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The underwear conundrum, take two

Categories: basics, shoes


“I mean, you see how picky I am about my shoes, and they only go on my feet.”
- Cher Horowitz, “Clueless

So I tried the thong. And it was … uncomfortable. I wound up returning one of the two that I bought last week (don’t worry, I only returned the one that I did not wear) because I cannot see this becoming a staple of my lingerie wardrobe.

Which is unfortunate because I have about a half dozen pairs of pants that could really benefit from a thong. Or something similar.

GAP 1969 lightweight corduroy leggings, $59.95 — hello, VPL!

I really wanted the thong to work, but I just can’t do it. It was awkward to wear — I wasn’t sure I had it on right, for one thing, and it’s not like I could call Rita and say, “Hey, run over here and tell me if this looks like it’s straight.” I mean, we’re close and all but … no one is that close. At least not in my neighborhood.

I was also totally conscious of the thong every single second that I had it on. In fact, I felt a little like I was holding my breath all day, afraid to move because if I did something might go wrong with the thong. I don’t know what I thought would happen, but the mere possibility made me super nervous. I’m pretty sure my backside did look better in the thong but only because I had my butt clenched all day. It was exhausting.

And then there’s the issue of my backside, and of how exposed I felt in the thong. I’m slim and toned, but the knowledge that my derriere was just … hanging out there, with nothing between it and my pants, was a little off-putting for me. My 43-year-old tush is in good shape, but it needs some support. The thong left me feeling like I was mooning the world, which was a little distracting. Ok, a lot distracting.

I’m researching boy shorts now — I’m thinking that may be the most practical alternative. I’m hearing good things about the GAP’s sexy lace girl shorts (again with the sexy! can’t I just cover my bum without being sexy?) — do any of you wear these? Let’s hear about them — or about whatever else you’ve got on under your pants.

Speaking of which, here’s one last thing that is baffling me: some of you confessed to going commando to avoid the VPL. While I can see how this would work, I cannot for the life of me see how it would be comfortable to skip the undies all together. Sure, you avoid the wedgie, but isn’t there a certain amount of chafing? Going commando also seems a bit unsanitary — what do you do about dry clean only pants, for example? Dry clean them after every wearing? That seems like a lot of hassle, and a lot of money.

Then again, I’m the girl who only wears a pair of jeans once before I launder them because the stretched-out knees bother me too much. I have issues. In case you haven’t noticed.

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19 comments so far...

  • I wear Hanes cotton hipsters. They are teh awzom (as the kids say these days.) Boy shorts (for me) can bunch in-between the legs, and that makes me just as cranky as wearing a thong.

    Absquatulate  |  September 16th, 2011 at 5:34 am

  • try Cosabella used to be available at Nordstrom, sometimes J. Crew, also Nordstrom’s own brand -

    Heather  |  September 16th, 2011 at 6:17 am

  • Heather, I was just looking at the Cosabella for J. Crew line the other day!

    Making a list. Who else has a recommendation?

    Susan  |  September 16th, 2011 at 6:23 am

  • I love the Hanes cotton hipsters too! They are perfect, in my opinion. Boy shorts never stay down — the leg part I mean. And yes — the going commando thing? Exactly! The chafing?! The unsanitary-ness?! I have never understood how this works, either.

    Shannon  |  September 16th, 2011 at 6:31 am

  • Have you tried Soma Intimates Vanishing Edge line? I’m never comfortable in a thong, but find that these panties work well.

    Lee  |  September 16th, 2011 at 6:59 am

  • Lee, I’m adding those to my list. Thank you!

    Susan  |  September 16th, 2011 at 7:13 am

  • I picked up some of the Gilligan & O’Malley “seamless” bikini-style panties at Target on super clearance the other day. If you get them in the right size, they really look great and are totally invisible under pants. (This brand tends to run a bit large, I’ve found, so just beware of that.)

    Lauren  |  September 16th, 2011 at 7:15 am

  • Maybe it just wasn’t the right thong? I like the plain Body by Victoria ones. I think the lace ones would show even worse because of the texture.

