compulsive shopping

The Never-Sag Underwear Katie Sturino Owns in (Almost) Every Color

The author in one of her many colorful pairs of Parade’s boy shorts. Photo: Courtesy of Katie Sturino

When I was in college, the only underwear I wanted to wear was Calvin Klein. But I couldn’t because the company didn’t make my size. It does now, but I’ll never forget how that experience made me feel bad, left out, and lesser than. It’s one of many that inspired me to build a career around helping women feel confident and comfortable at any size. That career includes launching my brand, Megababe; writing my new book, Body Talk; and trying on clothes every day for my Instagram followers. Perhaps it goes without saying, but nobody will feel great in what they’re wearing if that outfit starts with bad underwear. Bad, of course, can mean many things: too tight, too loose, too old, too beige. (I mean, truly, who actually likes beige?)

My underwear drawer, much like my personality, is a rainbow. And most of the colors in that rainbow take the form of a specific pair: some boy shorts from Parade. I own at least 10 pairs in jazzily named shades, including Storm (blueish gray), Scuba (bright blue), Banana Split (pale yellow), Vacation (sandy nude), Cobbler (peachy blush), Starry Sky (deep navy), Balloon (red), Eightball (black), and a color-block style that combines other cheery hues. Even if I can’t glimpse whatever shade I have on throughout the day (save for during the occasional wardrobe malfunction), seeing them all as I start my morning makes me happy, a mood essential to feeling confident. But lots of brands make vibrant underwear I don’t wear because few styles I’ve tried compare to these in terms of fit and feel.

Parade is only a couple of years old, so it had the benefit of launching at a time after other companies had been called out for being inaccessible. Still, it has prioritized inclusivity by offering sizes from XS–3X from the jump. Its underwear comes in lots of cuts, but I’ve always preferred styles that rise up a little further around the waist. The boy shorts, which I wear in a 3X, are not only comfortable, but they also never roll down like other pairs do when I’m moving about. Maybe this happens more if you have a big stomach; maybe not. But you know when your underwear starts to dip and you have to pull it up in the front? It’s a horrible feeling that I never experience in the boy shorts.

While the underwear stays put, I wouldn’t call it overly supportive — and I mean that in a good way. As someone who hates anything tight and seam-y, I prefer lightweight underwear and would be happy never hearing the loathsome term “control top” again. (My top does not need to be controlled; it is perfectly fine, thank you.) The solid-colored styles have mesh panels that make them more comfortable; as a sweater, I find this construction airier and more breathable. I’ll wear my pairs beneath most anything, but the full-bottom underwear looks particularly great with dresses — which, if the wind catches them the right (wrong?) way, can even allow me to show it off.

More pairs I own