Shopping, Sweet Machine

Petty gripe of the day: Underwear size vs clothing size

Though I have become a crazed evangelist of the miracle that is finding a bra that fits properly, I have yet to master the art of buying underwear (which I refuse to call “panties” lest I spend the rest of the day shuddering). Even when I set the bar pretty low (must be approximately my size and not give me a wedgie), it seems like I always end up with underwear I grudgingly tolerate instead of underwear I delight in (or at least don’t grouse at). I blame, at least in part, the even-more-incomprehensible-than-usual sizing standards on women’s underwear. I ask you, sartorial gods, if underwear sizing is going to use numbers starting in the single digits and going through double digits, and if clothing sizing is also going to use numbers starting in the single digits and going through double digits, then why on earth can’t those sizes match?! Why does someone with, say, 44″ hips wear size 16 pants at Lane Bryant but size 9 underwear with Just My Size? Why does a “medium” correspond with 8-10 pants but 6 underwear? What kind of diabolical scheme is this? It’s bad enough that women have to negotiate inconsistent sizing of clothes between and within brands, so-called vanity sizing that makes clothing patterns not match up at all to store-bought clothing, stores that only carry up to a 24, the weird gap between a 12 and a 14W, the impossibility of finding a top that fits both your rack and your waist, and the completely arbitrary assignment of numbers anyway (instead of men’s sizes which at least correspond to some actual measurement on their actual bodies) — but you have to make us remember a different arbitrary number just to buy a pair of fucking underwear. Thanks for making shopping even more fraught with potential disaster.

Pardon me while I hitch up my pants so my undies don’t show.

157 thoughts on “Petty gripe of the day: Underwear size vs clothing size”

  1. (which I refuse to call “panties” lest I spend the rest of the day shuddering)

    I am so there. Even “knickers” is better than the p-word. Blech!

    And, though their faults are many, I do like Cacique for using regular sizing with their underwear.

  2. I like “drawers” personally, although I have no issue with “panties,” either.

    I always buy a new stock of underwear at the outlets when I visit my family in sales tax-free Delaware. I basically just pick up an econo-bag of Hanes hipsters or low rise briefs (I don’t know what the hell the difference is – as long as they cover my ass and stay out of my crack I don’t care if they call them “Harvey”) in whatever discontinued colors are on sale and call it done.

    The size thing puzzles me, too, especially I find L or XL to be the most comfortable despite wearing an 18/20W in pants. Except Cacique (I actually really like their underwear and I happily buy them if they are on sale and my tax free knickers are starting to get ragged), in which I wear an 18.

  3. That word gives me the squicks too. Even though I personally hitch up my trousers so my pants don’t show.

    (Also, is it just me or is the cut of trousers this year particularly far removed from the shape of arses? They seem to expect one’s waist to be about an inch and a half above one’s crotch.)

  4. What puzzles, infuriates and frustrates me is that apparently I need underwear which is several sizes larger than the clothes that I wear. How is this possible?? I’m bigger on the inside than I am on the outside?? And I hate underwear which cuts me at the leg or the waist, so that leaves out virtually everything with a band at the leg or the waist. That’s a LOT of types of underwear eliminated. I also would like it close-fitting, so it doesn’t bunch under tights. That eliminates a lot of tap pants.

    I suspect it may, in fact, have to do with Kathleen Fasanela’s “egg-shaped torso” theory (eggzactly!), but it’s a real nuisance. I have the feeling I’m going to be picking up 5-inch wide stretch lace and some cotton knit, and I’ll be making my own. Arrrggh.

  5. I just call them underwear, and maintain that I am too old to wear panties (which conjures up images of those ruffled-butt rhumba panties I used to wear under my dresses as a wee one). I like my underpants snug, which means I don’t need as big a size in them as I do in trousers. I am very narrow-hipped, and while I can tolerate a bit of extra fabric in my trousers (since said trousers must be bought in a size to accommodate my belly) I can’t stand it in underwear.

  6. Even “knickers” is better than the p-word. Blech!

    Nothing wrong with “knickers” if you’re a Brit. Good solid word, “knickers”. I’m fond of “drawers” and “pants” too. (Though I realise that to most of you pants are trousers). “Panties” on, the other hand, always suggest cheap porn to me. I invariably picture them in see-through red nylon, trimmed with scratchy black lace. I probably shouldn’t read so much cheap porn.

    And yeah, US knicker sizing totally does my head in. I once bought some size 14 – 16 high legs in Lane Bryant and they were huuuuge on me. (I’m normally an 18/20) I had to boil wash them in order to make them fit. This year I bought some 18/20s in LB and not only do they fit like a dream, they are actually smaller than the 14/16s I bought originally. Plus a Hanes 9 is not the same as a Fruit Of The Loom 9, (or how I ended up with a pair of Hanes comedy pants that practically came up to my bra).

  7. egads. I was frustrated over this very thing this week… facing my underwear drawer with dismay. With my weight loss and ever changing body, I find that I seem to lose HERE but not THERE, making buying underwear a nightmare. And the inconsistencies in sizes between brands makes it just about impossible. I always buy panties one package at a time, and get stuck with a few packages of stuff that doesn’t fit, isn’t comfortable or rides up in places I just don’t want something ridden up into.

  8. On my last trip down to the States, I actually bought underwear at Victoria’s Secret (okay, “panties”). It’s kind of ridiculous that I’m not small enough to fit any of their bras and I wouldn’t fit the largest pajamas unless I cut myself in half, but their XL undies are plenty big enough. What the hell, Vicky?!

  9. I’m glad to be in good company with several of you in hating the word “panties.” That word has always really bothered me.

    Underwear sizing is whacked. I wonder about that, too. I wonder if there was any point where women’s underwear sizes were the same as pant/dress sizes and that the two worlds split at some point. I don’t think it’s just sizing, though, that’s the problem; some of them are also cut really poorly. I have several pairs that are tight in some spots and loose in others, which is rather uncomfortable to say the least. Fortunately I’ve managed to find a few pairs that are super comfortable, but they comprise maybe 1/3 of the pairs I own, so when I am doing laundry less often, I am often stuck with tolerable, yet poorly fitting pairs.

  10. What puzzles, infuriates and frustrates me is that apparently I need underwear which is several sizes larger than the clothes that I wear. How is this possible?? I’m bigger on the inside than I am on the outside?? And I hate underwear which cuts me at the leg or the waist, so that leaves out virtually everything with a band at the leg or the waist. That’s a LOT of types of underwear eliminated. I also would like it close-fitting, so it doesn’t bunch under tights. That eliminates a lot of tap pants.

    Thanks, you just saved me a lot of typing, ’cause I was going to post the same thing. Clothing manufacturers: if I wear a size 4 in your trousers, I shouldn’t need to purchase size large in your underwear to get them to fit over my butt, not cut off circulation to my legs, and not leave visible panty line bulges at the abdomen and upper thighs. What about the women who DO wear the larger sizes of your clothing, are they supposed to just go commando? Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret, I’m looking at both of you. *shakes fist*

  11. I must really be a southerner, ’cause I haul up my britches to keep my… britches… from showing.

    And yes, I’m a fan of Cacique, esp. because of their numbering system. It’s easy to go get that 14/16 or 18/20 rather than trying to guesswork-remember what my hip measurement is (because, y’all, I just measure that every damn day, I really do).

    What kills me about cheaper underwear (Hanes et al.) is the lack of sizes. I mean, I’m tall, ergo, if I’m at all above thin, I need at least a size 8 or 9. These days, it’s more like a 10, and there is nothing cute/comfy above a 9. At size 10, it’s briefs, briefs, or briefs, and briefs just aren’t comfy on me. I like the “boy briefs” or whatever, but they only come in horrifically bright colors and, well, size 9.

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to vent communally, as it were. :)

  12. I hate women’s sizing, period. I wish all clothes sizing went by measurements alone (not that that’s a perfect system either, since I’ve taken to wearing men’s pants sometimes I notice that one company’s idea of 35 inches somehow doesn’t always match up to a different company’s, or even a different style in the same damn company). I will never, never, never understand where some idiot came up with the idea that they should “assign” sizes made of arbitrary numbers. What the hell is wrong with letting the customer know how big or small your damn garment is?!

    As to underdrawers (what can I say I’m a Homestar Runner fan), UGHZ to the uncoziness of so-called “granny panties” and also “string up my tushie” styles, but most of all UGHZ to the difficulty in finding styles that fall somewhere in between the two!!!!

    On a merely semi-related note, does anybody else separate their underpants drawer into categories? I have “menstrual wear” and “funderpants.” Funderpants, of course, are underdrawers that are really comfortable and usually also cute, the ones that it would be a tragedy to get bloody brown stains on. Just wondering if I’m alone in this.

  13. nightgigjo, I have Hanes boy briefs in size 10, and I know someone who wears the size 11 boy briefs. We both bought them at Kmart.

    That doesn’t help with the horrifically bright colors, though, although it’s the very odd half-pastels that bother me more.

  14. Even if I bought all my underwear at LB or Avenue, I STILL have problems. I’m a 20 or 22 in pants, but if I bought their equivalent size in underwear, it would be falling off me. Something about my lack of hips (totally apple). I have to get a 16 or 18 in underwear, something NOT EASY EITHER, as both retailers tend to lump them in different groups (14/16, 18/20). And since you can’t really try on underwear (err, can you? Even over your own underwear? Without getting the hairy eyeball from the sales associate?), it’s always a fun game of HIT OR MISS at the underwear counter.

    This is why a lot of my underwear comes from…ugh…WAL-MART. Because at least if I’m going to buy underwear that ultimately will not fit, at least I will have only wasted a few bucks on it.

  15. I had a weird retail experience several years ago. I walked into a VS and, when asked if I needed help, said I was looking for low-rise panties in size medium. The saleswoman looked me up and down and said I should be looking for a small. I told her no thanks- I wore their underwear regularly and found the medium fit me perfectly. She told me no, I really should be wearing a small! I said , “I’m wearing them now in size medium. I’m very happy with the fit.” She seriously kept on arguing until I agreed to look at the small, and when she had left the room I went and found the mediums by myself. I was tempted to offer to go into a dressing room with her and SHOW her that I didn’t need my underwear to be any smaller, thankyouverymuch. I mean, come ON.

