Reflections on Underwear

This started as a prompt from 642 Thing to Write About which went, “Boxers or Briefs?”  Not having much experience with either outside of laundry, I decided to address the long standing issue of women’s underwear, which goes waaaaayyy beyond a mere boxers vs. briefs debate.

Not going too deeply into the contents of my own underwear drawer, I have to say underwear shopping – for bras in particular – is an exercise in frustration for most women.  Even if they’re not designing for sex, lingerie fashion designers are not always on the ball as far as what is wearable or not.

For instance: underwear with a seam up the middle: 1) this is like having a wedgie sewn into your clothes; 2) nobody actually looks good in these.  I’m not going to tell you why, but use your imagination.  If you don’t have to, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Another thing: men’s underwear modeled for women: if you’re going to drop the waistline down to the hips, change the fabric to cheap synthetics instead of real cotton, up the price, and put pink glitter on it, why the hell are you leaving that little flap in the front?  Of all the things women don’t actually need in a pair of underwear, that’s at the top of this list.

Okay, may as well mention thongs before I move on to a couple quick notes about bras.  Yes, I know some women who actually like to wear thongs because it makes them feel sexy or they find it’s liberating.  That fine.  Every woman should feel sexy and liberated.  But thongs – like sushi, waxing, or Woody Allen movies – are an acquired taste.  Let’s leave it at that.

There’s not much to say about bras except that bra shopping is like getting a tetanus shot: unpleasant, impossible to look forward to, and is going to be a sore point for days.  Unlike a tetanus shot, it’s also frustrating.  A bra has to fit in the torso, the shoulders, and the breasts before it wearable and no two women are alike in these three measurements.  And, like women, no two bras are alike in these measurements either.  I swear, companies can not keep concepts like A, B, C, and D consistent and I don’t think they check tape measures before labeling them with numbers like 32″ or 40″.

Oh, and frequently they pinch, itch, or are made of fabric that is not skin friendly.  Really, how do you find cloth that causes people to break out in a rash?

One last note on “specialty underwear” such as Control Top pantyhose or “historical underwear” like corsets…

…they’re okay.  I mean, they have their problems, but I’m wearing a corset right now and it has fixed the slouch I get I sit at the computer.  I mean, I can’t breathe, but my back is straight.

I guess it’s just a matter of where your priorities are.


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