Late Enough I Ask Advice Button

I Ask: What’s The Big Deal About Panty Lines?

Okay I NEVER wear thongs. And I won Best Butt back in 1995 at my summer camp so it’s not because I can’t shake it with the best of them. But I cannot handle the INFINITE WEDGIE (said in a echo-y voice like in the Muppet’s Show PIGS IN SPACE).

And any sentence that ends with but you’ll get used to it is NOT going to fly with me. Except for shoes and sparkles, I take function over form any day. (And sparkles on my thongs aren’t going to cut it. Maybe just cut my butt. Which is NOT okay because there is NO way to get a band-aid to stick on a butt.)

I even tried these underwear that SWORE you couldn’t see the panty line through your dress/pants/shirt/shorts.  You know WHY you couldn’t see the panty line? Because the underwear spent the day in my butt.  They are actually thongs for women with big butt-cracks.  But that’s just not a tagline which sells well.

And then I realized: Why? Why do I care? Shouldn’t people be HAPPY to know I’m wearing underwear?  I come across three hundred people a day that I’m relieved to know that they have full-coverage underwear on.

So I ask: What’s the big deal about panty lines?

(And you can weigh in on the bra straps, too.  I can get away without a bra so this is really for the big-boob readers. Or the any boob readers.)

Best interaction that I had nothing to do with. Oh and some answers in there too. Kellie writes: When my husband and I were first dating I was a thong wearing woman. Now 10, oh hell 15 pounds, heavier…I’m not. I don’t care how pretty the underwear is when its a strap running through your crack and your ass is pale and need I say, big — it’s not attractive. I moved back to the comfortable panties for his benefit. Besides between the diaper bag, cell phone, purse, two hands to hold and coffee cup/soda I have enough to hold onto without pulling fabric out of my ass.

I’d sell one of my children to go braless. (Wait dont call CPS yet — Im only half serious) Ive been sporting an underwire since my boobs hit size D in sixth grade. Now my DD’s arent really measured in cup sizes. They are measured in length. Now Im a 38 Long! Breastfeeding/gravity were not kind. As soon as I win the lottery I’ll be under the knife and braless as quickly as I can. Oh the glory days….!

Mandy replies:

Kellie, we don’t know each other, but you’re my soul sister.

I too used to be a thong wearing woman. I even wore them while pregnant with my first child. Then…I had a baby and re-discovered the joys of full coverage.

I did go braless in my wild and crazy Ricky Martin Latin dance craze days. I sported the backless tops made so memorable by the music videos. Of course, my DD’s were prone to…jiggling. Thank God for duct tape.

Now…with breastfeeding, my boobs have gotten to the point where I can use my bras as a parachute in case of plane crashes.

And you think I’m joking.

Answer that made think at least I’m not totally alone anymore (and she loves my husband. But not in a weird I-have-to-beat-her-up way.) Tracey writes: Finally!!! Someone else (under 70) who doesn’t understand what the big freaking deal about seeing panty lines is!! I can’t tell you how happy my pediatrician is your husband. Otherwise, I would never have found you & our secret kinship of Visible Panty Lines. I love you for understanding my need not to floss my butt. Flossing my teeth is plenty, thanks.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

76 thoughts on “I Ask: What’s The Big Deal About Panty Lines?

  1. I have big boobs, but I would love to just go braless all the time. But then I would be scared that you would see me and write a blog about plus size woman that don’t wear bras. 🙂

    1. I would write a really NICE blog post. About a plus sized woman whose left breast tried to tackle me and steal my purse. Okay, so you should keep them in your bra. At least around my wallet. But go braless in your house once a week. That’s an order!

  2. Well, I started wearing thongs because regular undies tended to ride up there anyways so I figured I’d just try them. I won’t say that you do get used to it (but you do!).

    As for the bra thing…I can get away with not wearing a bra due to having fake boobs (a boob job about 13 years ago). I’m not a fan of seeing bra straps, but it seems to be an inevitable problem!

    1. I never thought about a boob job keeping them perky. Big AND no bra? Priceless. (Does Master Card know about this. Commercial television HERE WE COME. Your boobs. My brains. NO BRAS!)

