7 Different Types of Underwear (Finding Your Perfect Fit)

A pair of red panties and a pair of red boxer briefs on a wooden surface.

Thongs. Bikinis. Boy shorts. Granny panties. There are almost as many styles of underwear as there are styles of pants. Which style is right for you and how do you know that your underwear really fits properly?

When you know what style and size of underwear you need to buy, you’ll never get overwhelmed by your options again. Find your perfect fit and your perfect underwear style and take care of the biggest fashion hurdle of all: wearing the right stuff under your clothes. Because like everything else, good style begins with a good foundation.

Types of Underwear

There are many different styles of underwear and it’s really easy to confuse the different types. Because let’s face it, underwear pretty much has the same features. But those different types of underwear fit very differently and there is a reason that all these different styles exist. Learn how to identify them and how they’re supposed to fit so you can learn which types of underwear suit you and your style the best.

A close look at a pair of red lace thongs.

Thongs. They were going to get mentioned eventually, so let’s get them out of the way. Thongs are one of the best-known styles of underwear and it’s one of the most famously difficult to wear. Thongs are barely-there underwear that gives you the minimum amount of coverage. They’re most distinct for the T strap in the back. The strap is designed to sit between the two halves of your bottom.

The waistband of the thong sits about three inches below the waist. The sides of the thong should sit right above your hip bones. Thongs are the perfect go-to choice if you’re wearing very thin, tight pants or a very thin, tight skirt because thongs won’t give you any visible panty lines. It’s impossible for them to give you panty lines because thongs don’t cover your rear end at all. That’s exactly why many women don’t like to wear them. Don’t worry. You have tons of other choices.

A pair of pink and black G-strings.

G-strings are not thongs, though the two are often confused. That’s because both styles are made with minimal fabric. Very minimal. The G-string is made mostly with strings of fabric. Basically, it’s a small, triangular piece of fabric in the front with a waistband string that sits on your hips and another string that goes up the middle of your bottom. G-strings are your underwear of choice if you want to look and feel like you aren’t wearing any underwear at all.

A man wearing a pair of tight white boxer briefs.

Hipsters. No, not those guys with the strange facial hair designs and the skinny jeans. Hipsters are a style of undies that are made to sit two or three inches below the waist, sitting right around the tops of your hips. Hipsters have low-cut leg holes, which gives you complete rear-end coverage.

They also completely cover your hips, which makes this underwear very comfortable to wear. This is a perfect option if you’re wearing low-rise jeans or pants because you definitely don’t want your undies to poke up over the tops of your clothing.

A woman wearing a pair of white panties.

Bikini underwear is made to sit below the waist and have very high-cut leg holes that leave much of your hip exposed. You can also get the string bikini style, which has only little strips of fabric or strings above the hips. Bikini underwear doesn’t give you complete rear end coverage because the high-cut leg holes are also fairly large, too. This style of underwear is comfortable to wear, however, and works with a variety of pant and skirt styles.

A woman wearing a pair of pink lace underwear.

Boy shorts are made to look and fit more like men’s underwear. These undies are very low-cut on the hips, give you complete coverage on the rear end cover your hips. Boy shorts sit just below the natural waistline, above your hips. They cover you everywhere and they’re made for comfort.

Boy shorts are usually made in soft, stretchy, comfy materials, too. Boy shorts give you full coverage, which makes them great if you’re wearing a short dress or skirt. These undies will prevent any mishaps or accidental exposures, no matter how you get out of a car.

A man wearing a pair of black briefs talking on the phone.

Briefs aren’t just for men. There’s also a version of briefs for women that are styled in pretty much the exact same way. Briefs give you full coverage on your rear end and mid-high legs that leave your hip partially exposed. This style is made for comfort, not to prevent panty lines.

A woman wearing a apir of black seamless underwear.

If you don’t want panty lines but you still want underwear that’s comfortable, look for seamless styles. Seamless underwear is available in bikini and other styles, so you can still prevent panty lines without eliminating most of your coverage.

Finding the Right Size

Underwear sizes aren’t the same as other clothing sizes. That’s why you can buy underwear in what you think is your size, come home and find out that it doesn’t fit the right way. The last thing you need to have is ill-fitting underwear. If your undies don’t fit properly then they’re going to bunch up, ride up, fall down, sag, twist, and just generally make you horribly uncomfortable.

To find your right underwear size, get out a soft tape measure. Stand straight with your feet together. Place the tape measure around your body at the fullest part of your backside, keeping the tape measure straight as you wrap it once around yourself. Write down the number. This is your hip measurement. Now, take your waist measurement by wrapping the tape around your natural waistline, right above your belly button.

If your waist is 24 or 25 inches and your hips are 34 to 36 inches, you need to look for XS underwear. If your waist is 26 to 27 inches and your hips are 36 or 37 inches, you need to look for size S underwear. Undies may be sold in sizes like XS, S, M, and so on, but they may also have number sizes. Either way, look for the size chart that will show you the sizes with the measurements. Since you’ve taken your own measurements, you can go by the numbers to find the right size. This is the best and most accurate way to find the right underwear size.

Your whole outfit begins and ends with your underwear. Make sure yours is comfortable and that it’s in a style you like that also works with what you’re wearing. As long as you’ve got the right undies on, everything else is easy.

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