For the past several years, thongs have been the most popular underwear style, especially among younger women. But according to HerRoom sales and a statistic quoted in the New York Times, thongs have been replaced in the hearts (and on the bodies) of millennials by briefs, also known as ‘granny panties.’ In fact, research shows that sales of thongs decreased 7% last year, while sales of fuller-coverage panties, including briefs and boyshorts, have grown 17%. At HerRoom, briefs are consistently among the best-selling styles.
So, what’s caused this shift among millennials and Generation Y shoppers? For one, women are shopping with their comfort in mind rather than trying to fulfill some notion of what men find sexy. We all have the idea that men love their women in lacy little confections, like thongs and g-strings. But there’s anecdotal evidence that younger men find a woman in a tee shirt and briefs just as sexy. Changes in fashion may also have something to do with it: the current fashion trend is for high-waisted and roomier pants styles, and a high-waisted brief will be more comfortable under these styles. There’s also been a welcome trend towards the acceptance of many different body types. And while tiny bikinis and thongs look and feel great on smaller women, full-coverage panties can look just as good on larger women.
There always been a contrarian trend that makes some unlikely products rise in popularity–think of the fanny pack, Crocs or Birkenstocks. What they have in common with briefs is comfort and practicality. But this isn’t to say that briefs are ungainly or unattractive. You may be surprised by the breadth of beautiful styles of briefs out there, from lacy briefs with high-cut legs to silky smooth high-waisted styles in dozens of colors. And briefs, with full back and side coverage, have the added benefit of giving rear shape and definition.
At HerRoom, I’ve always believed that women should buy lingerie that makes them feel their best, whether that’s a bustier and g-string or a tank top and all-cotton pair of briefs. There’s no ideal body type and no one way to feel attracrive, either. For some women, being natural and comfortable is the sexiest thing of all. And with the new popularity of briefs, can we please stop calling them ‘granny panties?’