As picky as adults are about their underwear — whether it be women’s thongs or men’s boxer briefs — shopping for kids’ underpinnings can be even more difficult. Parents want pairs that will be durable and long-lasting, but also fun enough that kids will actually want to wear them. To find kid-friendly underwear that actually lasts, we asked eight cool people — including models, writers, bloggers, and children’s fashion editors, many of whom are parents — to tell us about their favorite styles. Read on for all their picks, from Disney-princess patterned panties and striped briefs to solid-colored and gender-neutral options. Generally, the pairs shown come in sizes that will fit kids between 2 and 10 years old; if any pairs do not fall within that range, we’ve noted that.
Best printed underwear for kids
Linda McLean, a children’s fashion editor at Family Traveller magazine and the founder of the website Smudgetikka, told us she likes the kids’ underwear options from the British brand Boden. “Their value packs of underwear for boys and girls always have cool prints and of-the-moment color combinations,” she says, adding that the underwear is well made. The above set for girls combines striped styles with Liberty of London–esque floral prints, while the set shown for boys includes briefs with monster motifs (both Boden will fit kids up to age 8).
With its classic French styling and understated charm, McLean calls Petit Bateau the “crème de la crème of underwear for kids.” The brand is also a favorite of mom of two Ariane Goldman, the founder of Hatch. “I’m a Francophile, so when I can get a little piece of Parisian design on my girls, I do,” says Goldman. The above sets will fit toddlers ages 2 and 3.
McLean also recommends Gap Kids for simple, affordable underwear. These seven packs are a price performer, with each pair breaking down to roughly $4 (or less) a pair. Plus, each one is printed with a different day of the week, making morning getting-ready routines that much easier.
“I always opt for organic fabrications for my daughters underwear,” says Lia-Belle King, creative director and co-founder of sustainable design store Worn. That’s why she is “such a fan” of Bobo Choses. Not only are the brand’s briefs cut from organic cotton, but they are also “incredibly well made — they don’t stretch out, and the colors and prints are always so good across their entire range,” King tells us. Plus, they feature interesting prints that are a bit unexpected (and dare we say sophisticated) for kids’ underwear.
Best solid underwear for kids
For basic kids’ underwear in a rainbow of solid shades, Goldman and Cup of Jo founder Joanna Goddard turn to Primary, whose founders worked at companies like Baby Einstein and Diapers.com before setting out to create a line of logo-free kids’ wardrobe basics. “What they stand for and the simple selection makes things easier and logical,” according to Goldman. “After years of buying superhero underwear and secretly cringing, I fell in love with Primary underwear,” adds Goddard. “It is soft, comfy, affordable, and comes in a bunch of solid colors. Done and done.”
As editor of Earnshaw’s, a magazine about the children’s fashion industry, Emily Beckman sees a lot of kids’ underwear. She told us these sweet, made-in-the-USA bottoms are her top pick of the moment. “Esme underwear for children is extremely soft, comfortable and lightweight,” she explains. “Girls’ styles are made with finishing touches of lace and rosette for a cute, age-appropriate look.” Their boxer briefs for boys are also age-appropriate; in addition to the solid-colored pairs above, you can also get Esme boys’ briefs with adorable prints, like monkeys or movie snacks.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option for your kids’ underwear drawers, Brianne Manz, blogger at Stroller in the City, says, “Hanes makes great ones.” Their multipacks of cotton briefs come with six and seven days’ worth of underwear for less than the price you’d pay for lunch. While the boys’ set is all solids, the girls’ set includes three printed pairs along with its solid-colored styles. But if you’re just seeking solids, Hanes sells its girls’ underwear in a solid-color-only three-pack.
Another affordable option is Fruit of the Loom, which LaTonya Yvette, stylist and author of Woman of Color, admits isn’t “particularly cool” but is “sturdy and has an amazing life span.” The all-white briefs will fit girls ages 4 to 14, while the rainbow set will fit toddlers up to age 5.