Friday, July 22, 2016

U Is For Underwear

Underwear is one of the biggest scams out there. How on earth did this Necessity become so absurdly expensive? Honestly, if it were at all expedient and convenient to Boycott Underwear, I would Do It. And it's not just Certain Brands of Underwear. Then it would be easy. Then, those of us who view Underwear as Utilitarian and Not Part Of Our Signature Look could simply scoff and say, "Seven dollars for a pair for Underwear? Surely you jest. My derriere and I will do just fine, Overpriced Underwear Purveyor, without your wares. We don't need any fancy schmancy Underwear, thank you very much." And off we would go to Reasonably Priced Underwear Emporium, plunk down our few bucks, and walk out with Basic Underwear, happy and fulfilled.

Oh, if only.

No, that is Not The Way It Works. Because apparently, there is a Vast Underworld Underwear Cartel, and this makes it downright impossible to get a decently priced pair of Underwear anywhere. I mean, come on, IT'S UNDERWEAR. What do we really need from it? We need comfort, number one; we need utility, number two. That's pretty much it. (If you need some Sexy Prancing/Writhing Come-Hither Underwear, then by all means, pay top dollar for That Ensemble, but how many of those getups do you really need? And trust me, you could use a newspaper or a bath towel or a Got Milk sun visor and it would be just as effective, because...Men.)

But I digress.

There is absolutely No Way that my Underwear should cost what it does. Hell, even Rick's Underwear should not cost what it does. I just Don't Get It. Now, disposable diapers--that cost I understand. There is a lot of ongoing Research And Development invested there. Diapers are way, way thinner and better now than the ones I put on Jared and Sam back in the '80s. But basic Underwear has changed (no pun intended), relatively speaking, very little.

Unless you are speaking about the names of Underwear, and there, the changes have been stunning (Victoria's Secret, I am talking to you). Holy crap. I'm ready to pin the whole Underwear Inflation Scandal on that place alone. I feel like the whole Idea of that place is not only responsible for Underwear Price Inflation, but also some pretty major setbacks in Feminism. And Body Acceptance. And Sensible Budgeting.

(Is this a good time for me to go and holler at some kids to get off my lawn? I think so, too.)


My point--and I do have one--is that Underwear is a terribly overpriced Necessary. And once I find a source for a variety that I Like and Accept The Price Of, I buy a bunch of it because I know what will happen. That particular brand or style or source will completely disappear for No Reason Whatsoever, just like every single other product that I loved and lost.  And nothing lasts forever; certainly not Underwear.

(Although I know that more than a few of you have at least one pair of Emergency, Third-String Underwear in the drawer, right?  Just In Case?  Bonus points if it is actually maternity Underwear and the youngest kid isn't even living at home.)

Your turn.  Mention all your Unmentionables in Comments.



  1. Wonderful summation of a problem too often overlooked by the gentile ladies who wear such unmentionables-- and find the cost of said unmentionables to be unmentioned. Got me laughing out loud with "Third-String Underwear." My undies are pretty much of two kinds, those that fit right now and those that used to fit in my younger days. I don't discard the latter because I am forever hopeful [deluded?] that I might fit into them one day again. Also I paid a fortune for them so I cannot in good conscience let go of them yet.

    1. Ally Bean--Oh, thank you. I finally got rid of the Third-String Underwear and only have Second-Stringers now (2 pair). And I understand your reticence at releasing the Good Yet Petite Underwear. It's hard to let go of pricey stuff that has also some hopes and dreams attached to it. Or a Past. But I will say, I had a similar situation with some career clothing, and once I finally let it go, I did not miss it at all. I felt unburdened. But you'll know when it's time.

  2. I keep underwear forever because the price point on that stuff is absolutely preposterous. I had a pair of underwear for, I kid you not, 8 years. I moved in with a girlfriend and I'm pretty sure the first thing she did was throw it away because she's a bad person.

    If you do laundry like I do (twice a week no matter what. Wednesdays and Sundays) there is no reason you should have to purchase new underwear more frequently than once every 4-6 years. Otherwise, you're wasting your money.

    Any underwear conversation, and I have them more frequently than you'd think, always makes me think of Bill Murray in "Stripes" when he says, "Chicks dig me. Mostly because I rarely wear underwear, and when I do, its usually something exotic".

