Bikini & Thong Underwear

Tuesday, 20 May 2008 | Tags:

When shopping for underwear these days, there are seemingly limitless choices. In particular, thongs and bikini underwear are a popular category in the undergarment department. We find out the scoop on these little numbers and how they can be a great part of your wardrobe.

The Basics

  • There are a number of different underwear styles to choose from:

    • Briefs are comfortable with maximum coverage on the side, back and front. You won’t necessarily hide those panty lines, but a high-leg brief is cut higher on the sides helps reduce hip bulges or saddlebags.

    • French-cut panties sit at your waistline and have a hi-cut leg with maximum coverage in back.

    • Hipster panties sit below your waistline, offering full seat coverage and fits the natural curve of your leg.

    • Boy leg or boy short or boyfriend style underwear is similar to a brief but fuller with squared-off legs similar to men’s boxers or boxer-briefs.

    • Boy brief, not to be confused with boy leg, has a longer rise – somewhere between traditional brief and hipster, and are worn a little loose.

    • Tanga are similar to thong style but have a fuller seat

    • Bikini style rise higher than the hipster but lower than the brief. The waistband is below the navel and offers full bum coverage. They usually have a high-cut leg.

    • String bikini style is a variation on bikini that replaces the side fabric with strings of fabric or a double string. These work well under hip-hugger pants or low-waisted skirts.

    • Thongs are known for the open, t- or y-back at the waistband, with little or no coverage behind. They’re good for a smooth, seamless silhouette. You can also find string thongs or triangle string thongs, which offer less side coverage and strings of fabric at the sides that may be fixed or tied.

    • G-strings are essentially a bikini panty with virtually no back coverage, just a string to hold the front fabric in places. Great for zero panty lines, but not necessarily the most comfortable fit.

  • Fabric plays a huge role in how comfortable the underwear is and how long it will last. Different fabric options include:

    • 100% Cotton is soft, durable, highly absorbent, and offers excellent breathability.

    • Cotton blends usually contain Lycra or spandex for stretch and shape. Panties with 2-8% Lycra or spandex can also work like control-top pantyhose to tuck in the tummy.

    • Synthetics like polyester or nylon are generally cheaper but not as durable as cotton and don’t breathe well. However, the smoothness of the fabric prevents clothes from clinging.

    • Microfibres are fine, silky, soft, synthetic yarns that claim to be more comfortable and offer more moisture control. They also offer seamless, no panty-line options but this fabric costs more than cotton.

  • Size varies greatly across brands so don’t assume you’re the same size. Sizing is typically 5-small, 6-medium, 7-large, 8-extra large, 4-extra small.

  • Measure yourself before you go shopping so you can find the right size on each manufacturer’s chart. Measure around the fullest part of your hip and make sure the tape measure is level all the way around. Then measure your natural waist.

  • It’s ok to try on underwear on top of your existing underwear in the store.

  • When considering what type of underwear to buy, keep these health guidelines in mind:

    • Look for cotton or mesh fabric and a cotton crotch, both of which breathe and wick away moisture to reduce possible infections

    • 100% cotton underwear is believed to be the best at reducing possible infections (e.g. yeast infections)

    • Some experts believe that a cotton crotch is not enough, and need to have the whole panty made of 100% cotton.

    • Fabrics such as nylon trap moisture against the skin, which is the perfect breeding ground for things like yeast.

    • It’s recommended you sleep without underwear.

    • Because nylon doesn’t breathe very well, you should wear cotton or microfiber underwear in conjunction with nylon panty-hose, not just hose alone.

Other Considerations

  • You’ve probably got the wrong size if:

    • your panties always ride up

    • the leg elastic is too binding

    • the waistband keeps bunching up and rolling over

    • there’s binding or excessive fabric at the front or back of the crotch; crotch should fit naturally against the body, crotch seam should be showing in front and shouldn’t slip backwards

  • Follow the washing instructions in order to get the longest life out of your underwear.

Be Aware

  • Most stores won’t accept returns on underwear unless they’re in an sealed, unopened package, so if you’re not sure, try them on in the store before you take them home.

  • Some doctors feel thongs can have adverse health effects:

    • Constant friction of a thong’s thin strip of material can result in cuts, fissures, and skin irritations on and around your vagina, rectum and the area between them, the perineum.

    • The strip may also transport bacteria from the rectal area to the vaginal area, leading to bladder or vaginal bacterial infections

    • Don’t wear a thong while you exercise because of increased friction.


To see which bikinis and thongs felt and looked the best, we put several to the test on different body types:

 * Victoria’s Secret was mail order so this price doesn’t include shipping charges

Comfort Test

  • Cosabella was comfortable, stylish and there were no panty lines to be seen.

  • The Calvin Kleins were a close runner-up.

Durability Test

We also put each pair through the laundry 10 times to see how they held up:

  • The Best Fitting Panty actually shrank by about 3/4s of an inch.

  • The favoured Cosabella didn’t shrink, but they did start to fray a little, so just remember to launder them with care.


The Cosabella brand panties were the favourite of all our testers in both the bikini and thong department.


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