For a long time, underwear really didn’t matter to me. I gave attention to the more exciting parts of my ensemble and my underthings tended to fall into one of two categories: special occasion or gets-the-job-done. When it came to the latter, I used to be blithely unaware of the existence of VPL (visible panty lines) in my tight jeans or yoga pants and never gave a thought to how flesh could protrude over the too-tight band of elastic around a soft belly (or under-butt, for that matter), but since recently turning 40, I’ve decided to demand more from my underthings — so I was hopeful, but cautious, about my purchase of Everlane’s Invisible High-Rise Underwear.
In the same way that some women are unaware of what a properly sized bra should look and feel like, I had never given much thought to how underwear fits. Underwear’s sole purpose was either to cover the things that needed covering or to feel extra sexy and confident — and usually, both of these couldn’t exist as one. For years I bought cotton undies from Gap Body to tackle task A, and lovely lacy things from French brands like Maison Close for task B.
When “granny panties” entered the zeitgeist a few years ago, I was happily on board, and bought pairs of Pansy and Baserange undies to wear under my vintage 1970s denim that’s so tight it’s like wearing a body cast. This worked for a while but — like many women — I’ve softened as I’ve gotten older.
New insecurity had arisen, and it was emphasized by how my underwear fit and how that made me perceive my body. When folding laundry one day, I suddenly noticed how many pairs of panties I owned that I truly despised for some reason or another — yet was reluctant to throw them away. It was around this time I happened upon Everlane’s High-Rise underwear while browsing the site for the usual cute basics.
I’ve owned quite a few pairs of “nude” colored panties, as well as those that are designed with the purpose of lying seamlessly beneath tight pants and dresses. I will not name those brands here but suffice it to say there was always something slightly off about them: Too high a rise (to the point I could tuck them into my bra band), too compressive, or not compressive enough (and therefore losing stretch after just a couple hours). Everlane’s offering looked promising: They’re $18 each (or 3 for $36), designed to hit just below the belly button, come in hipster and thong options, have slight compression from the recycled nylon and elastane fabric, and come in three colors — dark tan, light tan, and black.
The undergarment doesn’t come in a rainbow of skin tones though, so if you’re looking for something to match yours exactly, this might not be the best option. For me, the light tan could (hopefully) be worn invisibly under white, tighter-fitting bottoms. For chocolate-hued skin, the dark tan could do the same. So it just depends on what wardrobe issues you’re looking to resolve.
I purchased two pairs of each color — a hipster cut and a thong (I notoriously loathe thongs, as I find they never quite feel like they stay where you want them to — or don’t cover what you want them to). Upon tearing open the package, I immediately noticed they have that comically shrunken appearance of a fresh pair of Girlfriend Collective pair of leggings, the waistband, in particular, gave me pause. Nevertheless, when I put them on, the cut molded to my body perfectly (not a bulge in sight). And for functional underwear, they’re actually, dare I say, kinda sexy? The same simply cannot be said for my other similar pairs that mostly made me feel like a mannequin out of clothes. The fabric is also super lightweight, so much so that you might forget you’re wearing anything at all.
When I burned through all six pairs in a week — under flowy white pants, under said vintage jeans, under a clingy tank dress, and so on — I was forced to choose between a drawer full of leftover underwear I suddenly hated with every fiber of my being. It was time to do what needed to be done: I disposed of every ill-fitting or otherwise uncomfortable pair I owned (save a few satiny briefs and high-waisted cotton pairs from Botanica Workshop for sleeping or wearing under looser-fitting bottoms) and ordered more of my reigning Everlane faves. And I demanded every friend of mine to order pairs for themselves too — especially my stylist friends. I firmly believe them to be an essential foundational tool in their arsenal.
For those who are intent on wearing matching sets, I am pleased to inform you that Everlane also offers a coordinating bralette. Besides that, the underwear is reasonably priced, sustainable in that it’s made from recycled material, and so versatile. But what makes these babies so priceless to me is how much better they make me feel in my body, whether or not they’re under clothes. And I hope every woman understands how that feels.
Ahead, shop my go-to pair, as well as a couple of similar styles in case those better suit your skin tone or sizing needs (one drawback to Everlane’s styles is that they’re only offered in XXS to XL).
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