types of womens underwear

Styles and Types of Women's Underwear: How to Choose The Best For You

Emily Kho •

Navigating the world of women's underwear can be a bit overwhelming with the myriad of styles and types available. Each style has its unique features, designed to cater to different preferences, occasions, and body types. 

Understanding these variations is key whether you're looking for daily comfort, a seamless look under a tight dress, or a special occasion piece. This guide will help you delve deeper into the different types of women’s underwear, ensuring you choose the best one for your unique body and needs.


Factors to Consider When Choosing Underwear

Selecting the perfect underwear isn't just about style; it's about finding the right fit for your body and comfort level. With so many options available, it's essential to consider several factors to ensure you're making the best choice for your needs.

  • Comfort: Always prioritize comfort. The best underwear feels like a second skin.
  • Size and Fit: Ensure it fits snugly without being too tight or too loose.
  • Fabric: Different fabrics offer varying levels of comfort and breathability.
  • Style and Design: Choose a design that resonates with your personal style.
  • Occasion and Outfit Compatibility: Some styles work better under certain outfits.

When you take the time to consider these factors, you're not just buying underwear; you're investing in your comfort and confidence. Remember, the right underwear can elevate your entire outfit and mood.

8 Essential Types of Women's Underwear

Dive into the world of women underwear styles, each designed to offer unique benefits and aesthetics. Whether you're after a sporty look or something more sultry, there's a style tailored just for you.

Briefs

A classic choice for many women, briefs offer full coverage both in the front and back. They sit at the natural waistline, making them comfortable for everyday wear. Control briefs, a variant, provide a more sculpted look, cinching the waist and offering a smoother silhouette.

Hipsters

These are modern and versatile, sitting right on the hips. They offer moderate coverage and are perfect for everyday wear, especially under low-rise jeans or skirts. Their design ensures they stay in place, providing comfort throughout the day.

Bikini

A popular choice for beachwear but also for everyday use, bikinis sit below the waist and offer moderate back coverage. They strike a balance between style and comfort, making them a staple in many women's wardrobes.

High-Cut

Also known as French cut, these panties have high leg openings, accentuating the legs and making them appear longer. They offer a retro vibe and are perfect for those looking to highlight their legs while ensuring comfort.

Thongs

Known for their minimal back coverage, thongs are ideal for avoiding visible panty lines under tight-fitting clothes. They offer a sleek look and are often chosen for their sultry appeal, ensuring confidence in any outfit.

Boyshorts

Inspired by men's boxers, boyshorts offer full coverage and a sporty look. They are perfect for those seeking comfort without compromising on style. Their design ensures they stay in place, making them a favorite for active days.

Seamless or No-Show

These underwear styles are designed with smooth edges and minimal seams, making them ideal for wearing under tight or lightweight fabrics.

G-String

Similar to a thong, a G-string has even less fabric, featuring a narrow string at the back for minimal coverage. It's designed to minimize visible lines under tight clothing.

Understanding the nuances of each style empowers you to make choices that resonate with your personal preferences and body type.

main types of womens underwear

How To Determine Your Body Type

Your body type plays a pivotal role in how certain underwear styles fit and feel. By understanding your unique shape, you can make more informed choices that flatter and comfort.

  • Shoulders vs. Hips: Compare the width of your shoulders to your hips.
  • Waist Definition: Notice if your waist is well-defined or straight.
  • Body Proportions: Consider the balance between your upper and lower body.

Recognizing and embracing your body type is the first step to feeling confident and comfortable in your underwear choices.

how to determine your body type

What's The Best Underwear for Your Body Shape?

Every body shape has its unique characteristics, and understanding these can guide you to underwear styles that enhance and flatter. Let’s take a closer look at underwear for different body types:

Pear-Shaped Body

Characterized by wider hips and a narrower waist, the pear shape looks great in boyshorts that offer full coverage. Bikinis are another excellent choice, accentuating the waist and providing a comfortable fit.

Apple-Shaped Body

Women with an apple shape tend to carry weight around the midsection. High-waisted briefs provide support and create a smooth silhouette, making them a top choice. They also offer the added benefit of defining the waistline.

