Real Simple editors tell all.
It’s the holy grail of undergarments: A pair of undies that doesn’t pinch, won’t ride up, doesn’t create embarrassing panty lines, and isn’t completely hideous. Oh, and at a reasonable price, please. It’s a tall order, but some Real Simple editors think they’ve found it. Here are seven nearly perfect pairs, as chosen by our editors.
Hanky Panky Thong
“I fell in love with Hanky Panky years ago, and I’ve never looked back. They make the only thong that’s super comfortable (I never feel like I have a wedgie) and they never create lines, regardless of how tight my leggings are.”
—Heather Muir Maffei, beauty director
And a second vote for the Hanky Panky thong!
“I love the Hanky Panky lace thong! The lace band is wide so it sits comfortably without cutting into your sides, and it won’t show through fitted dresses or pants. And the actual thong part is also a little wider, so you don’t have to worry about it riding way up there. Because it’s made of lace, it lays nicely and is somehow never detectable under anything I wear, as long as it’s a neutral color. That’s another thing—it comes in so many colors! They are a little pricier, but you can tell they’re good quality and last way longer than other lace brands I’ve tried.”
—Chelsea Burns, beauty editor
To buy: $20; nordstrom.com.
Jockey No Panty Line Promise Tactel Hip Brief
“These are light-as-air and truly do not show under the most body-conscious clothing. Happy bonus? They lay flat and don’t squish me anywhere!”
—Wendy Granger, photo editor
To buy: $11; macys.com.
Gilligan & O’Malley No Show Laser Cut Hipster
“I love Gilligan & O’Malley laser cut hipster underwear. The fabric is smooth and disappears under clothes (even fitted pants and activewear!) and never digs into my sides. It’s made from nylon and spandex, so it always keeps its shape and holds up in the washer. At the beginning of each year I buy 10 black pairs, eliminating the which-underwear-to-wear decision in the morning when I’m getting dressed for work.”
—Brandi Broxson, articles editor
And a second vote for the Gilligan & O’Malley hipster!
“I discovered these entirely by accident. I was on a trip and forgot to pack enough undies and Target was the closest place to get some that late at night. I couldn’t believe how comfy they were. Sometimes boy-short-like hipsters are a recipe for a wedgie disaster, but these didn’t ride up at all! They’re lacy and sexy—but most importantly, don’t lose any of their spunk or shrink in the washer and dryer. And did I mention they’re only $5 a pair? (Or $4 if you buy five pairs, which you should!)”
—Liz Steelman, associate editor
To buy: $5 each or $20 for five; target.com.
Uniqlo Women Boy Shorts Underwear
“I swear by Uniqlo boy shorts. They’re super comfy and just as effective as (but more comfortable than) a thong in concealing a visible panty line. I’ve tried other brands of boy shorts and the fabric became stretched and baggy. They looked more like a skort than underwear after a few washes. Uniqlo’s cotton undies are form-fitting and retain their shape for a long time. They come in cute patterns and a variety of colors, too.”
—Brenda Dargan-Levy, managing editor
To buy: $6; uniqlo.com.
Aerie Seamless Boy Brief
“I used to wear GapBody hipster-cut cotton underwear, but a few months ago I was shopping with my teenage daughter, and she introduced me to Aerie. I love their seamless boy briefs. Even though they’re meant for teens/twenty-somethings, they still provide ample coverage for my middle-aged bottom. I get the polyester-blend ones, which I never thought I would like, but they are super-comfy and last through many more washes than the lace-edged cotton ones.”
—an anonymous tipster
To buy: $13; ae.com.
Cosabella Low Rise Thong
“I love the Cosabella low rise thong. They are investment panties, for sure, but totally worth it. You can wear them with anything, they never ride up, and the lace never frays. At 35½ weeks pregnant, they still fit and are comfy!”
—Dawn Perry, food director
To buy: $24; nordstrom.com.
Marks & Spencer 5-Pack Pure Cotton Bikini Knickers
“I have long loved the cute, simple five-packs of cotton undies from Marks & Spencer, the U.K. department store. They have sweet ribbon details, come in lots of colors and styles, and are freakishly durable. They didn’t used to be available in the U.S., so on trips to London, I would load up my suitcase with M&S underwear. My then-boyfriend even once brought them back for me as a souvenir (no wonder I married him). These days they are available online so you don’t have to make an overseas trip like I used to. Just remember to check the U.K. sizing guide.”
—an anonymous tipster
To buy: $11 for five; marksandspencer.com.