While bra fitting is my primary field of expertise, I frequently field questions from customers about which everyday panties I personally recommend, and I realized I have enough opinions on the subject for an entire blog post. Ages ago on the blog, I referenced the Great Underwear Quest of 2009. At the time, I recently finished losing weight and had purchased some lovely dresses and pencil skirts which showcased every seam, elasticized waist, and all manner of decorative feature adorning my current underwear. Whenever I tried new clothes on in the fitting room, I mistakenly believed I had underwear at home which would disappear with nary a visible line in sight. Nothing worked. Ultimately, I began scooping up miscellaneous knickers from retailers ranging from Walmart to Nordstrom, but if I could find a discreet pair, they would roll, move, or creep upward—to say nothing of scratchy materials or fraying edges. Eventually, I wondered if my only choice was to buy thongs or simply go commando, but I did not want to risk flashing cheek (or more) when I moved or sat. Just as my frustration peaked, a friendly sales rep in the Nordstrom lingerie department recommended On Gossamer. They were perfect! They did not show under even my least forgiving bottoms, were fairly comfortable, and reasonably durable. And so the Great Panty Quest ended.
One of the benefits of opening our store was how much exposure I had to new brands and styles in the intimates world, and I also had access to a large collection of guinea pigs (*waves at customers*) to gather data. Not to mention, a few amazing sales reps and fabulous fellow store-owners weighed in with recommendations based on what worked well across other demographics and locations. As a result, today I want to showcase a variety of great everyday panties, many of which are part of money-saving panty programs that give customers discounts for purchasing multiples. Since the focus today is on basic underwear, I am not considering matching set underwear, luxury or high-end pieces, or hand-made specialty pieces as those truly deserve a separate discussion. Instead, I am focusing on high quality, affordable everyday underwear for the average consumer.
Full briefs offer more coverage than most knickers, in some cases earning them the unflattering title of “Granny Panties”, and usually sport a higher rise and fully enclosed hip, tummy, and rear. Recent years have seen more interest in unique fashion twists on the brief, especially high waist versions, but most longtime fans love the style for the incredible comfort and ease-of-wear.
- Wacoal Bodysuede Brief: Made from a thinner, lightweight fabric, the Bodyseude series from Wacoal has amassed a legion of devotees because of the complete coverage and excellent fit.
- Vanity Fair Perfectly Yours Brief: Composed of a soft nylon/spandex blend, the Vanity Fair Perfectly Yours brief is available in a cornucopia of colors and utilizes an elasticized waist and leg opening to keep the style in place as you move.
- Le Mystere Perfect Pair Brief: While both the Bodysuede and Perfectly Yours briefs have longevity and customer loyalty on their side, my personal pick for the category is the Perfect Pair brief from Le Mystere. Not only is the fabric just as dreamy, but the Perfect Pair sports a stretch lace top panel to discreetly show some skin, making the design ideal for anyone wanting the coverage of a brief with added frill.
Hi-Cut briefs are a classic variation of the original brief and typically consist of a mid to high rise and an angled leg opening to expose the lower hip. While the higher rise controls the tummy in the front, the higher cut leg offers a flattering silhouette, and the full brief back provides coverage without excess material or drooping
- Wacoal Bodysuede Lace Hi-Cut Brief: Capturing the feminine lingerie of the 70s and 80s, the Bodysuede Lace Hi-Cut brief contrasts the silky nylon fabric with a beautiful floral lace on the leg openings for panties as uncomfortable as they are lovely. In fact, I have seen matching set underwear retailing for $30+ which do not feel this silky.
- Wacoal B-Smooth Hi-Cut Brief: Made from a heavier, stretchy fabric, the B-Smooth series from Wacoal is a great everyday brief for customers wanting a classic shape with less frills. They are not completely VPL-proof, but the fit and longevity of the series is fantastic.
- Natori Bliss Girl French Cut Brief: Featuring a lower rise than the other picks, the Natori Bliss French Cut briefs make a lovely compromise for the person wanting a traditional hi-cut styling with slightly less tummy and rear coverage. Made from a pima Cotton with stretch lace on the waist and leg openings, the Bliss French briefs are available in a plethora of colors every year, giving you a chance to stock up.
Bikini Briefs & Hipsters
In the exciting world of underwear terminology, recent years has seen a considerable and quite confusing overlap in what insiders, manufacturers, and retailers classify as a hipster, a bikini brief, and a short. For the purposes of this post, bikini briefs and hipsters will be knicker cousins, characterized by a lower rise than a classic brief or hi-cut but still offering moderate to full rear coverage. Fabric across the hip can either be thinner (as with a traditional bikini) or slightly thicker (as with a hipster). Shorts will be underwear with wider, straighter cuts across the hip and either full or moderate rear coverage.
- Natori Bliss Girl Briefs: Without question, the Natori Bliss Girl briefs are my favorite underwear, and I am not shy about telling everyone and anyone about how wonderful they are. These luxurious pima cotton concoctions from Natori use stretch lace on the waist and leg opening to prevent digging or riding throughout the day. Personally, I prefer the classic shape to the French cut because the higher back rise looks awkward on me, and the hipster shape here seems to stop at just the right spot.
