Now that I’ve pretty much found the perfect bras for me (hello, Ewa Michalak and Comexim!), my bra shopping has slowed way down. But I’m still on the hunt for some perfectly fitting panties. With my small waist and comparatively big hips (29” waist and 41” hips), I have just as much trouble with my bottom half as my top half. Unless I’m buying specialty items like the pants from Freddies of Pinewood or Lady K Loves, most bottom styles are cut for a very straight figure—underwear included.
If I buy size medium in panties, they usually cut into my butt to create panty-lines and wedgies. But if I buy large, then the fabric in back is loose and saggy.
I’ve written previously about several underwear styles that I picked up from BareNecessities.com, but I’ve since been mostly disillusioned by them. The Warner’s briefs and hipsters have worn out quickly, and now feel loose. They look totally unflattering, and have to be tucked into place when I pull on my pants or tights lest they bunch up. The Maidenform boyshorts are fine, but their fabric, too, has proven not to be a lasting product and I rarely reach for them. The Hanky Panky Bare collection is still going strong, but I only wear those when I need something completely seamless, so they’re not an everyday style.
Cotton underwear from Victoria’s Secret is okay, but it shrinks in the wash and then gives the dreaded panty-lines. Plus I’m not crazy about wearing cotton underwear for exercising, since it doesn’t dry quickly if I’m sweating a lot. So the hunt continues…
Two years ago, Sweet Nothings wrote a review of a new panty company called Dear Kate. I was intrigued by the fact that they offer two sizes of lining (“mini,” which covers just the gusset, or “full”). They’re marketed as being good for an extra barrier during our periods, during exercise, and at times when women might have a little bladder leakage such as during pregnancy. They’re not meant to replace pads or tampons completely, but they can absorb up to 3 teaspoons of liquid without leaking onto clothing, and they’re stain-releasing and quick-drying. Since its inception, Dear Kate has expanded to bralettes and yoga pants, a natural progression.
However, at about $34 a pair, I just couldn’t justify the price, even though they’re made in NYC. Luckily, I had the foresight to sign up for their mailing list, which gives you a 20% off code for your first purchase. Additionally, you’ll receive notice of sales and discounts. There are lots of items on sale right now, in fact.
During a sale, I bought several pairs of the Lucy Hipster and the Hazel Sport Hipster, both with mini liners. Then in the current sale, I bought the League of Ladies Hipster Mini set, which are the same as the Hazel, only in different colors and with decals of four famous historical women, including Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Harriet Tubman, and Marie Curie.
The Lucys were the first to arrive, and I was surprised by how high-rise they are. They’re definitely a mid-rise, while the Hazel and League sets are low-rise, though they’re all called “hipster.” I tend to save my Lucys for days when I’m wearing a higher-rise pant or skirt.
Hazel, on the other hand, gets worn constantly. I’ve actually started doing laundry more often, because I prefer my Hazels over every other pair of underwear I own! First off, they look cool. They’re black with flat neon trim around all the edges. Unlike most underwear, though, the edging doesn’t dig in or give me “quad-butt.”
Now, I’m actually on hormonal birth control that leaves me with no periods at all (it’s Implanon, the arm implant that lasts three years, and it’s the best). So I can’t speak to the stain-releasing or leakage issues there. But I recently started running regularly, and I tend to sweat a lot. And I sweat everywhere, not just my underarms. Seriously, I am a sweaty, sweaty gal. I find it pretty uncomfortable when I’m sweating a lot around my lady-parts, and it feels especially grody when it’s cold out and I’m wearing multiple layers, so things remain cold and damp until I change.
But there is a world of difference when I wear my Hazels (or Lucys) vs. literally any other pair of underwear I own. They pull the sweat away from my body in the style of Under Armour-type wicking fabric. When my run is finished, I feel so much drier and more comfortable than if I wear cotton or plain polyester undies. Additionally, the Hazels barely show any panty-line under my running tights. They do show a little, but it’s not enough that I care, and they don’t show at all under normal pants like jeans.
As for fit, the Dear Kate size chart only lists hip measurement, not waist. My hips, as usual, fall into Large. I was worried a Large would be too big in the waist, but I took a chance anyway, and I’m happy to report that they fit perfectly.
Whether worn for exercise or just a regular day, this underwear does not move. It doesn’t slide around, or fall down, or crawl up my butt to give me a wedgie. It’s totally comfortable, sits at a height I like, and doesn’t feel pinchy or loose at any spot.
Now, while everything I’ve written so far applies to Hazel and the League hipsters, I do have to point out some issues with the League pairs. One good thing is that the pesky vertical trim that showed through my running tights is gone. And the faces on the front are cute.
But the corresponding decals on the back (wings for Amelia Earhart, flowers for Frida Kahlo, constellations for Harriet Tubman, and, um…sciency…shapes? …for Marie Curie) are really annoying.
First off, the decals immediately started peeling up at the edges:
But worse than that, they’re plastic-y and don’t stretch, so the back of the underwear fits oddly, since the side without the decal stretches differently than the side with it. Additionally, the plastic doesn’t breathe, so the large decals on Marie Curie and Harriet Tubman make my buttcheek sweat underneath it. It feels so weird to have such localized sweating!
At first I was glad the decals were peeling, since I figured I could pull them off, but they’re actually glued on really well everywhere except the edges. When I succeeded in pulling off a little piece of Marie Curie’s decal, it pulled the fabric along with it, and made it go from silky and smooth to fuzzy and slightly damaged-looking:
So I would probably not recommend the League pairs, but I would absolutely recommend all the other styles. Get yourself on the Dear Kate mailing list stat, and get some for yourself!