  16. SugarLeigh, I *totally* categorize my underwear drawer (drawer drawer?), too. I have A-list (my fave pairs), B-list (the ones that are ok, but not as cute/comfortable as the first set) and period panties (I use “panties” here for alliterative purposes). I love your category names, though — “funderwear” is awesomeness.
    And yeah, size 7 undies fit me fine most — though by all means not all — of the time, my Old Navy size 12 jeans fit fine… but I just bought a pair of size 16 Gloria Vanderbilt cords at the thrift store that *also* fit fine, and I have a pair of Lucky brand size 14 jeans (also thrifted) that are just a leeeetle too snug. WTF, ladies’ sizing?

  17. “(or how I ended up with a pair of Hanes comedy pants that practically came up to my bra).” I totally just had to throw out a pack that I bought that was supposed to fit my hip size…but was made as though my hip was about a foot away from my crotch!

    Oh man I have been recently floundering in the sea of underpants horror in trying to find ANYTHING other than Vic Secret’s XL sized cotton briefs (which I’ve finally admitted were too shoddily made and too expensive for my needs).

    I mean is it REALLY that difficult to make a cute pair of underpants that doesn’t try to crawl up the bum all day? And is it really that hard to make the SAME cute cuts in the arbitrarily sized “10” when you can do it for the size “9”? Why should I have to wear “Granny panties” that bunch up, ride up, etc just because my hip size calls for a whopping 3 cm more fabric than the next lower size??!

  18. I hate that at least 90% of the ‘tummy control’ undies I wear (don’t hate on me, here — I just can’t stand the feeling of my lower abdomen jiggling all the time, and pants don’t fit otherwise) are made of synthetic materials. I mean, wtf? Who wears synthetic underwear without getting rashes and/or infections?

    Without getting the hairy eyeball…
    Wait, so my mother didn’t invent this phrase? Or is that you, Mum? :-p

  19. I end up buying big packs of underwear in sizes 8-10 for my 20/22 bottom.
    Everyone loves a 20-year-old in granny panties, right?

    I tend to call my underwear “chones,” but “britches,” and “wonderwear,” often make an appearence.

  20. I was just complaining about this issue the other day!
    Also, I find the size charts on the back of underwear packages misleading. As a 24/26, I’m told that I should wear a size 11 or 12, but I always get size 10 and they are fine. If I hadn’t known, I would be stuck with baggy underwear… not my idea of fun.

  21. I call them underpants, entirely because that means they rhyme with thunderpants, and that makes me happy.

  22. Underpants are a complete mystery to me–how is it that my mom wears at least a size smaller than me in pants, but needs larger underwear? and how is it that no matter how much weight i’ve gain and lost (not recently, FA has really evened me out!) i’ve always been the same stupid underwear size? i always just have to eye-ball the fit in-store, since different cuts can either fit well or really, really poorly (i’m looking at you, boyshorts!).

    does any one else have the experience where underwear fits, but is baggy in the front and too small in the back? bizarre.

  23. does any one else have the experience where underwear fits, but is baggy in the front and too small in the back? bizarre.

    Yes. Or the rise on the front and back is exactly the same and so the panties come way up in the front but barely cover the back crack. Target, I’m looking at YOU this time. *shakes fist*

  24. The part I hate about my knickers is that the reinforced liner bit, the part you’d wrap the wings of a pad around and is supposed to absorb some of your normal vag lube, is nowhere near where I actually lube from. So I have a double layer of cotton halfway up my ass, and the single layer where the extra protection is supposed to be. Would it kill knicker manufacturers to extend the blasted liner to where it might to some good???

  25. does any one else have the experience where underwear fits, but is baggy in the front and too small in the back?

    ChannelZero, I have the opposite problem, often – too much room in the back, not enough in the front. Also, granny-pants go in at the waist enough, but are baggy all the way around above hip level. So bizarre.

  26. Oh, I have period knickers too! Generally of the Hanes Comedy Pants® variety –because why would you want to wear them for any other reason?

    And I love the horrifically bright colours!! I adore loudness in my underwear drawer. I only wish it was possible to get brightly coloured bras to match but that’s another story. Interesting that some folks can shoehorn their arses into Victoria’s Secret knickers but not their racks inside their bras. In the UK it’s the other way around. I can buy all the FF bras I want at Bravissimo but the manufacturers refuse to countenance the idea that fat women wear them and consequently refuse to make knickers any larger than a (small) 18. It is the bane of my life.

  27. A friend of mine (who I believe is lurking RIGHT NOW! hi there!) once wrote the following, which is what I think of every time the “panties” discussion comes up: The very worst, obviously, is when the term is used by male doctors. Female doctors will nonchalantly let you know it’s time to take off your underwear and then you have your pelvic exam while you chat about Desperate Housewives or similar. But male doctors, especially the young ones, will invariably ask you to “please slide down your panties now,” their tone indicating that the three worst minutes of both your lives are about to commence. It makes me feel like I’ve just agreed to trade the young doctor a quickie and crabs for a carton of cigarettes and a ration of butter.

    Also I’m so glad to hear that my petty gripe is a communal one.

    How is this possible?? I’m bigger on the inside than I am on the outside??

    You’re the House of Leaves Undergarments!

  28. does any one else have the experience where underwear fits, but is baggy in the front and too small in the back? bizarre.

    only when I put them on backwards by mistake ;)

  29. Interesting that some folks can shoehorn their arses into Victoria’s Secret knickers but not their racks inside their bras.

    Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever properly fit in a VS bra. They’ve never made bands small enough and I grew out of their cups by age 18.

  30. SugarLeigh, word. Although eventually all roads lead to Rome, and all underpants end up in the “eh, whatever” drawer. But part of that is my reluctance to spend big bucks on something that I can find perfectly comfortable cheap versions of in six-packs. Which is why my lower unmentionables never match my bras – I drop $$ on my bras, but buy cheap crap that I wear until they fall apart.
    These days, I’m finding the low-rise pants so common that I can’t get my pants to stay in place. It’s uncomfortable, and cut lower than my underwear, which is weird, and there’s even more of a gap happening than normal, and I’m always aware that I want pants that go up another few inches. Important inches, designers!

  31. After much trial and error, I have found Victoria’s Secret bikini briefs fit me fairly comfortably, but I’m only a large in the underwear. Not a snowball’s chance in hell could I fit into a large (or even extra large) anything else in that store.

    Some consistency would be very much appreciated.

  32. I’m totally with you on “panties” – there’s a new Hanes commercial that calls them that and I am therefore now anti-Hanes.

    And I feel your pain re: underwear sizing, but, if you think about it, ALL women’s clothing sizes are arbitrary numbers. Why can’t they just size our clothes like men’s clothes? I have a 37 inch waist, I buy pants with a 37 inch waist! The whole thing is one big convoluted mess, if you ask me!

  33. I love my Jockey Comfies seamless cotton underpants with a wild, unholy passion.

    And, yeah, the sizing is weird. It doesn’t correspond to any other garment sizing because it was created by an industry association of underwear manufacturers in the early 20th century.

  34. SugarLeigh: I do indeed have those categories of undies in my drawer, I just didn’t have names for them. Funderpants, I like that.

    Evilsciencechick: I’ve found that department stores do let you try on underwear (over your own, of course). They often don’t have too much plus size selection, unfortunately.

    One of my undie problems is that the cotton underwear in the size where the elastic band at the top fits me nicely are inevitably saggy over my flat bottom, which is neither comfortable nor looks good under my clothes. I can often wear a size smaller in styles that are stretchy all over (like JC Penny Ambrielle hipsters) rather than being held up with a thin band of elastic.

    It would be really awesome if all women’s clothing were sold by hip-waist measurements rather than by completely arbitrary and non-standardized sizes. And if they made styles specifically for us small-bummed women.

  35. I guess I commented on sizing on the wrong day…sigh. They make sizing arbitrary to keep us down, Ladies.

    And, they are either called “hiney pants” or “butt sheets” around here.

  36. :: by “the sizing….created by an industry association” above I refer to the US standard sizing because that’s where I live and buy underpants, but I know that other countries have different sizing schemes::

  37. It would be really awesome if all women’s clothing were sold by hip-waist measurements rather than by completely arbitrary and non-standardized sizes.

    I wish, but I fear that the clothes wouldn’t actually correspond to the posted measurements. Stores all post their sizing charts online. I know what my measurements are, and try on accordingly. It’s a very rare day when my size chart-assigned size is the same as what actually fits me in the store.

    *runs out of fists to shake*
    *shakes left foot at clothing manufacturers*
    *feels like is doing hokey-pokey*

  38. And, they are either called “hiney pants” or “butt sheets” around here.

    I am so totally calling them “butt sheets” from now on.

  39. The word “panties” makes me shudder too. I call them “underpants” because it’s so literal and it makes me giggle. Sometimes I call “pants” “overunderpants” for the same reason.

    Anyway… I was actually talking about this with two friends of mine. One of them said something about how the number for underpants size is one half the equivalent pants size, but the other friend and I told her she was talking out of her ass (har!). Even though I’m consistent with that method– I usually wear a 14 or 16 in pants and a 7 or 8 in underpants– the other friend’s waist is much smaller and her ass is a little bigger than mine, and she usually wears a size 6 underpants and size 18 pants. What the fuck? We didn’t even believe that was possible until she showed us the tags on the pants and underpants that she was wearing during this very discussion.

    Every few years I decide to throw out every single pair of underpants and socks I own and start all over again, so I usually just buy the cheapest 100% cotton multi-pack varieties of those I can find.

  40. What I hate is the Victoria’s Secret voiceover lady who breathlessly tells me about their semiannual sale on PANTIES. I mock it each time I see it. “PAN-ties!”

  41. And I feel your pain re: underwear sizing, but, if you think about it, ALL women’s clothing sizes are arbitrary numbers.