Hourglass-Shaped Body

With its balanced bust and hip measurements and a defined waist, the hourglass shape is versatile in underwear choices. Bikinis highlight the waist, while thongs offer a seamless look, especially under tight-fitting clothes.

Rectangle-Shaped Body

With a more uniform width from the bust to the hips, the rectangle shape benefits from styles that add curves. Hipsters provide a flattering fit, and high-cut styles can elongate the legs, adding a touch of femininity.

Inverted Triangle Body

This shape, with broader shoulders and narrower hips, can benefit from underwear that adds volume to the lower body. Boyshorts are ideal, offering a balanced look while providing full coverage and comfort.

Finding the best underwear for your shape will ultimately ensure a harmonious and flattering look.

What's The Best Underwear for Your Butt Shape?

Your butt shape, much like your body type, can influence how certain underwear styles fit. Let's explore the best styles for each shape to ensure you're always looking and feeling your best.

Understanding your butt shape can guide you to the perfect underwear style:

  • Square or H-shaped Butts: Briefs or boyshorts offer great coverage.
  • A-Shaped: Bikinis or hipsters highlight this shape.
  • Inverted or V-shaped: High-cut underwear is a good choice.
  • Round or O-Shaped: Thongs or bikinis complement this shape.
  • Upside-Down Heart-Shaped: Hipsters or boyshorts work best.

Choosing underwear based on your butt shape ensures a snug fit and a silhouette that complements your natural curves.

underwear for butt shape

Best Underwear Material for Women

The material of your underwear plays a crucial role in ensuring comfort, hygiene, and longevity. The fabric you select can significantly impact how you feel throughout the day, whether you're at work, exercising, or enjoying a night out. While trying to find the best underwear material for women among the many available types, it's crucial to understand the unique properties and benefits of each material.

Let's take a closer look at some of the most popular underwear materials.

  • Cotton: A classic choice, cotton is known for its breathability and softness. It's moisture-wicking and keeps you dry helping prevent yeast infections and avoid UTIs; these features make it ideal for everyday wear. Its natural fibers also mean fewer chances of allergic reactions.
  • Organic Cotton: A sustainable alternative to regular cotton, organic cotton is cultivated without the use of synthetic chemicals or pesticides. It's eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, and gentle on the skin, making it perfect for those with sensitive skin or environmental concerns.
  • Nylon: A synthetic material, nylon is prized for its smooth texture and elasticity. It's lightweight and dries quickly, making it a favorite for seamless styles and sporty designs. However, it's essential to ensure good ventilation as it can retain moisture.
  • Silk: The epitome of luxury, silk is incredibly soft and smooth against the skin. Its natural sheen makes it a popular choice for special occasions or romantic evenings. While it feels fantastic, it requires delicate care to maintain its luster.
  • Modal: In the discussion of modal vs cotton underwear and tencel modal vs cotton underwear, modal stands out for its exceptional softness and durability. Derived from beech trees, it is 50% more absorbent than cotton, ensuring enhanced dryness and comfort. Modal is also biodegradable, offering an environmentally friendly advantage.
  • Bamboo: Is bamboo underwear better than cotton? Although bamboo fabric boasts sustainability, antibacterial properties, and is gentle on the skin, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin or residing in humid climates, cotton's established comfort, durability, and gentle nature still make it the preferred choice for everyday underwear.
  • Lace: While primarily used for decorative purposes, lace can also be comfortable if chosen wisely. It adds a touch of femininity and elegance to underwear designs. Opt for lace combined with other breathable materials for the best experience.
  • Polyester: Is polyester underwear bad for you? While polyester is durable and maintains color well in the "polyester vs cotton" debate, its non-breathable nature can lead to discomfort and increased risk of yeast infections and skin irritation. Assessing these aspects is essential when considering polyester for daily underwear use.


The material of your underwear is more than just a matter of personal preference. It affects your comfort, vaginal health, and overall well-being. By familiarizing yourself with the properties and benefits of each material, you can make informed decisions that align with your comfort needs, aesthetic preferences, and lifestyle. Whether you prioritize sustainability, luxury, or everyday comfort, there's a material out there tailored just for you.

Types of Women's Underwear for Specific Outfits and Occasions

The right underwear can make or break an outfit. It's not just about comfort; it's also about ensuring that your outfit looks its best and serves its purpose. Different outfits and occasions demand specific underwear styles to enhance functionality, aesthetics, and overall comfort. 

