Reader Question: Plus-Size Underwear

Oh good morning! This is a good day for discussing unders!

Can you please, please write an update on plus size womens underwear? I REALLY need to find a new style and brand, but those images of thin mannequins make it impossible to know how different styles will fit a post-baby, aging body. I remember some suggestions of Jockey and some pricier options from a plus-sized store, but I wonder if you tried them and if they were worth the cost?



I just looked up the post where I asked for suggestions, and I see I included a good morning with that one, too. Apparently the underwear topic is in the mental filing cabinet right next to that greeting.

I will start by telling you how I chose the three kinds I tried: by whim. I SHOULD have made a list and tallied votes for each suggestion, and thought about which kinds seemed like the best bets, and maybe gone in person to some stores where I could try pairs on—but instead I did it with thrashing impulsive decisions, followed by getting overwhelmed and stopping the research abruptly; and I couldn’t bring myself to try anything on, or buy anything that wasn’t sold in a three-pack. Here are the three new kinds I tried:

Jockey Elance French Cut
Fruit of the Loom Fit for Me Hi-Cut
another Fruit of the Loom kind but without the sporty waistband

Also, in a triumph of hope over experience, I bought another pack of Hanes XTemp hi-cuts (the ones that started this whole process by changing their fit) at Target—AND THIS TIME THEY DID FIT. So I don’t know if the sizing changed back or what. However, now I can’t find the hi-cuts at Target at all and can only get them on Amazon, and I’m worried that if I order those they’ll be the ones that were like a full size too small; the reviews seem to support this concern. Some of the pairs I have are starting to get pretty tattered, which is sad.

Let’s start with the ones I don’t even have a link for. I got them at Walmarrrt. They don’t have the wider waistband I prefer, just the thin kind, but at least it was covered with comfy fabric. They were fine. Just fine. Surprisingly stretchy and thin (not in a good way for me, but I think they’d feel nice and disappear-y to someone who liked that feeling), comfy enough I guess—but I never reach for them first. Of the four kinds, I reach for them third. They don’t feel particularly cute. I feel as if the fit of them accentuates the postpartum-body issues in a discouraging way.

The only ones they win against are the Jockey ones. The Jockey ones SHOULD be my favorites: they’re 100% cotton and the fabric feels really nice; they were the most expensive and seem well-made. But on me they’re like an exaggeration of hi-cut: very, very high, to the point where I feel as if they are peeking out of the top of my jeans. Maybe I should have ordered one size down? I don’t know. I just know I choose them fourth.

Second place goes to the Hanes XTemp. Comfy, cute, good colors when I could still choose the colors. But too risky to buy anymore, so I am gradually letting them go, emotionally speaking.

First place goes to the ones I thought would be my least favorite, the Fruit of the Loom Fit for Me ones with the sporty waistband. You know me well enough to know that “sporty” is not an adjective on my vision board. And the elastic waist looked pinchy in the pictures, and I’d specifically wanted a fabric-covered waistband. But the waist isn’t pinchy, and they’re comfy, and I think they’re pretty cute, and I really love the colors. So I buy those now, is the upshot.

10 thoughts on “Reader Question: Plus-Size Underwear

  1. J

    I wonder if there is anyone else with this issue? I bought the Fit for Me Cotton Briefs (so maybe not sporty?) and the “Comfort covered leg bands” are WAY too wide. They dig into my legs/bikini line and are super uncomfortable. Am I just narrow? Should I try the sporty, or are they not better? Anyone else buy narrower unders?

  2. Melissa Hunting

    “Sporty is not an adjective on my vision board” – made me laugh out loud, in the office, I’m still chuckling. I love you and I hope that doesn’t sound weird.

    1. Elizabeth

      I came to the comments to say exactly the same thing. Only Swistle can make an underwear review funny and so, so readable.

  3. Chris

    Underwear is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. I bought your #1 a few months ago in a desperate “I’m at Target and I really need some freaking underwear” moment and I find they pinch my legs and have fallen apart/come undone at the waistband. :(

    After trying a few other random pairs, I recently decided to suck up and order more of the few pairs I always reach for – from American Eagle at least 7 years ago! (They’ve held up amazingly well.) After some digging I found them online (I had bought in the store previously) and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them! Cotton, covered waistband, perfect fit. I buy the boy brief variety and they make bikini in this style too. They arrived and I have been in HEAVEN. I took advantage of a sale to buy 10 at around $3 a pair. I’m 5’2”, 180 lbs and hover between a size L and XL. These shrink a bit so I ordered the XL and after the wash they fit PERFECTLY. My 32 year old mom buns are very happy. :)

  4. Jayna

    ugh, hate buying new underwear. I’m not helpful at all, but this topic reminds me of a book my son and I heard at the Library’s story time recently.
    Monster’s New Undies

    I totally identified with the Monster -his undies were threadbare and he was vehemently opposed to shopping for new undies. In the end, he ended up finding a pair that were exactly like his old undies, and he bought all of them to take home with him so he’d never have to buy new undies again. Happily Ever After.

  5. Shawna

    I think that Victoria’s Secret probably sells something similar in the US, but these are my staples for my daughter and I:

    The remix cotton ones that are in the boyshort, bikini, and hipster styles, with the stretch lace at the top. Cute, light, cotton, and comfy, and they’re always having sales that work out to about $3.50-$4 a pair. Totally worth it. My daughter and I will never have dowdy underwear again! I wore these all the way through my pregnancies and never had to change to the tent-like maternity underwear because the lace is so stretchy it didn’t cut into the bottom of my belly so just sat comfortably under my bump.

  6. Maureen

    Hanes Women’s Core Cotton Extended Size Brief Panty (Pack of 5)

    I’ve bought these several times from Amazon-and I love them. I am all about comfort, I don’t care what my underwear looks like-at all! I buy these in white cotton, and yes-they definitely probably look like granny panties. But I’m at an age where I could easily be someone’s granny, and even when I was young, slim and fit-I never really understood the appeal of expensive underwear. In my adventurous days, we were all pretty busy getting our underwear off-there wasn’t much thought about anything else :)

    These are comfy and durable, and best of all-no riding up. I’m on my feet all day, and I am pretty sensitive to ride up issues. So I would say a comfortable, affordable choice if you are interested!


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