Boxer briefs for curvy ladies?
August 27, 2013 12:41 PM   Subscribe

I want to wear long-legged underpants, to minimize thigh chafing and eliminate wedgies, but I'm not sure how. If you are someone with a large-ish body and hips who wears something like boxer briefs, can you tell me your secrets?

I'm a size 16 woman who prefers skirts to pants. I've recently determined that I'd like to retire my panties in favor of boxer briefs or similar: regular ladies underwear gives me constant wedgies, and I'm often adding a pair of legging-like shorts under my skirts to prevent chafing, so it seems expedient to combine those into one garment. I dislike pettipants and shapewear. What is the best way to do this?

If men's boxer briefs are the best option, how do I size them? I have a high hip-to-waist ratio. And are they uncomfortable with the extra room up front?

Is there a secret, non-shapewear, ideally cotton ladies option I'm not aware of? I would buy the heck out of girly boxer briefs.
posted by linettasky to Shopping (42 answers total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
I never could get the hang of men's boxer briefs. I ended up with a size larger than needed undergarments to avoid the wedgie, and paired it with those wispy culotte like shorts they sell as pajama bottoms now adays.
posted by tilde at 12:52 PM on August 27, 2013

Something like this?
posted by singinginmychains at 12:55 PM on August 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

The extra room isn't a factor for me, but the only ones long-legged enough to do anything in the chafing department tend to be made of super-synthetic blends, which do not make my delicate parts happy. You do have to size up a fair bit, but I haven't had any problems with the waist being too loose or anything.

The shorter briefs - the ones that are shaped more like underwear than bike shorts - always roll up into big bunches in my groin and then chafe me there. Which is no help. So I have a couple pairs of the long ones, but I wear them only very occasionally or for brief periods of time.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:56 PM on August 27, 2013

Okay, I know you said no to shapewear but would you be willing to wear something that is snug without the sucks-you-in aspect of typical shapewear? Like you, I am a larger lady who likes to wear skirts/dresses but hates the thigh chafing. I have some "shapewear" shorts from Wacoal that are perfect. They come down to mid-thigh so I avoid chafing, and they also smooth out any underwear lines I may have on my butt. They aren't uncomfortably tight - they're really just like leggings in terms of snugness, rather than what you would think of as typical shapewear that is meant to squeeze you up like a sausage. I think a little snugness is important as well because anything looser tends to cause my skirt to bunch up strangely.
posted by joan_holloway at 12:57 PM on August 27, 2013

You might try a search for "bloomers."
posted by juniperesque at 12:57 PM on August 27, 2013

What is it about pettipants that you don't like? As far as I know, they're just under shorts for women.

Would you consider silk boxer shorts for women? They don't bunch as much as cotton boxers.

Men's boxers never fit me properly underneath clothing.
posted by barnone at 12:58 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like Pettipants (I have cotton ones I got on Amazon) and some Spanx and they do the job admirably.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:59 PM on August 27, 2013

Those Jockey skimmies linked above are GREAT--not shapewear at all, and very comfy under skirts/dresses.
posted by leesh at 12:59 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

My sister has these Jockey "skimmies" and loooves them. No wedgie, no shorts bunching under skirts, no muffin top. They're snug but not at all shapewear.
posted by barnone at 1:01 PM on August 27, 2013 [7 favorites]

Highly recommend the Jockey shorts mentioned above (three times!). They do not compress you like shapewear does.
posted by valeries at 1:03 PM on August 27, 2013

We have different body types, but for me the problem isn't the extra room in the front, it's the lack of room in the back. If you have a big booty, men's boxer briefs are kinda crummy at fitting it.
posted by Juliet Banana at 1:13 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like Jockey skimmies, too. They are great to wear under skirts or dresses. The legs are a comfortable length and the fabric is nice and smooth. I bought one pair to test them out, and I plan on buying several more.
posted by christa at 1:21 PM on August 27, 2013

I like the skimmies a lot. I'm probably wearing a size or so too large, and so I just pull them up higher. They're light and comfortable and stretchy and definitely help with the thigh rub, but they don't compress or act as shapewear at all.
posted by PussKillian at 1:24 PM on August 27, 2013

I'm also a size 16 female who wears men's boxer briefs.

I'd caution against any shorter styles, as well as 100% cotton boxer briefs. My experience is that they bunch and roll and ride up significantly more than longer styles and/or styles that have a little spandex in them.

My favorites are Hathaway knit boxers--which I know are technically boxers, but in my experience, they're not especially baggy, especially if you're kinda pear-shaped. I have a whole drawer of boxer briefs, but do laundry constantly so I can wear the same five pairs every day. If there's a CostCo by you, you can get them more cheaply there than you can online. I can't say enough good things about them.
posted by MeghanC at 1:25 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I love you people. I'd looked at the skimmies, but was seriously skeptical.

