Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Wardrobe is sooo important in boudoir.
The right wardrobe can do WONDERS, it can help de-emphasize things you don't want focus on, and at the same time it can accentuate the attributes you want to show off! It can help portray your personality, and helps you define what sexy is for you.
It is all about finding the right wardrobe for your body! Wearing something that is wrong for your body can make you not look like yourself.
I know personally there are certain lingerie or regular clothing items that I think look awesome on the hanger or on the model, then I put it on and suddenly I look stumpy, or I look like a square, or I am suddenly very aware of the little rolls I have on my tummy. That does NOT mean I am stumpy, or square, or that there is ANYTHING wrong with my little rolls. All it means is that I am wearing something that is wrong for my specific body, and I need to find something else that fits both my body AND my personality.
Have you ever tried something on and it actually did fit your body, and objectively you looked great in it, but it just didn't feel like you? That is also something we want to avoid, because Boudoir is all about YOU! So we want you to feel like you.
So now we have clarified that the right wardrobe is essential for every single boudoir shoot. The truth is, however, that a lot of women don't really know anything about lingerie. Truth be told I didn't even know my correct bra size for years! I was wearing a B, convinced I was a B, and then one day I accidentally grabbed a C cup to try on and WOW my boobs actually fit in it, they weren't trying to pop out the top anymore. I had no idea even how my bra was supposed to fit. So if I didn't even know I was wearing the wrong bra size for years, how was I supposed to know what kind of lingerie I looked good in? Well I had to figure all that out, and now I want to help you!
So let's learn a little bit about lingerie!
Bra and Pantie Sets
These are a very popular choice because most women probably already have them! You probably have a few T-shirt Bras in your drawer, these are those bras that have a little smoother exterior and minimal embellishment, pretty plain and simple that don't really show under clingy clothing. Paired with a pair of lacy underwear these can definitely work, but to be honest they aren't usually what I pull out when I'm trying to feel sexy.
There are some great bra options that will work even more beautifully in a Boudoir setting. Options such as a demi-cup, bralettes, something sheer and lacy, you know those bras that look so pretty they don't look like they should be hidden under clothing, something you might wear with a backless or deep v shirt. Honestly there are so many different kinds of bras, we should probably take a look at a few.
Push up bras: I'm guessing most of you know what a push up bra is, I used to wear these a lot in high school when I thought my boobs were too small haha. They will make you boobs look bigger and give you more cleavage. That sounds great! However in Boudoir, there is a lot of laying down, and have you ever laid down on your back wearing a pushup bra and you look down and suddenly there's that weird gap between the bra and your boob? We want to avoid that. I also look back at some of those pictures of myself from high school, and I think I would've actually looked better if I'd worn a bra that just had better support and fit me correctly than having a bra that pushed my boobs so close together and closer to my neck. So moral of the story is I would be careful about push up bras, if you have one that you feel does fit well and you like the look, test it out in the mirror with some poses, lay down on your bed with it on and look down, if you still think it's great bring it and we can try it out!
Demi Cup (Balconette): Now this is the style of bra I upgraded too after I got over the high school push up bra phase. This is a supportive bra style that covers only the bottom half of the breast and offers more cleavage. So if you are wanting more cleavage I would suggest going with this style over the push-up bras. One thing to be careful of however with this style is it is easier for the nipples to want to come out and play so we will have to watch for that. Test that out when trying on this style if you don't want your nipples showing in your images, finding the right bra size in this style is EXTRA important.
Underwire Bra: These are great for women of any breast size! They have a wire sewn in to the bottom of the cup to help with support. Those underwires can be especially helpful if you feel like your ladies might need a little lift if you know what I mean. These kind of bras can also span multiple different styles, you can find underwires in push-ups, demi-cups, and even simple non-padded or lined cups. I have a bra that is entirely lace, no padding or anything, but it has an underwire and that wire makes all the difference in that bra.
Strapless Bra: These are, well, bras without straps! If this is your style, be careful with which ones you choose to bring to your session. Test it out in the mirror, raise your arms above your head, do your boobs come out of the bra? If you lay down does it stay on your boobs? I know I had a lot of swimsuits in this style for a while until I realized that lots of my photos at the beach with friends had my nipples showing because I didn't notice that the bra moved or my boobs moved and the bra didn't. So if you do bring one of these make sure you are bringing other options as well.
If you have a style of bra you are interested in that I didn't talk about here let me know! For now let's move on to underwear!
I have to admit I do not enjoy the word panties, so I will mostly refer to these as underwear even though I know technically bras are also underwear. So on that personal note, let's begin
Bikini: A bikini is a type of underware that sits on your hip and fully covers the front and booty. I always find the name of this type of underwear confusing personally, because when I think of bikini swimsuits I am always thinking of more the Brazilian kind that show off your butt cheeks, however in the underwear world bikini style is quite the opposite. For myself, I have a rather petite booty, so this type of underwear is not very flattering on me. So as always make sure you check yourself out in the mirror to see if this is a style you feel comfortable in and would like photographs of yourself wearing.
