Are you unsure about what lingerie styles suit you best? As we get older and our bodies and lifestyles change, so do our choices of clothing items. Lingerie can be the one that gets the most intimidating as we get older.
As a fashion designer, I designed collections for major retailers for many years in Canada, and I specialized in lingerie over the course of my career. I truly enjoyed choosing fabrics and trims, creating color combos, and designing collections that women loved to wear. Although I am no longer a fashion designer, I still have the guilty pleasure of enjoying lingerie (a lot)!
I always feel confident when I know I’m wearing something special under my clothes – something that is comfortable, that doesn’t dig into my skin, and that provides a nice silhouette under my clothes.
As I got older, I noticed that my personal taste in clothing changed. That included my choice of lingerie pieces as well. Was it because my body was changing? Was it because my lifestyle was also changing? I think it’s a combination of factors that make us choose different styles, fabrics, and cuts as we get older.
I can remember the days in the 80s and 90s of the past century when I swore by thong and string panties and wore practically nothing else. Today, my lingerie collection has zero thongs, zero string undies. Not a single one.
Not that there is anything wrong with wearing thongs as we mature, but personally, I look for more comfortable undies that don’t dig in or leave marks. But, by no means does this mean that my lingerie is frumpy and old school. There are plenty of lacy, sexy, and comfortable lingerie out there for us sexy and confident mature women.
NOTE: I know most of the models in the photos below don’t represent our community. These photos are taken from the retailers’ websites. Obviously, there’s still some work to be done in the fashion industry in regards to ageism.
What to Look for in Lingerie for Older Women
Natural and organic fibers are always a good idea when it comes to choosing underwear. Natural fabrics breathe better and have natural wicking features that keep skin dryer.
A well-styled bra or panty will generally fit better. The cups will be well-formed without putting pressure on the chest area and elastics will be soft but firm. Hardware like rings and sliders are better when made of lead-free metal rather than plastic.
Did you know that you are probably wearing the wrong size bra? Studies show that up to eight women out of ten are not fitted with the proper bra size.
Look at care labels and make sure that you will be able to provide the necessary washing and drying instructions. Lace typically has to be hand washed, and if you live a busy life or simply don’t want to hand wash, maybe that shouldn’t be your first choice.
Bras for Older Women
Types of Bras
Underwire bras like this Ultra Light Bali style provide the most support. The wires should comfortably sit under the arm area behind the breast. The wires should not poke nor hurt.
Wireless bras such as Playtex Secrets are more comfortable than wired bras. Because they are not as supportive as wired bras, they should be well constructed to provide adequate support.
T-shirt bras are made with molded cups and don’t have any seams. They are often made of cotton and provide a sleek look under clothing. Personally, these have been my everyday bras for years. They can be designed with or without underwires.
As the name suggests, demi bras don’t cover the entire breast. They are not recommended for the fuller ladies as they don’t provide enough support and may cause the breasts to spill out. Not a good look!
Bralettes such as the ENBLISS have become popular in the past years and are not solely for the younger women to wear. They are pulled over the head and generally don’t have wires or hard parts like metal closures. They are considered minimal support bras and are great to sleep in (but a little difficult to get in and out of.)
Some bras are designed for specific purposes.
As the name suggests, sports bras are made to keep you supported while doing physical activities. They provide the maximum support to keep the girls from moving too much while you are being active.
On other fashion articles I have written for Sixty and Me some of you have shared that you have lost a significant amount of breast size. Push-up bras and padded bras can provide the little extra oomph you need.
Front fastening bras like this Playtex model are a god-send for women with arthritis or problems with their wrists or shoulders.
For those with large bosoms, minimizing bras can help create a nice silhouette.
Racer Back Bras
Racer bras are bras that are crossed at the back and very handy when wearing sleeveless tops that have a racer back. Many of these bras often have transformable straps for more versatility.
Strapless bras like this one from Soma are great for the times where your top or dress reveals the shoulder area.
For a few more examples of bras for older women read this article 10 BEST BRA OPTIONS FOR OLDER WOMEN.
Bra Tips and Tricks
Support in the Band
The part of the bra that provides the most support is the band and not the straps. It’s important that you get the proper size so the band is well fitted.
Bras usually come with 3 sizes of closure options. Your new bra should fit at the middle hook. You may have to move one size over as your bra gets older.
