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Beautiful, Comfy Underwear

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Photographed by Devin Doyle. Modeled by Ange-Marie Moutambou from Heroes New York. Styled by Christina Holevas. Makeup: Michaela Bosch; hair: Emily Heser; nails: Momo; lighting: Jared Christiansen.

After I had a baby I swore off thongs for good. Nothing like labor-induced hemorrhoids to foster a feeling of never wanting to put a string of fabric there ever again. I shoved my lacy Cosabellas to a back corner of my underwear drawer and forgot they were there.

As I adjusted to being a mother while also being a person who works a demanding, fast-paced job, I decided I wanted my underwear to do more for me by doing less. I didn’t want to think about it. I wanted to be able to grab a pair from the drawer and know that it would always be “the good pair.” I wanted my underwear to be comfortable, above all else. After I nixed thongs, I also ousted other styles I deemed too uncomfortable: boy shorts, half-thongs, and anything low-rise. I wanted to wear breathable cotton or natural fibers only. Having a baby wreaks havoc on your vagina, and, afterward, you want to be as nice to it as possible. (While Dr. Julia Jaffe, a gynecologist at Gramercy Gynecology notes that “there’s no clear evidence” linking wearing synthetic underwear to infection, she notes that “it’s plausible that wearing cotton underwear may decrease the risk of UTI and vaginitis because it avoids trapping heat and moisture.”) I also wanted to find underwear that was cute. Being a mom who wants to wear comfortable, cotton underwear shouldn’t relegate me to “granny panties” and I knew there had to be better options out there.

So I looked around, asked a lot of people, and over the course of a few weeks tested a lot of underwear. Here’s what I found.

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Gap Body is like the Stoned Wheat Thins of comfortable cotton undies. Reliable, can’t go wrong, good price point, but nothing extraordinary. The cut is not quite high enough at the leg, and the rise is a little low for what I’m after, but they are perfectly comfortable. They feel like the easy, safe choice.

Stretch Cotton High Leg Brief, $10.50. Denim jacket by A.Golde.


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These felt like the Goldilocks pair when I put them on. They are high cut enough to show off a lotta leg (I believe this is still called ‘French cut’ in the underwear biz) and plenty of cheek in the back (though that does mean they occasionally slip into wedgy territory). The cotton is thin and soft and very comfy. Like everything else Everlane does, these feel like elevated “normcore” basics with a little sex appeal. What’s not to love?

Everlane, The High-Rise Bikini, $12. Top by Commission NYC, bra stylist's own.

Lake Jane

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I didn’t know cotton underwear could feel so luxurious! This brand was enthusiastically recommended to me by another Glossier team member and she was not wrong. So, a bit about the brand first.

Lake Jane is a very small brand thoughtfully designed and made in the USA (mostly in North Carolina) by Katherine Hanes (no relation to her competitors of the same name!). Hanes told me that she decided to launch the line after “having a hard time finding plain black cotton underwear.” The choices, she said, were either “Gap, where they were always out of [her] size in the simple colors and cuts, uncomfortable sizing and questionable dyes and fabrics from Target, or $80 undies from Switzerland.” And so she set out to make her own, in classic styles and cuts using cotton from local mills near her hometown in North Carolina. “I like to think of and inspire my customers to think about clothing in the same way we think about food and that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in them,” Hanes says of her choice to use and source local cotton, noting its breathability and recyclability.

In addition to all the good values that Lake Jane stands for, the undies stood out from every other pair I tried for their comfort and style. The thought that Hanes puts into this line is evident when you slip a pair on. They felt simultaneously sturdy and so soft, classic and special. They are not for the faint of high-rise, as they will hit your belly button, but they feel like a nice hug in that way. The leg is not French-cut, so the style is not as elongating as some of the others, but there’s something appealingly retro about the look. If you’re worried about visible panty lines or are wearing pants that are NOT super high rise, you may not want to wear something like this that may, occasionally, peek out between a shirt and pants during a stretch.

Lake Jane, High Waist, $32. Sweater by 3.1 Phillip Lim, bra stylist's own.


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This pair is the ne plus ultra of high-rise. They came up OVER my belly-button. Lonely is known for its lacy and delicate lingerie confections, so I was surprised to find this contribution to the granny-panty canon here. They are incredibly comfortable, especially for a lounge around day, but for every day were a little too high even for me.

Lonely, Dita Bikini Brief, $50. Blazer by Proenza Schouler.


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I love that the cotton is ribbed—these felt very sturdy and comfy, and come in really fun, vibrant colorways. The cotton is quite thick, so if you’re trying to avoid VPL (what a terrible acronym! Forgive me!) these are not the pair for you. This style was closer to a classic bikini fit, a lower-rise than I was seeking. Still, comfy and colorful! Both nice things.

Entireworld, File this Brief under Bikini, $15. T-shirt by Leset.