Monday, March 21, 2011

Learning Lingerie: The Bottom Line

Call them what you like: panties, knickers, drawers, underpinnings... There's no doubt that a great pair of bottoms can make or break an outfit. We've come a long way from Victorian ladies, who sported open-crotch drawers under their massive skirts. While that sounds downright scandalous, the open drawers served a very useful purpose: the ability for the wearer to use the restroom without having to take off the layers of hoopskirts and petticoats dictated by fashion norms. No longer do long underwear or stiff starched drawers play a part in the average person's wardrobe. Today we bask in the glory of microfiber, stretch lace, elastic and other wonders of the modern world. You can get your bottoms seamless, tagless and embellishment-less if you so choose.

But how do you choose? There are a myriad cuts to select from when it comes to picking up your most intimate of apparel. Consider this post a little knickers decoder to help you navigate the styles in our store!

  • Thong - The thong was one of the first pieces of clothing worn by humans - believed to be mostly men. A thong bottom has a minimally covered back. The waistband and back structure usually consist of at least a 1" strap of fabric, giving more coverage than a g-string, but generally less than a tanga. Because of their backless structure, thongs, tangas and g-strings are ideal for wearing under slinkier cuts of clothing where a panty line might be seen. Lines like Hanky Panky have made the lace thong and tanga a wardrobe staple for many women.
  • Tanga - Sometimes this term is used interchangeably with thong. Tanga usually implies a larger portion of fabric at the seat. Tangas are the midpoint in coverage between a thong and a cheekier cut boyshort. This is a great style for someone who wants the look of a thong but with a little more coverage. Because many tangas don't have elastic at the seat's bottom hem, they do a great job of eliminating panty lines.
  • G-String - Sometimes this term is used interchangeably with thong. While the origins of the term g-string are not known, it's speculated that "g" may stand for groin, which was a taboo word at the g-string's inception. A g-string is exactly what it sounds like, a thong with the most minimal posterior coverage possible. The back portion can consist of as little as, well, strings, or have a small triangle of fabric at the center back.
  • Bikini - Some of our French brands refer to this style as a slip and many people simply refer to it as a panty. From higher-waisted to daringly low cuts, this category of bottoms is probably the most expansive in terms of style. Modern bikini bottoms typically sit at about hip level and are fashioned entirely in lace or fabric. Often, the leg holes and waistband are elasticized. Bikinis are a comfortable staple with a lot of room for embellishment, and a decent amount of coverage for those of us who feel a bit more modest. While bikinis are great for wear in a day-to-day situation, they're known for creating the dreaded panty line, so they're not ideal for wear under slimmer fitting garments.
  • Brief - In general, briefs offer more coverage than bikinis, but it's not uncommon to see the two terms used interchangeably. Briefs usually are cut higher on the waist and therefore have a retro feel to them. For that reason, many brands have brought briefs back after years of focusing on uber-low cuts. Hence, we've seen some very beautiful manifestations of this style in the past few years. Control brief styles are great for those who want a little bit of shaping.
  • Boxer - While boxers are most associated with men's undergarments, we have to say that we love the comfort and cozy cut of a good pair of boxer shorts! This particular style is much roomier than a bikini, and offers about as much coverage as a brief. A true boxer short is more of a loungewear piece, but we've seen a few truly beautiful lingerie boxers now and then. Because this style is intended to be worn in a more casual setting, it's not advisable to wear a pair under clothing. The roomy fit will most definitely lead to excess bunching when paired with a slim pair of jeans!
  • Boyshort - This term is sometimes used interchangeably with boxer, and it's no wonder, as the boyshort is simply a variation of the boxer style. Also referred to as tap pants, boyshorts are usually low-rise and can offer different amounts of coverage in the back. This style generally offers more posterior coverage than a bikini, but that's not always the case, as some boyshorts show more cheek than others! This style is another that helps to negate the panty line issue found with bikinis.
For each lingerie collection we receive, we get up to three different styles of bottoms. What's great about every cut listed above is that each has its own more casual incarnations, as well as fancier ones. No matter what your shape, your budget, your mood or your lingerie style, you're sure to find something you like, and as always, we're happy to help!

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