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6 Undies Every Woman Should Own And Why

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Illustrations By: Anna Sudit

One of the first things we do in the morning (after hitting snooze on our alarm for the fifth and final time) is put on a fresh pair of underwear. It's the backbone of any good wardrobe, along with bras that actually fit us. If we're being honest, though, our skivvies often play second fiddle to bras; we tend to put more careful thought into our bra choices, but selecting what goes on bottom warrants equal consideration. So, with the help of our favorite lingerie ladies at Negative, Mimi Holliday, and Fleur du Mal, we're shifting the focus to thongs, boyshorts, briefs, and more.

Barring the few times you've gone commando, more often than not, you're wearing panties of some sort. To keep you up-to-date on your terminology, we listed the six different types of underwear every woman should own -- starting with G-strings and making our way to high waists. Get the skinny on your skivvies, right this way.

Barring the few times you've gone commando, more often than not, you're wearing panties of some sort. To keep you up-to-date on your terminology, we listed the six different types of underwear every woman should own -- starting with G-strings and making our way to high waists. Get the skinny on your skivvies, right this way.



You may be asking yourself, "What's the difference between a G-string and a regular thong? Aren't they the same thing?" That's a valid question. And, no, they're not interchangeable terms in the lingerie world. For starters, G-strings (sometimes called V-strings) are the skimpiest of skimpy underwear choices.

Fleur du Mal
founder and designer Jennifer Zuccarini (formerly of Kiki de Montparnasse and Victoria's Secret) explains, "G-strings are usually a small triangle of fabric in the front, and just elastic or straps everywhere else." There's a reason the intimate is jokingly referred to as "floss." That said, Negative co-founders Marissa Vosper and Lauren Schwab note, "G-strings are useful under body-con dresses and skirts, where you might otherwise go commando but aren't quite down with that program." Yup.


Now, this is our idea of black-tie apparel.

Hanky Panky Hot Dot Open G-String, $25, available at Zappos.


Choosing a neutral color for your undies definitely doesn't mean they can't still be sexy.

Gooseberry Intimates Innocence String, $34, available at Gooseberry Intimates.


This panty style is "a must if you're wearing something clingy or a bit sheer," according to Zuccarini.

Morgan Lane Lou G-String, $88, available at Ouihours.


We're all about this LGP (little green panty) for date night.

Cosabella Never Say Never Skimpie G-string, $22, available at Cosabella.



Similar to G-strings, thongs are "slightly thicker on the band, with a little more coverage on the front and back triangles," explains Sarah Jenkins, head of communications and strategy for Damaris and Mimi Holliday. "It's considered, by some, to be the G-string's more comfortable counterpart," she adds. It's also widely regarded as a preventative measure for VPL (or visible panty lines): "Most women are afraid of panty lines and just default to a thong," Zuccarini says. The minimal underwear option is designed to sit seamlessly under your clothes. Of course, we also shop flirty (sometimes overtly frilly) versions that -- while not entirely practical -- just look so darn sexy.

Fun fact: "Thongs became part of popular culture in 1939 -- the Mayor of New York insisted nude dancers start wearing them for modesty," Zuccarini notes.


La Perla's lace intimate has a bit more substance (and style) to it; the thick band is a lovely contrast to the thin style.

La Perla Zephyra Thong, $168, available at


Don't underestimate the power of simplicity when going for a barely there panty.

Paul & Joe x Cosabella Juliette Lowrider Thong, $27, available at Cosabella.


This lace-trimmed number is your best friend when it comes to quashing VPL.

Heidi Klum Intimates Lace and Silk-Chiffon Thong, $55, available at Net-a-Porter.


Is it weird that we have this song stuck in our heads? Just checking.

Stella McCartney Ava Dancing Thong, $80 $58, available at Stella McCartney.



With the advent of "cheekies" and "cheekinis," Vosper concedes that, today, "the term 'bikini' is pretty vague and can mean a lot of things." If you're equally confused, think of the style as a middle ground between thongs and briefs. "Typically slim on the sides, and with just enough on the behind to offer some coverage, a bikini is not only very sexy, but another great option for a less visible finish," Jenkins adds. "The skivvy has a low-slung, cool vibe that's perfect when layered under denim."