    That’s what I’m saying, Katie. All the numbers are arbitrary! But you’d think that if manufacturers are determined to use arbitrary numbers, they could at least use the same set of arbitrary numbers. I am not a fan of the arbitrary numbers to begin with, but surely the arbitrariness doesn’t have to extend indefinitely.

  42. “Would it kill knicker manufacturers to extend the blasted liner to where it might to some good???”

    Oh totally! I am still on the search for the best underpants for my body shape (currently things are way baggy in the back (Sorry Hanes but I don’t have lushious arse cheeks to fill out all that room; just a giant flat bottom what would like to keep fabric OUT of its crack) and then the front ends up sliding down too so the liner is most of the way into my rear. *sigh*

    Though I have to say I’ve been so happy with using that newly discovered (for me) Diva cup for my periods that I have only a very small collection of period panties anymore; I usually wear whatever I want now! Huzzah for small miracles! :D

  43. I think the Cacique sizing is great, however it seems like their product in cotton gets baggy and their product in nylon shrinks in the dryer. Weird.

    I do best in Jockey for Her. I say who cares about the “sizing”. They give you measurements and THAT is valuable. FWIW, socks sometimes have a size that is totally unrelated to SHOE size. I think it’s because there is not a centralized garment manufacturer. Everything is a specialized industry and they make up their own rules. Exhibit A: the bridal wear industry.

    I’m grateful that not all clothing is standard in every store. We have such different fat distributions that if there was only one cut, most of us would be left out of fitting into it. It’s still a crapshoot, but sometimes you do luck into something that works.

    “Panties” is a word I had better never hear come out of my doctor’s mouth. What about my sockies? Can I keep those on?

  44. I have period knickers too! Generally of the Hanes Comedy Pants® variety –because why would you want to wear them for any other reason?

    Mad LOLZ?

  45. I use the term “underpants”. But I will start using “funderpants” as well. Great neologism, SugarLeigh. I hate that my underpants constantly ride up into my leg creases when I sit or lie down and cause chafing and irritation. Also, this spring, I bought 2 4-packs of undies from walmart and ruined all of them. (Stopped taking hormones – doctor still doesn’t know, because I haven’t gone back to him because, while he is okay, his bitchy nurses harped on about my weight last time I was there. And although this is really part of another discussion, I don’t foresee myself going to a doctor again unless I have an emergency.) Granted, they were cheap, but I hate buying new underwear. So I bought a packet of Rit Dye and now I have a bunch of tie-dyed grey underpants. They actually look kind of cool and one of a kind.

  46. I find that in the UK I’m usually fortunate enough to be able to buy my knickers without too much difficulty, as at least a 16 brief is the same as a 16 trouser, give or take the shape of the hips in the trousers, stupid low waist-lines, etc.

    But I definitely understand the gripes regarding knicker sizing in shops that, apparently are supposed to specialise in underwear. Most fashionable shops size me between an L to an XL, depending, so when I saw some gorgeous panties (sorry, but any time a pair of knickers has buttons, contrasting gingham appliques and a pocket on, they are definitely panties!) at a La Senza I figured…

    “They don’t even do the bra BAND I wear, let alone the cup, so I should definitely be at least an L here”. The size L panties even looked right when I held them up to myself. And yet, when I got them home, I find I have to hold the damn things up with a pair of braces to stop them from slipping down! In what logic am I so big on top that I can’t even wear ANY of your bras, and yet qualify as an M down below?! Most size M stuff in other shops doesn’t even cover half of me!

    (And yes, I realise most people do not wear braces with their knickers. Especially not rainbow ones. Sue me.) :-P

  47. I had no idea that everyone hated the word “panties” so much! I defaulted into using it ages ago because “underwear” isn’t specific enough (could include bras) and “underpants” is a kiddy word. But maybe I’ll have to reconsider!

    (butt sheets!!!!)

  48. I’ve just given up.

    Since I’m at home most of the time, I mostly go commando. At the moment I’m working my way through a pack of the usual ill-fitting cotton underwear, but once it’s gone — sometime next year, I reckon, given how shoddily it’s made — I’m going to go for men’s boxers. Under caftans and loose linen drawstring trousers with tunics, because damn, I’m just too arthritic and impatient to shop for clothes anymore, and I’d rather look like Earth Mother than like shit.

    The weird thing? I couldn’t tell you how often I’ve been asked on the street where I got my clothes. Then again, I *do* live in northern California, pretty much Earth Mother central.

  49. I love the Jockey super comfortable, it’s-like-wearing-nothing-at-all, microfiber drawers in theory, but in practice, if it ain’t cotton, it ain’t happenin’.

    Also, I have the problem where the back of the pants are often crack-exposing while the front goes up to my belly button. For those of you with the opposite problem, perhaps you’d like to consider a lovely product that Renee at Womanist Musings posted about today.

    (that was sarcasm, just fyi, because you know, it is not YOUR BUTT that is the problem here.)

  50. I’m grateful that not all clothing is standard in every store. We have such different fat distributions that if there was only one cut, most of us would be left out of fitting into it. It’s still a crapshoot, but sometimes you do luck into something that works.

    I think this is a good point and – I may be wrong because I don’t know much about how clothing works – but waist and hip measurements on, say, a pair of pants wouldn’t always be a guarantee either, would they? The waist of my pants don’t always hit at the same point – an XX inch measurement might fit or not depending on where that particular pair of pants has its “waist.”

    I don’t really mind having to try on different pairs of pants to find ones that fit. What I do mind is that there are some shapes that nobody bothers to make clothing for at all (says the 34H).

  51. I’m going to go for men’s boxers.

    I have a few pairs of these that I wear with skirts on hot days for chafe protection and excellent ventilation. When I was smaller and my husband was bigger I used to wear his briefs all the time, too, because they are really comfortable. He did finally ask me to stop because he kept running out of underwear. I have thought about buying some men’s briefs but… I have NO CLUE what size I would wear!

  52. I’m 5’3 and wear 48” waist jeans (in “petite,” which is ridiculous—I am anything but “petite.” “Short” is more like it). I usually wear a size 11 (US) underwear (I loathe the “p” word) and for the most part they fit well. I have a solid, ample ass and lots of belly, so filling them out has never been a problem.

    The problem I have is finding them in solid colors I like: black (especially), blue, gray, white (if I must). No pastels/prints/stripes/florals/trim or anything femmy or cute. I like butch-looking cotton underwear, or as a friend of my says, “sportif.”

    I like Jockey for Her a lot. It’s very well made, comfortable and wears like iron. They used to have more of a selection in my size. Nowadays, not so much. Same with Just My Size (unfortunately, JMS is also my stepfather’s initials— it’s almost enough to give me a complex seeing that on the band of my underwear), which for a long time were my second choice after Jockey.

    I recently ordered from Jockey and the only choice I was interested in was the high-leg cotton briefs, in black. It’s less coverage than I like in front, but they’re still pretty comfortable.

  53. Okay, y’all are probably going to lynch me, but that’s okay. I use the word “panties.” All the time. “Underwear” is too vague – underwear is anything you wear under your clothes. So bras and socks are both technically underwear. I can’t wrap my head around “knickers,” because when I was a kid, “knickers” were short pants (what we’d call “capris” now). So I use the word panties.

    And yeah, the problem with buying undergarments in the UK isn’t as bad since they use clothing sizes, not that strange sizing used in the U.S.

    But I have another problem to add to the list: because of the shape of my belly, I find that almost every single pair of underwear that’s supposed to fit above the bikini line inevitably rolls down TO the bikini line. So if it’s going to do that anyway, what’s the point? I always end up buying my undergarments at least a size smaller than my clothing size. My pants range from an 18 to a 24, but my undergarments are almost always a 16//18. All because of my blasted belly. (Thanks, kids, for stretching me out like a balloon!)

  54. emilymorgan: I’m with you about the word, although this thread might change my mind a bit. I do default to ‘underwear’ when I’m talking to strangers, like shop assistants.

    I get the not-high-enough-on-front-or-back thing with Hanes Boy Briefs, but not always (with the same underwear! It must be something to do with time-of-month).

    Don’t EVEN get me STARTED with stupid clothing sizing schemes. In Germany, they’re arbitrary numbers, but nobody bothered to tell me before I bought my first pants (trousers) that petite and tall sizes had COMPLETELY different numbers than the “regular” sizes (which are designed for someone with the same inseam of my 6 foot 3 husband. I shit you not.) This is a country-wide thing, including the inseam length of the regular sizes. Seriously. And if you need the petite sizes, even if you’re not plus sized, you get seriously reduced options in terms of styles (what my friends who are not plus-sized but are a bit shorter than me call “Oma Moden” (Granny fashion) *headdesk*

    Whoops, sorry for the tangent. Needless to say, I haven’t been brave enough to buy underpants or bras here yet. My mother sends me Hanes because cheap and cotton are my primary requirements in terms of underwear, and I’m buying new bras in London next week, if I can find any to fit (Bravissimo seems to stop at a 40 band, worse luck…).

  55. Underwear + panties = undies! That’s what they’ve always been in our family. I only say “underwear” when talking about them to someone outside the family, which, naturally, doesn’t happen much.

    If a doctor said “panties” to me I’d find another doctor. I couldn’t take that, especially not before he poked at my nether regions. Seriously. EEW.

    All my undies are Cacique, as much due to convenience and sales and coupons as anything else. I love the seamless but expensive highfalutin kind I splurged on last time but usually go with ordinary cotton hipsters in fun patterns. I find, though, that I have to go down a size from my Lane Bryant pants size to get a comfy fit. I do prefer them very snug, though – as snug as they can get without the seam digging into my hip.

    In addition to period undies and funderwear (I love that, although I shall tweak it to “fundies”), I also have special duty undies, the seamless kind in beige, white, and black for use under semi-transparent or particularly clingy garments. I only wear special duty undies with those garments and wear the fun, patterned cotton stuff with everything else.

    Speaking of misplaced liners, I always have trouble placing pads with wings. To give me proper coverage the wings are partially wrapped around the wider part of the undies above where they narrow in for the crotch, so that they don’t adhere right. It’s obnoxious.