The cotton pettipants I have don't fit snugly enough to be underpants. I couldn't wear a pad with them, for example.
posted by linettasky at 1:28 PM on August 27, 2013

I'm a bit smaller than you, and often wear Hanes boxer briefs from the boy's department, usually size XL. They bunch at my inner thighs when I wear pants if I don't tuck them in, but are otherwise so perfect.
posted by tapir-whorf at 1:31 PM on August 27, 2013

I think I have tried out every type of pettipant in the world. I am newly and deeply in love with Thigh Society briefish things. Which, despite the terrible name, are the best thing of their sort I've found. They fit more snugly than a typical petty pant, don't roll up, don't have scratchy lace. I just ordered a couple more pairs. Might be worth a look.
posted by Stacey at 1:37 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm not a woman. Would girlshorts work? I found those looking for compression shorts (which might be too much shape wear ish).
posted by plinth at 1:42 PM on August 27, 2013

I can't help with the boxer briefs recommendations, but a few years ago, someone told me a secret to prevent thigh chafing that changed my life and wardrobe forever. They told me to rub my regular deodorant/antiperspirant on my inner thighs. I was like, it can't be that simple. I was 28 at the time and there's no way I made it to then without knowing something like that could possibly allow me to actually comfortably wear skirts and dresses all day without rubbing my thighs red and raw.

At the end of the day after trying it, I felt like one of those freakishly happy women dancing around in a beautiful flowy white dress in a tampon commercial. I seriously feel like this should be posted on billboards and the sides of busses and bumper stickers. I don't know if you're interested in trying it, but it seriously lasts me all day. On days where I'm outside and doing a lot of walking, I might very rarely have to re-apply once during the day. But 97% of the time, the deodorant/antiperspirant I buy that's whatever-the-hell brand is on sale, keeps me good from morning to evening.
posted by raztaj at 1:43 PM on August 27, 2013 [8 favorites]

I looked for a good women's underwear short for years, and eventually gave up (that doesn't mean you should, of course!). I started using the antiperspirant trick, which really does work if you've never tried it. I bet bodyglide would also do the trick. I hope you find something perfect. Let us know if you do!
posted by moxie_milquetoast at 1:47 PM on August 27, 2013

These Uniqlo long briefs are awesome(bottom of the page). Very light weight and not like 'shape wear' at all. Very affordable compared to Jockey.
posted by readery at 1:48 PM on August 27, 2013

Buy shapewear a couple of sizes "too big" and you get a nice, comfortable fit that doesn't squish you. I have a couple of pairs of Spanx that are pretty much the same as those skimmies mentioned above.
posted by MsMolly at 1:57 PM on August 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

It's going to sound dumb if you have already done this, but have you tried standard, old-fashioned full-coverage brief panties? IME, They don't roll up or wedge like bikini briefs, and they don't leave half your butt hanging out like boyshorts/every other kind of underwear. Not helpful for chafage, but great for pad-holding.
posted by windykites at 1:59 PM on August 27, 2013

Woman Within's website shows several long leg panties/bloomers.
posted by Cranberry at 2:00 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

+1 for Skimmies!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 2:18 PM on August 27, 2013

I wear men's boxer briefs. I love them and will never switch back.

I'd suggest a L or an XL, depending on your body shape. Given your wide hips, I'd try the XL first. I'd strongly recommend Fruit of the Loom over Hanes, the fabric that makes up Hanes is elastic and really stretches out over time, which causes it to roll up exactly like you are trying to avoid, whereas my Fruit of the Loom ones are just normal cotton and still fit correctly on my legs after several years of wear.

One thing worth noting is that there are several different cuts of boxer briefs, just like there are several different cuts of women's underwear. Since you're looking for chafing resistance, I'd suggest the standard rather than trunk cut, the standard goes further down on one's legs.

The good news is that boxer briefs are fairly cheap, so you can spend $15 or so on a couple of pairs and see how you like them.
posted by zug at 3:24 PM on August 27, 2013

Woman Within sells a women's cotton boxer brief that is less clingy than shapewear in size 7 and up.
posted by drlith at 3:50 PM on August 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm curious about how the skimmies fit for women with large butts in comparison to the waist. Do the legs ride up to compensate for the extra fabric needed in the rear?
posted by frizz at 4:48 PM on August 27, 2013

I wear cotton work-out shorts (something kind of like this, except I took out the cord and rely on my hips to hold them up) under 99% of my skirts and dresses - if they show at all, it's not any more than regular underwear or boxers would do. The thicker material, IMO, is much less likely to ride up between my thighs. YMMV if you are wearing tighter skirts.

