Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Does Ugly Underwear Ruin Your Day?

I'm honored to be able to use our "New Study Reveals" tag on something to do with underwear: a telephone survey of 1,008 women over the age of 18 shows that for quite a few of them, their day may be ruined by "ugly" or "ill-fitting" underwear. The magazine ShopSmart, from the same publisher as Consumer Reports, conducted the study, and also found that the average woman owns 21 pairs of undies. Plus:

Almost half of women (47%) say they feel sexier and more confident wearing a nice or special pair of panties.

Personally, the fact that they aren't ripped, stretched, or too small makes them both "nice" and "special" in my eyes. The study also found that:

10% of women own 35 or more pairs.

I want to be like them! For free. I want to be sponsored by an underwear company. Yet never have to show up anywhere in it.

56% of women fold their panties; 27% just toss them in the drawer.

At some point I became a tosser (American definition of word)!

And then the stat from whence our headline comes:

27% say their mood is affected by wearing an ill-fitting or unattractive pair of undies.

Again, for me, "unattractive" is really inextricably tied to fit. A pair could have a pattern that combines Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Beauty and the Beast and the Joe Boxer smiley faces, but as long as it's comfortable, no problem. And I do not care what Dude thinks. I just do not care! Do you care? Let's conduct our very own, very public 1,008-person survey in the comments.

36 Comments / Post A Comment


I, too, dislike it when my underwear hurts!

krugmanic depressive

It's like riding a wire fence, as LBJ said.

Whitman's Sampler

It's called "Bad Underwear Day". Like when you text your mom and say, "Everything is the worst today!!! I got a raisin bagel instead of an Everything bagel, my coworker is being mean, AND it's a BAD UNDERWEAR DAY!" Usually this happens when I try to wear those hot-pant, short-short undies that have no elastic around the legs. You know what I'm talking about.

Liz Colville

I HATE those ones. And yet they're all I seem to have! I need a personal underwear shopper.


I go through 2 pair a day. Pair #1 is ugly, old and holey. I wear those to work out in. Pair #2 are newer with no holes and on a good day match my bra. I have about 200 pair and when they run out it is time to do laundry.


YES that was how I lived in college, only doing my laundry (such a pain in the dorm) when I ran out of panties. Now I only do laundry when my husband runs out of underwear, because he has many fewer pairs (of boxers! not panties!) than I.


God, what is it with men and their low supplies of boxers?


Can the question in the post title refer to other people's ugly underwear?


Wearing underwear is for suckers anyway!


ill-fitting underwear most certainly ruins my day. it's enraging, actually.


56% are folders?! That seems crazy high to me, a tosser. I'm really curious about the other 17% -- what options are there besides folding and tossing? Hangers?

krugmanic depressive

Yes. Little hangars for doll skirts, in a tiny little armoire.


...laying them flat, in a nice pile? That seems most space-effective, but I don't know?


I wish we could see the number of page hits per topic. I wonder how many pervs are stopping by for this.


I'm imagining Liz, Edith, and David Cho all high fiving each other when this story came across one of their desks (?), almost closing time. And then it turns into a bad Dashiell Hammett novel.


This is ridiculous. On the ordinary day, the only underwear that bothers me is underwear that is uncomfortable.
I did weep one day upon reading that someone like Ivana Trump had 2,000 pairs of underpants spread across her several homes.
I'm more of a roller than a folder or a tosser.
I also am not in the Talented Tenth of 35+ pair owners.



Ill fitting underwear can definitely ruin my day, especially since all I have to do is throw away that pair and buy some more. So easy! Yet, constant form of disappointment.


i only wear underwear with skirts and dresses. its so uncomfortable under jeans and pants!


I have about 50 pairs of black cotton GAP bikini panties plus about 20 assorted randoms: just-in-case-thongs, lacey French husband gifts, random colors and nudes for light dresses. They come back from the laundry stacked, and that's how they go into the drawer!
I'm considering a brand change cuz the gap undies are unravelling after only a few wears.


I have wondered if anyone else enjoys those Gap panties as much as I do! And they do unravel too soon but they are surprisingly affordable when you buy a bunch at once. I have terrible times keeping panties from going up my huge ass and those Gap ones actually do! I also enjoy the hipsters, they stay over the butt better than the bikini. Anyway, panty twins!


