I have never forgotten the day when, while strolling around my college campus many, many years ago, I was catcalled — by a construction worker, no less — for the first time in my life. “Nice panty line!” he yelled. The jumpsuit I was wearing was both loose and tight (in all the wrong places), and his sentiment seemed to be neither a compliment nor helpful fashion advice. In the decades since, this episode of minor humiliation has haunted me every time I tried — and failed — to find a more perfect (less visible) pair of underwear. Well-meaning friends would always point me in the direction of thongs, or boy shorts, or pairs made with high-tech microfiber that promised to vanquish panty lines. But whenever I tried any of these styles, no matter the brand, the underwear would give me an intolerable wedgie. The prospect of forever being forced to settle for either a wedgie or VPL once actually led me to tears in an outlet-store dressing room, knowing I was being sold lies and would be disappointed yet again (I’ll admit that going through an ugly breakup at the time didn’t help).
Your body type, perhaps not surprisingly, can affect what kind of underwear best suits you. I’ve done enough research about underwear and body types to determine that I suffer from a ride-up problem. Based on a blog post by the founder of Her Room, which claims to be the largest woman-owned online lingerie retailer, I seem to fall into the “low bottom” category — a.k.a. not particularly perky — so the seam of the panty doesn’t stay in place under the butt cheek, but instead climbs up to create the dreaded “quad bottom,” and thus, a visible panty line. People with this body type, the post suggests, would be most flattered by boy shorts — but specifically ones “with a bit of a leg and edges lined in stretch lace for added coverage.”
Armed with this criteria, I took to the internet to search for brands that met it and came upon the promising-looking Soft Silk underwear from Uwila Warrior, which markets it as the “ultimate wedgie slayer.” The Boston-based brand was founded in 2016 by college friends Natalia Martorell and Lisa Mullan, who started it after their favorite maker of silk underwear suddenly closed. “We had sort of a panic attack,” Mullan told me of the impetus behind starting their own brand of thoughtfully designed–but-practical lingerie meant for everyday wear. While boy shorts have generally not worked for me in the past, this boy-short-adjacent cut really does.
The underwear’s scalloped-lace edges and more generous cut meet the low-bottom advice above: I’ve worn them in all the positions — standing, sitting, bending over, laying down — and they feel luxurious, never ride up, and show no trace of VPL. Have I worn them on a red carpet? Well, no, but I don’t think that issue will ever come up, and beneath the bottoms I have worn them with — including jeans, yoga pants, and even a jumpsuit (not the same one) — I never noticed any visible seams. They may look larger than what you typically wear, but Mullan explains the Soft Silks are “constructed to fit around the body, not expand on your bottom.” (The brand’s website has a helpful sizing chart.)
If the thought of spending $38 on a single pair of underwear feels borderline immoral, I get it. I am cheap and, in fact, the company kindly sent me a pair to try after I contacted it following my research. Part of that price is for the silk fabrication, and as Mullan points out, silk is naturally moisture-wicking, breathable, and actually better for the skin. I am surely not the only person who’s thrown out countless pairs of subpar underwear after only a few wears, which is why I plan to invest in more pairs of the Soft Silk underwear because, if treated right, they’re designed to last. While the ongoing pandemic has yet to give me many opportunities to wear the underwear out of the house, when we are able to leave our homes again, I look forward to being ignored by every construction worker I pass.