  3. ROFL!!!!!! OMG Alex you crack me up. Seriously though, I am so with you on the thongs. Before I got married I totally wore them just to be hot when I went out and stuff. My husband thought I was a full time thong girl. Little did he know that I had a TREASURE TROVE of full coverage panties hiding out just waiting to make their appearance. I even have a blog post about this called The Thong Conspiracy. Check it out sometime if you want. http://www.organicmotherhoodwithcoolwhip.com/subBlog.asp?bID=71

    1. I’ll totally check out the link! And although I didn’t do the old thong switcharoo, I used to match my bra and undies. And then I met pregnancy. Poor hubbies…

  4. Finally!!! Someone else (under 70) who doesn’t understand what the big freaking deal about seeing panty lines is!! I can’t tell you how happy my pediatrician is your doctor. Otherwise, I would never have found you & our secret kinship of Visible Panty Lines. I love you for understanding my need not to floss my butt. Flossing my teeth is plenty, thanks.

  5. Can’t edit comments! Ugh. By your doctor I actually meant your husband. That makes more sense. So, to recap. Grateful MY pediatrician = YOUR husband. And I shall go back to not communicating with adults. Clearly that is a better idea.

  6. I used to obsess about bra straps and panty lines.

    Ever since hubby started watching “Charmed”, I stopped worrying about bra straps, at least. If it’s okay for those babes to walk around with their straps sticking out, I figured it was okay for me.

    But don’t get me started on women who show up at formal events in strapless dresses with bra straps hanging out. Eeww…

  7. Hmm… good question. I wear thongs (actually, g-strings ’cause I don’t need a big ‘ole piece of fabric folded in my butt. A string will do). I wear full coverage if my pants don’t hug my butt too tightly because they really are more comfy.

    As for panty lines? I can’t stand having them… they indent my butt and I don’t like the indent; I feel like it draws attention to places I would rather be ignored.

  8. I think people with big booties (not huge, but like a J-Lo butt) who wear tight pants look A LOT better without panty lines. Otherwise, the line makes a big indent and the sides hanging out does not look pretty.

    But I don’t care if I see someone with panty lines. And I think it’s much better than not wearing any panties at all. Funny… when I’m speaking the only time I use the word “panties” is for my 5yo daughter. For myself it’s underwear. But “underwear lines” just sounds stupid.

    Anyway, I say wear whatever is comfortable. And if you wear tight pants and don’t care if the line cuts your butt cheek in half, than more power to ya! For me, it’s Hanes Her Way cotton granny panties all the way! 🙂

    Re: bra straps… for casual wear – who cares if they show. For formal wear and dresses – it looks very trashy.

    1. I never use the word panties except in this post. Underroo lines made it sound like I was wearing my son’s underwear. And underwear lines just sounded weird. And that’s about all the synonyms I got for underwear that doesn’t get into thongs.

      And I’m totally with you on the bra straps. Mostly because it’s what I already DO and I don’t like change

  9. I’ve discovered that all undies go up my ass (no thongs, thanks) AND show pantylines, UNLESS they are granny panties. more like shorts. They have to CUP your ass, hugging UNDER the cheeks with a straight line that goes around the thigh. Not sexy. But comfie and they work.

    1. I tried like a sexy version of the boy shorts and it’s like sexy and wedgy go together. Because my hand was UP IN THERE like five times an hour
      I needed GRANNY SHORTS. Any suggestions on where to find such wonderful non-wedgy comfiness?

      1. Oh, yeah- the “boy shorts” are just panties in the front with a wedgie in back. No can do. They gotta be MORE granny. I wear Calida “briefs” that are actually cute, but FULL coverage. I also have a pair of seriously granny Vanity Fair briefs-gone-1940swimtrunks that I wear when i need silky tummy flattening.

  10. I used to try to wear thongs with cute skirts to work and then I realized I spent the whole day squirming around and picking it out of my butt. I’m guessing that whole routine was much less attractive than showing some panty lines.

  11. So not a thong girl, either. So glad we are in good company!

    I got some of those seamless ones from Victoria’s secret and they spent the day in my crack, too! My friend said the ones at Soma are awesome.

    And, I’m not a fan of the bra straps, either…and I can’t really go braless.

    1. So I’ve seen invisible strap bras. Have you tried those? They seemed a little weird to me. Like Wonder Woman’s invisible plane that was CLEARLY VISIBLE. But then again I was proud that I could wear a bra finally so the straps don’t bother me too much.