  56. For me it’s not the sizes, it’s the design. I bought cheap basic bikini-style for twenty years, and then suddenly they disappeared. If I want bikini style, I have to buy the individually boxed designer version; If I want cheap no-packaging underwear I can choose among thongs, “boy-cut,” and granny panties. WTF?

    @ MeToo:

    “Kid, whad’ya get?” I said, “I didn’t get nothing, I had to pay $50 and pick up the garbage.” He said, “What were you arrested for, kid?” And I said, “Littering.” And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, “And creating a nuisance.” And they all came back, shook my hand,
    and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime…

    – – Arlo Guthrie

  57. BWAH! I love you people! I just found some fun underwear at Meijer (for those of you not in the midwestern United States, it falls somewhere between Wall-mart and SuperTarget) and I love how it covers and smooths my (please stop reading if you are private or related to me) postpartum belly pannus. Anyway, I felt like I’d won the lottery, because I was totally guessing at sizes, as usual. Seriously, could we get more arbitrary? It’s like if you went to go buy some fresh fruit and Dole called their bananas “apples” and their pineapples “honeydew,” and some other supplier called their pineapples “dates” and their bananas “kumquats.”

    Say! Does anyone else sometimes accidentally put on their knickers sideways? Like, iif underwear is a triangle where the sides go leghole-leghole-torsohole, do you ever accidentally put on your underwear such that each side is bumped over one position, thus matching up with the improper body part? Your leg is in the torsohole and vice versa, in other words? Did that even make sense? No? Oh. Well, that explains why the article I shopped around that used the Sideways Underwear Problem as an opener didn’t get any takers.

  58. (which I refuse to call “panties” lest I spend the rest of the day shuddering)

    I am so there. Even “knickers” is better than the p-word. Blech!

    And, though their faults are many, I do like Cacique for using regular sizing with their underwear.

    I like to call them gotchies.

  59. A Sarah, I’ve done that. And I’ve then sat there on the edge of the bed, feeling such a fool it’s some moments before I’m up to another attempt.

  60. A Sarah: I have done that when tired. Also, during the week right after my slipped discs when my hubby (wonderful man that he is) was helping me dress and so forth, he did it, too.

    Karen: I have to do the opposite thing with Cacique underwear –they’re the first thing that stop fitting me in a particular size from LB when I go up for whatever reason, or if I’m between a size (like now), so I have to buy a size bigger underwear than pants!

  61. If I can throw one out there (which now conjures images of Sweet Machine onstage having panties tossed at her), there’s one style by Hanes that I’ve come to grudgingly love. They’re hiphuggers, dangerously close to the “granny panty” style, and nylon-ish, all of which would normally make me run screaming. However, there is no panty line at all, they don’t roll or shrug down, they don’t ride up. When I’m wearing them I have naught a care in the world as to my underthings. Looking them up online, they appear to be the “body creations” microfiber hipsters. I keep fighting myself whether to buy more and be comfortable, or whether I can handle the fashion-backwardness of it. But hey, you can get them at Wal-Mart. :)

  62. How is this possible?? I’m bigger on the inside than I am on the outside??

    You’re the House of Leaves Undergarments!

    Or a TARDIS.

    Personally, my level of satisfaction with undergarments has gone downhill ever since I outgrew my Wonder Woman Underoos.

  63. I am so glad that you brought this up, I have been thinking about:

    I only like striped underwear, which always comes in packs with non-striped underwear (which does not get worn) or costs $12/pair, so I have been considering sewing up a mess of it on my own.

    Also, in too much information land, I was wearing a pair of my funderpants (thanks, SugarLeigh) yesterday and they were fine all morning. But after lunch they would not stay up, like the elastic just got tired, they were dragging at like hip level. I went into the restroom to relieve myself of this burden and completely forgot to take them out of my work bag.

  64. Former fashion professional to the rescue!

    Underwear sizes, for some reason, (and sewing pattern sizes, though those have updated somewhat recently) did not keep pace with the size inflation that women’s clothes have experienced (the reason that a 1950s size 10 = a modern 0-2). Similar but not identical to the disconnect between British and American sizes.

    Not condoning, just explaining! ;)

  65. I must really be a southerner, ’cause I haul up my britches to keep my… britches… from showing.

    Awesome. My dad has used the word britches my entire life and this is the first time it has occurred to me that he used it for both pants and underpants.

  66. Though I have to say I’ve been so happy with using that newly discovered (for me) Diva cup for my periods that I have only a very small collection of period panties anymore; I usually wear whatever I want now! Huzzah for small miracles! :D

    April D, I’m new to the Diva Cup as well! My first period with it I wasn’t in love because I hadn’t quite gotten the hang of getting it in and out, but now…*swoon*

  67. Thanks, holls, but I’m still confused! What you’re saying is that our underwear size should be a bigger number than our clothing size, right? (E.g., today’s size 2 would wear a 1950s size 10.) But the opposite is true IME — I currently am wearing size 8 pants but size 6 undies. Isn’t that the opposite of what you said?

  68. Jae ~ Oh I know; once I got accustomed to it (only like one period) it became my new “bff”.

    I might have to try those Jockey comfort ones that have been brought up a couple times!

  69. I’m a size 28 in pants but for some reason wear a 10 in undies, sometimes an 11 if it’s a cheapish brand. According to size charts I should wear a 13, but I went by the Hanes size charts once and got comedy pants. Never again.

    A few years ago Roaman’s had boy shorts in pants sizes (i.e. 22/24 instead of 10) and in nice normal solid colors. They were hugely expensive and I tried to buy a ton, but only got 6 pairs before they sold out. Why they didn’t get more of these, I don’t know, because they would have made a mint. I cherish those 6 pairs as though they were my children.

  70. I was addressing the “bigger on the inside than on the outside” question.
    The OTHER answer about the manufacturers consortium is also true (the 5-6-7-8-9 sizes), but not for all brands.
    It is a huge mishmosh because very company does it differently.
    Technical design wasn’t my job, but it was actually my passion. I have never met another fashion-math dork.

    I can explain the waist measurement as size for men and not women too if anyone’s interested.

  71. I found that the boyshorts I tried (Just My Size) were made in just such a length and fabric that they seemed to compound my chub rub issues, while regular underpants didn’t. I can’t figure that one out.

  72. I love my Jockey Comfies seamless cotton underpants with a wild, unholy passion.
    Seconded, although pads and pantiliners won’t stick to them right, so I have other (what word to use?) undies for 1/4 of my life . Oh, Aunt Flo, how I loathe you. I can haz hyserectomy nao?

  73. I usually say underwear, though I am now totally going to be using funderwear and thunderpants whenever possible! I’m all about the Cacique string sided ones (and Avenue’s equivalent, not sure if it has a brand name) in the brightest, most obnoxious color combination available (except the girly flowery ones)! I wait for the sales plus coupons and stock up.

    I figure if I can’t have fun with my underwear that is rarely seen, when can I? Of course the rest of my clothes tend to be black or darker colored so it is a nice surprise when someone sees them! As the guy I am now seeing said recently, “Oh, it’s like fruit striped gum when you take off the wrapper!”

  74. I’ll try to keep this as concise as I can!

    Men generally tend towards one body type (there are exceptions, and they are myriad, but the clothing industry does a cost balance wherein they attempt to serve as large a group as possible with minimal cost, and each additional fit is a huge cost).

    This is a shape that gains weight at the middle, and where the biggest measurement is at the waist. Unlike women’s bodies, there are no ratio relationships to take into account, so the one measurement is sufficient (not if men wore dresses, because that would toss another measurement into the mix, chest, but they don’t usually).
    Men’s clothes are free from the different ratios that effect women’s fits:
    hip to waist
    bust to hip
    bust to rise
    et c.
    There are a huge number of people who labor over every measurement. Even cheap t-shirts can have upwards of 30 different measurement specifications.

    Women’s bodies can be sorted into four types (again, not really, but if the clothing industry is even prepared to admit these four, that means the challenges for women’s fits must be much bigger than for men’s, at least with what passes for the 21st century western standard. Obviously, changing that would change everything):

    Triangle: smaller waist, smaller upper body, bigger thighs and sometimes hips and/or butt. Widest point is low hip (top of the thigh)

    Inverted triangle: Wide shoulders, big chest, tendency to gain weight in the stomach (post puberty, almost never flat stomached), more slender thighs, widest part of the hip tends to be high-hip (top pelvic curve).

    X: The rarest type. Smaller waist, similar distribution of weight above and below. Widest point mid to low hip. This type encompasses the figure 8 fit which is specific to ‘plus’ sizes.

    H: straight trunk and waist, relatively thick in comparison with chest and hips, more slender thighs and arms.

    Triangles and X can usually wear the same pants, as can inverted triangles and H. So even if your shape fits one particular proportional ideal, there are already 1/2 the pants in the world that won’t fit you in any size.

    There is more, but I’m going to post a part 2 to try to avoid the ‘big wall of text’.

  75. Glad to see there are lots of other people who hate the word “panties”. I call them “underpants” because it’s so literal and it makes me giggle.

    I was actually just talking about the madness of underpants sizes with two friends who I’ll call Statler and Waldorf. Statler said all you have to do to figure out your underpants size is divide your pants size in half. Waldorf and I said she was just talking out of her ass (har!). Even though my ass follows that method– I wear a 14 or 16 in pants and a 7 or 8 in underpants– I still think the numbers are totally arbitrary. Waldorf’s waist is a little smaller and her ass is a little larger than mine, and she said she wears an 18 in pants and a 7 in underpants. WTF, underpants manufacturers?

    In related underpants drawer news, I have this problem where I can’t keep the same pair of socks or underpants for more than a year or so. The idea of wearing the same piece of clothing on the sweatiest parts of my body for years and years and years GROSSES ME THE HELL OUT OMG, so whenever I see a great socks or underpants sale, I stock up and throw out one old pair for every new pair I buy. Someone please tell me I’m not the only one here who does this…

  76. I second the concept that if you’re bigger on the inside than you are on the outside, you may just be a TARDIS. Which is awesome.

