It’s no secret that lingerie can be sexually appealing and have an effect on romantic partners, sometimes even more so than being naked. Studies have suggested that male rats may be conditioned to find female rats in tiny jackets more desirable than those without them ― leading neuroscientists to draw parallels with human arousal related to lingerie.
These days, there are many options to splurge on pricy undergarments that use high-quality materials and come in pretty matching sets. Nice lingerie doesn’t have to be super lacy or overtly sexy to make its wearer feel empowered. But why exactly would wearing nice underwear affect our mental health?
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1. Wearing nice lingerie can strengthen confidence.
“Wearing nice quality underwear or lingerie sets boost our confidence and self-esteem, even if no one sees it,” said Carolyn Mair, a behavioral psychologist, author of “The Psychology of Fashion” and founder of psychology.fashion. “Feeling confident can make us appear more physically attractive because we tend to stand, walk, speak and gesticulate differently.”
She noted that confidence can make the content of what we say seem more persuasive and is associated with being perceived as sexy, “which, depending on our objectives, might also boost self-esteem and enhance mental wellbeing.” Wearing lingerie can evoke feelings of femininity, sexual liberation and power.
2. It provides the freedom to express your personal identity.
“We choose clothes to protect us from the elements, to make our activities safer or to make a statement. Clothing is our second skin and an outward display of our identity,” Mair said. “Our social identity is directed toward an external world, whereas our personal identity is directed toward how we feel about ourselves.”
In this sense, undergarments provide the opportunity to express inner desires and instincts, free from any concerns about judgment or interference from others.
3. It can be a form of self-care.
Making a conscious effort to feel and look good, whether it’s with your undergarments, your eyeshadow or your socks, is a way of treating yourself.
“It takes time and effort to buy and put on a nicer set of lingerie, so treating yourself affirms your self-worth.” Forshee said. “You’re showing yourself that you’re worth the time and effort.”
It’s important to note, however, that nice underwear isn’t as important for everyone, and we don’t need to be swept away into treating ourselves to expensive products beyond our means.
4. It can offer you an escape.
Sometimes it’s enjoyable to play around with our style, experiment with new looks we never considered or even cosplay as a completely different person. This approach can also apply to more private garments, like our underwear.
“Wearing outlandish clothing that is a far departure from our norm can provide us with a sense of escapism. Therefore, for those who typically wear basic undergarments, wearing high-quality lingerie can double as a form of self-care as it will allow them the freedom to escape the humdrum realities of everyday life,” Forbes-Bell said.
5. You get a sense of control.
Wearing high-quality lingerie under your clothes can also create a sense of power and control.
Forshee echoed this, noting that many women choose to wear nicer lingerie for social occasions so that they look the way they want to underneath their clothes in case they have a sexual encounter later.
6. You may feel inspired to dress nicely on the outside, too.
For some women, wearing a base layer of expensive or high-quality lingerie inspires them to put effort into their visible clothing, too, which can boost confidence further.
“Dressing up can improve your mood,” Karen said. “It’s part of what I call ‘mood enhancement dress theory’ ― you can optimize or elevate your mood when you’re feeling anxious or down or undesirable by dressing up. And wearing nice lingerie may motivate you to wear something a step above sweats to further optimize your mood.”