    1. Jared--Two words: Christmas Boxers. Probably you have Underwear older than 8 years old.

      Frequent laundering is precisely the reason many people, especially women, may have to buy Underwear more frequently. Especially if they put them in the dryer. That degrades the elastic, sadly. Elastic in women's Underwear is different than in men's. Just one more way in which Women face greater challenges/discrimination.

      Which of you three had the chili pepper boxers? Or did I just see them and not buy them at Christmas?

  3. because ... men. Truer words were never spoken.

    I wear cotton regular rise briefs and buy them at Target when needed, but even those are not always easy to find. Low-rise, boy-shorts, high-cut, thongs, the list is endless, and not what I want. When I see the style I like in the size I wear, I buy a LOT of them. They're not really expensive (say half a dozen pairs for $12 or so), but not always available. I now have MANY. I mean MANY MANY.

    Victoria's Secret? An abomination. I see the Angels commercials and throw up in my mouth a lot. I'd like to go whacking and smacking my way through that board of directors. WORST. COMPANY. EVER.

    1. LaFF--Honestly, is there no end to the Underwear Stylings? What the hell? And you are doing Fantastically if you can score Undies for $2 per pair. My admiration knows no bounds.

      VS hurts my feelings A LOT as a feminist and a Real Woman. And no, I'm not "being a hater" or being jealous, because yes, I could wear their stuff. My issue with them is that it hypersexualizes Underwear in Every Single Way, period. They don't Just Sell Underwear As Underwear. They sell it as a Sex Toy. They are the Abercrombie & Fitch of Underwear. Slimy.

  4. Eh, long ago I figured the goods were spectacular enough that I didn't need anything that special to show them off. Because, of course, men.

    Also, comfort is inversely proportionate to sexiness, it seems. It's Friday night after a looooong week, did I state that correctly? When it comes to things that are holding up the girls, I demand comfort.

    Oh sure, I've purchased my fair share of naughty lingerie, but that was years ago.

    Now, it's 100% cotton, or at least as close as I can get for bras. Not many all cotton bras have the support that I need. Definitely underwear, though.

    I shopped at Victoria's Secret for a brief period when I was young, stupid, and had money to burn. I can't even remember the last time I went in one or even looked at their stuff online.

    1. Gina--Oh, I am absolutely convinced of your Spectacular Goods. (I can see proof in your Accompanying Picture!)

      I agree wholeheartedly with your Mathy Formula re: Comfort V. Sexiness. In ALL apparel. I tend to feel that Sexiness is more Attitude (think Confidence and Carriage) than anything else. And if you aren't comfortable, all that goes out the window as you squirm and worry and get bitchy.

      Never shopped at VS--that place makes me uncomfortable. My niece (23) is a big fan, and maybe that is more their demographic.

      My "lingerie" for the past eleventy years has been Rick's old white Vee neck tee shirts and whatever boxer shorts the boys don't want anymore. Over my regular undies. The Sexy is underneath All Of That, natch.

  5. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I was big on bras & panties ‘matching.’ And I liked the cute stuff. Used to occasionally treat myself to a V.S. matching bra and panties set, although I could rarely afford it.

    Now? Well:
    1. Cotton
    2. Comfortable
    3. Something that doesn’t look too much like ‘old lady’ underwear.
    4. But who am I kidding? (No one, of course, but one must always go for the nicest 'look' possible.)

    Also: I avoid buying white. Because eventually, it takes on a dismal grey tinge. And however much you try to convince yourself that it *is* nonetheless *clean*.... it is GREY. So, yeah: beige & black mostly.

    Price, of course, forces me to wear undies until whatever elastic components there are have completely worn out and defied the limits of gravity.

    1. Ortizzle--I am not a fan of cotton undies. I like nylon for its slipperiness. Makes it so much easier for wearing jeans, leggings, etc. My nylon undies have the requisite cotton crotch. (Now THERE is an ugly word.) I also appreciate the nice, shiny appearance of it and the pretty colours it comes in. Deep jewel tones make it look less like Granny Pantalones. And yes, forget white. Nude, black, grey, and the aforementioned jewel tones. But if my favourite undies only came in white, then white it would be.

