From thongs and tangas to briefs and boy shorts, there's no shortage of different types of underwear out there. While it might be nice if there existed a "one brand fits all" type of situation, brands often seem to focus on perfecting one type of style rather than all of them.
I've tried out almost every panty style throughout my life, and the one truth I've found is that the kind of underwear I want to wear depends on my mood. Sometimes I want to sport something comfortable. Sometimes I go straight to sexy. And when I'm feeling particularly bold, I want my underwear to be comfortable and sexy.
Even though your knickers are not something that everyone you encounter daily will see, they're something that many style lovers wear for themselves. A friend in college introduced me to that idea that an underwear choice could be powerful because it could make you happy without you having to share that feeling with anyone else for validation or critique. In a way, underwear was my first body positive fashion choice.
Lucky for me and other underwear enthusiasts who both can't make up their minds and love having choices, there are a number of brands designing a myriad of different styles. From the über-comfy to the downright couture, these are the undie brands every woman should know.
1. Hopeless Lingerie
Australian-based handmade lingerie brand Hopeless Lingerie got its start in 2008 and has been featured in the pages of Vogue, Marie Claire, and even Playboy since. The pieces have both a dark and modern edge, often focusing on structure and utilizing sheer mesh and other distinct design elements. Since the brand's inception, it has crafted pieces in a wide size range — XXS to 2XL. It also keeps its production small so that it can offer custom sizing as well.
Have you heard of period panties? The team at THINX is behind this innovative pair of knickers. According to its website, the team behind THINX spent more than three years developing the technology that would make this innovative style of underwear functional during a woman's period. Each pair of underwear on its site lists the level of absorbency, and there's a pair that works for a number of different flows. THINX's mission extends beyond function too. The brand is also working to empower young people with medically accurate and inclusive information about their bodies.
3. Curves By Oh La La Cherie
If the above model and lingerie set look familiar, it's likely that you've seen the latter sold at one of your favorite plus size boutiques or retailers without realizing that the brand Oh La La Cherie was responsible. The company was founded in 2006 and did eight years of extensive research before expanding to plus sizes in Feb. 2015. While it's really known for its lingerie, which extends to a size 4X, the brand also makes dedicated lines of panties that are sexy in their own right. Crotchless pearl thong, anyone?
I fell in love with Foxers lace boxers when I was writing about the trans-inclusive lookbook by Bluestockings Boutique, a stockist for Foxers. When I looked into the brand more, I found that it actually had two patents in the concept of melding traditional lace women's panties with the band of men's style boxers for a pair of underwear that can work for all genders and is available up to a size 2XL.
5. Bones Lingerie
Bones Lingerie crafts kitschy pieces for alternative babes. The handmade shop sells on Etsy and boasts nearly 10,000 admirers and 1,500+ sales. Since everything is handmade in Los Angeles, this indie company also accepts custom orders and requests.
6. Mimi Holliday
When I was researching underwear brands, I stopped dead in my tracks after coming across a set from Mimi Holliday, the luxury lingerie brand of designer Damaris Evans. I was in awe of both the craftsmanship and the design. These products are completely crafted by hand and the brand is one of the most luxurious companies around. IMO, the collections show a level of originality that warrants heftier price tags. Damaris Evans also revolutionized the underwear world by creating the bow back knicker.
LoLeviLa is a brand that definitely understands the cheeky side of underwear. Each handcrafted piece pays a special homage to the cheeks. In a range of styles from bows to strappy to hearts and gussets, this brand does cut-outs very well.
TomboyX was founded in 2013 from a Kickstarter campaign, and the products are designed to help women feel comfortable in their own skin. Everything is available in sizes XS to 4X and all sizes cost the same price. TomboyX also fit tests every item on tomboys of all sizes to make this menswear-style perfect for a female body.
9. Origami Customs
Origami Customs is a handmade line of clothing that specializes in lingerie and swimwear. Each item is made based on one's individual measurements. It also has an "all body" policy, which means that there are no additional fees for customization at any size. There's a lot that makes Origami Customs one of the best, but I have to say that its trans/gender variant products are most impressive.
Undies may be for underneath your clothes, but they can definitely give you a sense of outward confidence and personal empowerment. These are some of the best brands to help you embrace your individuality in all senses of the word.
10. Playful Promises
In 2017, the London-based lingerie online shop Playful Promises partnered with Gabi Fresh for a line of fairly affordable plus-size lingerie, in bold bright colors and running to cup size H. Playful Promises is known for their quirky, sexy designs, as well as their commitment to ethical fashion.
Plus-size clothing store Torrid has an entire collection of lingerie, bras, and panties. Torrid sizes their designs on actual people, not mannequins, so they're built to fit more comfortably while still being very sexy.
Images: Courtesy Brands