This year has brought a lot of new interests into my life, and while I could tell you about how I’m learning watercolor and embroidery (both true), one of my more passionate projects this year was pursuit of the best, most comfortable, but also still cute undergarments.
But first, the ground rules. When it comes to underwear, there are a few things I hold dear.
1. I want to be comfortable day to day. I’ve never been into thongs (though some of our staff members like them, and you’ll see their picks below). And after having kids, I like a good high waisted underwear that doesn’t cut into my curves. Like so many other folks I’ve put on weight during quarantine (nothing like a forced sedentary lifestyle for your metabolism). That change in my body sent me down a long path of researching the perfect underwear. TL;DR: I want my underwear to send me the message that I’m a beautiful person who’s perfect just the way I am… not to cut into me and feel like it’s judgements about my body’s curves.
And y’all. I think I found the perfect underwear, both for full hanging out around the house coverage, and barely there can wear it under a summer dress coverage. They’re both perfect for different days, though I think this is my overall winning pick.
2. I want solutionwear that supports (and amplifies) my curves. When not locked in quarantine, I love a good statement dress. Give me all the low backs, plunge necklines, high slights, and barely there frocks. But also? I wear a 36D, and I need to have those boobs SUPPORTED.
I’ve done my share of very public internet research on boob tape, and I’m so delighted that Kim K. made this product better with her (excellent) brand Skims. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but as a boob tape expert, I can tell that she’s added the stretch that Gaffer Tape just can’t provide. Beyond that, I found the perfect plunge neckline, low back product and wore it for our anniversary party, and am delighted to finally get to recommend it here.
But I’m not the only one who’s spent quarantine aggressively testing the best undergarments. A good part of our staff has as well, and we finally decided we needed to round up all our research in one place. So regardless of if you’re looking for the perfect supportive undergarment for your wedding dress, the best wear around the house in quarantine styles, or just the right thing to put under a clingy dress, we have got you covered.
This roundup only includes items we’ve personally tested and really love.
Best Mesh Bra: Power Mesh Halter Bralette by SKIMS
I have this bra in my skin tone, and want to get it in black as well. As someone with a lot of boobs, mesh has never worked well for me. But the Power Mesh line from SKIMS is excellent, and some of the pieces actually contain side boning for extra support. I love this bra because it gives me a halter, a low back, and a VERY low back option, and has made so many summer dresses work. I’m planning to get the black to intentionally show under a baggy fall sweater.
Best Everyday Bra: Sculpting Bra by SKIMS
Want the feeling of a bralette, that works for big boobs, and doesn’t give you mono-breast? Again, SKIMS has you covered. I wear this bra most days currently. I want to order it in a size up for when I want it a bit looser, but I highly recommend it.
Best “Wear Under Things” Bra: Artisan Lace Racerback Bra by ThirdLove
For a long time, I didn’t wear low back things where I couldn’t wear a bra. But then I decided life is too short. Sure, there are formal ocassions where I’m willing to tape myself into things, but on the day to day I’ve opted for a bra that looks good showing. These bras from ThirdLove might be the gold standard for that.
Best Comfortable and Sexy Bra: The Plunge Bra in Leopard by CUUP
Chelsea swears by CUUP, and I was super drawn in with their Instagram ads featuring real women of all sizes. In the depth of my struggle with quarantine body image (which was really, in the end, about loss of control) those ads were the one thing that made me feel really beautiful. Suffice to say, I was excited to try the bras and support the company. I now live in these bras when I need some underwire. Their triangle bra is also great.
Best Strapless Bra: 24/7™ Strapless Bra by ThirdLove
While I will generally offer an endorsement to SKIMS for all things solution and shapewear, I have this strapless bra from Third Love and it WORKS. Would I wear it 24/7 as the name implies? Girl, no. But does it hold up my boobs in a strapless dress without me having to wear a full corset? Hell yes.
