Basic Black Underwear
August 29, 2009 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Basic black women's underwear. . . it shouldn't be this difficult to find, should it?

I am in search of women's bikini panties. Black, no other colors. Cotton, maybe with a bit of stretchy stuff added, but none of this weird micromodal fabric because it makes me sweaty. The catch is that I'd like them to cost less than $5 a pair. And no silly brand names or logos on the waistband.

All my searching at local stores and googling has turned up stuff that is too lacy, thong-y, covered in logos, expensive, or is the wrong colors. If you know where to find what I'm looking for, please share.
posted by mai to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (33 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I buy black panties which match that exact description at Target. They are also the most comfortable underwear I own.
posted by lunasol at 2:54 PM on August 29, 2009 [4 favorites]

I sometimes get a bunch of these plain Gap bikini cotton undies. They're regularly $7 but often on sale for $4 or a set of 3 for $15 or something. They last a surprisingly long time (years!) for me.

Nordstrom's has plain black comfortable cotton panties, but they're a bit more expensive. I hate the Victoria's Secret ones with a passion -- if you love a small rise and have a tiny booty, they might work for you.
posted by barnone at 2:55 PM on August 29, 2009

Oh right - Target has a bunch of Hanes-type undies (among other brands) that are basic bikini cotton things.
posted by barnone at 2:56 PM on August 29, 2009

Definitely Target. I found mine by the pair in a sort of bin/shelf thing for $5 each, and since they're the in-house brand, there aren't any weird logos or anything on them.

It drives me crazy that it's impossible to get a package of cotton bikinis that aren't pink or white.
posted by corey flood at 3:03 PM on August 29, 2009

Seconding Gap, relatively non-annoying shopping experience, and their stuff lasts, in my experience.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:08 PM on August 29, 2009

Yes, Target; yes, I too suffer from this need and wonder why you can't buy them in giant packs like white athletic socks. I hate "microfiber" undies or anything synthetic. In my quest, I've gone through many versions.

I actually don't mind the Victoria's Secret ones. I have several pairs from VS that have lasted me a good four years, I'd imagine, with little to no snagging in either the elastic or body. I try to avoid any ornamentation (including names on waistbands), but the ones I have from Victoria's Secret are just woven in, so they don't have any contrast and don't show much.
posted by Madamina at 3:12 PM on August 29, 2009

The target near me does not have plain black cotton available except as part of a multi-pack with other, useless colors like white. Neither does their website, unless I am missing it.
posted by mai at 3:18 PM on August 29, 2009

Jockey bikinis from Kohls. They come in packs of all black as well as other assortments. Stock up when they are on sale. Bonus: the branding is super small!
posted by rachums at 3:21 PM on August 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

Thirding Gap. I have lots of their plain black cotton undies and they are comfy and last a long time. I'm just now getting elastic fraying on some that I've had for 3 years, and that's after many, many, many washes. They hold up well.
posted by bedhead at 3:29 PM on August 29, 2009

Here at Target. Searched for "black underwear," narrowed to women.
posted by ishotjr at 3:39 PM on August 29, 2009

fourth the gap! easy shopping experience, great quality underwear at a good price.
posted by lia at 3:44 PM on August 29, 2009

Maidenform makes simple black cotton undies which aren't too expensive. Beware the ones called "No Show" (model 40282), however; on me they are instant wedgie. Their model 40263, on the other hand is good--minimal fabric, no frills.

Jockey's models are pretty decent, though I think their leg holes are a little tight for the size. If you're at all heavy in the thighs, go up a size from their recommended size. More than you wanted to spend, but they do last. Their "comfies" are expensive but live up to the name; the Elance bikini and string bikini are a bit less but I thnk something like 6 bucks a pair if you buy the three-pack.

Lands' End also makes underwear--very sturdy and well made but kind of a lot of acreage--a little too grannyish for me but that's a matter of preference. They size things totally differently from other underwear; see their site for details.

I have a few pairs from the Gap that have lasted well. Worth a look.

Um, this is getting a tad obsessive...if nothing else, know you're not alone in this search...
posted by bink at 3:44 PM on August 29, 2009

I know that Target has failed you this time, but their stock switches in and out enough that sometimes they do have various packs of just black (usually just two pairs). Keep hope alive!
posted by Madamina at 3:51 PM on August 29, 2009

I wear these from Victoria's Secret. Bikini and black. Comfiest things I've ever owned. They do say "Victoria's Secret" on the waistband, but the script is so tiny (and also in black) that you'd have to be half an inch away and with a magnifying glass to see it. $5 each.
posted by meerkatty at 4:00 PM on August 29, 2009

Jockey has quite a few, (black is one of the optional colors once you click on many of the pairs shows). Join their "club" and get points that will get you rewards. Jockey outlets are a source for really reduced prices.
posted by 6:1 at 4:07 PM on August 29, 2009

Hanes has "Cotton Stretch String Bikini Panties", 5 for $20. Despite the name, these are not dental floss, but nice little bikinis.
posted by maudlin at 4:13 PM on August 29, 2009

I buy the Gillian O'Malley ones that ishotjr linked to above in three packs from Target. Very comfy! If your Target is similar to mine they should be hanging from one of those little plastic hangers on a display rack labeled with the brand.
posted by MsMolly at 4:42 PM on August 29, 2009

Nthing Target. I just bought a 2-pack of basic black cotton panties. Hanes.
posted by ellenaim at 4:43 PM on August 29, 2009

do you have la senza where you live? maybe this is TMI, but i am currently wearing a pair of underwear remarkably like you describe. they were in the 3/$15 bin. they are black.
posted by janepanic at 4:58 PM on August 29, 2009

I'm in agreement with you that these are hard to find. (I'm big on black as most of my clothes are black and hey, it's one color, one batch of laundry!) I've looked at Target and sometimes they're sold out, or don't find them in cotton. Apparently lots of women in my area also like black. Jockey also seems to be hard to track down - I really should give up and just start trying to find them online.