    Now every time I hear the word “underpants”, I hear it in the voice from the end of the intro to the “Target: Women” videos (I know at least some of you know what I mean!).

  77. My best friend, having read the thread, and having a similar dislike of “panties” just emailed to say she favours the term “undercrackers”. They’re also sometimes called “smalls” over here but when your arse is – to quote The Divine Comedy – “the size of a small countreeee”, that might confuse some people.

  78. Even if everyone fit one of the four types perfectly, most clothing manufacturers just use one of the four.
    Within that one body type, they narrow the field further by hiring a fit model.

    A fit model is usually a size 6 or 8, and usually about 5′ 6″ or 5′ 7″, so they aren’t the expected model body, but the line is made to fit HER, all of her proportions. And every other size is just scaled up or down from her.
    Real human bodies do not scale mathematically, so there is always that error, and though the measurement requirements for hiring fit models are pretty strict (usually only 1 inch tolerance in advertised measurement requirements), there are going to be ways where she just isn’t you, even if you were exactly the same size.
    Her nipples could be lower, her shoulders narrower, her elbows higher, her widest hip point could be 2 inches above your widest hip point, any of a million plus ways.

    Even if you find a fit model that you love, she can be replaced, and that beloved line could cease to fit perfectly (cough, J. Crew bastards, cough).

    This is not the solution for everyone, but this is the entire reason why I learned to sew.

    Add to this a completely un-size-unified industry, and you get the frustrating mishmash we have available to us today.
    Some fashion consulting companies are making an effort to create a standardized size system but compliance is voluntary, and manufacturers have to pay to use their patented systems, so I don’t see that becoming universal any time soon.

    I think that’s everything?

  79. Now every time I hear the word “underpants”, I hear it in the voice from the end of the intro to the “Target: Women” videos (I know at least some of you know what I mean!).

    Oh, me too, me too.

  80. @Eucritta, I suggest you check out, if you want to switch to men’s boxers. Not only do they have cotton boxers (yay cotton!), they also have silk boxers. Yay, silk boxers! Believe me when I say that nothing, but NOTHING, feels better against the skin than silk when you are aching. And yes, for the smarty-panties, it also feels better than nothing against the skin. For some reason, it is just really comforting. And as a natural fiber, you don’t have to worry about expiring under multiple layers under … your multiple layers.

    I wear a size 14 jean which I got from Lane Bryant; I don’t know if it’s a “14” or a “14W” – it says “14” only, so maybe some of you other ladies can help me. Despite that, I wear a 2XL in panties. I was there for a sale, and I scooped up the largest there; the nice saleslady very diplomatically asked if I was sure, and I was. The largest are actually too large, but at least I can take them in. I can’t stand finding out that the knickers that are “supposed” to be my size wedge halfway up my thighs, and I have to alter them anyway. The best-fitting knickers I had found for a long time were Frederick’s of Hollywood; they were allover stretch lace, they were comfy, they stayed put, they had lots of colours, they didn’t cut into my waist or my leg – and they were discontinued. Oddly enough, the same style and same colour of lace are now being used by Victoria’s Secret for one of their style panties – which I cannot get into, even though I can wear the bras.

    Ugh. Maybe I’ll wear silk boxers, too.

  81. I am aghast.

    I have always deplored the word “panties” and have always said “underwear” or “under garments.”

    And now for my thong story!

    For years, women kept telling me what I was missing by not wearing thongs. The chorus sang: They are so comfortable!

    I bought three pair of thongs. I tried them. I really tried them. I gave them six weeks. And then I threw them away. It was NOT comfortable at all! I just knew I was going to cough and that butt-string would fly out of my mouth.

    Down with thongs! Up with granny pants!

  82. holls, I just wanted to say thank you for the explanation – very enlightening! I knew the thing about fit models, but I had no idea about the 4 shapes part. Explains a lot about me randomly finding specific lines that fit the weird little inward curve in the small of my back.

    Um, oops, I should be talking about underwear. For the record, I use “panties” all the time, especially about VS undies. Maybe I’ve been indoctrinated?

  83. OHH
    So men’s clothes are all made to fit a single body type?
    I’m going to tell my fiance. He’s an outlier, I guess, which explains why he can never ever find clothes that really suit him; he’s got what I guess would be an “X” figure by the above standards, but with wider shoulders. So if all men’s clothes are built for a |-| shaped figure, that would totally explain it. Wow. I thought there were different shapes for men’s clothes too.

    This new knowledge explains a great deal, but also makes it difficult to think of any way to actually find clothes that look good on him. Damn.

  84. Down with thongs! Up with granny pants!

    Totally. I have precisely one thong, and I wear it only when I know it won’t be on long (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

    Also, one more undies-related thing I’ll toss out: I really love knickers from Torrid. Unlike many other lines, theirs seem to actually *not* involve gratuitous use of Lycra so as to give the impression that my generous hiney fits into itsy-bitsy pants. I was recommending them to a friend, and she kept saying “but they look too big;” I had to reassure her that they wouldn’t stretch to sixteen times original size when she put them on. The big upside? They don’t seem to die as quickly as other brands….maybe because there isn’t so much elastic to give out…

  85. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I like calling them panties…in the bedroom. ;-) Personally can’t stand thongs, and what else can I call them?

    I know what you mean about the difficulties of finding the right size of underwear. This is going to sound so weird, but I still buy girl’s underwear. It just fits me better, and I can never figure out the women’s sizing. Girls department all the way!

  86. I gotta say, I’m just happy everyone else is wearing cotton panties under there. Every once in a while I freak out and feel like everyone else has beautiful bits of perfect lace on under their jeans and I’m the only one in baggy cotton bikinis. I will also add that if you can grow to love the thong ( I go through phases) it can take away a lot of the fuss because if you buy them a size big, they’re sort of, um, adjustable. And in my family all undergarments are referred to as “smalls”. Even when they aren’t. ;-)

  87. I’m so glad I’m not alone in my unbridled love for the Diva Cup! Like, it’s seriously an effort to not offer unsolicited raves about the wonder that is a reusable menstrual cup!

    I had a Diva Cup pre-pregnancy, and now have a Keeper since that was what I could find locally. I do miss the the boilability of silicone though, as the Keeper is natural rubber.

    As for more on topic discussion-My preferred term is unders, and like a few others, I’ve always had to go smaller than makes sense in light of my sweet, sweet ebullience. Weird.

  88. wow. i thought i was the only female who didn’t like the p-word. @_@ (seriously!) they’re “underwear” or “undies” in my house!

    my irk is that the elastic ALWAYS cuts into my hips. not in a painful way, but it creates a fat-fold that wasn’t there before. >__< with the cup i forget that it’s there! so much easier for me to deal with and i feel great about not contributing bags of plastic waste for each period.

    *steps off soapbox*

  89. umm… so my frowny face completely botched my entry. lemme try that again. *sheepish grin*

    wow. i thought i was the only female who didn’t like the p-word. @_@ (seriously!) they’re “underwear” or “undies” in my house!

    my irk is that the elastic ALWAYS cuts into my hips. not in a painful way, but it creates a fat-fold that wasn’t there before. the ones that don’t create fat-folds usually have so much extra cloth that i could fit a few balloons in there with my tush.


    now that i said that, i kinda want to try it. *^_^* doesn’t it sound like fun to have balloons in your undies?? *giggles*

    anywho! do my fellow divacup users, i salute you!!! and for those who have no idea what we’re talking about, head to and prepare to learn!!

    there are many brands out there, and to be honest i wouldn’t recommend diva anymore. their customer service has gone down the tubes. :( BUT, i’ve heard great things about lunette, mooncup, and ladycup. ^_^ the freedom you get from wearing a cup is fabulous!!

    and in case you’re wondering, i was a pad girl prior to my cup conversion. i tried tampons a few times and i could always feel them. with the cup i forget that it’s there! so much easier for me to deal with and i feel great about not contributing bags of plastic waste for each period.

    *steps off soapbox*

  90. I suggest you check out, if you want to switch to men’s boxers. Not only do they have cotton boxers (yay cotton!), they also have silk boxers.

    I’ll do that, thanks! For the cotton, that is. I don’t care for silk at all — as embarrassing as that is to admit, given that seemingly the entire universe except me loves it. I just find it too hot, is the thing, and like the old wizard in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I like a nice breeze around my privates. Erm. Assuming female bits *can* be considered ‘privates,’ I don’t see why not.

  91. I will not do thongs, even though LB has them in my size. Floss is for your teeth, not your asscrack.

    I do love the Cacique underwear. Not only do they make them in different colors besides “fatties-only white,” they have different styles too which appeal to my inner frou-frou. I have a gray pair with little Scottish Terriers. The fact that it corresponds to your pants/skirt size is a godsend. Because the JMS, Hanes, etc. I either get them too big that I have to shrink them in the dryer, or they’re too tight. I’m guessing they won’t do it by pants size because perhaps women who still have body issues are happier saying “I wear a size 6!” then a size 16.

  92. Hmm… Thanks for the warning, now I’m never going to order underwear from the USA as I wouldn’t want to get the wrong size all the way over the Atlantic. I’m used to the underwear sizes pretty much corresponding to other clothes sizes. I do tend to get my knickers one size smaller, though, since they’re usually stretchy and sit a bit too loose in my normal size.

    And I don’t like the word panties either, but for a slightly different reason from you guys. I just think it sounds like something a little girl might wear rather than a grown woman. It’s the sound of it that does it, and I never really thought of it the sleazy way. I prefer knickers or undies myself.

  93. I’m kind of a triangle- broad shoulders, big arms, rack of doom, but small waist and hips (and thighs of doom). For example, I’m wearing a 1X vest and t-shirt, and 7 juniors’ jeans. To add to the confusion, to get panties that fit I have one of two options:

    1: if I want nice lacy panties, I have to get M panties from Fashion Bug (Enchanted brand). S doesn’t go up my legs.

    2: if I want panties that I can wear every day, I have to buy Hanes or Fruit of the Loom children’s panties in size 14 girls’. Anything bigger and it bags.

    I do not understand how these things work.

