Types of Underwear for Women
By: Daisy Hemmen
Many of us remember the ritual of shopping for our first bra, but it’s unlikely we had the same momentous experience when it came to underwear. While undies often receive less fanfare than their northern counterparts, the right fit can make all the difference to our confidence and coziness. In addition to the right fit, comfort is also very important and bamboo underwear is incredibly soft and breathable.
A whopping 47% of women report a boost in mood when donning their favorite pair of panties, so consider slipping into yours as your day’s first act of self-care.1
But with so many styles and materials you’ve probably wondered originally when underwear was invented in the first place, not to mention all of the terms used to describe them (hipster? g-string? thong? bikini?) Deciding which style of skivvies to go for can be overwhelming. This is your simplified guide to choosing the perfect pair of undies for you, no matter what the day ahead holds.
Underwear 101: The Four Major Players
Most styles of women’s underwear fall into one of four categories:
Briefs – Briefs offer the most coverage of underwear styles. You can find them in a range of rises, depending on your outfit of the day and personal preference.
Boxer Briefs - are best paired with high-waisted or looser fitting bottoms, and are perfect for days when you’re just looking to lounge around the house
in comfortable underwear.
Bikinis – The bikini underwear is your happy medium between boyshorts and thongs. It flaunts a shallower waistband than briefs, with just a touch more cheek exposure (although you can choose your fighter with options like brazilian bikinis.) Riding lower on the hips while keeping your behind covered, a bikini panty may be your best bet for jet-set days when you’re constantly on the go.
Thongs – Thongs include any pair of panties that expose your derrière, with slimmer waistbands and a triangle of fabric for frontal coverage. There are a host of variations on thong underwear, but the most common you’ll find is the G-string. Thongs are ideal for minimizing visible panty lines, creating that smooth look you need for nights out in a hip-hugging skirt or a bodycon dress.
Boyshorts – Think men’s boxers with a feminine twist. Boyshort underwear tend to cut straight across the hip and wade farther down the thigh, offering plenty of butt coverage with a much tighter grip than their relatives in the Men’s section.
Beyond Style, Consider the Details
If you’ve ever found yourself on a long flight or car ride in a pair of pinchy briefs, you know that choosing the right cut is just the first step to finding your holy grail underwear.
Some other factors to consider when choosing new types of panties include:
Fit– Few sensations are more uncomfortable than the feeling of your panties riding up to places they shouldn’t be while in public (or in private). What’s more, ill-fitting undies can aggravate your sensitive skin, contributing to chaffing, rashes, and folliculitis (otherwise known as “buttne”). First and foremost, opt for the best fit—your basics should fit seamlessly into your life, rather than distract from it so it’s important to learn how to measure your hips.
Fabric–When it comes to panties, the importance of choosing the right fabric can’t be exaggerated. Synthetic fabrics like polyester, acrylic, and nylon tend to hold onto moisture, making them a choice habitat for bacteria.2 Aim for the breathable, natural fabrics of cotton or bamboo underwear, which are powerhouses when it comes to thermoregulation, staying dry, and nixing any undesirable down-there odors.
Environmental Impact –Despite their size, even panties can yield a major environmental cost if they aren’t made with conscience. Sustainability should include every part of the design process from sourcing materials to reducing waste. Be sure to support brands that make ethical practices for the planet and humans a cornerstone of their company mission.
Whether you end up reaching for some snug, hip-hugging briefs or a coquettish G-string, above all, never compromise on comfort when it comes to your everyday wear underwear.
Choose styles that make you feel your best– whatever that means for you.
How to Ensure Peak Performance
Ever popped a new garment in the washer and dryer just to find out it no longer fit?
After you’ve selected your new comfortable underwear, proper care can ensure longevity and fit. And different types of women’s underwear require different care.
- Always, always, always check the tag before throwing your underwear in with the rest of your laundry!
- Some intimates like lingerie prefer to be hand-washed, while others can be tossed in with your standard gentle cycle.
- The most skin and planet-kind way to keep your underthings clean is to use a biodegradable, hypoallergenic detergent.
A Boody bonus: our bamboo viscose fibers mean your undies will get softer and softer with every loving wash.
How Often Should I Replace My Underwear?
No matter how often you launder them, ladies underwear tends to accumulate bacteria–especially if they’re made from synthetic materials
The golden rule is to change out of your undies at least once a day and replace them (at minimum) on an annual basis.
For an extra line of defense, toss in no more than one cup of white vinegar into a wash cycle to help curb unwanted overgrowth.
Boody Eco Wear: Self-care is Earth-care
Whatever type of underwear style you choose for the day ahead, remember that essentials should come at no compromise—to you, your life, or the planet.
Ladies underwear trends will come and go like wearing underwear with leggings, but at the end of the day, all of us want to feel at home in our own skin.
If you’re on the lookout for your new perfect fit, check out Boody’s line of bamboo underwear and other bamboo clothing. Created with 3D sewing for a zero-seam design, you’ll never suffer from a pinchy waistband or misplaced seam again, whether you’re wearing a bamboo g-string, bikini, or brief.
Beginning your day with a carefully considered act of self-care can have a meaningful impact on your confidence and comfort. And what better act than picking your favorite undies out of the drawer?
About the Author: Daisy Hemmen is a San Diego State University Fowler College of Business alumni. Based in Encinitas, California, Daisy is a part of the marketing team at Boody North America. She is passionate about learning the ins and outs of living a happy and healthy lifestyle that benefits both people and the planet, and enjoys sharing her bountiful findings with the community.