Let's dive deeper into the various types of underwear for women suitable for different outfits and occasions:

  • Everyday Wear: Cotton briefs or hipsters are the go-to choices for daily activities and casual outings. They are known as one of the most breathable underwear options offering comfort and a snug fit and ensuring you feel at ease throughout the day.
  • Special Occasions: When dressing up for a romantic date, gala, or any event where you want to feel extra special, opt for silk or lace thongs. They add a touch of luxury and elegance while ensuring no visible panty lines.
  • Workout or Active Wear: Physical activities require the best underwear for working out, designed to handle sweat and movement efficiently. Look for underwear made of moisture-wicking materials that keep you dry and reduce the risk of chafing.
  • Period Underwear: These specially designed period underwear are crafted to handle menstrual flow, providing extra protection and peace of mind. They feature absorbent layers and often have a leak-proof barrier for added security. Some options include PFAS-free period underwear for added safety.
  • Maternity and Postpartum: Pregnancy and postpartum periods require underwear that provides support and comfort. High-waisted styles with added stretch are one of the best postpartum underwear options accommodating the growing belly and provide gentle compression post-delivery.
  • Underwear for Leggings: When wearing tight-fitting leggings, seamless styles are a must. They ensure a smooth silhouette without any visible panty lines, enhancing the overall look.
  • White Pants: Wearing white or light-colored pants can be tricky. To avoid any show-through, opt for nude or skin-toned underwear that blends seamlessly with your skin.
  • Bodysuit: Bodysuits often fit snugly against the body. To maintain a sleek profile, choose thongs or seamless styles that won't create any unwanted lines.
  • Sleeping Without Underwear: If you prefer to sleep without underwear, prioritize fabrics that ensure breathability and comfort. Soft cotton or modal can be excellent choices, allowing your skin to breathe and ensuring a restful night.

The underwear you choose plays a pivotal role in how you feel and how your outfit looks. By carefully selecting underwear styles that align with your outfits and the occasions you're dressing for, you can confidently step out, knowing you're both comfortable and stylish. 

Remember, the right underwear not only boosts your confidence but also elevates your overall look.

Underwear Care and Maintenance

Your underwear is an intimate part of your wardrobe, and taking good care of it ensures both longevity and sustained comfort. Proper maintenance not only keeps your pieces looking and feeling new but also promotes hygiene. Here are some essential tips to help you care for your underwear:

  • Wash in cold water: Cold water helps retain the fabric's elasticity and color, preventing premature wear and fading.
  • Use gentle detergents: Opt for mild, hypoallergenic detergents to avoid skin irritation and maintain the fabric's softness.
  • Air dry: Instead of using a dryer, let your underwear air dry. This method helps prolong the life of your underwear and reduces the risk of shrinkage.
  • Store properly: Ensure your underwear is stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. This prevents moisture buildup and fabric degradation.
  • Hand wash delicates: For materials like silk or lace, consider hand washing to preserve the fabric's integrity and delicate details.
  • Rotate regularly: Don't wear the same pair consecutively. Rotating your underwear allows each pair to rest and regain its shape.
  • Check for wear and tear: Regularly inspect your underwear for signs of wear, such as loose threads or stretched elastic, and replace as needed.
  • Avoid fabric softeners: These can break down the fibers in performance fabrics, reducing their moisture-wicking capabilities.

Investing a little time and effort into the care and maintenance of your underwear can significantly extend its lifespan. By following these guidelines, you ensure that your pieces remain in top condition, providing you with comfort and confidence wear after wear.

Final Thoughts

Navigating through the various types of women’s underwear styles can initially seem daunting, but with the right knowledge, it becomes an empowering journey of self-expression and comfort. By understanding the nuances of each style, fabric, and fit, you can tailor your choices to your unique body and needs.

In the end, the perfect underwear isn't just about aesthetics; it's about how it makes you feel. With this women’s underwear styles guide, you're well on your way to making choices that resonate with your body and spirit, ensuring you feel fabulous from the inside out.

Emily Kho

Emily Kho, a writer with expertise in EdTech, real estate, and a BS from UNLV, excels in blending data with narratives for SEO-rich, insightful content.