Shoppers and analysts tell Moneyish that there’s nothing sexier than being comfortable in full-bottomed briefs, bralettes and one-piece bathing suits – which are pretty cute nowadays.
Thongs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be anymore.
So say the shoppers tossing traditionally sexy underthings like push-up bras and G-strings to slip into something a little more comfortable – like, granny panties.
“Being sexy is feeling your best and being comfy in whatever you choose to wear,” Tiffany Littlejohn, 28, told Moneyish. She recently restocked her underwear drawer with some Calvin Klein briefs in black, white and gray, which she called “granny panties” on Twitter.
So I bought into the hype and got all these new bras and granny panties💁 pic.twitter.com/RSqiSFYjtU
— Tiffany Chere (@TiffanyChere_) January 27, 2018
Littlejohn confessed that she used to keep her full-coverage underwear fetish under wraps. Or, like many women, she saved them for when she was on her period. “Women for years have been told what sexy is — and granny panties are not it. God forbid someone sees you wearing cotton full booty underwear!” she said.
Not anymore. Flashing more fabric is hot, and the figure-hugging briefs come in bright colors and cute prints that are plenty sexy. “Granny panties have made a comeback, and I’m rocking them more confidently than ever before,” Littlejohn said.
And with high-fashion brands like Calvin Klein, Dior and Agent Provocateur getting in the granny pants game with their logos printed on the elastic waistbands, she added that her friends “love them enough to have the band stick out over their jeans for some outfits to show the brand name.”
Littlejohn and her friends aren’t alone. Paris Jackson, Bella Hadid and Winnie Harlow were all snapped sporting Dior’s $1370 J’adior logo briefs last year, and the fashion house sent a gaggle of models wearing granny pants under see-through dresses down the Paris Fashion Week runway last week.
Beauty looks at Dior Couture SS18 ✖️ pic.twitter.com/481bWPfAKm
— eva (@hautethoughtss) January 22, 2018
Starlet after starlet has walked the awards show carpets for the past two years with their high-waisted briefs clearly visible beneath their transparent skirts and pants.
And in 2015 — when the granny panty trend really began picking up steam, with The NPD Group noting that thong sales dropped 7%, while briefs, boy shorts and high-waist briefs jumped 17% — even Kim Kardashian tweeted a collage of her internet-breaking body rocking several versions of the modest cut.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 2, 2015
That trend has continued, according to retail data company EDITED, which reports that that the number of thongs selling out online decreased 27% in 2017, while the stock of underwear described as “high-waisted” increased 8.7%.
And that’s because comfort is queen. “It’s not about modesty,” Katie Smith, the Retail Analysis and Insights Director at EDITED, told Moneyish. “Women are prioritizing activity and function over the classic, oversexualized shapes of thongs, push-up bras and plunging bras.”
Everybody always makes fun of granny panties but they're comfy as hell and we all know it
— 🍒Chéri🍒 (@cherrikissu) January 22, 2018
Because it’s not just booties. Bralettes and sports bras have continued to enjoy a boost in sales even as push-up bra sales have sagged. EDITED reports a 52% increase in the number of bralettes arriving on the market last year, and an 81% increase in new sports bras, compared to a 48.4% plunge in the number of push-up bras selling out.
And millennials are going wireless the most, according to Anya Cohen, retail industry analyst at IBISWorld, with women under 35 buying bralettes because they’re more comfortable – and 20% to 30% cheaper than formal underwire and push-up bras.
Actually, so are granny panties. “You can usually get them in pairs, or a set of four from Calvin Klein for about $32,” mused Littlejohn. “Cheaper brands I’m sure wouldn’t be more than $15 or $20 for a package of four or six. A nice thong or garter set can easily set you back $60 to $70.” Or more.
— Natasha Simma (@Simmafrica) August 28, 2017
Last summer even saw the number of one-piece bathing suit styles available online spike 20%, while the number of bikini models took a dive.
And as the long underserved plus-sized shopper has finally started getting the fashion industry’s attention with $21.4 billion in sales in 2016 — which could hit $24 billion by 2020 — more lingerie makers are seeing the value in going bigger. “It’s been a historically common complaint that there aren’t enough cute and fashionable bras in the plus size section of lingerie, and brands have really listened to consumer needs and expanded into these markets,” said Cohen. “So you see brands like ASOS and JBC and (model) Ashley Graham filling this previously underserved niche.”
But at the end of the day, it’s largely thanks to the all-consuming athleisure trend — which has even spawned #BathLeisure as superstars like Rihanna and Rita Ora go out in bathrobes — is getting women to simplify their shapewear. “We’re moving away from discomfort, and more toward being able to do more and move more freely in our clothes, whether that’s working out or dressing more casually for the office,” Smith said.
Plus, “jeans are more forgiving than a tailored pair of pants,” she added — so you don’t have to wear a thong anymore to avoid panty lines at work.
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