OH G O D, I have but six pairs of underwear that I actually wear, and wash them on [commando] Sundays with my yoga clothes, everything strung up to air dry. THE HAIRPIN JUST UNDERWEAR SHAMED ME, please excuse me while I go buy at least 15 more pairs. Obviously I am a tosser, and you know what? I found the perfect underwear for me via Ask Metafilter, and I am PROUD OF IT.


Please tell me about perfect underwear! (I own twice as many pairs as I ever wear.)


Perfect underwear is Jockey string bikinis. Cotton, cover your ass and lady bits but don't have so much fabric that you can't wear low-waist jeans.

dr. girlfriend

aerie! they're cotton and come in cute patterns. i usually get them in brief style because they're comfortable and hot (to me. which is all that matters.)


Oh good, an opportunity to overshare!

First, I have tons of underwear. Probably over 50 pairs. I do laundry infrequently.

Second, totally agree that ugly is not as important as comfort. During a rather dark spot in my life about 4 years ago, I was entirely too lazy/depressed/scared of the laundry room to do laundry on the regular, so I would, upon finding out I was out of clean undies while already running late for work, wash a pair out in the sink and then IRON THEM DRY. And inevitably burn/melt the elastic edging, which resulted in extreme scratchiness and loss of elasticity.
And I still wear the pairs I've done this to.

I now do laundry before I have run out of undies.

Also, semi-related, I hate the word panties with a vengeance.

no way

HA! yeah panties is a disgusting word. i guess it's ok if other ladies use it, but i can't stand using it, and it totally grosses me out when guys say it.

Hilary Kitz

I think of 'Panties' as having glitter embedded in the seams, something about santa in big silver letters on the crotch, and a lot of trying to adjust the sandpaper lasso around my hips.
Ideally, all my clothes would just have really laid back underwear built in and this would jive with an active, holistic life style where I always got to kick my palms held out to my sides.

What I'm saying is why can't women wear boxer briefs?

(And why can't I dress like my '94 lez art teacher *and* date cute boys? When will I learn to stop dressing like a combination of Rayanne and Six?
Where is the laugh track for my manic talking sprees..?)

Liz Colville

i am laughing! And as far as "And why can't I dress like my '94 lez art teacher *and* date cute boys?" I BELIEVE IN YOU!


I have close to 50 pairs of panties, because a) I'm lazy about laundry, but more importantly b) because when I find a pair that fits right I rush out and buy all that I can because whoever makes them will inevitably stop making them within about six months. My favoritest kind of underwear EVER were a Jockey bikini-style that fit perfectly and were wonderfully comfortable, but Jockey hasn't made them in more than a decade. Which I'm still mad about.

Unrelated! I don't mind the word "panties" but I hate hate hate "panty." I dunno, something about "panties" as a singular noun enrages me. Possibly because it is incorrect? Panties is cutsey-short for "underpants," and "pants" - that is, "pair of pants" - is the correct way to refer to the single article of clothing. THEY ARE NOT A PANT, TIM GUNN. (Doesn't he sometimes refer to them as a pant? Maybe I'm making that up.)


Ha ha, so TRUE. Had a good friend not advised me to purchase a size UP in thongs, I would likely be on death row right now, for some arbitrary and likely road-rage related homicide(s).

Diana Vilibert

I've never ruined my day with ugly underwear, but I'm sure I've ruined someone else's. Sorry, everyone I've ever slept with.

Nicole Sgueglia

Uncomfortable can certainly ruin my day, for sure. But I have this pair of gray underwear that has a thousand holes along the top so that the elastic band shows through. I considered throwing it out for a hot second but then decided - no. Way too comfortable and happy making.

no way

these comments make me happy. i sat my partner down to force my own underwear intervention. i have kept certain pairs for well over a decade and needed his support to separate out those that are actually unwearable/unbearable for him to see. the losers didn't go in the trash, cause what if i need them?! (sad. hoarder alert.) they went in a bag in the closet.


Throw them out today!!! There is so much underwear in the world.

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