Granny panties are super trendy right now, and I have to say, I'm thrilled with this development. I am not a thong person. Never was. I've owned probably two in the 15 years since it's been appropriate for me to wear a thong, and I've never worn one for an entire day.
I know some people love thongs, and I'm very happy for them. But I don't buy that whole "I don't want panty lines" thing. Thongs give you panty lines, too. If you don't want panty lines, don't wear underwear! (Or wear seamless underwear.) If you just like thongs and think your butt looks awesome in them, then you should wear them every day.
Personally, I love big underwear so much that sometimes I buy them a size up for extra comfort, kind of like the female equivalent of boxer shorts. (Of course, I can't wear oversized undies with fitted pants. I also can't wear them with dresses because they often fall off of my non-existent hips. So I end up wearing them around the house and that's it.)
Buying massive underwear is obviously just some sick personal quirk of my own, but preferring hipsters and high-waisted briefs over thongs is a more widespread trend. While thongs are still a major chunk of the $3 billion women's underwear industry, bringing in $559 million in sales in 2012, hipsters sold better, according to market research authority NPD. They commanded $618 million in 2012. Bikinis are the most popular style, with $708 million in sales. But the real success story is the high-cut brief, which saw its numbers double in two years, from $79 million in 2010 to $197 million in 2012. Although hipsters, boy-cut undies, thongs and bikinis all saw decent sales increases over those two years, probably very much in thanks to the recovering economy.
And the retailers confirm the numbers. "We're seeing sales of thongs softening, but there is an interesting increase in boyleg and fuller coverage panties," says Jan Snodgrass, US president of Hanro of Switzerland. "Visually, fuller coverage panties seem more fresh, modern and young. Innovation also plays a part—better fabrics decrease any visible panty lines and are more comfortable."
As for the notion that granny panties aren't sexy, that's just crazy talk. They can be totally sexy as long as you feel sexy in them. The least sexy thing is being uncomfortable. Which is what I would be in a thong.
"I don't really want to be seen in a thong and the idea for TEN was to make everyday undies that are suitable for an unexpected sexy situation!" says Daphne Javitch, founder of super-cute, thong-less intimates brand TEN Undies (and my personal style icon)."TEN was very inspired by '60s and '70s style so a thong didn't really fit in. Plus, I only wear thongs for yoga or under dire VPL circumstances." Currently, the bestselling style is the boy short—naturally called the BOY—and there's been an increase in demand for her high-waisted undie, too. "I've noticed that once a girl tries the High she usually comes back for more," she says. "It's very cute under dresses and also makes a sexy pajama."
To be fair, market researchers have been predicting the "end" of the thong since the mid-aughts. So for those who still love their flossies, there will always be plenty of options. But it's nice that the tried-and-true granny panty is getting a bit of attention.