London's best lingerie shops
The best places to buy underwear so lovely it ought to be outerwear
© Simon Leigh
Don't get your knickers in a twist, shopping for lingerie is a breeze if you know where to look. We've rounded up the capital's best boutiques and specialist shops to get your heart racing.
Since opening this Soho shop nearly 15 years ago, Agent Provocateur has become an international success story, with branches as far afield as New York, Moscow and Dubai. It’s the first port of call for the decadent and fashion-forward lingerie fan. The distinctive retro glamour of the London store’s pink and black decor is extended to the staff, who are kitted out in cleavage-enhancing pink nurses’ uniforms. Bras, from 32A to 38F, start at around £60. Corsets, hosiery, nightwear, pasties and perfumes are also on the menu.
- 6 Broadwick St , W1F 8HL
There’s a time and a place for seductive peepholes, tie-side knickers and marabou mules – and we urge you to embrace it. The rest of the time, boutiques such as Bodas are a real godsend. Head here for simple, well-cut and super-flattering bras and knickers. There are smooth padded bras in invisible ‘maquillage’ (a dark pink that works much better than nudes) for the perfect line under a flimsy frock, and sheer white soft-cup bras for stylish comfort. Matching knickers start at around £10 (in sheer, Tactel and cotton) and the lovely nightwear encompasses chic white pyjamas, nightdresses and kimonos. Great for cut-above essentials and wardrobe basics.
- 38B Ledbury Road, W11 2AB
This erotic emporium is London’s most glamorous introduction to kink. The boudoir aesthetic creates an unmistakable vibe of refined naughtiness, and trying items on is a particular highlight, what with the peepshow-style velvet changing rooms that allow your lover to watch you undress from a ‘confession box’ next door. Stock has an ethical, artisan-led twist; you can be sure your dildo is made from WWF-endorsed wood (owner Sam Roddick clearly inherited her mother Anita’s green credentials). The jewelled nipple clips, jade cock rings and rose-decorated ceramic butt plugs and dildos are among the list of intriguing pieces.
- 23 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9DD
If you’re after erotic chic, the Newburgh Quarter’s Lingerie Collective is the place to find it. Crafted peep-hole bras by Bordelle, beautiful chiffon knickers by Ell & Cee and silk bodies by Modern Courtesan are among this store’s kinky treasures.
- 8 Ganton St, W1F 7QP
Since it was founded in 1999, the luxury lingerie brand Myla has acquired a devoted following (its lace and freshwater pearl g-string acquired particular infamy after being featured in a classic Samantha Sex and the City scene). There are now five London stores and various concessions around town, which makes getting one’s hands on the label’s stylish, high-quality bras, knickers, toys and accessories a breeze. Seasonally updated collections always include fashion-forward colours and designs, though classics such as the signature silk and lace couture range are always in stock. There’s a lovely swimwear range, elegant nightwear (like classic silk satin pyjamas) and accessories such as candles, silk-bow nipple tassels and blindfolds. The brand is also known for its elegant and subtle sex toys (such as the Myla Spot vibrator).
- 74 Duke of York Square, (King's Road), SW3 4LY
Unquestionably the Rolls-Royce of the bra-fitting world, Rigby & Peller – corsetière to the Queen, no less – offers a professional, service-oriented experience in its Mayfair boutique. Once you’ve seen the difference these properly fitting undergarments make, there’ll be no returning to the grab-and-go guesswork and the greying rejects from the back of the drawer. Either arrive early or make an appointment if you want to be measured (it takes 45 minutes), and come prepared to splash some cash. Not because it’s outrageously expensive – prices are, in fact, pleasingly affordable – but because you’ll be dying to get your hands on the array of fabulous items.
- 22A Conduit Street, W1S 2XT
Part waxing joint, part lingerie shop, Strip is a one-stop destination for your nether-region needs. There are four branches in London, though we love this dinky Soho outpost with its themed treatment rooms and choice pick of luxury labels. You can find the other branches in Notting Hill, Chelsea and inside the One New Change shopping centre.
- 69 Berwick St, W1F 8SZ
If you want to recreate Gemma Arterton’s Bond girl look, get fitted/kitted out in WKD’s Harlow Bullet Bra (not so much a push-up as a push-out). Even Gwynnie hasn’t been able to resist the look (also snapped in Maitresse knickers by Mario Testino, no less, for Vogue). Vintage glamour is the USP here – think sexy corsets inspired by music hall and cabaret, seductive silks and satins (as well as velvet and leather, cotton and lace), and seamed stockings ‘to bring out the showgirl in you’. Along with fabulous collections from the UK’s top retro lingerie designers, WKD is now stocking the complete range of Besame cosmetics in gorgeous retro-vintage packaging, so that you can complete the look.
- 26 Portobello Green, (281 Portobello Road), W10 5TZ
A showcase for luxury lingerie brands as well as artisan labels, Tallulah is a great place to find posh and pretty pants. Brands include the lovely Aubade, Fleur of England, Huit, Mimi Holliday, Elle & Cee and Ayten Gasson – and the store has its very own bridal boudoir, just in case February 14 is the day he pops the question.
- 65 Cross St, N1 2BB