Underwear habits: To match or not to match?

The recent launch of Helena Christensen’s new lingerie collection for Triumph, the supermodel admitted that she doesn’t match her underwear. This is one of the most stylish women in the world, and one who has designed lingerie ranges no less, but she doesn’t feel the need to match knickers with a bra. Or sock with a sock, for that matter.


‘It would be great to have all my underwear washed at the same time but it just never is,’ she told The Telegraph. ‘So I end up with mismatched everything, even socks.’


We can relate to that. Well, some of us can, because Team Fashion Bust is split on this issue. We have a devoted matcher (who would not dream of leaving the house in mismatched smalls) and two others more or less of the Helena Christensen persuasion. And yes, we’d argue that it is perfectly possible to love lingerie and not always have to match it.


But because it is something we have debated between ourselves, we know that it is an underwear issue that divides people. Sure, there are those who match their underwear sometimes and others for whom it only happens by accident, but those who like to match, really like to match!


So that’s our starting point for this week’s look at UK women’s underwear buying habits. It’s a little more lighthearted than our last feature, which focused on discomfort caused by bras, but no less fascinating. After all, how do these preferences – to match or not to match – influence our buying habits? Do matches spend more or less than non-matches, do they fall into similar age or size brackets? How do they compare to the non-matches or women in general?


In our survey, 19% of women answered ‘always!’ to our question about matching underwear. That’s almost one in five. Around 55% said they sometimes match, and the rest – around a quarter – said they’re just not bothered.


One of the most obvious things that stand out about the ‘always!’ group is the how many bras they buy per year on average compared with the sample as a whole – 14 compared with nine – and half had bought a bra in the last month. In fact, 39% of our matches said they buy more than 20 bras a year. Only 18% of women, in general, buy this many bras, while 38% of those who aren’t bothered by only one to five bras per year.


And then there’s price. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that matches are prepared to spend more on their bras than non-matches. If the average maximum spends per bra across the whole sample is £38, matches are prepared to spend £44 (around a third said they would spend upwards of £60). Those who said they are really not bothered are prepared to spend up to £31, while our occasional matches are on a par with the overall average at £37.5 per bra.


Now, since we know it is perfectly possible to be lingerie obsessed and spend far too much on bras and still not worry about matching undies, is there anything else about our matches that could explain both their higher frequency of purchase and higher spend?


We looked at bra size to see whether that could give us a clue, but there’s little obvious difference statistically between this group and the whole sample. Just over a third of both groups fall into the A-D bracket, while the rest are DD plus. And this is very similar for those who aren’t bothered about matching. Clearly what size you have no bearing on the impulse to match or not.


We also looked at age, but again there was a fairly even spread across the age groups for both matches and none-matches, although matching does tend to tail off in the older age groups. Of those aged 56 and over, only 11% said they always had to match.


So then we looked at where they shop. Now, it’s interesting that 75% of those who match have a favorite brand or retailer – more than the sample as a whole – and 50% name one or more specific brands as opposed to general retailers or department stores. So there is clearly considerable brand loyalty among this group, but as we know from our previous feature, this can have an impact on how often women get fitted and also how comfortable they are, which is an interesting angle to bring into this. It begs the question – if you must match, is this more important than comfort?


Previously we noted that those with a favorite brand or retailer are less likely to have had a recent bra fitting, and that holds true for this group, as despite the importance of underwear in their lives, they are slightly less likely to have had a recent fitting than the sample as a whole. But where does that leave them on the comfort front? Are they suffering for the perfect look?


Our first assumption would be no. After all, these women are buying a lot of bras and they are prepared to spend more on them, so surely they wouldn’t spend all that money if they weren’t comfortable? Well, they do suffer a bit less discomfort than average, but only a bit. The majority still complain of occasional discomfort and a few from frequent discomfort, while those who say they never experience any discomfort are fairly evenly split between matches and non-matches. So if it is a matter of priorities, it would seem that it is more important for this group that their lingerie matches than that it is comfortable. Which, if you look at it from a certain point of view, makes perfect sense.


