By now, you’ve probably seen their commercial. A thin model cropped between her waist and knees is walking down a street. Suddenly the model freezes, her creme pants are off, and exposed is Soma’s new Vanishing Edge Bikini Panty. Claims about its invisibility under clothing are made as the camera pans from the front to the model’s backside. Then, her creme pants return and she walks away with a flawless backside with no visible panty lines. Soma Intimates, for those of you who don’t know, is owned by the Chico’s retail chain and carries exclusive Soma products.
Is this new panty line the ultimate underpant for women? To read their copy, they seem to think so. Here’s their claim. Wear their Vanishing Ege panties (which come in 5 styles – bikini, brief, hi-cut brief, hipster and boyshort) and erase panty lines forever. Here’s how they say they do this. First, they use a very soft, stretchy and breathable micorofiber. On the back side of the leg opening starting at the side seam and going all the way to the crotch, the raw leg edge has 1/4″ wide strip of silicone on the inside. Parallel to this silicone are much thinner rows of silicone that are spread out 2 1/2″ from the edge. This would be the same silicone gripper tape that you see in shapewear to keep it in place and along straples bras to keep them up. This is called their “stay-put technology” and the essence of their marketing claim.
I went to Soma and bought several styles of the Vanishing Edge panties to test drive. The first thing the sales representative told me was to “size up.” I normally wear a size 6-8 pant and am a size medium. In spite of this, the salesperson strongly suggested I purchase the size large. A later check on the Soma website shows they make the same suggestion of ordering one size larger.
The first thing I noticed about the Vanishing Edge Collection is that they use a very soft, lightweight, and stretchy microfiber. I really liked this. Next I inspected the waistband. Nothing new here. Like most panties, an elastic is sewn to the edge, so this would show under almost any garment. Along the front leg edge, starting at the side seam and going through your legs and along the side of the cotton lined crotch, there is an elastic serged to the edge. So, again, this edge would also show under garments. However, the most important edge for VPL’s is along the backside of the leg edge. The Vanishing Edge panties do indeed have a raw edge of fabric with fused-on silicone gripper tape for elasticity and to anchor your edge in place. I think most women would see this and think this new idea might actually work.
The next morning I reached for one of my new Soma panties and pulled them on. Instantly, I was aware that this is no panty to be pulled on and forgotten. The silicone sort of grabs your skin while you’re pulling them on. You therefore need work your panties up your legs, then perform the additional operation of placing the edge of your panty where you want it to stay for the day before continuing on with your morning dressing routine. That said, once the panties were put in place, I found them comfortable and almost forgettable until I went to the bathroom. Again, I had to carefully place the panty on my butt cheeks.
I purchased four of the 5 styles offered in Soma and test drove each one. All styles fit me in a size large with the exception of the hipster. In this style, I had to either show bottom cleavage, or cover the bottom of my butt cheeks. The back was not large enough to do both – and my bottom is in shape. On a later trip to a Soma store, I compared the hipster to the other styles. It’s back panel is considerably smaller than other styles.
So, does the Vanishing Edge Collection really erase panty lines forever? I pulled out my yoga pants to put this to the test. After all, these types of pants are the ultimate arbitor of panty lines… am I right? So, here’s what I noticed. A normal panty line is created by the edge of your panty being thick enough to cause a bump line along your pantyline. What the Vanishing Edge technology creates is an indentation along your panty line. That’s right. The silicone gripper tape pushes in your bottom flesh to create a ridge. Now, it may not be as obvious as a traditional VPL, but it’s still obvious. I then reached in and readjusted my panty edge in back to come right under my butt cheeks. This helped, but the ridge was again observable when I bent over.
Now, in their defense, our bottom tissue is soft. Therefore, like back fat in a bra, it would almost be impossible to put anything on your bottom that wouldn’t show. But I did have panty lines and I was disapointed. Soma, you’re getting close. But, you’re still not quite there.
As an aside, there are a couple of other companies who have designed panties with edges that almost disappear as well. They include:
Affinitas Intimates Grace Hipster S8-605
All have laser cut edges, and some have silicone gripper tape as well.
As a final note. the Soma panties need to be washed in warm water and tumble dried on low. Only non-chlorene bleach is to be occasionally used, They are made in Nicaragua.