    Danielle  |  September 16th, 2011 at 8:04 am

  • I can’t do the thong either. I’ve tried different styles and not one of them were comfortable. I have also found boyshorts to be annoying. They often have a seam in the crotch that is uncomfortable. The best undies for me are Hanes cotton bikinis that come in a 5 pack at Target. I probably have VPL every single day but I don’t care. My bum is hugged in comfy cotton.

    kris  |  September 16th, 2011 at 8:17 am

  • i wear the aeire boy shorts with the lace trim- they never give me VPL and I’m not as toned as I would like. The regular trim digs in or bulges and does give some VPL

    amanda  |  September 16th, 2011 at 8:38 am

  • WHO notices VPL? I have never once looked at another woman and thought…wow…look at that VPL… I have however seen WAY too many Whale tales from thongs..something I never need to see. Does anyone think guys are looking at our bums and thinking hmmm cute but there’s some VPL? Nope…guys just think hot bum. :) As you can tell I don’t really care about VPL..and go with comfort. Vickie’s low rise bikini…although I don’t really care about vpl…I hate if my panties stick up past my pants. Oh and if I have a dress that it is REALLY obvious with….I like jockey “no panty line promise” underwear.

    Kris  |  September 16th, 2011 at 8:57 am

  • soma vanishing edge with the silcone, has transformed my life!. get a pair and try them and you will be a convert too.

    however, these aren’t great for running in the south’s humidity, they struggled to stay inplace. patagonia briefs are my go to for excersize.

    alyssa  |  September 16th, 2011 at 10:22 am

  • Natori Mesh/lace boyshorts. I have a TON of boyshorts for this very reason. Thongs are fine for the bedroom or a romantic date, but for everyday avoidance of the VPL, I wear boyshorts. The Natori ones do not ride up, stay where they are supposed to, and prevent the VPL. Success!

    elz  |  September 16th, 2011 at 10:38 am

  • Kris, you have a point about the VPL — I swear I do NOT go around judging other women because I can see their undies, although I am totally icked out if I can see the top of a thong sticking out. However, I’m extra critical of my own backside, so the VPL bugs me. But really, only on ME.

    I told you all, I have issues.

    Testing boyshorts and the undies with the silicone edging. Will report back (unless you’re all tired of talking about my underwear, which I would totally understand).

    Susan  |  September 16th, 2011 at 11:11 am

  • Well thank goodness I’m not the only one who cares about VPL!

    *Some* days I really care, if I have a big meeting, or I’m going out, but mostly I don’t. If you notice my VPL, then that’s what you get for staring at my bum.

    When I do care about VPL, I have a couple pairs of ’seamless’ undies or some hipsters that do the trick. I like Jockey’s no panty line promise. Normally I’m a fan of stretchy lacy underwear, sometimes called ‘tangas’ they show a little bit of behind but never give a wedgie.

    Kara  |  September 16th, 2011 at 11:52 am

  • Soma Intimates is AWESOME. Their normal boyshorts disappear under close fitting clothes.

    Amber, theAmberShow  |  September 16th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

  • I’m so with Kris. So, what, you can see that I have on a pair of clean panties. Shut, the front door!

    If I have on a pair of dressy pants or something very slim fitting that requires no VPL, I wear Spanx, they much more comfortable than you’d expect and do the job perfectly!

    Shawn  |  September 18th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

  • My personal recommendation is Soma’s panties. They are amazing. They stay in place, and the pantyline is nearly non-existent if you get their vanishing edge-type panties. They’re my favorite underwear!

    BrieCS  |  September 19th, 2011 at 10:48 am

  • Hi-cut briefs with a bit of Lycra are my faves. True that I don’t notice VPL on anyone (and if anyone is noticing on me why are they looking that closely at my derriere?). But sometimes I feel I want something more seamless and that addition of Lyrca plus the closer cut help the lines seem to melt away.

    I’ll state, not a fan of the thong, but have worn on when I really feel the need to look/feel terrific (such as showing up at a party and devastating my ex with how good I look) ;-) But generally, they stay in the drawer.

    Mich  |  September 21st, 2011 at 2:01 pm