Why Some Panties Fit So Poorly

4 Mar

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By Marcy Montgomery Jones
Naomi & Nicole®

Panties are often purchased for reasons of cuteness, rather than fit or function.  And recently, there’s been an explosion in cute panty presentation.  Walk into a store and you’ll find panties folded inside itty-bitty boxes, panties wrapped like hard candies in clear cellophane, and panties wound into globs and placed in plastic baking cups to look like cupcakes.  I’m as much of a sucker for great visual presentation as the next consumer, but nothing’s less satisfying than unwrapping those goodies and learning that they just don’t fit properly.  The wrong pair of panties can create lumps, bulges, and figure problems that draw unwanted attention to your backside, hips, and tummy.  Let’s discuss why panties aren’t “all for one and one for all.”

Panty Size Waist Hip
4 XS 23-24” 33-34”
5 S 25-26” 35-36”
6 M 27-28” 37-38”
7 L 29-30” 39-40”
8 XL 31-32” 41-42”
9 2XL 33-34” 43-44”
10 3XL 35-36” 45-46”

First, size matters.  Regardless of how practical or froufrou your pair of panties may be, the wrong size will cause major fit problems.  Panties are often sized using numbers that correlate to nothing more than those of other panties.  It’s silly, I know.  To help consumers sort through the confusion, reference charts do exist, like the one shown here.  The best way to ensure a proper fit is to measure your natural waist and hips with a tape measure, and compare the results to the ranges listed in the manufacturer’s size chart.  In doing so, don’t act as if you’re in denial; resist the temptation to “round down.”  Though you’ve probably heard something about vanity sizing, it isn’t as extreme among intimates manufacturers as it is among those who make ready-to-wear.  If your measurements call for a large instead of a medium, buy the large.  You can always cut out the tag or rub off the label.

Second, fit is complex.  It results from a combination of factors including the size of the wearer’s waist, hips, tummy, and derrière.  Think about the fit needs of two differently-shaped size-large consumers.  A woman with a big booty needs plenty of fabric in the back to accommodate her bounty.  But a second woman, with a pronounced tummy and a small booty, needs relatively more fabric up front.  If those same two women try on the same size-large panty, the fabric will stretch differently and cause the garment to fit them differently.  Clearly, variability in consumers’ height and body fat distribution makes the proper fit of panties more dependent upon laws of averages than rules of science.

So how do you know when your panty doesn’t fit properly or isn’t a good choice for your figure?  Here are some telltale signs:

  • It causes wedgies;
  • It moves around your waist;
  • It shifts forward and backward on your body;
  • It’s baggy;
  • It creates dents in your body;
  • It gives you a “double butt” (as its elastic cuts your cheek in two);
  • It rubs against your inner thigh;
  • Its waist slips downward; or
  • Its gusset sits in the wrong spot.

The perfect panty will compliment your body shape.  It’ll be snug, but not restrictive.  It’ll lay flat on your body, stay in place, and not move around.  It’ll be smooth and won’t show fabric bulk under your clothes.  It’ll cover your derrière without giving you a wedgie, unless of course you’re wearing a garment designed for max cheek exposure.

Finding the Holy Grail of panties can be a long journey but, as stated by Charles Kettering, “A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”

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CC Image courtesy of SkyShaper on Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/skyshaper/ / CC BY 2.0
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