I can't really recommend a specific brand because the length of the short really depends on the shape of your thighs and the length of your skirts, but I found my favorite ones in the athletic section of JC Penneys.

I keep meaning to try pettipants.
posted by muddgirl at 5:12 PM on August 27, 2013

(Oh, snap, just read your follow-up and realized you are looking for things to wear as underwear, not to wear over regular briefs It's possible you could size down cotton gym shorts, so if your regularly wear a 16 try a 14 or even 12).
posted by muddgirl at 5:15 PM on August 27, 2013

Is there a secret, non-shapewear, ideally cotton ladies option...

Yes! Marks and Spencer (long lauded for good underpants) sells these 2 Pack Pure Cotton Long Knickers. Normally shipping from the UK for a small order would make a small order poor value but they have a free shipping to N. America deal at the moment.

Do read the reviews. They are...consistent. "Bought these for my 93 year old mother in law. She was so pleased with them that we have ordered another 3 packs." "I bought these knickers to my grandmother, and she is thrilled! She wants me to get another pack." "I bought these knickers for my elderly Mother and they are very good. They fit well, keep her back warm etc." "I purchased these briefs for my 94 yr old Mum who is in a residential care home. She has worn this style of briefts for many years and they have always washed well and are very comfortable for elderly ladies."

And there are matching undershirts if you are looking for full-on 1932 sexy!
posted by kmennie at 5:29 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thigh Society makes lovely boxer underwear! I'm a huge fan. Great for when you don't want compression.
posted by MediaMer at 5:56 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm curious about how the skimmies fit for women with large butts in comparison to the waist. Do the legs ride up to compensate for the extra fabric needed in the rear?

Nope nope nope. The rise just ends up a little lower in the seat (not enough to be problematic, at least for me).

If you buy Skimmies, make sure to buy them in your actual size. I freaked out and sized up when I saw how small they were on the hanger in the store. Don't do that.
posted by topoisomerase at 6:19 PM on August 27, 2013

I was about to mention Thigh Society too. I haven't tried them, but I was looking into them a while ago when I used to have the same problem. There's also Bandelettes which I've seen around, but, they're all lacy so I haven't tried them.
posted by Dimes at 6:59 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am wearing skimmies as we speak, not shapewear, totally awesome. Got me through an 85 degree day, 8 hours on my feet, no slip, no binding. Like I am not even wearing them.
posted by oflinkey at 8:20 PM on August 27, 2013

I wore these under my uniform at the 50s diner. Bought them at a square dancing shop. Cute and supportive, I can attest, but not intended for under anything form fitting.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 4:00 AM on August 28, 2013

I find that the microfiber fabric (like the skimmies) makes me sweat. I have the Women Within ones that drlith mentioned, but they were too short and tended to lay above where I needed them for chafing. The ones I wear most often are linked on that page, and called 'bike shorts' -- the fabric might be slightly heavy, but they are my favorites of the ones I've tried. Be aware: both the pairs I linked to run about 1 size too large.
posted by MeiraV at 4:55 AM on August 28, 2013

Like Dimes mentioned above, a friend just recommended Bandelettes to me, said they've changed her life. I haven't personally tried them (I need something to not show my goods while getting on my cross-frame bike) but they look interesting.
posted by Bunglegirl at 8:44 AM on August 28, 2013

This is not an underwear suggestion, but I will often used a runner's anti-chafing stick like Body Glide when I want to wear a skirt and not chafe. It lasts pretty well all day if I don't do a ton of walking.
posted by megancita at 1:00 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm the same size as you and I wear both the Skimmies and men's boxer briefs with no fly. I love them both. I find that the waistbands of some of the men's briefs will roll on me more than Skimmies will, probably because of the being designed for straight up and down shapes.

The Skimmies stretch every which way, and are fine with my extreme curves. Honestly, I love them both, but I'd give a slight edge to the Skimmies. But I am not as bothered by microfiber as some folks are. I wanted to try the bandalettes, but lace and silicon would make my sensitive skin insane, so no way in hell.
posted by emcat8 at 11:08 PM on August 28, 2013

+1 for Body Glide. It also works great to avoid blisters on your feet!
posted by exceptinsects at 6:58 PM on August 29, 2013

I'm bigger than a 16 and hate skirts and dresses, but when I have to wear them I wear these Danskin "bike shorts" underneath. I think the Jockey skimmies are probably more what you're looking for as an underwear replacement, but I love the Danskins. So comfortable, and more structured than underwear. They have a cotton lining in the crotch so they work just fine with nothing else underneath.
posted by kostia at 9:22 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Cuckoos in New York City?   |   Boise for Labor Day weekend: The mellow version. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.