  6. *Raises hand and admits to setting back feminism by several decades* I buy almost exclusively VS underwear - the high leg brief in cotton. I usually wait for a sale, but yes it is pricey (paid $7/pair last week). I've just had such an annoying experience when I try to buy something different, so out of sheer laziness I go with what I know will work. Also, I'm anal (and there's an image you didn't want) about how I wear the underwear. I fold it neatly and only take the pair on top - that way a pair never gets washed more often than its sisters. And it last FOREVER. I have a pair that I swear I've had for over 10 years. Granted, the newer ones don't last as well because it really is true that we can't have good things anymore.

    1. The Bug--SO YOU'RE THE ONE! Lol.

  7. Believe it or not, I have shopped at Victoria's Secret. Not for underwear but for MUSIC. In the 80s and early 90s, VS had some really good classical CDs at very reasonable prices. My newest iPod still has some of those in a playlist perfect for knitting.

    I totally agree that underwear is unreasonably priced but the truth is that few things are more uncomfortable than underwear that doesn't fit well. And few things are more unsightly than watching someone straighten her underwear in public. That being the case, I am willing to pay more than I'd like in order to be comfortable.

    1. NCmountainwoman--I believe it. I once considered buying a CD at some coffee shop or other (NOT Starbucks) because I liked the sound of it. It was a sort of jazzy world music that was nice background music but didn't make me search for lyrics to try and sing along.

      I have to say that I can't remember a time that I've seen anyone struggle with Underwear in public, but it could well be that I have and did not know that it was what I was seeing. I will say that if it would have occurred during my teaching career, my students would simply have told me that it was what they were doing, as they did with everything:

      Me: What on earth are you doing?
      Student: Ms. D, my underwear is drivin' me crazy. I'm tryin' to untwist it.
      Me: Why not ask me for the pass and go to the restroom to do this?
      Student: Because you have a Two Pass Only Rule, and I'm down one already.

  8. Years ago, when MrL and I were young and frisky, we had a flirtatious discussion on the subject of titillating undergarments and his preferences in in that department. His response at the time (maybe age 21 or 22?) was: "I don't see the point" which dovetails nicely with my desire to wear only underwear that is comfortable, and may well be the basis for our 25 years of wedded bliss. When we first went on holiday to Belize back in 2009, we were prepping for a week at a jungle lodge and decided to invest in some Ex Officio underwear, which is breathable, comfy, wicking, and quick-drying (important if you are in a sweaty country with no access to washing machines.) later, when we were living in Korea (which is miserably hot and humid from about May to September) and traveling to a lot of hot, sweaty, semitropical countries in Asia, I dragged it out of the back of my drawer and began wearing it again regularly, and it's stayed in the regular rotation ever since. It would never be categorized as even vaguely sexy, but it is tremendously comfy and light and never bunches up - qualities which I consider highly important in an undergarment. While we're on the topic, I will share this tidbit of underwear-related trivia: my neighbor across the street is a lovely young woman who used to be a flight attendant for Thai Airlines, and she told me that she was expected to always wear matching bras and knickers, because - get this - if she were to be in a crash or something and her clothes were torn or burnt off, she'd still present a professional appearance. While I think that's a nice detail on the part of Thai Airlines, I am fairly certain that the flight attendant's undergarments would be my LAST concern in the event of an incident. I have no idea if or how the airline polices this, but I suppose she's to be commended for her commitment to professionalism.

    1. MsCaroline--Just quickly scanning your comment, here are its high points: young, frisky, flirtatious, titillating undergarments, jungle lodge, hot, sweaty, sexy.

      You have significantly impacted the demographic of my readership.


      Your comment as a whole brings up a Point in which I am intensely interested when it comes to fashion in general, and that is Comfort. More specifically, the idea that some people have that Comfort Excludes Style. So many people--and I am not saying that your comment puts you in their number--believe that being Fashionable or Stylish means being Uncomfortable. Not just in Underwear, but in everything. Now, in some cases that is true (i.e. sky-high heels, tight body-conscious dresses and jeans, etc). But I think some people just slob on some stretchy crap and oversize stuff and call it Comfort when it's just plain Laziness and Giving Up. And no, I'm not talking Underwear in this case.

      When it comes to Underwear, however, I absolutely think Comfort rules the day. Your example of the Thai Airline attendant absolutely proves the case. What is most important, really, in the final analysis? Underneath it all, we don't need to impress anyone; we just need to be comfortable and efficient.

      (I do recall, however, St. Patsy telling us to make sure we had clean Underwear so that if anything happened and we had to go to the Emergency Room, we would not embarrass her.)


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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