  94. A woman I saw did this:

    Bra- two inverted jock straps

    (the loop goes around the torso, the strap of each over the respective shoulders)

    Undies- wrap around cloth with nothing under it

    This was done on the beach at Las Terrenas Dominican Republic.

    But you have to keep in mind she was over dressed for that beach- the French go topless there every day.

  95. I’m rather loyal to my Victoria’s Secret lowrise bikinis, and still comfortably wear the same size I did when I was 40 lbs lighter. They’re the amazing Harry Potter Quiddich tent underpants, apparently. (Count me in on thinking that panties sounds sleazy!)

    But I had occasion to try two different styles of Hanes recently; one was a pair of their ‘fancy’ boycuts with lace trim, sold on a hanger, and I spent a good five minutes staring at them in the store trying to decide on a size because they appeared to run so big. But then I went to visit my parents for the weekend and forgot to pack any underwear at all, so I had to go buy a pack of the usual kind at Kmart. They ran smaller than usual, I think. If the same brand varies so widely…

    Funderwear is great! It lives in its own drawer with my tights, actually. :)

  96. @octopod, in truth, there really are different body types for men, too; if the guys are buying suits, the trim ones with wide shoulders and narrow torsos/hips are buying Italian suits; the blockier, thicker men are buying Brooks Brothers/American cut suits. There are differences, too, in trousers and jeans: there are slimcut ones for the Italian suit wearers, and “relaxed fit” for the heavier-bodied American suit wearers. There are also certain styles specifically for the “sport professional” build – wrestler/football player. There are some cuts for the stringbean in build. Stacey and Clinton actually do some nice coverage on male body types in their book, whose name escapes my memory at the moment (sorry). It’s just that men’s different builds don’t get the publicity that women’s varying shapes do.

    It’s worthwhile, even for women who DON’T sew, to look at sewing textbooks in the “how to alter patterns for your body” in order to see the different body types that are out there. Per Holls, I’m actually an X – but there are other differences which contribute to the difficulties folks have in buying clothes that fit. It’s possible to have your hip fullness at high hips, average hips, or low hips – or in fact to have your greatest bottom fullness at your upper thigh, below. Your hips can jut out and drop down, they can curve out and back in, they can just flare out completely. You can have a full belly, but a flat backside. You can have your greatest breadth from side-to-side. You can have narrow hips and a flat belly, and a backside like a basketball. You can have the greatest weight in your bottom at the bottom of your bottom. You can have any combination of the above – and that doesn’t even count crotch length (how long your pelvis area is), never mind crotch depth (how far from front to back). It doesn’t address posture, which affects how clothes fit – yes, even underpants. I know the truth, really – or some of it, anyway. The scoliosis doesn’t affect it much; the fact that because my hips are pronated (they roll up towards the back, instead of my butt tucking under, which curves my butt like a duck’s ass), it lengthens the front and shortens the back of my backside. I have a long crotch depth, a significant belly pad below a small waist, a duck’s ass, and short sturdy Irish peasant legs (which do not lend themselves to high-cut ANYTHING).

    This is why it’s hard to find underpants that fit.

    That’s not counting body differences like oval or round trunks, torso lengths, back shapes or bust sizes and shapes. It really is no wonder it’s so hard to find clothes to fit.

    I often think it would help us all if we took the time to do some research on ourselves, first and foremost. I know it’s hard, because it means being factual and not unkind to yourself. It means taking measurements and learning what your own body shapes are; how could you cover even a table, if you didn’t know how big it was or what shape it was? Learning one’s own proportions is the first part of learning how to shop, because then you know where to look. For instance, not every knows that part of your body can be “petite.” I’m 5’6″ (I shrunk an inch), but I can often wear petite jackets, even though my arms are extra-LONG. And even though my height is in my TORSO, and NOT in my legs. Seems strange, no? And many under 5’4″ women are short, rather than petite – that is, they are “average height” through the crotch (that is, the pelvis length), but not the legs; they need to buy “average length” trousers, and shorten them through the legs. “Petite women” are shorter ALL OVER – through the crotch/pelvis length AND through the legs. There are tall women who are tall through the legs only, and need petite-proportioned garments for the upper body – even if they have long arms.

    It’s important to start learning what your body is, for your own sanity. There’s nothing wrong with your shape, whatever it may be – but it will be easier to dress it when you know what it is.

    For what it’s worth, even in the 20th Century, never mind through history, the different shapes have had a couple of turns of being “fashionable”. The rectangle, the pear (our triangle, there), the upside-down triangle, the hourglass – each has its turn being in fashion. For those who aren’t the current vogue, the options are to dress for your body, or to dress it in a way to help it conform to the current vogue.

  97. I may be odd, but I rarely have problems with undies fitting. Whenever I need them or if they’re on sale, I grab a handful of them in whatever patterns take my fancy from the tables at Lane Bryant. My main gripe with them is they don’t last long. I have pairs I bought only a few months ago and already they have holes in them. But they fit just fine for as long as they last. Pretty much bras and undies are all I buy at the LB these days it seems.

  98. Another vote for chones, here, but I am now quite fond of funderpants.

    I buy mine at LB or Avenue and I always get a size down from my pants size — someone at LB told me that once, and it’s always seemed to work for me. I don’t even bother with those damned strangely numbered kind because I have no idea where to even start.

    Someone upthread mentioned Torrid’s underthings — see, now, I bought some boyshorts from there and, at the risk of TMI, the crotch was so loose I got terrible chub rub. So now I don’t buy chones from there because, you know, ouch. It’s too bad because they were way cute.

  99. Someone upthread mentioned switching to boxers and was wondering about sizing– I wear boxer briefs (and yet, sometimes I call them “panties”), and the sizing is pretty consistent across brands. It helps that briefs are somewhat stretchy. Figure out your waist measurement and go from there. I tend to buy one size up from what the package says because they are not cut with extra hip room.

    You can make your own underwear that fits if you have a comfy item that you can take apart and copy.

  100. Thanks, LaBellaDonna!

    You know, until I read this thread, I’d never ever had occasion to think about the way underpants fit. I just get them in the multipacks at the store in size 6, and they fit fine, and the most I’ve had to decide before was whether or not to tie-dye them. Go figure.

    I’m generally not too terribly far from the norm in most dimensions; finding something that fits can usually be taken care of. This is partly because I’m not too far from what the designers seem to assume are normal proportions (except when it comes to trousers, unfortunately!), but partly because I don’t worry about it too much. My boyfriend, however, is very far from the industry-standard body. Nobody designs clothes for 6′ men with hourglass figures. He could probably wear things designed for actual fashion models (female ones, at least), but that’s about it. Mostly his clothes are just woefully baggy.

    Who are these Stacey and Clinton of whom you speak?

  101. Get out of my head! I was just thinking about this the other day.

    I’m just going to use my own sizes for funsies in this example. But let’s think about this for a minute. If I need to go shopping, I need to remember that I wear:

    Size “14/16” or “large” or “XL” tops, depending on where I am.
    Size “18/20” or “large” or “XL” pants, skirts and dresses, again depending.
    These may be
    Size 40 D bras, or some other bizarre proprietary sizing if it’s a sports bra.
    Size 9 underwear.
    Size 10 shoes.
    Size Q stockings/tights, or some bizarre proprietary sizing in some cases.
    And yet, socks come in only one size… What’s up with that?

  102. Talespun, really?!
    It’s a life-changer, I swear. And I believe they have a money-back guarantee if you decide it’s not for you. :)

  103. Talespun,

    There are also lovely seasponge tampons, so you don’t have to put bleached out cotton up your hoohoo. They are pretty wonderful.

  104. I too can now sing the praises of a well fitting bra; I went bra shopping a week ago and got some wonderful, well fitting bras (on sale!). I picked up a couple plus sized bras by Playtex. This is the first time I’ve had some bras that actually fit me in years, the difference is amazing!

  105. Hanky Panky :) One size only, and comfy as far as thongs go. (though I’m not sure how many sizes find them comfy, I won’t wear anything else after having found them. :) )

  106. Julia, Divacup no longer offers their 1 year money back guarantee. :( that’s why i don’t recommend them anymore. i belong to the menstrual_cups group on LJ, and it seems a higher portion of lunette users are satisfied with their cups. a lot of people (myself included) have issues with the diva leaking.

    no matter what though, even the diva is better than filling the trash bin with bloody pads every month. ew!

  107. If you’re looking for customer service along with your Diva Cup, buy it from I met Krista at a festival recently and she was really helpful. I wasn’t sure which size to get because the recommended size for my age isn’t what I had been wearing in the Keeper, which I lost in a move, and I didn’t think I needed to go up a size. We talked about the reason for the recommendation in a size change after age 30. She was really helpful and she will also email with you if you are having trouble. She also sells the pStyle, which is great if you want to stand up to pee. I love both. I don’t know Krista except for having met her at the festival, so other than liking to give business to small, women-owned companies, I have no stake in advertising for her.

    Underwear: if I halved my pants size, I’d need a four, which definitely wouldn’t work. I wear an eight in pants and a six/medium in underpants. My favorite underpants are hipsters from Target. They don’t come very large, though. The range is small (5) to XXL (9). I have worn a size 18 in pants and the XXL fit me then. I like that the have a little elastic around the top and leg holes, but it’s not chafing or circulation-cutting. They come in three to a hanger, usually a solid color and two patterned ones in the same color family, or three of the same solid color together (black, white, pink, gray typically).

    I have funderpants too, and they match my bras. I wear them if I’m going to visit my girlfriend, cotton to hang around my place or go to work.

  108. Julia/Hoshi: I haven’t experienced any troubles at all with the Diva cup myself; or with costumer service. I honestly only chose the brand over the other options since their site was offering free shipping. But so far no leaks and it works wonders!

    To keep things more in line with the panty/undies talk though; I’m now considering silk since someone mentioned that further up thread. I’ve usually stuck with cotton but hmmm silk DOES sound nice…and if it slips out of my rear end crack as easily as I slip off silk sheets onto the floor then they could be the simple solution to all my wedgie woes!