All that aside, however, whether you match or mismatch comes down largely to personality – and possibly budget. Matching sets can be expensive and one of the things that drive up the price is the knickers. If you’re serious about always wearing matching undies, you need at least two knickers per bra (or a very strict laundry regime). And this is one reason why a lot of women don’t bother – we had several comments to this effect. When you can, for example, buy a five pack of cotton knickers from M&S for £7, why would you spend twice that or more on one pair to match your bra if it’s not important to you?


But for some people it is. Their lingerie is as much a part of their outfit as what goes over it. Some people say they just don’t feel properly dressed if their underwear doesn’t match, while for others it’s all about how it makes them feel – that inner confidence that comes from knowing they’re wearing nice underwear. Since the majority of women are occasional matches, that’s probably a feeling most of us can relate to. How far we take it really just depends on how important it is to our daily lives. For some, the answer is not very. For others it’s significant.


So you tell us. Do you match? Must you match? Or are you baffled by the whole concept? We’d love to know.

How To Pair Your Lingerie With Your Outfits

You all know that the right kind of innerwear is equally as important (sometimes, even more) as the clothes you sport every day. If you don’t know which lingerie to wear with which outfit, you might end up getting stares for more wrong reasons than right ones. So, it’s very important to match the right kind of lingerie with your clothes, in order to grab eyeballs for all the right reasons!

By Color

It’s always advisable to match your lingerie color to your clothes, especially when flaunting light colored or sheer garments. Nude or skin-colored lingerie goes well with all kinds of clothes, and black is a universal choice to wear underneath dark-hued outfits. But, special care must be taken when wearing whites – white innerwear can be starkly visible when worn under white clothes, like a white shirt for work, or a white dress for brunch; hence, the proper color to wear under whites is always skin tones for both bra and panty.

By style

Once you know the color of bra or panty that’ll suit your clothes, it’s time to choose the right style of lingerie to wear according to your outfit. Take care to choose the bra according to the kind of outfit you’ll be flaunting – a t-shirt calls for a bra with molded cups, a tube dress demands a strapless bra, so on & so forth. Pick your bra depending upon how deep your neckline is or whether you are sporting something sleeveless or strappy. Similarly, fitted bottoms should be worn with seamless panties and low waist pants should be paired with bikini style panties rather than regular ones.

By design

Yes, your printed bras and your lacey bras are meant to be worn underneath different types of clothes and the sooner you realize the right pairing, the better. Avoid wearing printed lingerie under light-colored garments, as the prints might be visible, especially if the fabric is semi-sheer or thin. Also, with dresses or tops that might allow a bit of inner to show or peep out, wear lacey ones, so that they look ornamental. So, take care and get dressed well in advance, so that you can check if your lingerie complements your outfit and change them into proper ones if necessary.

By fit

Who said you should only buy clothes with the right fit? Your lingerie has to be the proper fit too if you want to steer clear of any fashion faux pas. With figure-hugging pants or skirts, wear thongs, boxer shorts or seamless panties to avoid visible panty lines. When flaunting bodycon dresses or skirts, you can even go for shapewear like tummy-tucker panties or corsets. Similarly, bras with molded cups are preferable for wearing underneath very fitted tops or dresses. So, while buying lingerie, make sure the fit is right for you.

Now that you know how important it is to pair the right kind of lingerie with your clothes, give it some attention and avoid making any kind of fashion faux pas! After all, you need to feel beautiful & confident inside-out every day!

