There is no getting away from the fact that the clothes I’m most coveting at the moment are problematic. I’m talking wear-with-everything pleated culottes, slinky satin skirts (leopard print, obvs) and breezy cropped jumpsuits. And, when I say “problematic”, I mean they all cause issues in the derrière department or, to put it less delicately: they can give you a God-awful wedgie.
For me, any material that is remotely flowing, slippery or really anything thinner than denim, or less stretchy than leggings, starts inching the wrong way as soon as I walk anywhere. Not only does it feel like you’re in danger of doing serious damage, but you have the problem of trying to discreetly pull material back to where it should be. The worst variety can cause issues at the front, too – and no one needs a wedgie/camel-toe double-whammy.
There are celebrities who actively seek out the look. The Kardashians are the poster girls and Kylie Jenner is their leader (see her Instagram for swimwear that looks like it is doing the work of a particularly rigorous dental-flossing session). Kylie was also responsible for making Levi’s “Wedgie Fit” range a thing, which, if you ask me, sounds like a yeast infection waiting to happen, but they sell out repeatedly. Good on them for flaunting what they’ve got; it just looks very, very uncomfortable.
Most of us aren’t blessed with Kardashian-esque bums. Mine definitely falls into the not-small category and, while it might have been described as “peachy” once, all I know for sure is that it has a tendency to swallow up fabric as I walk. It is a “hungry”, possibly even “ravenous” bum (HB or an RB, if you will).
More considered choices, however, can alleviate the problem and mean that you can sashay nonchalantly into a room (rather than nonchalantly looking for a plant to stand behind where you can fish your pants out of your bum crack)
To further illustrate my point: I once tried on a wide-leg, jersey jumpsuit to wear as an alternative to a bridesmaid dress, which I mistakenly thought would drape flatteringly. I asked my mum for her input. “It’s gone right up your bottom,” she said. Brutal, but really she saved me the embarrassment of my bum stealing the show in the worst of ways. Pippa Middleton, I am not.
Underwear makes all the difference. For anyone with an HB or RB, silky knickers with lacy bits will go the same way as the silky jumpsuit. You’ll get VPL in all the wrong places and potentially a UTI with it. More considered choices, however, can alleviate the problem and mean that you can sashay nonchalantly into a room (rather than nonchalantly looking for a plant to stand behind where you can fish your pants out of your bum crack).
There is no catch-all solution, given we all have different bum shapes and sizes. A few from Team Pool, in their own words: “low slung”, “non-existent”, “happiest when comfy”, “flat”, “bodacious” and “after two kids, it’s interesting” – and everyone has different underwear preferences, so I’m not about to tell you what you should and shouldn’t wear. However, with the help of Team Pool, I have come up with some fail-safe “banish the wedgie” (and "cut out the camel-toe") tips.
We are all in agreement in this one: go for one size bigger than your usual dress size. Too-tight underwear will exacerbate the wedgie problem and dig in the wrong places. Choose a close-fitting style (a baggy crotch is another pitfall) with a bit of stretch, like these Sloggi numbers I recently discovered. There are some very helpful suggestions here on getting the right fit. Sizing will vary, so it helps to know your own measurements, which you can compare against a brand's size guide.
Cotton, cotton, cotton
In an ideal world, we’d wear cotton pants all the time. Cotton’s breathable, unlike synthetic materials, and less likely to irritate, particularly if you are prone to yeast or bacterial infections. Fully cotton pants will, however, be thicker than their non-natural counterparts, which brands tend to use for their “no VPL” ranges, and will have less stretch. A cotton blend is a decent compromise for sensitive skin. M&S is a good place to start, as there are dozens of styles to choose from and the sizing is inclusive. Calvin Klein's signature style has a high cotton count, Triumph has a "Touch of Cotton" range or try Neon Moon for high-cotton-count, size-inclusive pieces. Whatever you do, always look out for a 100% cotton gusset – your vagina will thank you.
Not only can seams cut into your thighs or bum, they increase the chance of VPL and for an HB or RB (or any B, really) a seam can contribute to a perfect storm of pain. There are loads of seam-free options out there. Again, M&S is your friend as a starting point.
Try on and try on again
Finding the right underwear is a case of trial and error. Some Poolers swear by thongs – Hanky Panky’s stretch-lace style is a favourite. Personally, I like more coverage and after years of wearing lower-rise Brazilian styles, with a cut-away back, I have been going for midi-waist options with more bum coverage (somewhere between that Brazilian style and what shops call “full brief” AKA “granny pants” or “Bridget Jones knickers”) and I’m a convert. Shorts will help avoid too much leg creepage; these from TU were recommended by one of the team and these M&S numbers are a winner for me. Some of the girls said that for them, a bikini style – high leg but decent bum coverage – was the Holy Grail. And who am I to disagree?