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Panty story

As women, what we wear underneath is just as important as our outer clothing. Underwear helps to shape the body to its best advantage and, when chosen cleverly, helps to conceal the body’s flaws. In a previous article, I have written about choosing the right bra. You should apply the same logic and care to choosing the right panties, because there is nothing worse than wearing shapeless, ill-fitting or overly-revealing underwear.

Shapes and sizes

You only need to visit the women’s lingerie section to see the dizzying array of different styles, shapes and sizes that are available. Some women enjoy such a wide variety to choose from, but others may feel confounded, having only worn one type of underwear their entire life. However, exploring the different options can be advantageous because it can help you get the right look for your outfits and boost your self-confidence.

One of the most popular types of underwear is the seamless panty, which is designed on a circular loom to eliminate the side seams. As a result, you get a smooth look when you wear fitted clothing or thin, clingy material, without the dreaded “VPL” (visible panty line). Seamless panties are available in different fabrics and styles, such as high-waisted, hipsters, bikinis, briefs or boy shorts.

Another type of underwear that eliminates panty lines is the thong or g-string. These are made up of a narrow piece of cloth that covers the genital area, passes between the buttocks and is attached to a band around the hips. As the only line that will appear is around the hips, thongs can be worn underneath tight pants, light-coloured clothing or dresses that are made of clingy material like silk or jersey. Thongs are often designed as fashion pieces, with sensual fabrics, patterns and colours.

For women who want a perkier rear end, padded panties, which have strategically-placed padding, will do the trick. But for women who want to appear slimmer, shaping underwear can conceal the unsightly bulges. Shaping underwear are worn from below the breast to mid-thigh or just above the knees. These type of underwear give you a streamlined look, without bulges appearing over the top of the waistline or a saggy bottom. All types of panties are also available in plus sizes, so that larger women do not have to sacrifice style for size.

Getting the size right

Just because panties are elastic or worn on the inside, it doesn’t mean that you can simply buy any size and hope that it will fit. Ill-fitting panties will be uncomfortable, create unsightly bulges or constantly ride up, making you tug and squirm all day long.

To choose the right size, you need to get your waist and hip measurements. To measure your waist, place a tape measure around the natural indentation of your waist (tip: the best way to find this is to bend to the side, and where your skin creases is your waist). Then, measure the fullest part of your hips, while making sure that the tape measure is parallel to the floor and not tilted. This table serves as a guide to choose the right panty size for your waist and hip measurements. If your measurements fall in between two sizes, choose the bigger size.

25″-26″ 35″-36″ 5 S
27″-28″ 37″-38″ 6 M
29″-30″ 39″-40″ 7 L
31″-32″ 41″-42″ 8 XL
33″-34″ 43″-44″ 9 XXL
35″-36″ 45″-46″ 10 XXXL
37″-38″ 47″-48″ 11
39″-40″ 49″-50″ 12
41″-42″ 51″-52″ 13
43″-44″ 53″-54″ 14
45″-46″ 55″-56″ 15

Different brands may vary in their sizing, so this only provides a rough guide. You may have to experiment with different brands or ask the sales people for their advice. When you wear the panties, the waistband should stay in place, without cutting into you or rolling over in front. The legs should be snug, but not so tight that they cause grooves in your thighs. The fabric should not be bunched or twisted around the leg openings.

The crotch area should fit naturally, without being too tight that it cuts into the flesh or too loose that excess fabric bunches up in the area. The panties should cup the buttocks properly (except for thongs), and the fit should be balanced and symmetrical. If you find that your panties keep riding up, it is probably because the elastic is worn out and needs to be replaced.

How to wear underwear well

Once you have chosen the right underwear that suits your body shape and size, you need to know when is the right time to wear it. If you are wearing a white skirt or pants, make sure you wear white or nude-coloured underwear so that it will not be visible through your clothes. The shape of underwear has to match the clothes that you wear as well. If you are wearing low-waisted jeans, go with low hip panties so that the waistband will not show above the top of your jeans.

Keep the satin or silk underwear for the right occasions. In our weather, light, cotton underwear is the best bet for ordinary, daily wear as it is able to absorb sweat and keep you cool. Exercise requires the right kind of underwear as well. Cotton panties will help to keep you cool and comfortable, and a sports bra will provide good support. It is worthwhile to invest in several pairs of the different varieties of underwear, so that you will always have the right pair when you need it.

Now that you have all these tips, it’s time to go through your underwear drawer and look at what needs to be tossed out. Do not hang on to panties that are stretched thin, loose and saggy, or frayed, even for nostalgia’s sake. Remember, just because it’s inside doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Star newspape. May 18, 2010
By Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar