I know it’s a little pretentious and anglophilic for an American blog, but we’re gonna go with “knickers” here at Sweet Nothings. “Panties” and “underpants” are just sad, and “brief” and “thong” and such describe specific styles, so “knickers” is going to be our catch-all term for rear-covering undergarments. I touched on some of the different styles available in the Lingerie Dictionary, but today I wanted at least to begin to respond to Rachel’s question from this post, about where to start if you’re unsure about knickers.
Women’s bottoms come in as many different shapes and sizes as their breasts, and we all carry our curves differently. Some women have flatter rears and fuller hips, some women have slim hips and fuller bellies, some women have straight and slender frames that curvy-cut knickers slide right off of. Let’s face it: low-rise bikinis and hipsters and thongs are not going to float everyone’s boat. They don’t always float mine: I feel like I’m constantly tugging and adjusting and rearranging and fidgeting with them throughout the day. Also, real talk: elastic digging into the underside of your belly feels UGH. Lest you think your only alternatives are white or beige granny panties or shapewear, here are some ideas for beautiful matching lingerie sets that accommodate different derrières. This will probably be the first post of many, as I do more research and learn more about how briefs are cut, shaped, and sized. If you don’t see something that floats your boat (or your budget) this time around, drop me a line and let me know what you’d like to see!
First thing I HAVE to show you are these:
I KNOW RIGHT?!?! Holy pants these are so, so awesome. Knickerocker is an Etsy shop that stocks some adorable knickers in a huge range of bright, cheeky patterns. The matching sets are best suited for the smaller-to-average-bust customer (the Wonder Woman brief has a matching bralette available in sizes 32-38 A-D), but the range of knicker styles and the bright, retro, loud patterns really capture one of the things I love most about lingerie: you can be whoever you want to be under your clothes. A sex-kitten? A pin-up girl? Freaking Wonder Woman? Maybe no one will see it under your business suit, your uniform, your scrubs, or your school clothes, but you can have a secret identity. Knickerocker stocks low-rise and high-rise briefs, open-back and corset-back panties, cotton and sequin and ruffled and spandex knickers, rompers and bralettes, from $9-70 USD, in sizes S-XL, and the store owner also runs a sister store catering especially to Roller Derby teams (um, awesome). Unsure of your size? Interested in custom measurements? Contact the seller and see if you can work something out!
Okay, these are way, way, way out of my price range. But I wanted to show them to you because A) they’re magnificent and B) they exist. Again, if you want something more than Vicky’s or your department store is offering you, there’s a good chance someone, somewhere has dreamed it up. If you seek it out and demand it, more and more retailers and stockists will hear your voice. Believe it or not, the brief pictured above is shapewear (see Holly’s review at The Lingerie Addict). It’s a high-waisted brief, and that “cut-out” is actually sheer shaping mesh printed with a tattoo design reading “We love only what we do not wholly possess.” Best of all? It comes as pictured for fairer skin tones, but there’s a different colorway designed for darker skin tones, so that lots of women can achieve the same sultry tattoo effect. £85 (ouch) at Tatu Couture, sizes S-L.
Now, something to notice about knickers and online retail: many of us are not models, so how do we know how they’ll fit us? One thing to do is read any online reviews, if they’re available. See if a reviewer describes her shape at all in her review and how she thinks the fit worked for her. Also, look carefully at the picture, paying attention to the waist and the leg-rise. In the brief above, you’ll notice the top of the brief hits right at the model’s waist, which is great for those who want tummy coverage, but you also see that the legline is still cut a bit high in the back, and as such there’s a chance it might cut into a fuller rear uncomfortably, but would work nicely for a woman with a slimmer rear. Some terms to look out for are full-cut (designed to fully cover the rear and hips), high-cut (this is sometimes used indiscriminately to refer to the waistline or the legline. It should refer solely to the legline, and it means it’ll cut quite high up on the hips), high-waist (like the brief above), low-rise (meaning the waistband lies very low across the hips), hip-hugger (ditto, also tends to have a lower leg-line) and the like. Finally, check out the brand on the label and go to their website. Most brands will provide size charts with measurements, often in both inches and centimeters.
