underwear week

Stuff We Buy Ourselves: The Underwear Our Editors Like Best

David and Victoria Beckham in absurd poses for Giorgio Armani underwear ads — the Strategist's editors share their favorite underwear.
And this is totally how we wear them. Photo: GAMMA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

If you follow our monthly Strategist haul, then you’re familiar with the idiosyncrasies of our editors’ and writers’ shopping habits. While we think of those as the highlights, there are plenty of other, less glamorous things that we buy — and love — on the regular, too. So whether you’ve wondered about the toothbrushes we reach for morning and night, or the work bags we tote around, this is the Stuff We Buy Ourselves. In this edition, for Underwear Week, the bottoms we own multiple pairs of — starting with the most ardent endorsements up top.

Lori Keong, writer

Tommy John Second Skin Brief
$22 at Tommy John

Trying new underwear (as evidenced by my Strat Hauls) is a small passion of mine. And in my pursuit of the perfect no-frills underpants, a rare breed of angel-soft underwear came across my desk a few months back. It is, simply put, the most luxurious yet plain set of underwear I have ever owned. I’m talking about the Second Skin line from Tommy John. The briefs are my absolute favorite (excellent coverage, amazingly comfortable), but trust me when I say that even the thongs are soft, non-torturous things that make you feel like you’re wearing nothing.

Simone Kitchens, senior editor

Cosabella Soire Lowrider Italian Thong
$19 at Amazon

I’ve been reordering these in black for years. They do not show lines. They fit perfectly and stay perfectly put, no matter how your body is feeling. They literally never lose their shape. There’s no need to guess your size because there is only one size. The only thing I don’t get is their “Lowrider” name; what I love most about them is the way they sit so high.

Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

Cool Comfort Cotton Stretch Briefs (10-Pack)
Photo: TERRY DOYLE
Cool Comfort Cotton Stretch Briefs (10-Pack)
$15 at Walmart

I first discovered these underpants after a colleague tossed a pack of them into our office’s free bin a few years ago. I thought, Hey, free underwear, brought them home, and that was that. They have since become my favorites, and I’ve reordered them a few times. Not only are they incredibly comfortable, but their “hipster” style and sporty white band give them a somewhat understated-sexy vibe. And the price is very, very right. Also in my regular rotation: the same style of Calvin Kleins I’ve been wearing since tenth grade, these plain-Jane guys from Muji, a handful of Hanky Panky boy shorts and a divine pair from Chantelle that were sent to me and feel like not wearing underwear at all.

Karen Iorio Adelson, writer

Aerie Real Me Thong
$15 at American Eagle

I wear thongs most days because I’m always paranoid about visible panty lines and I just find them more comfortable. These are very soft and stand up well to lots of wearing and washing. I don’t do the whole delicates-bag thing, although I know I should, so I appreciate that these can take a beating in the washer and dryer and still come out feeling soft and looking fresh. They also come in a range of skin-toned colors, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a neutral match. And since Aerie is pretty much always having a sale — right now you can get 7 pairs for $29 — I’ve never paid full price for them.

Aerie Seamless Thong
$13 at American Eagle

Aerie also makes my favorite workout underwear. The material is stretchy and moisture-wicking, which is perfect for breaking a sweat. Because they’re seamless, they don’t show through exercise leggings and there’s no chance of any rubbing or chafing. During an Aerie sale, I’ll usually stock up with a mix of these and the everyday “Real Me” thongs.

Margaret Rhodes, senior editor

Gap Body Breathe Thong
From $13 at Gap

I love a high-waisted, high-cut brief, but with pants, I can’t handle anything but a thong. I marvel at people who say thongs are like a form of torture. They probably bought the wrong thongs. Some of the right thongs, in my opinion, include these seamless ones from Calvin Klein and DKNY. But my true favorite — like “excited when these are fresh out of the laundry” favorite — is the Gap Body Breathe thong. They’re mostly polyester, not cotton, which, you know, not supposed to do. But they are soft the way a vintage T-shirt is soft, and have fabric-covered waist and leg bands that sit comfortably on skin. I first bought these ages ago, when it seemed like regular underwear could only be found here or at Victoria’s Secret, and some of the original pairs are still in excellent shape. No loose threads, no worn-out shape.

Maxine Builder, writer

Nellie Basic Laser-Cut Thong
$8 at Urban Outfitters

I cannot explain how much I hate shopping for underwear, so when I find a pair that I even remotely like, I buy it in bulk, which is exactly what I did when I discovered this simple, laser-cut underwear from Urban Outfitters. They are thin, microfiber, no-show thongs that still somehow feel full coverage, not like my butt’s hanging out. Plus, you can get five pairs for $25, which is the perfect deal for my hoarding-style of buying underwear. (Two-thirds of my collection is black, the last third is rose.)

Jason Chen, deputy editor

Calvin Klein Boxer Briefs (3-pack)
$40 at Nordstrom

This is boring and standard, but I’ve been wearing the standard Calvin Klein boxer briefs (NOT the trunks or micro-modal or any of the newfangled versions that all fit weird and feel uncomfortable) for a decade-plus. I buy three new three-packs every January and cycle out the old ones.

Lauren Ro, writer

Victoria’s Secret Everyday Perfect Bikini Panty
From $10 at Amazon

Victoria’s Secret makes the best bikini panty out there. Well, used to, at least. The last few times I checked online and in store, I couldn’t find my beloved undies anywhere. They do have them on Amazon, but maybe it’s a sign that I should graduate to more grown-up panties. I don’t do thongs as a rule, but I don’t like VPL either. And if underwear so much as threatens to creep toward wedgie territory, I’m done. So when I first tried these as a four-for-whatever deal years ago, I felt like I had come across the holy grail. They came in tasteful heathered colors, didn’t bear any visible VS insignia, and were made of a nylon-polyester-spandex blend (with a panel of breathable cotton in the crotch part), which meant that pants glided right on, and the panty stayed put. The coverage and fit were just-so that your butt wouldn’t get creased, even in the tightest of jeans.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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Stuff We Buy Ourselves: The Underwear Our Editors Like Best