Brazilian style, Thong and G-string: I put these all in the same group because they all do very similar things, show a lot of booty! A thong has minimal fabric in the back, and shows off pretty much the whole tush. A G-string has even less fabric and pretty much just look like you aren't wearing anything in the back. The purpose of these two styles is mostly to avoid pantie lines under clothes. So for Boudoir these are helpful when wearing garments that aren't yours for sanitary purposes, but just by themselves, I personally think a booty pic looks better completely bare than with a g-string. However everyone has different bodies and personalities so if it fits for you, lets try it! A Brazilian-cut is what I was talking about when I think of bikinis. I would describe them as thongs with more coverage. They show off a lot of booty in a flattering way that makes it still obvious that you are wearing underwear.
Cheeky: Another step up from the Brazilian cut is the cheeky cut. This style shows just the bottom of the booty. It offers more coverage than a Brazilian or thong, but less coverage than a bikini style. It’s by far the most popular option, this is a great example of how sometimes more coverage actually does give a bit of a sexier feel, it's like you're getting just a peek at that booty, left wanting more.
Boyshort: Boy shorts are designed to sit on your hips and are similar to just really short shorts. If you have ever seen volleyball shorts, they are just a little shorter than those. These are a great option if you don't feel comfortable showing off your butt cheeks and want to do something a little bit more conservative. Keep in mind however that they do look more like clothing, specifically as I mentioned volleyball shorts, so depending on what you wear up top they could come off a little sportier than you intended. Having said that there are definitely ways of making this style look very sexy.
Corsets and Bustiers
Corsets and bustiers are amazing lingerie options that work well for pretty much every woman. They are similar and can get confused but they are definitely different.
In a nutshell, corsets “cinch” the waist and a bustiers “boost” the breasts.
Corsets: The rule is the more well-made a corset is, the curvier the hourglass shape will look. The most popular style of corset is an Overbust corset, this style of corset begins above the breasts, covering them, and also cinches the waist. Although the breasts are covered, this style doesn't typically have cups for the breasts, it just squashes them down. Think Pirates of the Caribbean when Elizabeth is being cinched up in that corset before her wedding, or a lot of Kiera Knightly movies now that I think of it haha. Anyway, without cups, it is possible for your breasts to get a little lost in there. I have some friends in the itty bitty titty committee that do not like corsets for this reason. However the focus of a corset is a tiny waist, so if that is important to you this is a great style to try. If you do want more boobiness going on, the bustier or a hybrid style might be more what you're after.
Bustier: Pronounced more like boosty-air, but looks like busty-er, which is exactly what these do, they make you look busty-er. This style always has a built-in bra. They’re typically shorter than a corset, ending just above or right at the waistline instead of going all the way down to your hips. Bustiers usually feel less confining to wear than corsets, since they don’t usually have the same hard boning and cinching effect, you won't have to worry about difficulty catching large breaths. This style can also often come with built in garter straps.
Lace up vs hook and eye: Corsets are traditionally held closed with laces, again think Elizabeth Swan. The tighter you pull the laces, the smaller your waist becomes. Some corsets also have a metal busk closure in the front. Having said that I have a corset with metal latches all down the front, so they come in all shapes and sizes.
Bustiers usually don’t have laces. They have hook-and-eye closures like a standard bra clasp, in the front or the back.
Either way I am here to help you lace, clasp, or hook yourself into these styles.
Hybrid Styles: The differences between bustiers and corsets aren’t always so clear. There are many styles out there now that are a mixture of both. A hybrid style of the two may look like a lace-up corset, but the way it’s made is more similar to a bustier in that it has cups for the breasts. These styles won't deliver the waist-cinching ability of a “true” corset but they are still stylish and flattering. These are also a lot less expensive than traditional corsets if you're on more of a clothing budget. They look smaller in their waist, covering the stomach, and also boost up those boobies. So they are kind of a best of both worlds situation.
Garter Belts and Garters: Since we lightly touched on garter straps, let's talk a bit more about garter belts and garters. A Garter Belt is a belt worn around the waist or hips with attached garters or fasteners to hold up stockings. Sometimes Garters are built into lingerie like I mentioned with the bustiers, so in those cases a belt isn’t needed.
The stockings they hold up are called Thigh Highs (because they pull up to the thigh). There are two different types of thigh highs. Some have a rubber material on the inside to help them stay up on their own, meaning they are meant to be worn without garters. In fact they are really hard to attach to garters because of the thicker rubber material at the top. If you want to use stockings with your garters, since that is what they are for, I recommend finding some classic stockings without the rubber. They will work better with your garters and they won't be tight on your thighs like the rubber ones will, which can be uncomfortable and possibly look like they are strangling your legs, which isn't the most flattering.