- Le Mystere Safari Smoother: An incredibly lightweight nylon panty with a hint of animal print at the waist, the Safari Smoother bikini from Le Mystere have quickly become a favorite and are perfect for days when I need or want a silkier feeling fabric than my Bliss collection.
- b.tempt’d Fits Me, Fits You bikini: I would never have believed I could like a “One Size” panty, particularly because most similar items either fit smaller or stretch out quickly. This inexpensive bikini from b.tempt’d not only accommodates between a size 4 bottom and a size 14, but they also wear well. Visible lines do pop up with some bottoms because of the stitching, but they are perfect for jeans or heavier fabrics.
Boy or Girl Shorts (renamed “Shorts” to be more inclusive) range in rise but tend to be a distinctive short shape, sometimes with more hip coverage than a hipster or bikini but less than a traditional brief. For me, a good short offers a nice compromise between coverage in the front but a cheeky look in the back although not all shorts are designed to expose a lot of skin.
- Hanky Panky Signature Lace Short: Made here in the US, Hanky Panky enjoys a wonderful reputation in the lingerie industry and is the single most-requested underwear brand from our customers. Their Signature Lace collection (another entry of which will appear soon) is a crowning jewel because of the super soft stretchy laces and perfect fit. Their short channels the ideal coverage for a flattering, fun everyday pant.
- Maidenform Hip Fit: A stylish bridge between a full brief and a hipster, the Maidenform Hip Fit uses soft fabrics and stretch lace on the leg and waist band to prevent panty lines while still offering coverage.
- Wacoal Halo Lace Short: Lovely Helanca lace adorns this versatile short for a tastefully sheer everyday knicker. The contrast direction of the waist band breaks up the feel of the coverage, and the higher, fitted rise prevents rolling in the front while contouring beautifully in the back. I recently acquired a pair of these and am already in love.
I should have entitled this section “The Least Popular Underwear in the Shop” because it’s a rare day indeed when I am asked if we carry thongs. Ultimately, I discontinued them and their cousin the Tanga (often a thong with more coverage toward the waist) because they hung glumly on the racks never finding a home. While I am not a personal fan, I scoured the market for some lovely options to include here.
- Hanky Panky Signature Lace Thong: My friend Kat who owns the boutique Luxury on the Outer Banks recommended the Hanky Panky Thong series, and she is not the only one. Store owners, customers, and other industry professionals have nothing but glowing praise for the Hanky Panky thongs, noting that they are the most comfortable pieces available.
- Commando Low Rise Thong: Commando is another company with a great reputation for comfortable underwear, and their low rise thong boasts a smoother fabric than Hanky Panky for a sleeker overall look.
- Cosabella Never Say Never Lovelie Lace Thong: Another well-respected company, Cosabella has a higher price point than some other brands, but the quality and fit are worth the splurge!
While many of the options showcased above are plus-size friendly, I wanted to include a few additional recommendations in a variety of styles since certain items stopped at a Large or X-Large. Furthermore, many of the options here also work for people needing smaller sizes too.
- Jockey No Line Bikini: Jockey, like Hanky Panky, is another highly requested brand in the shop, particularly from plus-size customers wanting affordable everyday panties. Most prefer their fuller brief, but since plus-size underwear seems focused on options with maximum coverage (a topic Holly covers well on the Lingerie Addict), I am recommending the No Panty Line Bikini to break up the monotony. The mid-rise and microfiber fabric combine for a comfortable and invisible brief, ideal for anyone of any size wanting a lower coverage everyday knicker.
- Curvy Couture Luxe Hipster: Made from a cotton/bamboo blend, the Luxe Hipster from Curvy Couture not only feels fabulous against the skin but fits beautifully too. The lace accents keep the brief from being too plain, and the tummy-friendly mid-rise and full rear coverage are perfect for anyone wanting a classic hipster-style brief.
- QT All Over Lace Short: Wide lace waist band and leg openings add frill to this classic short style from QT. Available up to a 4xL, the All Over Lace Short uses a soft nylon/spandex blend for the perfect fit and feel.
- Curvy Couture Essential Short: Super smooth microfiber finish and a hip-hugging design elevate the Curvy Couture Essential short among competitors. Double-lined midsection offers tummy control while bonded back leg openings and a clean finish prevent the shorts from riding up or showing through clothes.
- Valmont Embroidered Lace Hi-Cut Brief: A gorgeous twist on a classic style, the Valmon Embroidered Hi-Cut Lace brief eschews a traditional solid fabric design in favor of embroidered mesh cut outs extending up to the waist for a flattering design. Vertical floral blooms expose skin while still providing coverage on the side and rear, and the impressive Small to 7X-Large size range means more people can enjoy the design comfortably.
- Olga Secret Hug Nylon Scoop Briefs: Another classic full cut nylon brief for the list, the Olga Secret Hug use small geometric lace bands at the top and bottom to add flair to the full coverage design.
Your turn: What are you favorite everyday underwear? Have you tried any from the list?