If you have never done it, you may never know.

That was how I felt after my first ‘real’ lingerie shopping experience. If you’re an infrequent lingerie shopper like me, it can be a little intimidating to set foot inside a boutique or a lingerie store. Especially if you are shy and don’t know the difference between cups and all of those other measurements that are ‘apperently’ relevant to help you pick out the best lingerie fit for your body. With that in mind, here are a few tips to make your visit both easier and more comfortable. After all, even if you prefer shopping online or picking them up at the market, nothing can quite compare to the one-on-one expert attention you get from visiting a real lingerie salon.

1) Start on the right foot by going to a specialized lingerie boutique, not a chain store in the local shopping mall. The specialized lingerie boutiques have trained assistants to guide you through every step: from figuring out your size and fit, to picking what you are comfortable with. Some will suggest things outside of your comfort zone for you to try so, if you don’t have a couple of Naira to play with, just stick to your budget and pick the things that you are comfortable with.

2) It is nice to call the boutique and tell them you’re on your way. If you can Google their number, it makes sense to call them ahead of time to let them know that you will be visiting and that you don’t know all those measurements. That way, they can make sure you have the best experience possible, perhaps even pre-selecting a few items for you to try on when you get there.

3) Be your best self; lingerie requires a certain mood to be truly appreciated. Whether that means putting on a little makeup or eating a light meal before you go shopping, a little self-care beforehand will make the experience much more enjoyable.

4) Whatever panties you usually wear, opt for a nude, low-rise thong or similar when lingerie shopping. This lets you see how the knickers would look if you weren’t wearing anything underneath, while still maintaining proper hygiene.

5) Get a bra fitting, especially if it’s been over 12 months since your last one. That’s not a judgmental statement. I just know how quickly time flies by, and there’s a very good chance your body has changed, even slightly, since your last fitting or the last time you bought one.

6) When trying on bras, do the ‘scoop and adjust’ technique. Ever had that weird experience of shopping for a bra and it looks good, only to put it on and find that the fit is not as pleasing as you had initially thought? Right. This is where the ‘scoop and adjust’ technique comes in. This technique is the only way to be sure your breasts are centered and that the bra fits properly. A sales assistant can show you how to do this if you’re unfamiliar with it. 

7) Go outside your comfort zone. Lingerie boutiques offer many unique items that never see the inside of a regular department store. Don’t be afraid to try a new fabric, a new color, or even a new item entirely (corsets and garter belts, anyone?).

8) Always check the store’s return and refund policy before purchasing, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if it’s unclear. Certain items are always non-returnable, like panties for obvious reasons, and often sale and clearance items are final sale too. Be wary of boutiques with an “everything is final sale” policy. 

9) Remember that it’s okay to say ‘No’. You should never feel pressured into buying something. Meanwhile, reputable boutiques and sales assistants will always tell you when something doesn’t look good on you or fits improperly.

10) You better have fun girl! Lingerie shopping is one of the most enjoyable things in life. Almost like a relaxing spa experience… so relax, indulge, and enjoy your shopping.

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