Best Boy Short: Fits Everybody Boy Short by SKIMS
Y’all. I did the RESEARCH when it came to underwear back in the spring, and this is my all time best pick. I will bold that, italic it, underline it, all the things. THIS IS WHERE IT IS AT. This underwear is a bit pricey but so worth it. I realized I was digging in my drawers to find a pair, and days that I wore them I felt so much better. So I saved up and invested in enough for a week. And given how laundry is going these days, I’m going to invest in enough for two weeks. Worth every damn penny. These are light as air, have so much stretch, and are insanely breathable. The fabric in the Fits Everybody collection at SKIMS is to die for… I’ve truly never seen anything like it. Post babies I love a high waisted boy short, but if another cut is more your vibe, I’d recommend the whole collection.
Best Underwear To Lounge Around The House In: High-Rise Undies by ARQ
After a lot of research, my clear second choice fav for underwear is ARQ, which is a bootstrapped womxn owned small biz. This underwear is more like hot pants, or a high waisted bikini bottom, so I wear it when I want something comfy and minimal (but still clothing like) to lounge around the house in. It’s also good for any day I want something more substantial on my behind. I have several pairs, and am waiting on future color drops.
Best Brief Panties: Garden Party Boy Brief Underwear by Aerie
Alyssa loves these briefs from Aerie. She raves about how they’re perfectly stretchy, still a little sexy, and absolutely affordable. In fact, any time Aerie is having a sale, she stocks up on these bad boys. They’re perfect for everyday wear and have become her everyday go-to.
Best Hipster Underwear: Women’s Hipster by MeUndies
Alyssa is also a big fan of these hipster underwear from MeUndies. Every podcast ever raves about the ‘modal’ fabric, and Alyssa says she used to think it was a hoax until she ordered these. They’re so soft, wash well, and are absolutely the coziest for sleeping and hanging out—especially during that time of the month.
Best Shorts To Wear Under Dresses: Jockey Generation Slimming Shorts
Having simple, affordable shorts to slip on under dresses and skirts is key in the heat of California—especially if you’re chasing kids and/or have thicc (two c’s) thighs. Both Alyssa and I love these easy shorts from Target as a way to feel covered up and secure no matter what outfit your wearing to run around town… or in my case, wearing around the house. (I still get dressed in the morning, even in 2020.)
Best Thong: Real Me Thong by Aerie
Thongs aren’t for everyone, and frankly, they can be pretty darn uncomfortable. Alyssa says she still wears them, though, and these ones are wildly stretchy and soft in a way where they’re almost not even noticeable. Again, the sales at Aerie make these wildly affordable… and they’re just the simplest and easiest for under jeans (or leggings, hey 2020). No underwear lines, no squeezing, just comfy.
Low-Back Low-Cut Body Shape Mid-Thigh Body Suit by SPANX
This is the FULL coverage version of the ensemble I wore for my anniversary party. It has shorts, which means it is perfect for hot days, or a body-con, low cut dress. (I layered shorts over my anniversary party piece, so I’m here for this all in one ensemble.) Like Kim K., my sister in boob tape, I have also spent a fair amount of time thinking about if shapewear needs a pee hole. And I can assure you, this piece does… unless you plan on getting fully naked in the bathroom. But, scissors and some thread would solve that fast. (And as someone who’s worn Gaffer Tape on her boobs both IRL and on the internet, that kind of MacGyver-ing is right in my wheelhouse.)
Best Boob Tape: Body Tape by SKIMS
Which brings me to boob tape. If you’ve been around here for more than a minute, you know that I’ve done my time as the #1 Google search for boob tape (to this very day if you search “boob tape” you’re likely gonna see a picture of my boobs). APW has sold thousands of miles of “flesh” colored Gaffer Tape, but it has a few drawbacks. First, it only comes in one color even remotely resembling any humans flesh, and that’s limiting. Two, it doesn’t have a ton of stretch. SKIMS has finally fixed those problems, and I’m so, so grateful. That right there is God’s work.
Has anyone else been doing underwear research in quarantine? (I’d feel slightly better if it were not just me.) What are your go-tos? And seriously, who knew that we’d be ending 2020 with “comfortable undies” being a top priority along with “not get a super infectious potentially deadly disease”? And you know, getting Trump out of office, but that part we expected.