June 16, 2011 at 12:36 PM ET
Are granny panties the new thongs?
Americans are hot for the big bloomers, according to the 2011 Undie Awards. The fifth annual knicker honors tracked the country’s most beloved bras, panties, G-strings, shapewear and, yes, even jockstraps, and compiled a list of winners as determined by 40,000 consumers. At the top: The Vanity Fair Lace Nouveau Brief ($6.37, herron.com), a full-size, silky-smooth style that’s quite a departure from 2007’s No. 1 undie, the La Perla G-string.
Why the shift? More and more cozy options that don’t sacrifice style. “Retailers and brands have done a much better job of putting comfort in the equation,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst of The NPD Group, Inc. “This is only the beginning of what will become a greater emphasis on a comfortable, fashionable experience.”
That means the thong, the crowning glory of the mid-'90s, has been cast aside for bigger briefs and boyshorts, which followed in popularity. Even Cosmopolitan magazine declared “The thong is dead!” in a recent article, noting the recent rise of full panties with invisible lines: “The fact that the one advantage the thong had over all other styles of underwear has now been completely eliminated puts a major, er, crack in the thong's appeal,” said the mag.
Bras have made the market shift, too. A satin Wonderbra pushup stole the show five years ago, but this year, sports bras are gaining momentum. “There has been an increase in sports bra voting in recent years, which suggests that more women are purchasing them,” said Tomima Edmark, Undie Awards CEO. “We see this reflected in the variety of sports bras that are now on the market.” This year, the Wacoal Sport Underwire bra, which features moisture-wicking fabric, took the top prize, thanks to being “easy to put on and take off,” according to consumers.
As for men? They’re not so different from women after all. The Men’s Undie Award winners proved that guys just want a snug, slim fit. The male thong category mimicked the women’s – the Calvin Klein Body Thong was called the “most comfortable thong ever” – and the Under Armour Performance jock won for its breathability and lightweight fabric. (And no, painful-looking “junderpants” did not make the cut.)
“Comfort was once secondary,” said Cohen, “but the consumer dictated what they wanted.”
Favorite Boy Short Winner: Hanky Panky Stretch Lace Boyshort 4812 ($29, barenecessities.com)
Overall Favorite Bra Winner:Timpa Duet Lace Underwire Demi Bra 16449 ($28.05, herroom.com)
Overall Favorite Bra (Full Figure) Winner: Fantasie '4510' Smoothing Molded Cup Underwire T-Shirt Bra ($60, Nordstrom)
Overall Favorite Sports Bra: Wacoal Sport Underwire Bra 855170 ($62, freshpair.com)
Favorite Shapewear Winner: Barely There Invisible Look Hi-Waist Smoother A893 ($16.50, herroom.com)
Check out the full list of winners at TheUndies.com