Teddies, Slips and Shapewear
Teddies: A teddy covers the torso and crotch in one garment, it is pretty much a sexy, lacy, sheer version of a bodysuit. (We'll cover bodysuits further on). Personally, I LOVE these, they are so flattering on many different women. They also are available in variety of different styles. Sometimes, they are really lacy, sometimes they can have sheer details, and sometimes they can have a linear design. There are ones with built in cups that give women more breast support. Some have garter straps attached, some are even removable, although it can even look sexy just having them hanging down without stockings if stockings aren't your thing. Teddies are great, but since they do have such a great variety, they are especially important to try on before you bring them to your session.
Shape Wear: I know, shape wear is not usually what one thinks of when looking for Boudoir outfits, but certain kinds can look so good! Shape wear is tight-fitting underwear intended to control and shape the figure, when put like that doesn't it sound like just the thing you might want for a boudoir session? There are many versions of shape wear, and true many of them are not what you want to be photographed in. However there are lingerie companies that have started designing shape wear that is not only functional but also appealing to the eye. So if you want to show off your figure, but maybe want to cover more skin, this might be a good option to look into.
Slip: I always just thought of slips as a tiny dress worn beneath a larger dress or skirt to help it look smooth and to prevent people from being able to see through some fabrics. I remember them as silky and loose, like a sexy pajama dress.
However nowadays, slips are very different! They are much sexier, they hug the body and now look like gorgeous pieces of lingerie that are meant to be shown off all by themselves. Think of them as mini almost bodycon-like dresses. They often have cups built in for support and some can even fit into the shape wear category. Slips that don’t fit into the shape wear category can be made of sheer, lace or silk materials and it is easier to see more of the body with a slip than with shape wear, making it a great choice if you want to be a little more conservative but also wants to show a little skin. They come in a large variety of styles, some have garters, some are a little longer, some a little shorter. The shorter they are the longer your legs will look! Slips that end right under or just above the bottom on your booty are a beautiful length for Boudoir.
Clothing, Shoes, Jewelry, and Props
Clothing: I know what you're thinking, this is Boudoir, isn't the whole point that you aren't wearing clothes? I know it might sound weird, but think about a hot leather jacket with nothing underneath, a flowy dress that can kind of fall off the shoulders? Or try mixing the two, an off the shoulder sweater with just underwear on, ripped jeans and a sexy bra, a tank top with a lacy thong and high socks? There are so many ways to make clothing just as sexy, if not sometimes even sexier than lingerie.
One clothing item that comes to mind, and seems to be used in all the morning after movie scenes, is a plain button down shirt. Especially if you are planning on giving these images to your partner, you can sneakily steal one of their button downs to use in your session, or if you and your partner are big sports fans, maybe bring a jersey? However if you are very small and your partner is larger than you, you don't want to look like you are drowning in their clothes, so if this is the case a smaller size of the same sort of look might be the best option.
Bodysuits: Bodysuits are technically clothing, not lingerie. They are a snug-fitting, one-piece stretch garment for women. They are usually worn with jeans or skirts, so they look like shirts. However for our Boudoir purposes, they look great all on their own! I personally prefer high-cut leg openings to make your legs look nice and long (especially because I have fairly short legs naturally haha). You may also want to look for bodysuits with a smaller amount of fabric in the back, you know the kind that give you a semi-wedgie haha, these look amazing for the booty! American Apparel is an awesome place to shop for body suits. They have sheer, low-cut, sleeveless, long sleeves if you don't like showing off your arms too much, tons of options! I even have a few here at my home studio you can wear if you brought thongs to wear underneath.
Shoes: Heels are always a must bring in the shoe department, and when it comes to heels the higher the better! It's a good idea to bring both a black pair and a nude or skin colored pair of heels because they will go with everything. Try and avoid ankle straps in your heels, they can tend to make the leg look a little more cut off in photos and they don't give that desired long leg look as much. A fun pop of color shoe can also be great to bring in addition to the black and nude heels, to help show off a bit of your personality.
Jewelry: Jewelry can be a nice little detail to add into your session and can help add some personality and style to your outfit without adding too much weight. Keep in mind your every day jewelry as well, like watches, that may not want in all your photos but you wear it so often you almost forgot it isn't a part of your body. There is also the fun realm of body jewelry that we can explore in Boudoir, the kind of jewelry that goes around your waist, or covers your chest entirely with small chains, or wraps from the back to the front, or the kind that goes around and in between your breasts! Body jewelry can be very very fun to incorporate into your session. You can find a lot of really great body jewelry on Etsy!
Props: Props can be really fun, but be careful that they don't steal the show. I had a client who brought in a sentimental navy cap of her boyfriend's and we had a lot of fun with it and it really added a sentimental feel to that set of photos, but we could've easily let the hat take over the session and become more of the focal point than she was! So we only used it for a little bit, because she was the real star of the show, not the hat. We also didn't want it to look like she was in costume, we wanted her to look like herself, just with a meaningful detail added in.