Friday, April 25, 2008


As summer approaches, and the clothing that my fellow students is inevitable pared down to sheer basics and light, revealing fabrics, underwear has again become an issue. The simple fact of the matter is that the sort of cozy, low-rise bikinis and boy shorts that are suitable under a pair of jeans for the fall or winter become rather visible under the slimly cut dresses and revealing fabrics of the approaching season. The little thong at left, from American Eagle, is cute and can be had at the relatively reasonable price of $7 (or 5/$25) but is it summer underwear? It's not likely, but it depends. On what?

1. Body type.
The other night, while I sat with friends discussing this very topic, it struck us that many people do not realize that certain types of underwear do not work with their shape. I am not advocating that everyone switch to "granny panties" or Spanx-like garments meant to alter the body's appearance, but there are some underwear shapes which demand caution. For women with hips of any kind, any undergarment with a low rise (i.e. short/slim side panels) is likely to cut into your flesh, creating a lump that does not exist. I do not know for sure, but I am willing to bet that most women are like me, uninterested in looking any bumpier/lumpier than I already am. String thongs and string bikinis will perform similar hip-cutting action. This is not a bad thing to keep in mind when it comes to swimsuits either. Ladies with ample butts might want to consider that underwear designed to cover a more moderate rear-end will very likely cut into a rounder bottom and create a funky shape alongside terrible visible panty line (VPL). No one likes VPL.

2. Outfit.
Obviously, if your summer wardrobe consists of jeans and tee shirts, then an entire wardrobe of fruit-print cheekies like the one from Victoria's Secret at right might be suitable. If you prefer to take advantage of the lighter styles, problems may arise. With any light or stretchy fabrics, any of the problems of 1 are magnified. With fabrics that are sheer, patterns and colors frequently become visible. Maybe I am too observant, but most people would be shocked by the amount of plaid, polka-dot and yes, fruit-printed panties I can spot through dresses, skirts and sheer shorts on a single summer day. There is nothing sexy about being able to see a woman's panties through her dress, it is merely tacky. If you are unsure of the opacity of your outfit, simply hold the underwear, on your hand of course, under the skirt/dress/whatever and see whether you can discern the pattern. If you can, try again.

Summer also means shorter hemlines. While the positively miniature dresses of the season are sexy and often quite wearable, a thong is not an adequate underpinning. I have the feeling some people will say that it is their prerogative to bare their butt cheeks if they so choose, and if so, I respond that I may mock you at will for doing so. This look, of visible thong, is never attractive and is almost rude. Breezy dresses present another problem. Face a breeze in a thong and flowing skirt and your butt may be on view for all to see. However attractive it is, I imagine this might be embarrassing. By the way, no underwear is a popular summertime option, and while I have no qualms about it I encourage the underwear eschewing public to careful ensure their outfits do not reveal far too much in a stiff breeze or while crossing one's legs.

3. Activity.
This is good advice year-round. Classes, offices and the like demand discretion, and a thong peeking out above your linen pants is hardly the image you want to portray (this might be the perfect no-underwear situation, but experiment a little). This is mostly about common sense. If you will be bicycling in your breezy cotton skirt, then panties with solid coverage are recommended. For a slinky post-beach party dress, underwear that does not even whisper its presence may be demanded. Think through your plans and underpin accordingly! And no, the underwear from American Eagle at left doesn't solve any special problem, I just think it's cute and a little retro.

1 comment:

Forever Chic said...

I used to be plagued with the panties-plus-sheer-garments problem, but a simple half-slip from Nordstrom solved all that. In one go, the half-slip keeps me cool, hides my undies and smooths everything out. It's a wonder garment, I tell you. It's high time that the younger generation embraced the slip and half-slip. They really take the guesswork out of gauzy dresses and skirts.