  109. Okay, apologize in advance because I haven’t caught up with all the comments yet (I had to leave, I was running behind… lol, “behind” in an underpants discussion… hi I’m 26 going on 11).

    I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents about “panties.” Because I never imagined that other women found that phrase demeaning or creepy. I have to admit, sometimes it sounds little-girly, like what kids call their underdrawers, which is why I usually only pull it out when I feel silly, but I never really thought of it in an “ewww” sense. And no doctor of mine has ever used the word, including my past gyno, who was male (and was actually the same guy who pulled me, squealing and coated in goo, from my mother’s womb… he told me once that I made him feel really old, heh). I guess when I had like a pediatrician maybe… if (s)he was the sort of person to talk to kids like they don’t know proper English. But I don’t remember.

    Man, now I am just feeling chatty, and I am tempted to just start yakking about clothes and styles and how things fit (and for anyone who knows how little I ever talk clothes, because I know crap about ’em, and have no discernable style that I can figure out, that’s really something!). And I am excited that I see talk of the menstrual cup, because I really want one!

    But, I am not going to at the moment, because seriously, with the way I feel right now (lonesome, and in need of a good chat) I think I’d type your little internets-ears right off.

    So I’ll end by saying how glad I am that I’m not alone in appreciating more “special” underdrawers, or in enjoying the word “funderpants!”


  110. I always used the two terms for different things – underwear is what you use every day, panties are what you use when you want to feel especially pretty and sexy. :)

  111. Thank you for acknowledging “the weird gap between a 12 and a 14W.” I thought I was crazy!

    As far as underwear goes, I find the word “panties” kind of demeaning: infantilizing and sexualizing at the same time. Gives me the creeps.

    I know there are plenty of anti-thong people here, but I really find that they don’t have as many problems with fit as regular full-ass underwear. Legs holes are usually ample, and the cotton crotch is sort of adjustable (you can move it forward or back to where you need it without making the undies too uncomfortable). And they don’t cut into your butt cheeks like full-ass underwear. The other plus for me is that they’re not as constricting for me as other underwear (I have a fairly large pubic mound and CANNOT wear boy-cut undies to save my life).

    The only drawback for me with thongs is the sizing is screwy, especially for L/XL/plus, so I get them from LB, which pretty much solves that problem.

    For the naysayers: Buttfloss, my ass! Thongs stay nicely in place and let my ass cheeks fully enjoy the gentle caress of my pants. Up with thongs, naysayers!

  112. Kind of off the subject, but one time my grandmother was telling me about her exercise class at the senior center and I asked her if she wore a thong (not that I ever really want to know something like that about my grandmother), and she said, “Oh, no, honey – I always wear sneakers.” The thing is, if she had known what I was talking about, she would have told me. Trust me – I narrowly avoided seeing the scar from a growth that was taken off of her labia. Talk about nightmares.

  113. the only time I use the word “panties” is when I’m bastardizing it to fit men’s underwear, which I like to call man panties or “manties.”

    I have recently thrown a lot of undies away for being too big and/or worn out, and I need to do the dreaded underoo shopping trip to avoid having to do my laundry more than once every 7 or 8 months. lol

  114. I moonlight in a plus-sized clothing store (in Canada – this one is a superstore that houses Penningtons, Addition-Elle, and MXM), and I can definitely say you CAN try on the underwear, over your underpants. Also, I think of the three, Addition-Elle has the best underwear going….speaking as someone who gets to experiment on a discount!

    I actually prefer a thong. Yes, I know, I’m waving my freak flag even higher. But honestly, they are soooo comfy. I never, never have to even think about my underwear. It’s so easy and simple, it doesn’t shift around, and no, I don’t feel it up my ass or anything like that. I don’t own any other kind of underwear anymore. Seriously. Not even for my period. (I simultaneously mastered tampons because I discovered thongs and didn’t want to wear other underwear – it actually finally worked for me when I tried the O.B. ones, since there’s no stupid applicator and they’re shaped better. I had to buy Tampax in an emergency last month, and they were just AWFUL, mainly because of the shape.)

    I usually buy my underwear a size smaller than my pants, and that’s what I usually advise the customers at the store. This may only work in the brands I work with, though.

  115. I also have the squick factor with panties. I like underwear or drawers or knickers (but mostly in the phrase “don’t get your knickers in a knot.”)

    I will also cast a vote for Jockey for Her. I like their elance style in “french cut” – somewhere between bikinis and briefs. I like a variety of colors in my underwear drawer and I order Jockey online because they have the best variety of colors and I can always get my size.

  116. Underwear + panties = undies! That’s what they’ve always been in our family.

    YES. Thank you. I was reading this whole thread like, “What, no ‘undies’?” (Even though yes, I noticed that a few other people used the term.)

    I am some kind of reverse freak, evidently, because not only do I loathe the word “panties,” I didn’t realize there were other women who didn’t realize other women loathe the word “panties.” I just assumed everyone hated it as much as I do, because everything is all about me.

    And the image of my ass as TARDIS will keep me laughing for days.

  117. I remember being really sad when I grew out of my favourite Bonds undies as a kid. That was about the same time that they seemed to discontinue a shape known as “mid-brief” and made everything into hi-cut bikini or ginormous fullbrief grannydaks. I have a generous, low butt and really hate undies that go below the bellyfold – so hipsters and bikinis and the like are right out. I like a low outside leg (none of this high/french cut for me). And I hate it when they dig in around the leg. A lot of boy legs roll up. le sigh.

    Anyhoo, I seem to have found a good, cheap source for undies of the right-ish shape here in Oz – Best&Less, $1.99!

  118. No I really had no idea such things were out there… and I really despise tampons and pads with a passion.

    And again lemme thank you all for being here because against my better judgement I went and started reading this article
    and this jumped out at me and just irritated the hell out of me “giant human body that costs just way too much to feed and bathe and clothe.”


  119. dollface – i do the same! with rare exception, i’ve bought girls underwear my whole life. i have small hips and they just fit better (and are cheaper too). of course, that means my underwear is often some cutesy pattern…

  120. LaBellaDonna has a good point–I’ve been trying to learn how to sew this year, in part because it gives me so much more insight into my own shape and what it needs to feel comfortable, and how to get precisely that. Speaking of which, making your own underwear for your own measurements isn’t difficult or expensive–you can even cut up old t-shirts or whatever and make it a recycling project:

  121. I don’t like “panties” either, but I do like “manties”. ‘Honey, get in here and fold your own manties, I’m not the maid.’

    The thing that gets me is that the “sizes” for underwear are so different between manufacturers. I wear a 9 in some, a 10 in others, sometimes an 8, sometimes an 11. WTF? One brand’s 10 is non-crack-surfingly perfect in construction except for there’s enough fabric in the top to yank all the way up my torso. I have a long torso, but damn.

    I tried some “boyshorts” recently, and I’m sad to say, they fit nothing like the package. Comfy for sleeping in, but they were too loose to wear out in the day. I might try a size down next time, these said they were for a size 18/20 bottom, I wear a 22/24.

  122. So, I discovered this year the lovely thing that is men’s underwear. No, really! Ok, so I’m butch and prefer boy clothes to girl clothes, but still: underwear that’s comfortable, doesn’t ride up my ass, and fits over said ass? What more could a girl want? (FYI for those who want to try it: try the briefs first, the boxer briefs take a little getting used to.)

    (I also can’t stand “panties”. Reminds me of these satin horrors my mom had me buy when I was in high school. Most uncomfortable things ever! The word is just so nauseating.)

  123. I am not sure about sizing but I have found the world’s most comfy undies are Lane Bryant Microfiber. And they correspond with my pants size.

  124. This explains so much – when I was without luggage for part of my travels in the US earlier this year, I had to buy new underpants, so I just picked up what I guessed to be my size from the US size = Aus size minus two(ish) conversion that was pretty accurate for the most part. They were so manifestly the wrong size they became a standing (sitting?) joke for the rest of the trip. And for the record, they’re undies, knickers, underpants. Never, ever, ever panties, which I associate with the sorts of underpinnings in non-breathable fabrics which are entirely likely to give one a yeast infection.

  125. I have to speak up for the girls who don’t hate the word “panties” (and let me just say that it cracks me up that the more you end up talking about how much you hate the word, the more you have to hear it). I have several girlfriends who hate it, but I’ve never understood it. Pussy, on the other hand–loathe, though that’s not a word for underwear.

    ANYWAY…I’m definitely a girly-girl (as demonstrated by my pin-stripe pencil skirt, flowy top, lacy bra, and patent leather 3″ mary janes), so I like “panties” because, if I can help it (which I usually can’t because I’m poor), I always like to have mostly–if not all–those girly, lacy, pretty panties (and bras). I think it’s one of those things that helps me feel sexy even when I’m just feeling like I’m the fattest fat thing there is; since that generally then makes me feel unfeminine (and this is just in reference to myself), wearing the most feminine things possible helps me.

    I’m sure that makes me sound like the most un-feminist person there is, but I’m just a girly-girl…who loves to go fishing with my boyfriend.

  126. Sorry for the double post (I really should proofread before I post), but I was referencing my outfit today in that second paragraph.

  127. I have found several good tutorials online for making your own underpants– most require a zig-zag stitch, though (which is good for sewing stretchy things, I know) and I only have an antique sewing machine which can’t do anything besides straight stitches. So I’m pretty restricted in what I can do unless I break down and buy a new sewing machine. *sniff* But I love my (free!) old one!
    A good community-based site with some decent tutorials and patterns– might be a good place for anyone thinking of learning to sew more conventionally than I have.

    I got some nice organic cotton undies from, a while back– they’ve got less selection now, but they are comfy as anything and get softer and softer. And I just ordered silk boxers from dharma trading co!! Like, yesterday, before I found this thread! (It was my birthday!)
    How funny.
    I got a Keeper from ManyMoons Alternatives, as well– same company as Clean Undies– and have had it for about two or three years and have no idea how I ever lived without it. (For the more offensively granoly among you, if you dump the blood in your compost bucket instead of flushing it down the sewer, it is a wonderful source of nitrogen and minerals for your garden– takes a bit of commitment to the hippie ethos, though, to bring your compost bucket in the bathroom with you. Way less gross than it sounds, though, as most of these things are once you think of them from another angle.)