- Healthline. 8 Underwear Rules to Live by for a Healthy Vagina. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/underwear-hygiene
- Natural Clothing. The Top 3 Healthy Benefits of Natural Underwear. https://www.naturalclothing.com/lets-talk-underwear/
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What is Organic Cotton?
By: Heather Bien We’re all trying to be better stewards of Mother Earth. From recycling to upcycling and eating conscientiously to dressing mindfully, our choices affect the planet. So choosing organic cotton clothing seems like an easy decision, right? Not so fast! As with all sustainable choices, it’s important to take a moment to learn a bit more about why organic cotton might win over conventional cotton—and what makes these two materials different in the first place. Read on if you’re interested in learning about organic cotton and whether it’s the best choice for you and the environment. Conventional cotton Before we get into debating modern cotton farming techniques, let’s get familiar with the plant we’re talking about: cotton. It’s soft, durable, and probably on your body right now. But what else do you really know about cotton? Here are the basics: Cotton comes from the cotton plant – The cotton plant is a warm-season woody perennial shrub from the genus Gossypium and the family Malvaceae. Cotton fabric is made from the plant’s fibrous seed-hair (which is also called a cotton boll). Cotton is one of the top agricultural crops – Traditional cotton is the most widespread and profitable non-food crop in the world. Although the plant is capable of growing in any warm-weather climate, India and China are now the top producers of cotton globally. Cotton is thirsty – A normal cotton plant requires 10 gallons of water to reach peak potential. That doesn’t sound so bad, but multiplying it outward, that means it takes about 5,000 gallons of water to produce just 2.2 pounds of cotton fabric. Pests think it’s delicious – Not only is cotton thirsty, but it’s prone to pest infestations from bollworms, weevils, aphids, stink bugs, thrips, and spider mites. In order to combat these common pests, conventional cotton is routinely sprayed with a veritable salad-dressing of pesticides, many of which can remain in the soil and water supply for years afterward. Cotton harvesting requires defoliation – In order to quickly and efficiently harvest cotton, many commercial growers use chemical defoliants to strip the leaves from the cotton plant prior to harvesting the bolls. Like pesticides, these chemicals remain in the environment and on the cotton itself. Is organic cotton better? All of those cotton factoids point pretty compellingly to buying and wearing organic cotton fabric. But first, it’s important to understand what sets this organic alternative apart. Why exactly is “organic” cotton anyway? You might associate the word organic with your healthy fruits and veggies, but it’s not always clear what this term means when it comes to cotton. For many years, there was not a standard definition, but today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) require that any cotton product labeled “organic” meet the following criteria: Made with fibers from USDA-certified organic crops Third-party certified (ie., through the Global Organic Textile Standard) under the National Organic Program standards Has a specific percentage of organic material (depending on the crop) But this definition is a little circular, so we need also to define USDA-certified organic crops. According to the USDA, organic crop standards are defined as follows: Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least three years before the harvest of an organic crop. Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops. These can be supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials. Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices, including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used. Operations must use organic seeds and other planting stock when available. The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge is prohibited. What is organic cotton? In short, it’s cotton that is farmed according to these practices and certified organic by the USDA. Why should you choose organic cotton? With fewer pesticides, fewer synthetic chemicals, and more thoughtful cultivation practices, organic cotton can certainly offer a more environmentally friendly choice when compared to regular cotton. Is organic cotton sustainable? Here are a few other reasons why organic cotton can be a better alternative for you and the earth: It’s better for our water resources – According to an analysis by the Textile Exchange, producing an organic cotton T-shirt requires 1,982 fewer gallons of water compared to a regular cotton T-shirt. Because organic cotton uses less chemicals, its production also releases fewer toxins into our aquatic ecosystems. It’s good for the soil (and our carbon footprint) – According to the Soil Association, the more natural cultivation practices and fewer pesticides used by organic cotton farmers can support healthier soil. That soil, in turn, can absorb more carbon from our atmosphere and help keep the planet healthy. It encourages biodiversity – Multiple studies have shown that organic farming practices can encourage more diversity among the animal species of our planet. Sustainability is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to plant-derived textiles, the ones which help us create a healthier world are always a better alternative. Explore the benefits of bamboo with Boody Whether you choose to purchase conventional or organic cotton clothing, the fact that you are shopping mindfully for yourself is a win for the environment. At Boody, we believe in bringing you quality, comfy, sustainable clothing basics that keep you feeling good about yourself and your personal impact on Mother Earth. From our sleepwear to our loungewear, women’s bamboo shirts to our underwear, sustainable and ethical are our touchstones. Our clothing is made of bamboo viscose, requiring less water than cotton while putting precious oxygen back into the environment. That just feels good, doesn’t it? Explore the bamboo benefits today, with Boody. Sources: Britannica. Cotton. https://www.britannica.com/topic/cotton-fibre-and-plant Cotton. The Story of Cotton - Where Cotton Grows. https://www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/where.cfm World Wildlife Federation. Cotton. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton Textile Exchange. Quick Guide to Organic Cotton. https://textileexchange.org/quick-guide-to-organic-cotton Soil Association. What is organic cotton? https://www.soilassociation.org/take-action/organic-living/fashion-textiles/organic-cotton/ USDA. Conservation and Biological Diversity in Organic Production. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/02/29/conservation-and-biological-diversity-organic-production About the Author: Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.