Turn up the heat for this Valentine's

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 February, 2013, 10:07am

Valentine's Day is approaching, and since we gave you tips on how to dress for date night last week, today we'll deal with what's underneath. And although we might balk at the flagrant commercialisation of love, it doesn't mean that we won't fall prey.

This being the most saccharine of festivals, there are many pitfalls when it comes to Valentine's style. Lunar New Year falls just before Valentine's this year, so an obvious place to start is in the dangerous realm of red underwear.

Red, the colour of love, passion, spice and fortune, can be worn beautifully - but with lingerie, beware. There is a fine line between fiery seductress and sleazy stripper.

It can be done in style, but full-on red lace lingerie reminds me of blue movies and silicone blondes. It can work if it's not skintight, perhaps with more coverage, or in silk with feathered or unworked hems.

There are plenty of hues that are good alternatives - pale pink, peach, coral, burgundy or even a dark, rich purple. And trusty white or black can be very seductive with the right cuts and fabrics. Shiny satins are out, more subtle matt finishing is in. Yes to suspenders and stockings if they are not too over the top, and even corsets are making a comeback.

Make sure you go for quality. Touch the fabric, make sure it's not scratchy. Men who are buying gifts, take note. I don't suggest skulking around lingerie departments looking shifty and stroking the merchandise but don't be shy about asking for help. A new Hong Kong-based label, Hailey and Sasha, are even offering the city's first bespoke lingerie service.

Slips and teddies are having a retro revival. Fashionable women are less drawn to the push-up bras of the late 1990s than to the delicate finery of La Perla or Aubade. The Jean Paul Gaultier collections for La Perla are favourites. Although the range of lingerie stores in Hong Kong is slim, online shopping means that there is little excuse to settle for a Marks & Spencer pack of four maxis.

Whatever takes your fancy, being comfortable and feeling good in your choice is key. We can't all be Adriana Lima, looking fabulous rolling around on a beach in little more than dental floss and nipple tassels. But we can all treat ourselves to a little luxury and feel that little bit sexier. There's always that date with Mr Jack Daniels and the DVD player.