  12. I am totally with you on thongs – they are the most uncomfortable of garments and that sensation of being carved in two at the rear is not my cup of tea. If I could get away with going braless I would, but as a DD it’s not really comfortable for me or fair on the rest of the world 🙂

  13. Okay, so as for panties, as long as they don’t sag and wrinkle up, giant panties are fine.

    Bra straps are another thing. I don’t mind seeing them if they are the appropriate color. If you are wearing a white shirt and I can see your turqoise or hot fuschia bra strap, SHAME ON YOUR MAMA! Jeez people.

    1. I like to match the bra with the shirt. Or at least go nude. (Not naked no clothing! Nude bra color. But maybe naked. It DOES solved the matching problems. Not really the SHAME ON YOUR MAMA problem though)

  14. I have a hard enough time flossing my teeth…
    I do have some thongs in the drawer “in case”, but don’t wear them like I did in my twenties.
    Funny, today I also wrote about women’s undergarments… sort of.

    PS- I like you.

  15. Oh- I forgot the bra straps. I have NO boobs (29A-) but cannot go braless anymore- it just doesn’t look good, I guess I am too old. And bras are my worst enemy. Everything is too big and/or uncomfortable. I end up wearing little cami-like training bras, and I don’t really care if those show a little.

  16. Well you already know that I am all about not wearing panties. but not because i give 2 shits about pantie lines. It just a free feeling.

    PS I think i saw somewhere that you can get your vag jay jay bedazzled.
    hmmmmmm, I m not so sure that is for me. Seems like it would be a little scratchy. No?

  17. I like boyshorts. My husband likes boyshorts on me and for some reason they don’t show under jeans, maybe because that’s where my butt naturally ends? Also, my bra straps hang out all the time. Yes, I wear a bra. I’m not ashamed.

    1. I’m mostly just jealous of my lack of bra-need. I may start wearing my bra straps on my arms just to say I’M WEARING ONE.

      So my butt must be weird because boy shorts ride up too. Or my butt crack is a mighty fun place to hang out.

  18. Hi Alex! My pediatrician is your husband and a google search of his name led me to you! So glad it did because I love your blog. Anyhow – to weigh in on the VPL conversation – I used to care. Back before I had kids. Back when I spent lots of money on pretty lace thongs to make my booty look great in the super-expensive suits I used to wear. Then I had babies. And decided to stay home. Granny panties are the S*%t! As far as the bra straps go – gotta wear one cause the girls need the support but it’s to darned hot for me to care if anyone cares about seeing them. I’m wearing a tank top and if the straps show, then oh well. At least my boobs don’t reach my knees.

    1. We were meant to be together. Because although my girls can fly free, I like a good bra to keep them UP near my chest too.

      And all my fancy undies? In my drawer. Mocking my husband.

  19. So, the vanishing line panties at Soma Intimates are awesome, they have a bit of a rubberized texture around the bottom of your butt. It sounds so weird, but rubberied = sticky, so they stay put! They make them in all styles too, I like the boy shorts, I wear them under scrubs, which show panty lines like crazy and you can’t see the lines and my ass is completely covered!

    How about this for uncomfortable… I played soccer in college and there was a girl on the team who wore thongs exclusively. Even to play soccer in. It makes me cringe when I think about running in a thong, much less playing soccer. (We saw an awful lot of her rear through the season).

    1. So the rubberized soma undies. I will check them out. If only to say I have rubber pants.

      And soccer and thongs are just not okay. But cool that you were good enough to play in college!

  20. If the panty lines show – it’s too tight. That’s my rule of thumb. And if you really want to wear something that tight, then you probably wear thongs. I guess panty lines are a no no because it leaves little to the imagination – almost forces a mental image – and that is very bad on most lined persons.

    Bra straps have a way of creeping out from under the tank top. Again – something probably designed for a woman but designed BY a man. However, people who wear low back shirts or dresses, etc. and the shirt/dress falls BELOW the bra – as in I could unhook you because it’s hanging out there… you might as well be naked. I have issues with that one.

    But hey – if you feel good, you think you look good, your husband thinks you look good, and you don’t give a you know what – panty line it up!