When you wish upon a star...


Mimi Holliday Deadly Nightshade Hipster Knicker, $64, available at Journelle.

The everyday knicker gets a very fashionable update.

Love Stories Wild Rose, $35 $21, available at Love Stories.


Delicate and dark, this lingerie piece gets its sexiness from the peek-a-boo lace front.

Myla House Silk & Embroidery, $150 $45, available at Myla.


Fair warning: Curriculum Vitae's panty contains a surprise sheer eyelash-lace back.

Curriculum Vitae Claudia Bikini, $88, available at Curriculum Vitae.



Maybe briefs don't have the sexiest connotation. So what? "Briefs can be absolutely gorgeous and, unless you're trying to hide panty lines, are great for every day," Jenkins says. (It's what this editor wears pretty much all the time, if we're being honest.) They're similar to bikinis, but they offer a more traditional cut and extra coverage -- think "more of a straight-cut leg versus a high cut on the hip," Vosper says. Innovative designs -- like Mimi Holliday's Petal Knicker -- definitely don't bring to mind anything with the word "Granny" in it.


"While not as seamless under fitted clothes as a thong, briefs work nicely under jeans and short skirts or dresses that aren't as figure hugging," Schwab notes.

Topshop Soft Mesh V-Cut-Out Mini Knickers, $20, available at Topshop.


Wearing these breathable briefs is basically like wearing a cloud.

Land of Women Classic Brief, $55, available at Land of Women.


Red hot.

Lonely Cyd Full Brief Poppy, $35.65, available at Lonely.


Negative's brief is so comfy, you'll forget you're wearing it.

White Boa Brief, $35, available at Negative.



As far as underwear goes, boyshorts are one of the more modest options. Modeled after men's briefs, "they perfectly frame the derriere, with full sides and front, but a thong-style base," Jenkins says. Not only are they usually mega comfortable, depending on the fabric and fit, boyshorts can usually serve the same function as thongs under clothing. The covered-up silhouette can often be worn with form-fitting clothes without any dreaded VPL. "They work especially well layered beneath short, fluttery skirts on windy days when you don't want to moon the world with your Marilyn moment, too," Vosper quips.

Maybe you're into thicker fabrics for this shape, and choose to wear them as loungewear and pajamas -- that's cool, too. To each her own.


Sloane & Tate's jersey iteration is made for lazy weekends in.

Sloane & Tate The Silverlake Short, $46, available at Sloane & Tate.


Lace trim gives the menswear-inspired silhouette a feminine touch.

Aerie Boyshort, $9.50, available at American Eagle Outfitters.


"A boyshort is a great option for those who don't like the feel of a thong, and like a little more decoration around the hips," Jenkins says.

Naked Princess
Lace Boyshort, $105 $53, available at Naked Princess.


High Waists

High-waisted underwear has enjoyed a revival in recent fashion seasons. Most noticeably, the retro silhouette -- which sits higher than standard briefs at your natural waist -- has infiltrated our denim, lingerie, and swimwear. "Just like a classic brief, it has full coverage across the behind and front for easy comfort," Jenkins explains.

Before the dawn of low-rise (you can thank the early aughts for that trend), "most all underwear was higher waisted, because most pants and skirts were higher rises, too," Vosper notes. Then, the 2000's came along, and waistlines were dropped lower and lower until we got all the way to ultra-low rise.

"These days, high-waisted underwear is often an intentional fashion statement," continues Vosper. Zuccarini echoes the observation, adding, "It's a great style to wear if you're thinking of layering it under a sheer lace skirt or dress." It can also serve the dual purpose of shape-wear, Schwab told us. "The silhouette is especially practical when wearing garments that look best with smooth lines underneath."


Naja's panty will add shape in a comfortable way, hitting your waist just at the right spot.

Naja Audrey Hi-waisted St Germain, $32, available at Naja.


The strapping detail is all about drama -- lots of it.

Else Serenity Lace Cut Out High Waist Brief, $77, available at Journelle.


All-over lace does the trick, too.

I.D. Sarrieri Rhapsody High-Rise Metallic Lace Briefs, $310-$139.50, available at The Outnet.

By: Ellen Hoffman & Ray Lowe