Fashion’s guide to lingerie

Only a few years back, underwear shopping was divided into three categories: the M&S pretty but practical scene, the seedy sex shop crotchless and latex approach, and finally the beautifully well made and sexy underwear from Victoria’s Secret and Agent Provocateur that cost roughly a billion pounds.

Rose et Noir

The recent resurgence of vintage glamour, and in particular the burlesque scene, has led to more and more women looking to recapture the glamour of the pin-up icons of the 40s and 50s. Luckily, the high street has catered to this need, with beautiful underwear being more readily available and affordable than ever.

2012 saw the first Boux Avenue stores opening all over England with the mission to make lingerie shopping an experience within itself, according to owner Theo Paphitis. If the sweet smelling, bedroom-like shops are anything to go by, he’s certainly succeeded. The stores (with our nearest in Chapelfield), as well as the products, might trick a shopper into thinking it’s a window shopping location, with nothing feasibly affordable. But surprisingly, matching sets start from only around £20.

Boux Avenue is also a good place to start when looking to inject some excitement into your underwear collection; matching suspender belts are available with many of the sets, which, when paired with some stockings, could make anyone feel like a femme fatale.

Topshop has also recently proved itself to be a lingerie hero of the high street, especially for the online underwear shopper.  On the Topshop website underwear is priced as a set, which is invaluable if you have a slight tendency to overspend when surrounded by beautiful underwear options.

Topshop underwear, like their clothes, is highly trend aware, with an abundance of high waisted forties style knickers available (those with bellies beware of these; they can all too easily resemble maternity knickers, as this writer has experienced). Another trend championed by Topshop is the caged bra, the addition of a very simple extra strap above the top of the bra cup somehow works to make a pretty bra into a masterpiece of lingerie engineering which makes small boobs look fantastic and big boobs look even bigger, both of which equal greater sexy confidence for the wearer.

Beautiful underwear is not something to be invested in for the sake of making a partner happy; most men will in fact tell you that they don’t really see the point of it. However, we believe the point is to give yourself a treat – after all, only you will walk around knowing what underwear you’re wearing. If you have a few moments to yourself, also check out Buttress and Snatch’s website, where they hand-make luxury bespoke underwear: a girl can dream!


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June 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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