The fact that so many of us have already replied to this one makes me think that many retailers don't realize they need to be stocking more black undies.
posted by batgrlHG at 5:22 PM on August 29, 2009

Gaps been said, but these are super comfy.
posted by shownomercy at 5:27 PM on August 29, 2009

Hrmph, the Targets in SoCal don't seem to have those basic black Hanes either. Everything is in a three-pack with unwanted colors.

Nthing Gap, although unfortunately the excellent little black 100% cotton numbers I found on sale a couple weeks back (5 for $24) don't seem to be available online.

Some I've tried and not liked: the aforementioned Gilligan & O'Malleys and Jockey. The waistband just seemed too high on the G&Os, and the waistband and leg bands were too thick on the Jockeys, making for some pretty bad VPL. The Victoria's Secret ones fell apart after a couple of washes. Not to mention that stupid logo on the waistband, ugh.

Why, oh why, is such a basic thing so hard to find?! I had good luck finding non-branded, non-synthetic black underwear at Mervyn's for years, but then they had to go bankrupt on me. Bah.
posted by chez shoes at 5:29 PM on August 29, 2009

Seconding meerkatty's suggestion. The VS bikinis are some of the best basic underwear I've ever owned, and they've held up just fine in the wash for me. I'd steer clear of the boyshorts (uncomfortable waistband) and string bikinis (often poorly stitched), though.
posted by thisjax at 6:39 PM on August 29, 2009

To my surprise, I've been very satisfied with the panties I've gotten from Frederick's of Hollywood. They're comfortable, flattering, and decently constructed (no falling apart/losing elasticity after a couple of times through the laundry). They have a string bikini that comes in black for $6 — a little higher than your $5 target, but (if like the other Frederick's panties I have) they're solidly-made and will last a while.
posted by Lexica at 6:40 PM on August 29, 2009

Jockey Elance Bikini. They are perfection in a basic black cotton bikini.

(Have to disagree on Victoria's Secret; I find them to wear badly.)
posted by palliser at 8:40 PM on August 29, 2009

(Have to disagree on Victoria's Secret; I find them to wear badly.)

TOTALLY agree!

I'm going to be comparing Texas Target's stock next week versus the ones I've been to here in CA. Just to see if it's different in other states.

...Maybe I should ask Matt if we can get an "AskMe Helped Me Shop For Underwear" tshirt.

posted by batgrlHG at 10:12 PM on August 29, 2009

Thanks everyone for all the responses, I have a lot to look at. I am not a fan of "string" bikinis because I find they cut into my hips in an uncomfortable and unflattering way. But I don't want too much of a granny panty.

I, too, used to purchase all of my underwear at Mervyn's when it existed.

Thanks for the tip on leg openings - I do, in fact, have big thighs.

I had a pair of VS underwear once and the elastic unraveled pretty quickly.
posted by mai at 10:27 PM on August 29, 2009

If you want something a little cuter than the Elance bikini, you might try the string-bikini Elance, even if most string bikinis cut into your hips; I find the elastic to be gentle enough that they don't cut in.

You can find them at department stores, if you want to buy a couple to try out and avoid the shipping fee.
posted by palliser at 6:38 AM on August 30, 2009

On preview, chez shoes might like the string-bikini Elance, too.

Oh! And on ebay, you can find Elance very cheap. Ebay is like those weekend underwear flea markets.
posted by palliser at 6:42 AM on August 30, 2009

In addition to Gap, I also usually skim through the offerings at places like Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and Ross. They often have black cotton underwear for cheap. I've wondered frequently why they are so hard to find but black cotton is just hard to find, I think. Well, unless you go the $40/pair Hanro route.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:03 AM on August 30, 2009

nthing target house-brand undies, as well at the hanes comfort soft series. i am extremely anti-elastic/stuff cutting into my skin. my only problem is finding them in a size 4, most places only have 5+. will have to check out Gap.
posted by vaguelyweird at 1:49 PM on August 30, 2009

Do you have Dillard's department store in your area? I've been wearing their 100% cotton 'Clarity by Cabernet' house brand underwear for a few years now. They come in all sorts of colors, including black. I usually pay about $6-8 per pair, I think. They don't seem to have the Clarity line on their web site, unfortunately.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:51 AM on September 1, 2009

From shopping research in Texas - seems that Macy's has some good options, especially if you like the Jockey brand. Or in south Texas anyhow.
posted by batgrlHG at 10:04 AM on September 9, 2009

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