3 Ways to Coordinate Your Lingerie

Few things are sexier than a well-fitting bra and matching briefs on a woman’s silhouette. It has been revealed that most women, especially those in the dating pool with a great sense of fashion, love to coordinate their lingerie. It’s commonly accepted that wearing matching lingerie is a fantastic way to start the day, boosting your confidence and making you feel super sexy! The average woman owns about 3 to 4 times as many panties as she does bras and takes special care to wash them after each use. Hence, matching your lingerie every day can seem almost impossible but with these steps below, life would sure be a whole lot easier! 1. The 3-1 ratio rule:  Generally, it is Okay to wear your bra at most 3 times before washing. This means that you need a minimum of 3 matching panties to see you through till the next wash; hence the 3-1 ratio. Tip: When shopping, for each bra you purchase you can also buy multiple panties in the same or in a similar style, to ensure that you will always have a bottom to match.


  1. Launder in sets: Always wash your matches (coordinating lingerie sets) together. This way you avoid creating an annoying selection of mismatched bras and briefs.
  2. Coordinate:

–  Colours: Go for colours that can easily be matched to each other simply by sharing the same colour shade. If like me, you own mostly black bras, chances are you’ll have an easy time finding an array of black panties to your liking.

– Solids & patterns: Pair a natural-coloured print pattern with bras in colours that compliment them. For example, mix a leopard print pant with a brown-coloured bra or vice versa

. – Textures & Colours: Stay creative – pair similar fabrics and colours together. For instance, mix sheer/lace pieces together even in different colours or hues.

– Keep the panties plain: To make life simple, especially if you don’t know how to colour block (and couldn’t care less) wear your pants in a neutral colour (beige, brown, grey, black and white) to avoid clashes.



Ladies, How Can You Keep Your Daily Lingerie Coordinated

It’s an annoyance many a friend has lamented: It’s nearly impossible to wear matching underwear on a daily basis. The average woman owns about three to four times as many panties as she does bras and takes special care to wash them after each use, while alternately, bras can usually go two to four years before requiring laundering. With these statistics, it’s easy to see how tricky it can be for a lady to coordinate her undies each day. Yet the satisfaction that we often feel from donning a well-coordinated set under our clothes can help make the difference in our mood for the day and inspire us to feel more confident, often encouraging us to show off our impeccable taste to a good friend or significant other.

Ever since I joined the dating world, I’ve felt the pressure too. As a lingerie designer, I also feel it’s my duty to wear the very best undergarments each day with matching sets that let my personal style shine through. So the pressure I’ve put on myself to coordinate my underthings before a big date has been weighing on me more and more as I realize how mismatched my lingerie wardrobe is. Which bottoms do I have to match this bra? Which undies haven’t I worn yet this week? Will my date notice if my bra and panties don’t match?

The truth is that once you get to the point of undress with another person, chances are that the last thing on their mind is whether your bra and panties match or not. But while we tend to be our own harshest critic, it still remains that we just feel better about ourselves when we know we’re sufficiently put together and well-kept underneath it all.

The problem many of us encounter is that it can be expensive to develop a lingerie wardrobe full of all coordinating pieces. When we shop for underwear we often stock up on panty deals, purchasing multiple pairs based on comfort, price, and color. Bra shopping tends to be more calculated, expensive, and time consuming, resulting in relatively few purchases in comparison. The modern woman doesn’t have the time or the budget to purchase exclusively matching sets all the time, so why not work with what you already have in your wardrobe or invest in a few inexpensive pieces that can easily be mixed and matched in a multitude of fashion combinations?

Furthermore, I believe we can all benefit from a little bit of anti-fashion. Who says your clothes have to match in order to look good? Look at the success of tween retailer Little Miss Matched, encouraging kids to have fun with their collection of bold clashing prints and daring colors, guaranteed to lighten the mood and eschew the traditional fashion etiquette. Consider your underwear as your own private medium where you can have fun, express yourself in any way you see fit, and decide when and with whom you want to share it.

While this declaration may not be for everybody, there are still ways you can minimize the mismatched-ness in your wardrobe and stretch your lingerie further. Here are seven tactics you can use to help alleviate some of the stress of coordinating your undies. After all, we wear this stuff closest to our bodies and deserve to have them make us feel as comfortable and confident as possible each and every day