There’s a secret trend afoot in the UK which requires elucidation: in lockdown, we girls have looked down and decided to quarantine our tiny pants and say ‘hello, old friend’ to cheek-covering, snuggly granny-knickers.
Don’t just take my word for it, the retail statistics back me up: searches for ‘comfy’ and ‘high-waisted’ underwear went up a whopping 46 per cent in December, while those at the polar opposite ends of the underwear market — Marks & Spencer and Agent Provocateur — are finding some surprising common ground, as customers’ tastes move firmly towards the ample.
The reasons for this are many, but start with comfort. The pandemic has meant we have to search out tactile pleasure wherever we can, and it starts with our knickers.
While the double lining is great for coverage, I felt too tucked in, like I was wearing control knickers. They felt tight, though they didn’t look it, and I think may give you a Visible Panty Line. The mid-tummy cut was not so flattering, but I did love the baby blue colour, and the material is very soft. Baby blues, £22, triumph.com
These are a firm favourite. I love the fact that they’re high cut, which elongates the legs. And if you’re going to go big, go BIG! They sit over the belly button which feels comfortable and give full coverage without cutting off your circulation. Lovely bright colour, too. Overall verdict: fab and feminine. A cut above, £12, pourmoi.co.uk
These are the big knickers you wear for someone else. Your fun pair. They were very soft but didn’t feel like they would survive many washes and I thought the positioning of the leopard print panel on the front was a little odd. The sheer back was also unnecessarily exposing. Wild side, £14, Rosie for marksandspencer.com
With a glass of wine in one hand and the TV remote in the other, I need nothing more than a nice, big pair of comfy knickers under a fleecy onesie as I collapse on the sofa at night.
While the size of women’s pants has always been at the mercy of fashion — from bloomers, to cami-knickers to the tiny, cheesewire thongs and tangas of the 1980s and 1990s — spending more time at home has empowered women to decide what style we want on our own terms: and it turns out we want to be comfortable and sexy.
Working from home has rendered thongs redundant. Our figure-hugging suits and body-con dresses haven’t been out of the wardrobe in months, removing the threat of that social faux pas, the VPL (visible panty line).
Zoom calls demand only a decorous upper-half so it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing below the waist.
Lovely fit, hitting just below the belly button. The lace is soft and sits nicely against the skin, although I would have preferred it if it had been only at the sides. The navy is slimming and the slight high-rise cut is very flattering. They were so comfortable on that they felt invisible. Oh so flattering, £9, next.co.uk
I feel rather vulnerable in these, as they offer no support on the bottom. They have a ‘barely there’ feel that would work well under tight trousers or a flowing maxi dress. Sheer but with a busy design, and the thin waist elastic means there’s no cutting in. Very pretty, very feminine. They’re special occasion pants. PRETTY FANCY, £10, asos.com
Then there’s the sad but true reality that our bodies are not what they were pre-March 2020 — high-calorie, mood-boosting food has taken on a new importance, while gyms have been off-limits.
With ever-increasing waistlines, many of us are reaching for pants which won’t cut off the circulation to our extremities.
And there’s the undeniable fact, particularly in recent weeks, that big knickers are warmer!
These have a great cut and a very high waist, and I love the jade green. They sit nicely around the bottom rather than clinging, with great coverage. In fact, you feel like you’re not wearing anything at all. They also manage to be completely sheer, but the distracting detail means that you don’t feel exposed. Sheer delight, £8, marksandspencer.com
The layering effect, with the lace underneath, makes these knickers very sexy without feeling too explosed and the material gives the bottom a lift. I love the two-tone grey. Again, an inch higher on the tummy and they’d be perfect, but they do feel comfortable. Available in burgundy from johnlewis.com LA yers of lace, £35, maison lejaby
Perhaps unsurprisingly, solicitors are predicting a spike in the divorce rate as we emerge from the claustrophobia of lockdown, but for some couples the opposite has been true.
Many people — myself included — have found that spending so much time together, without the distractions of the busy, outside world, has been bonding.
Maybe women buying big, bright, attractive pants is a sign of sexual optimism (even if we can only dream about a future without the kids in the house all the time).
As a committed thong girl, I’ve found this new, more generous style a complete game-changer.
Quite boyish in style, these pants are not big enough. They cut in at the side and I hate the height of the waistband, which needs to be higher in my view. Lovely and soft in a stretchy fabric, this is a style for a young lady wearing low-cut jeans as they almost feel like a bikini bottom. Just for jeans, £16, fantasie.com
These are my least favourite — they have a much younger feel to them. The shorts shape is extremely unflattering as it cuts off in the wrong place to make your stomach feel larger. Not great for anyone with short legs. Far too sheer and they tend to pinch in the wrong places. Shorts shrift, £55.50, empreinte.eu
Plus, they’re a good investment: trust me, G-strings don’t survive too many hot washes but I have huge bottom-huggers older than my firstborn (and he’s 17!).
It seems we’ve emerged from lockdown resourceful, practical and ready for what life throws at us.
A new genre of cleverly cut, beautifully designed undergarment, in some truly gorgeous colours — gone are the horrid beiges and whites of the multi-pack granny pants of old — have emerged that flatter and do wonders for any figure, and could never be described as frumpy.
So I hope we have got to the bottom of such a significant social trend. Click and buy ladies — you’ve never had such a long list of reasons to keep your tush toasty.