Whether you’re a woman looking to update your smalls or a partner wanting to surprise that special someone in your life with a romantic gift, a delicate lingerie set is ideal for Valentine’s Day.

The right set of undies has the ability to give you that instant feel-good factor (in or out of clothes) but if you are buying for someone else, approach with caution.

While all women like to look their best, one woman’s treasure is another’s trash, so it’s important to understand what she does and doesn’t like. For this we suggest a sneaky rummage through her delicates drawer, where you’ll get a good indication of the types of fabrics, styles, colours and – most importantly – sizes she wears.

Speaking of which, be sure to check a few different pieces, as sizing can vary depending on the style. While some are categorised by band (eg 36) and cup (eg C), others will use standard clothes sizes (6, 8, 10 etc).

Similarly, when considering the style of bra there are generally four to choose from – full cup (these offer the most coverage and support); balcony (these have a boosting effect); plunge (these push the breasts together to create a cleavage); and triangle (these offer a natural fit with little support).

Once these tricky elements have been established, consult our round-up of sensual smalls for all shapes and sizes, sourced from the delicates departments of some of the best brands.

Bluebella Natalia Body Black: £30.40, Bluebella

Buying lingerie doesn’t have to mean a bra and brief set, so if you’re looking for something a little different, a lacy body ticks all the boxes. Designed by Brit brand Bluebella, opting for a bodysuit like this one is great for switching up the look, and also works wonders for those that can be a little tummy-conscious. A real head-turner, this one is made from luxurious, stretchy corded lace and features a seductive halter-neck tie, scooped low back and plunging neckline. Comes in sizes 8 to 16 and is also available in red.

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Topshop Plunge Lace Up Bra and Knickers Set: £26, Topshop

If you want to avoid saccharine pink smalls, then this dusky rose set has got you covered. Designed in a plunge style, the sheer lacy bra manages to give cleavage a boost effect without looking OTT, while contrasting black underwire and adjustable straps provide support. To really rock that blushing hue, we suggest investing in the matching Brazilian knickers, which are made from the same sheer material. The bra is available in sizes 32A to 36D, while the bottoms come in sizes 6 to 18.

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Boux Avenue Eliza Non-Padded Plunge Bra and Silk & Lace High Leg Knickers: £27.50 (bra) and £12.50 (knickers), Boux Avenue

A colour that complements all skin tones, this emerald green set from UK lingerie brand Boux Avenue is seriously striking. Available in both padded and non-padded versions, the bra features delicate, copper-coloured embroidery for a touch of sparkle, as well as a stylish crossover back detail and easy-access front clasp fastening. It also caters for a wide range of sizes, from 30B to 36DD. To put together a matching set, you can pick up a thong or briefs, which come with a super-soft satin front, in sizes 6 to 18.

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Rosie For Autograph Silk and Lace Padded Beau Plunge Bra and Brazilian Knickers: £27.50 (bra) and £12.50 (knickers), Marks & Spencer

A brand well-known for its range of lingerie – ever since supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley came on board back in 2012 – its offerings are looking better than ever before. For a set that offers a vintage-inspired, feminine twist, we love this deep-red plunge bra and matching briefs. The bra gives you great shape without too much of a push-up effect, and is available in an impressive range of sizes: from 34A to 38D. The knickers continue with the same lace and silk detailing and have a flattering high leg cut that instantly makes your legs look longer.

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Monki Triangle Mesh Bra and Glitter Heart Briefs: £15 (bra) and £6 (briefs), Monki

An excellent option for someone that doesn’t take themselves, or Valentine’s Day, too seriously, we suggest picking up this sheer black set from high street favourite Monki. The triangle bra is finished with non-padded mesh cups that flash a little flesh, while the addition of two red glitter hearts uphold your modesty. Don’t forget to complete the look with the matching sheer mesh briefs. Both the bra and the bottoms are available in sizes XS (8) to L (18).

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Victoria's Secret Satin & Lace Midi Slip: £57.11, Victoria’s Secret

After something really luxurious? Then this could be it. A great alternative to the traditional bra and brief set, this slip from Victoria’s Secret guarantees to make the woman in your life feel her best. The satin slip dress has a slight V-neck and adjustable crossback straps that are trimmed with delicate lace. A feature that extends down the length of the slip, it helps to add a little sass to an otherwise modest midi length. While plain black is your safest bet, you can also buy this in a cherry mix print. Available in sizes XS (2) to Large (16).

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Ann Summers Applique Longline Bra and Thong: £34 (bra) and £16 (thong), Ann Summers

No one does racy red undies quite like Ann Summers. But far from being brash, this berry-coloured option flatters and, most importantly, fits well. Designed with balcony cups for a natural-looking lift, the bra features a vintage-style longline band and lacy detailing, as well intricate embellishment and sculpted boning for a touch of luxury. Finish the look with a barely-there thong, made using satin panelling and a semi-sheer mesh front. This set is also available in black. The bra comes in sizes 32A to 44H, while the thong is available in 8 to 18.

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Cos Lace Bra with Elastic Band and Lace Knickers: £19 (bra) and £10 (knickers), Cos

For someone that loves colour, we suggest this set from Cos – a fashion brand known for its reinvention of wardrobe essentials with a modern and considered design. With a classic-looking design, the soft cup bra is wireless and made from bright orange cotton-blend lace. There’s a contrasting navy band that can also be found on the matching knickers, which come in a high-cut style. This set comes in standard clothes sizes ranging from a 34 (6) to 42 (14), and is also available in navy blue.

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Wonderbra Full Effect Refined Glamour Push-Up Bra and Knickers: £25.20 (bra) and £11.20 (knickers), Wonderbra

Most pieces from Wonderbra, the original cleavage creator, promise to make you feel super-sexy and confident in (or out) of any outfit, but for something really special, we’ve got our eye on this navy set. A style that will increase your bust by up to two sizes, this bra uses cups that combine gel and air for a comfortable fit, while the gold embroidery adds a touch of luxury. Complete the set with the matching navy blue lace knickers – they’re made of breathable microfibre, meaning they not only look good but feel great to wear. The bra is available in sizes 30D to 38D, while the bottoms come in XS to XL. If you’re feeling generous, you can gift the coordinating suspender belt for an extra £20.

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Agent Provocateur Gloria Kimono Black: £595, Agent Provocateur

If your budget permits, a piece from luxury brand Agent Provocateur offers the ultimate in opulent undies. And for a gift that promises to stand the test of time we suggest investing in something other than a bra and panties. Instead, we would recommend, black, silk satin kimono. Cut to sit high on the thigh, it’s trimmed with super-sheer tulle in an intricate floral design, while the wide, flowing sleeves and belted waist add the perfect finishing touch to traditional nightwear. Plus, there’s little room for error in sizing as this option comes in S/M (8-10) or M/L (12-14).

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The Verdict: Lingerie sets for Valentine’s Day

For a lingerie set that expertly straddles the line between pretty and sexy, and is comfortable to wear, the racy red set from Marks & Spencer guarantees to get you in the mood for love. That being said, if it’s something a little different you’re after, then we love Bluebella’s lacy body. A choice that will look great whatever your size or shape, this seductive all-in-one is our Best Buy.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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