

Feeling confident, beautiful, and empowered is always our intention at Coco de Mer. The right underpinnings can be the difference between a good day and a bad day, so why not make yours the best you can? Lingerie, after all, is about redefining sexuality on our own terms as women.

If you are shopping for yourself, go for something that speaks to you, your body and your taste. Once you know your fit and the best silhouettes for you, it's simply a case of trying on some options and seeing what makes you feel amazing.

Buying lingerie for someone else can be trickier - do your best to find your partner's size by checking the label inside their lingerie. It's best to take a photo of the label to take shopping with you for accuracy. If you cannot do this and don't know their bra size, it may be best to try a soft cup lingerie set or nightwear that is shoppable in S/M/L. You can shop our Nightwear collection or view our assortment of soft-cup bras.

Once you know what size you need, think about how you may describe your loved one's personality and aesthetic. If words like 'minimalist' or 'sophisticated' come up, you know they would likely appreciate something timeless like black lace and silk in classic silhouettes. Try to match your pick to their personality, sense of style and their day to day wardrobe. If in doubt, a gift from our Icons collection is always a success.

We would recommend exploring our Gift Guides, where the Coco de Mer team have curated a shortlist of favourites that would make excellent gifts.

To Sum Up

Lingerie is incredibly personal and nuanced, but you have all the tools you need to get it right for yourself or a loved one with the correct measurements, fit, and mindset. For further guidance, we would love to assist you in person at our Covent Garden boutique, where we are committed to helping you find your perfect new set.