2018 was officially the year that the thong died. John Lewis reported that teeny knicks were out and big pants were in; sales of full briefs were up 25 per cent year on year and non-VPL pants grew a whopping 50 per cent. On a similar note, last year saw sales of push-up bras decline, while non-padded and bralette styles climbed by a not-too-shabby 20 per cent – the implication being that 2019 is going to be the comfiest year for underwear yet. Now that is something to feel cheerful about.
I don’t know about you, but I am a real hoarder of underwear. I’ve mentioned before that my knicker drawer often resembles something from the Antiques Roadshow and that’s before we get on to socks (I could build a full-scale replica of the Great Wall of China with just the odd ones). But there is nothing quite like new underwear to get the new year off to a good start. A clean slate! New beginnings! And, with the era of comfort upon us and new brands supporting this, now’s the perfect time to have an underwear overhaul. So, in the interests of ditching the baggy, saggy and craggy, here are the best places to stock up from.
In need of a new bra? Head over to Beija London, who specialise in beautiful bras for an inclusive range of sizes. Styles are split into three fit categories (X, Y and Z), with each category tailored to suit a specific range of sizes, meaning that whatever your cup size, you can find a bra that fits properly without compromising on style. Bras run from 32A-36G and hit around the £60 mark, with matching pants for £20-£25. Pricey, yes, however the designs are both sexy *and* comfy, focusing on clean, T-shirt-friendly lines and soft fabrics.
Iris & LilLy
Amazon continues its world domination with own-brand underwear label Iris & Lilly. A one-stop shop for all your underwear needs, the range includes bras (32A-42E), pants (XS-XL), vests, sports bras, PJs and even swimwear. Price points are very reasonable (£15 for a bra, £8 for a two-pack of pants) and, as with all things Amazon, delivery is a doddle.
I have completely fallen in love with Lara Intimates. The London-based brand makes gorgeous soft-cup bras (size 28A-36E) and matching knickers, which are both beautiful and comfortable. Environmentally conscious, the lingerie is made in their Soho studio from surplus fabrics from large factories. Elastics and packaging are all made in England. With a massive emphasis on good fit, measurements on the site are true to size and refunds and exchanges are free if you do order the wrong thing. The website is easy to use and underwear is modelled on a variety of body shapes.
If your boobs err on the side of big, then have a look at All Undone, who specialise in sexy, beautifully made bras in sizes 28D-34GG. Ticking the luxury box, styles are made from silk and Chantilly lace with gold detailing. Usually at the toppy end of the price spectrum, you can currently pick up a bra for £47.50 and matching pants for £28 in the sale.
If you are yet to hear about Lonely, then you are in for a treat. A New Zealand-based lingerie brand, it offers incredibly pretty lacy bras and briefs, in sizes A-G and XS-XL respectively. It also does the loveliest maternity bra and pants I've ever seen. But the real joy is the website, which features a gorgeous array of women modelling the underwear. Buy straight from the site (shipping is $8 NZD, about £4) or keep an eye on The Outnet, which sometimes carries discounted styles.
If the first few months of the year aren't the time for a great pair of tights, then I don't know when is. Heist has quietly been making a name for itself among the fashion lot as the most comfortable tights on the market, thanks to its high, wide waistbands and seamless toes. Styles come in nude, 30, 50 and 80 denier, and in sizes 4-22. Ringing in at around £20 a pair, they aren't cheap but are quite honestly worth it. The brand has also campaigned for comfy bras for everyone and launched its own shapewear last year, in 2018. Keep your eyes peeled in the next few months for Heist undies, too.
Marks & Spencer
OK, not an under-the-radar brand in the slightest but a new knicker from a classic. Off the back of the success of the Brazilian knickers (launched in 2005, M&S sells over six million pairs a year) Marks & Spencer launched a high-waisted style last year. Coming to just below your tummy button (what joy!), these have all the sexiness of the original style, but now with added comfort. And in the past couple of weeks, M&S has also rolled out its new Miami knickers, which are a high-leg style that are also super comfy.