    1. Ooh, I do NOT like the whole bra peeking out on the back either. Yuck.

      But I have a few skirts that do show panty lines because of the material more than the booty hug… Although at least a panty line says: There is more than just this clingy material between you and my butt.

      And my husband would think I looked good in a muumuu. Good for me. Not good for my fashion abilities.

  21. So you can get away without a bra? Don’t they flop and move around and stuff?

    I agree–I’d prefer for people not to see my pantyline, but if they do, so be it. (Some panties are higher than others, just like, as Morrissey says, some girls are bigger than others.)

    And I’m totally with you on thongs. I’ve wanted to like them, tried. They just suck! Who wants to have a wedgie all day long? Maybe some butts are just different than others.

    1. I can get away with like a tube top. Or a shelf bra. It’s the one saving grace of an A-cup.

      And every butt is unique. That could be the next PSA for us no-thong wearing ladies.

  22. When my husband and I were first dating I was a thong wearing woman. Now 10, oh hell 15 pounds, heavier…I’m not. I don’t care how pretty the underwear is when its a strap running through your crack and your ass is pale and need I say, big – it’s not attractive. I moved back to the comfortable panties for his benefit. Besides between the diaper bag, cell phone, purse, two hands to hold and coffee cup/soda I have enough to hold onto without pulling fabric out of my ass.

    I’d sell one of my children to go braless. (Wait dont call CPS yet – Im only half serious) Ive been sporting an underwire since my boobs hit size D in sixth grade. Now my DD’s arent really measured in cup sizes. They are measured in length. Now Im a 38 Long! Breastfeeding/gravity were not kind. As soon as I win the lottery I’ll be under the knife and braless as quickly as I can. Oh the glory days….!

    1. Kellie, we don’t know each other, but you’re my soul sister.

      I too used to be a thong wearing woman. I even wore them while pregnant with my first child. Then…I had a baby and re-discovered the joys of full coverage.

      I did go braless in my wild and crazy Ricky Martin Latin dance craze days. I sported the backless tops made so memorable by the music videos. Of course, my DD’s were prone to…jiggling. Thank God for duct tape.

      Now…with breastfeeding, my boobs have gotten to the point where I can use my bras as a parachute in case of plane crashes.

      And you think I’m joking.

    2. I was worried that my breasts would get smaller after breastfeeding. I would have needed surgery and suction cups. And I secretly wished they would stay big (I got DD+ during breastfeeding — it’s like they had been waiting their whole lives for this moment) — but I’m going to be grateful for my braless days now. Although I previous commenter said she could go braless with Ds because of a boob job. Send some lotto money my way!

  23. It is rather comforting to know that people stil wear underwear-especially after my run in with a crazy flasher lol 😀 Also thongs? One word-um.. OW 🙁
    Ah,and I agree with most of your readers here bra-straps at a formal event=Le Trashie belle :/

  24. I’ve never worried about the pantyline issue too much but I’ve found skirts are a good solution. The up side…comfortable, attractive and not a pantyline in sight. The down side…it’s really windy where I live and I quite often find my skirt drifting north of the border when the breeze catches it just right.

    Which probably means the full coverage underwear is a *really* good idea now that I think about it… :O

    1. HA! I wasn’t sure if your emoticon :O was looking up a thong or commando skirt on a windy day. But then I realized that made no sense. And instead I found this one: (_|_) or ({}).
      Okay why do I find these totally hilarious?

      1. Actually it was supposed to be the shocked expression on the face of passers-by who were subjected to the sight. Maybe this is better? 😯

        Ha ha…I love this one -> (_|_). Fortunately I was in-between mouthfuls of tea when I saw it.

  25. Two words for you:

    Boy. Shorts.

    Full coverage, no panty line and you can buy them in a five pack.

    Ahhh…remember the days of matching bra and panty sets?

    1. Those days are so far away now… Nursing bras? Don’t have match panties with clips for a quick pee or something.

      So boy shorts tried to get up my butt too (it must be fun in there)… so where do you shop for yours. Victoria Secret did NOT go well.

      PS. Your boobs as parachutes comment reply below was HYSTERICAL

      1. Ahhh…there’s the problem: buying them at Vikki’s Secret. You’ve gotta go to Target, next to the diaper aisle, near the Assets and across from boxes of bras. No sparkles in sight. Just a lot of good, ol’ fashioned cotton.