As ByBabysRules pointed out in the comments on the introduction to small-bust brands, Affinitas (most styles 32-38 A-DD) and Parfait by Affinitas (most styles 30-40 D-G) are some great, relatively new, and eminently reasonably-priced brands based in California. Both brands offer a variety of bra styles (balconette, plunge, strapless, basques/bustiers, camisoles, etc.), but I hadn’t been paying much attention to their knicker styles. Both generally offer two-three styles of knicker per range, and Parfait stocks these majorly sexy high-waisted briefs in their fun pin-up style Charlotte. Knickers and accessories available in sizes XS-XL.
I have been flirting with placing an order from Kiss Me Deadly for a while now. I’m holding off because, seriously, I need bras more than I need girdles, suspenders, corsets, or stockings, and also I need to buy cat food, but I’m including them here because they’re an independent lingerie brand, the designs and quality are stunning, and they specifically tell you in their product descriptions how their pieces are cut and how much coverage they’ll provide. Their sizing chart even mentions that their styles favor women who are fuller on bottom than on top.
The pin-up/noir styling is breathtaking and intricately detailed. Most of the girdles, waspies, and suspender belts have six or even eight suspenders instead of four, for a flirtier look and more secure fastening. Their bra and basque sizes will suit those with small-to-average busts best, but the sheer range of offerings is delightful: corsets, girdles, waspies, suspenders, briefs, slips, swimwear, and stockings, in luscious mix-and-match colors. Equally perfect for every-day wear and for more, ahem, intimate occasions. Knickers available in sizes S-XL.
I know, I’m moving back into normal-person price ranges. You’re welcome! Freya makes bras in sizes 28-40 B-K, making them accessible to a wide range of women. Their briefs tend to fit me pretty well in general, but I love, love, love the newer styles of their high-waisted shorts. They are just as comfortable as “granny panties”, but they match your bra! The leg line is moderate, so it helps to avoid VPL, and the waist rises to the perfect height, not too high but with no risk of rolling down. Knickers and accessories available in sizes XS-XL (US sizes 4-16).
(Speaking of VPL, there exist in the world such things as low-rise bikinis, hipsters, and thongs that have laser-cut, seam free edges and no waistband and promise to stay invisible, no matter what. Except that you’ll be fidgeting with them and adjusting them and hiking them up all day, because they are the WORST. Seriously. Don’t even bother. I’d rather go commando than wear one of these.)
Elomi has really been bringing it with their styles for the full-figure customer. Often full-figure styles are frumpy or dull, but Elomi uses beautiful fabrics and lace and is even introducing more whimiscal prints, like this style, which I wish came in my size, because it’s darling, and also, sigh, writing this out I realize “Of course you like it, it’s polka dots.” I’m a broken record. Both their lingerie and swim ranges feature the options of high-waisted bottoms. High-waist styles can feel a bit weird if you’re not used to them, and the worry is that they’ll make your lower half look huge, but I generally find the opposite is true. For comfort plus flattery, I, as a girl with a belly, would choose a higher waist any day, although I confess their super-high-waisted swim briefs are an unusual look. Knickers and accessories available in sizes M-4XL.
So what more can I tell you as we venture together into the world of underwear? First of all, try, try, and try again. Try on as many different styles as you can. Try the Gap, Old Navy, and even stupid Victoria’s Secret. Try Etsy sellers. Branch out from bikinis and thongs and try hipsters, boy shorts, high-waisted retro briefs, the works (this is a total duh, but be sure to wear your own clean, full-coverage underwear under any garment you’re trying on, for hygiene reasons and to ensure you get a refund if you need to return anything). Sometimes you think you’ll find a brand whose briefs fit you perfectly, like Cleo by Panache usually does for me, but then you’ll order a set and the briefs will be weirdly miserable on you. It’s okay. Finally, if you feel like you’re consistently having trouble finding a good fit, go to a smaller, reputable local lingerie boutique and ask for assistance. The store representatives should be able to help you as much with your bottom as they do with your boobs, and even if they suggest something out of your price range, if they’re worth their salt they should be able to point you in the right direction.