    I always thought “panties” was a funny sort of word, and saved it for humorous use. I use “undies” myself, though a brief stint in the UK with an easily-riled Australian got me using “PANTS!” as a swear word (as in, “That’s such a bag of pants!” “Oh, pants!” “That’s pants!” Ask an Aussie, preferably an indignant one, for clarification. Though my beloved Indignant Aussie is currently waiting to have labor induced for her first child, so good luck to her. She’s almost two weeks overdue so she’s probably said PANTS a lot lately.)

    Roller derby has changed my attitude toward underwear, however. It used to be that I would be horrified at the thought that my underwear might show, but two years of skating has conditioned me to wear the cute ones and show them off on purpose. I found a pair of zebra-striped ruffled mesh rhumba shorts on and showed them to 800 people at an away game in Syracuse last week… [The secret: wear a pair of plain black bikini undies, then a pair of nylons, then a pair of fishnets or lace-top thigh-highs, then a pair of bright red ruffle panties, and you can flash your undies with no fear of slippage, and you can also fall on your ass with no fear of friction burns. I’ve started dressing like this for clubbing, too.]

    I am in the midst of sewing myself a set of old-fashioned bloomers. For anyone who, like me, spent about fifteen years cussing at ill-fitting clothes and swearing they were just going to sew their own, but was so intimidated by their few failed attempts that they never figured out how? I wholly recommend joining the SCA and, in a huge panic, learning how to sew so that you don’t go naked to your first event. There are tons of patterns and tutorials online. And it’s easy stuff, even when it’s complex: medieval sewing is all in straight lines because they didn’t have scissors to cut curves with, and you can get an amazing fit just by setting in gores and gussets and things. I went from a simple T-tunic to a rectangles-and-gores shift to a pair of corded stays in no time, and at this point I’m not afraid of sewing anything. Even after putting the sewing machine needle through my finger… left a cool scar…

    This has been a fascinating thread, y’all. I loved hearing about the different fit types! The more I learn about fashion, the less bad and “freakish” I feel for not fitting into anything. There’s nothing wrong with my body, I’m just not a fit model.
    Good timing, as my last little weight fluctuation put me up into a 32J, so I no longer really have the option of purchasing lingerie– if I want it to really fit, I absolutely HAVE to either make it, or purchase it and have it altered, and since I don’t have the money for the latter… Sewing it is!!!

  128. Regarding making your own undies, body types, and generalized sewing: the copy of Patternless Sewing (how to make pretty much all of the basic clothing shapes and a metric shitton of variations by marking directly on fabric with tailor’s chalk using your body measurements instead of premade patterns, if that makes sense) that I ordered online just arrived, and looks to be all kinds of awesome in theory. I’ll report back if it proves to be as badass in practice.

  129. Ladies, we NEED a bra , not necessarily the case with underwear. Don’t wear any if it doesn’t make you feel great.

    With all the to-do about “no panty lines” there are several crotch lining options out there. i.e. “Go Commando!”

    But if I’m heading to church or the like where I’d feel odd not wearing underwear, then I’m with those buying the 3-pack hipsters.

    I’m not fussed about sizing. I always buy the smaller size from my pants as the stretch support feels good. I got bigger fish to fry so don’t care too much about underwear sizing.

  130. “the weird gap between a 12 and a 14W,”

    I fell into this void for years and years. Depending on the brand, whether it’s a skirt, shorts or pants, I could wear anything from a 10 to 14. Why can’t they make 13s? Also, I’m 5’4.5″, which means I’m too tall for a petite and too short for a regular. The easy out is to get my hems adjusted but with certain style of skirts and certain pants, that won’t work. I have plenty of pants with a droopy crotch and plenty of other pants that would give me camel-toe. There’s plenty of stuff out there in the world designed to make me hate my body beyond airbrushed super models on magazine covers. Well, at least shoes don’t make me feel bad about myself.

  131. Ladies, we NEED a bra

    Not actually true for all women.

    I got bigger fish to fry so don’t care too much about underwear sizing.

    You might notice that this post is entitled “petty gripe of the day.”

  132. Ladies, we NEED a bra ….

    Not true. I’ve got ginormous meandering boobs, and I don’t feel a need for a brassiere. Just about the only times I wear one is when I expect to be in public, and that’s not out of need, it’s because I fear I’d otherwise be ridiculed. Or that I’ll embarrass my less enlightened friends.

  133. Where I come from ‘knickers’ is standard and ‘panties’ is almost never heard. Having said that, I’m in the US right now, and finding the idea of walking into, say, Nordstrom and buying underwear somewhat daunting. (Walking into Nordstrom anytime is fairly daunting, actually, but that’s just me and big department stores.)

    My major bugbear is that in the bigger styles (not necessarily sizes; in most places I shop, the more scanty styles of regular knicker go up to a British 22-24 – what I mean is the knicks they describe as ‘full briefs’, as worn by one Bridget Jones) almost never come in interesting colors. These are the everyday, default normal briefs for me, and I like them interesting colors, and preferably deeper colors, but most commonly they’re in packs of all white. Failing that, pastels, or even that horrible color that’s nothing like the ‘flesh’ it calls itself. Yuck.

    It bugs me hugely how often big bras go with knicks that only reach a 14, so a matching set is out of the question. Ditto, sometimes, larger briefs where one style of bra will fit the ‘matching’ boobs but a different style won’t, or any kind of other boned top garment won’t. (Love boned stuff, but if you’re a 40DD in the UK, unless you get a bespoke corset made, fuhgeddaboudit.)

    Bras and back sizes I think I’ve often discussed here before. Bras up to a JJ cup are very cool, but please, someone do more over a 38 back. Currently, in the UK, lots of the former and not a lot of the latter. And, again, underwear buying isn’t something I really want to get into over here. Got too much gig watching and beer drinking to get on with!

  134. So, when I wore size 8 pants (like, a year ago; thanks, Pill), I wore size 5 underwear mostly because of the dreaded bagging issue. Now that I’m up to a great whopping size 10 in pants, I bought a package of size 7 underwear, and most of it doesn’t fit properly. (Too small. One pair, inexplicably, does fit.) I’m one of those people where the biggest part of my butt is RIGHT BELOW where the underwear is on my thighs. Great. So I used to wear much smaller underwear, and now I wear underwear that’s supposedly too big for my pant size.

    And let’s also not forget the whole where-did-the-bikinis-go? I’m REALLY short in the rise (despite a prodigious rear end), so boy-cut and ‘hi-cut’ underwear all shows above my pants, and the only other thing that seems to be available is thongs which, yuck. Put me in the hater column.

    Sometimes clothing shopping is just plain frustrating.

  135. Gotta admit: I love the world panties; but mainly because it cracks me up to refer to my husband’s underwear as “man-panties” I’m lol-ing right now! Butt sheets is pretty good, too.

    As for what I wear, I love Victoria’s Secret hi-cut briefs in cotton. I wear size 22-24 pants and the XL’s fit me like a glove.

    Because I missed the VS semi-annual sale, I just got a bunch of the Hane’s cotton hi-cuts that aren’t supposed to ride up, but they are a bit baggy for me in a size 10. But, they don’t ride up, at least, even if they’re not as smooth and soft as the VS ones.

    My biggest gripe is not being able to get bras in the cool colors just because I wear a size 40 instead of the apparently more acceptable 38. As a 40 DD, my choices are black, white or beige.

    I think I’ll try making my own undies out of an old t-shirt…

  136. “My biggest gripe is not being able to get bras in the cool colors just because I wear a size 40 instead of the apparently more acceptable 38. As a 40 DD, my choices are black, white or beige.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Fat = plain.

  137. I converted to thongs over a decade ago. The trick is getting a decently-made thong in the right size. It’s great; you can just pull ’em up and forget ’em for the rest of the day. Though in all fairness, my ass is bottom-heavy. So any undies that aren’t massively-oversized granny panties/ likewise-oversized mens’ boxers creep up my ass crack anyways. A thong is much less fabric, and at least is supposed to be in there.

  138. I’m an Australian size 23 arse. This means I fall neatly between size 22 (which is a bit too tight) and size 24 (which is a bit too loose). However, since I’m in a sizing greater than an Australian 14, that doesn’t really matter anyway, since I don’t get that much of a choice in styles.

    Size 14 gets to choose from: full brief (aka granny knickers), bikini brief, high-cut bikini brief, thong, g-string, boy-leg brief, french knickers.

    Size 22 or 24 gets the exciting choice of granny knickers, or granny knickers, or hey, look! more granny knickers.

    Let’s not forget that if I’m buying my granny knickers, I’m generally buying them individually (rather than in multi-packs) and they’re about $8 a pair at least. The commonest pattern is also the least flattering, and comes in the standard colours of white, or the one-shade-matches-nobody beige. If I’m lucky, I’ll find something in a floral pattern.

    Knickers that are sexy? Knickers that are flattering? What the heck would I want those for? I’m a fat chick – so I automatically have no taste in clothes and no interest in being attractive. Thanks be to all the gods that when my bloke gets to see my knickers on me, he’s usually more interested in getting them *off* me than how they look.

  139. Black Marks and Spencers high leg knickers in multi-packs of 5 at a time have been my friend for many many many years. I gained weight, I lost weight, I gained back more than I lost, and yet they’re still always available in black. Sometimes in plain cotton, sometimes trimmed with a bit of lace. But yes, thank goodness here in the UK we use the same sizes for knickers as we do for trousers or I’d be completely lost!

    I have kinda given up when buying pretty bras (mostly from Evans) of buying the matching undies though. The last time I tried that it was these weird floaty things, that feel like they don’t actually cover me up and keep trying to fall down, even though they’re in my usual size which is normally a bit snug if anything.

  140. You would all hate shopping for underware in Brazil, where we get just S, M, L and XL or XXL, with no variety of cup and back sizes for bras or not many high rise options that are not beige and sinthetic…

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