  26. Mandy is right — boy shorts are a great solution for this. I’m not at all opposed to a thong, but boy shorts are a good alternative. They are usually what I go for when wearing a skirt or dress so I don’t feel so, ahem, exposed.

    I’m so jealous of anyone who can go without wearing a bra. I’ve always been bigger up top, but since being pregnant and nursing, things are just all kinds of out of whack in that area. But anyway, I think as far as seeing bra straps, it’s all about context. A formal event, probably not ok, but if you’re just out and about in Target or what have you, I don’t really care.

    1. “Bigger up top” was what I got for the last five months of pregnancy and the year of breastfeeding my first. Not exactly the times that I can stick a tassel on and really enjoy them.

      But I will check out the boy shorts. But where? Because I tried them once form Victoria Secret and ended up with glittery boy shorts in my now glittery butt crack.

  27. I agree–I am happy to know that you ARE wearing underwear and not naked under those pants. I too hate thongs- E-coli is all I can think about whenever I see a thong. It makes me want to wash my hands immediately and often. I’m truly amazed that the masses have been willing to put up with a ‘wedgie’ to avoid panty lines…shocking! Bring on the comfort! Give me my granny panties or give me death!

  28. I have a big buttcrack and am all over those panties linked. I’ll let you know how it goes. Even if you don’t want to know. Which I’m sure you don’t. I’ll still let you know.

    I love bra straps. As much as mine show, they are a geedee accessory to almost every outfit I wear. I saw Amy Sedaris on a talk show once and she talked about how she sewed rhinestones on all of her bra straps because if they are going to hang out they should at least look pretty. I’m stealing that.

    1. Well I do have a thing for sparkly things. And I was pretty proud when I could start wearing bras. At like fourteen. BEDAZZLE!

      And I can’t WAIT to learn more about your large butt crack. Because isn’t that a line in the song THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR!! FOR GOOD TIMES! AND BUTT CRACKS!! ALL BE BUYING UNDERWEAR EVERMORE!!

  29. I have an aversion to pantylines. Not sure why but when I am out in public, I use thongs. Not the most comfortable but I got used to them, and take comfort in the fact that I’m pantylineless. At home, I wear full coverage, with a preference for boy shorts-type underwear. They are definitely more comfortable. Funny I have strong feelings about pantylines but could care less if my fingers aren’t manicured or my hair isn’t perfectly bouncy. And braless? Never. Not with boobs my size.

  30. Two reasons I wear thongs (from time to time – I embrace all underwear equally):
    1. I don’t have to pick it out of my crack because it’s suppose to be there. All undies wind up there eventually so why bother?
    2. It’s all that fit right now and I refuse to buy maternity underwear.

  31. I wear a thong unless I’m wearing jeans. I don’t know why. I find them perfectly comfortable. I guess because like someone else mentioned, all my underwear ends up in my butt crack anyways, might as well be on purpose.

    As for the bra thing, I have to wear one. I’m a G cup and my boobs are super saggy. So if I don’t wear one my belly has two large lumps. Not pretty.

    1. The belly lumps visual? Hilarious and disturbing.

      But I’ve heard the rumors about thongs and comfort. Maybe I have more butt nerves. Okay that’s a REALLY weird sentence to write.

  32. I prefer boy shorts. I tried wearing thongs a few years ago and hated them. I feel cuter and much more comfortable in boy shorts. Who gives a shit about panty lines? I have more important things to worry about

  33. I am so tired of people telling me I need to try wearing thongs. I take a yoga class, and I have 2 pairs of yoga pants, and 1 pair of athletic legging-pant things. I have never worn a thong in my life, therefore, I wear hipster/bikini/cheeky/etc panties. I am aware that I have panty lines showing, and I do not mind. However, many girls, and guys, on campus have complained about seeing too many girls with yoga pants and panty lines showing. I am not one of those people who wears the yoga pants JUST to show off my butt. I don’t have much of a butt in the first place (I’m really thin). I honestly am just one of the few who wear yoga pants to yoga.. and to bed sometimes. Why does it matter so much if my panty lines are showing? Why aren’t you just happy that I’m wearing underwear, and not butt floss? Why would you want to floss your butt? ..especially after eating the gross, cafeteria food?… just saying. If you don’t like what you see, don’t look! It’s not that hard!

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