It’s a good idea to get fitted every year or so by a bra specialist. Our bodies are constantly changing which means we may need to change our bra size several times throughout our lives. It’s better to embrace change than to wear a wrong-fitting bra. Specialty lingerie shops typically have sales associates that are trained to size and fit their clients. This service is usually of no cost to you.
It’s time to change your bra when it doesn’t support you as much as before. All bras lose their elasticity and support features as they get older and go through the many, many washes. You will notice that a well-styled bra that is made of quality fabric (and more expensive) will last longer than a cheaper bra made with lesser quality fabric and construction materials.
How do you know if your bra is still supporting you properly? Simple – test the fit of your bra by dropping down the straps from your shoulders to see how much support the band and the cups are still providing your breasts.
If everything gets exposed and goes south, it’s time to get a new bra that has better support. If everything stays mostly in place it means that the shoulder straps are not the support system for your bra – which is a good thing!
Look for front-fastening bras if your mobility is compromised by arthritis or other issues with your hands or shoulders.
Panties for Mature Women
All panty styles can be made of cotton, lace, nylon, spandex mixes, polyester, bamboo, lyocell etc. and come in solid colors or in various prints.
Types of Panties
The names we call the types of panties (undies or knickers in the UK) vary from country to country. This is a basic list of types that you will find (with North American lingo.)
Briefs are panties that provide the most coverage of all the panty types. Classic briefs, which are sometimes called granny panties, sit very high on the waist and provide full coverage at the back.
High Cut Brief
The high cut brief is designed with a larger leg opening. These can be more comfortable to wear for some women while still providing adequate coverage at the back. High cut briefs offer a more revealing look, showing more leg.
As the name suggests, control briefs offer a front or back control panel to offer a trimming look to the tummy and buttocks.
The hipster panty style like the cotton modal from Soma offers a good amount of coverage but sits lower on the waist.
Bikini panties resemble the hipsters but are designed with less side coverage. They still offer coverage at the back but reveal more leg.
Boy shorts resemble men’s boxer briefs and sit low on the waist while covering most of the back area.
These panties offer no buttock coverage and are good to wear under garments that are form fitting. Thongs are the go-to panties if you don’t want any revealing panty lines. But they can be uncomfortable for many women.
Seamless panties are usually made of a specialty fabric that is molded with the least seams. Typically, these styles offer a cotton crotch. They are great for minimizing the look of panty lines and are often used when doing sports.
Your panties should first and foremost be comfortable. The style is completely up to you and will probably change as you get older. What was comfortable when we were 22 is probably not comfortable when we are 65. Heck what was comfortable at 55 may not be comfortable at 65. You should not “feel” your panties as you go about your day.
The fabric should breathe, absorb, and wick moisture. Cotton and natural fibers like bamboo, for example, are good choices. If you do opt for lace panties or man-made fabrics make sure that the crotch area is made of cotton and that it is big enough.
Your panties should fit properly and not dig into your waist or thighs. This can cause them to reveal panty lines under your clothes. Not very elegant! Remember to change your panty size as your body changes over the years.
Panties with less seams look better under clothes. Look for laser cut or seamless panties for the best look.
HINT: White panties or bras are not the best underwear to wear under white clothing. Many women make this mistake. Choose nude (or flesh) colored underwear. Some brands offer them in a variety of shades to match various skin tones.
Special Occasions Lingerie for Older Women
Now for the sexy lingerie! Do you wear sexy lingerie because it boosts your confidence? Do you enjoy wearing it to feel sexy with your partner? Either way, it’s always good to have a few pieces of lingerie that are made for those special occasions – lacey, frilly, transparent, and OO-LA-LA!
Babydolls typically have a bra-like top part with a flowy bottom part that covers the hip area.
Teddies (or bodysuits) like this one from Victoria’s Secret are a one-piece lingerie item that is often made with lace or sheer fabrics. These styles can be flattering and make you look taller.
Silk, satin, or lace slips are very comfortable and are easy to wear.
Best Lingerie for Older Women
Choosing lingerie as older women is a very personal experience. The fabric, the color, and the style will all depend on your personal taste, lifestyle, and preference. Of course, we expect sexy lingerie to be less comfortable than our cotton briefs, but we should still feel comfy without anything poking into our skin.
Sexy has no age!
What are your favorite lingerie items? Has your style changed as you have gotten older? Tell us what you like to wear now. How is it different from before? Leave your comments below.