On Chafing

23rd June 2008

The time has come to buy new underwear. However, since having that cute baby and then losing the pregnancy weight, something has gone awry. All currently fashionable underwear is now made to go up my butt.

Bikini undies? Sure! If you like them up your butt. Tap pants? Sounds good, assuming you enjoy that extra material nestled up your butt. Boy shorts? Why waste effort walking around for 10 minutes? Just wedge them up your butt immediately so you can tug uncomfortably at your jeans for the next eight hours.

Listen, I’m already wearing shoes that make my feet bleed. The underwire on my bra is probably jabbing my ribs. You don’t want me any more irritated. It’s taking all my willpower not to cut someone. Introduce up-the-butt pants to this precarious scenario, and I can’t be held responsible. I also probably won’t be able to operate a motor vehicle.

Do you hear me, Universe? Take me to your comfortable yet stylish underwear! You drive.

105 thoughts on “On Chafing

  1. Christy

    I’m with you on this one. I know someone out there can wear fashionable underwear, but I have to wonder, what magical powers does that woman posses? If you figure something out, let me know b/c my kids are 11 & 8, so I’ve been suffering for a while!

  2. The Casual Perfectionist

    This is precisely why I wear thongs. They are designed to go up there, so for me, they are pretty comfy. And, when it comes right down to it, all underwear goes up there on me, so I’d rather have an inch of fabric vs. who-knows-how-much wadded up there. Now, that’s a visual. Sorry. ;)

  3. Meegan

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t understand boy shorts and tap pants. It’s as if they have been specifically designed to creep right up your crack. There is a seam strategically placed to guide them in. Oh, the hate.

    Have you tried Gap Body? They have the best panties I’ve found. Comfy, kinda cute, not extremely expensive…give ’em a shot!

  4. lucy

    i was never, ever a thong girl until i met the hanky panky thong. wayyyy overpriced? – you bet. however, it will be the most comfortable, sexy thong you’ll put up your butt. i even converted my 55 yr old mother…seriously, try it.

  5. Astrogirl426

    I feel your pain, sister. I recently lost the last of the baby weight (and it only took me four years!) so none of my bottoms (pants, skirts, undies) fit anymore. I’m desperate, I tell you, desperate! I’m two tics away from saying the hell with it and going commando.

    You don’t even want to get me started on the topic of bathing suits. I was recently shopping for suits (torture), and I swear, if I had worn one of those suits out of the fitting room, I would have been arrested for indecency. Sheesh!

  6. eloise

    OK…You need to invest in a few pairs of Hanky Panky boy shorts. I agree with Lucy that their thongs are also the best around but I have converted almost entirely to the boy shorts. The cost is ridiculous, no doubt, but if you buy a few pairs you can wash them in the shower the next day and you can have a constant rotation. Honestly, BEST (and most adorable) UNDERWEAR EVER!

  7. gribblet

    I have a _gigantic_ ass, so your mileage may vary, but…

    target sells these Gilligan O’Malley Modal panties that are cheap, comfortable, very stretchy, non bulky so they don’t leave lines, and one my ass at least, non-climbing. They come in a number of different sillouettes, so you can choose your poison. They stretch out, so you have to keep buying them, but this has proven a boon to me – I have been able to wear them all through my pregnancy as well. Search for Modal Panty and be happy.

  8. karen

    Glue on your cheeks will keep those fashion panties right in place. If you’re short on Elmer’s, go commando. You’ll need to wash your jeans more often but there’s no tugging.

  9. Elise

    Ok so for starters I’m lol-ing at the domain thunderpants.co.nz.

    Other than that, I really have to second the GapBody recommendation. These really are the most wonderful undies I own. They have all kids of cuts and colors, but I like the regular rise cotton bikinis. They’re like, secret agent granny panties.

    I mean, they’ve got that ultra low-rise hipster mess if you’re into that sort of thing, but personally, those don’t even come half-way up my can. I tend to stay away from anything with the word “teeny” in the title, but to each her own.

  10. Emma

    The brand name skeeved me out when I first saw it; perhaps you are familiar with Cuddl Duds? (Typing it, saying it, imagining the sound of it–it’s exactly the same as biting down on aluminum foil with a full head of fillings!) Yes, well. They are the softest, most comfortable, least-ridey-uppy I’ve ever worn. True love. For reals.

  11. jana

    I know they’re technically boyshort-esque, but I am a complete convert to American Eagle aerie’s boy briefs. They’re cheap, too. I never get wedgies with these. But perhaps I have a weird ass.

  12. smallstatic

    VS’s second skin satin has been my go to for over a decade. A lot has changed in those years (sidenote: how can underwear have “trends” when such a limited slice of society ever sees it?) but it’s still pretty good. And lookin like it’s on sale at the moment. http://www2.victoriassecret.com/commerce/application/prodDisplay/?namespace=productDisplay&origin=onlineProductDisplay.jsp&event=display&prnbr=8U-206988&page=1&cgname=OSPTYSSSZZZ&rfnbr=3355
    But I hear you on the adorableness of tap pants. They are a personal fave of mine as well.

  13. April

    I love Victoria’s Secret Pink bikinis. You have to be careful to not get the low-rise ones though, because those leave about an inch of coin slot showing on me. I haven’t had kids but I have a lot of junk in my trunk.

  14. Bes

    I second the Target recommendation (and had the same stretching issue w/ pregnancy – never bought maternity panties!).

  15. Beth

    When you find an answer let me know! I have been losing weight and NONE of my underwear fit anymore!! ALL of them go straight up the crack!

  16. MrsWaltz

    What’s even more ridiculous than women’s underwear being made this way is the fact that my daughter’s 3T panties are exactly the same! Poor child actually wants to go back to Pull-Ups…

  17. Michelle

    Oh dear. Thank you for the laugh! So I’m not the only one tugging! And I have no suggestions for you, because everything I’ve tried is uncomfortable in one way or another.

    The suggestions here sound helpful, although dare I order them online? Although, so far I haven’t had any luck buying in a store. Somehow test driving underwear over other underwear doesn’t give you the chance to find out if they creep or not.

    Thanks for getting this conversation started.

  18. jill

    i’ll second the recommendation for aerie boybriefs. i’m an average sized chick with a fair amount of booty, and these don’t crack-dive on me at all. i’ve tried a bunch of aerie styles… the ones with the centimeter-thick band around the legs stay put the best for me. example:


    if you’re not into the fake pee chute, there are plenty of designs sans “playful boyfly details”.

    a test-driving tip… at the aerie and h&m stores in my area, there are always a bunch of $1 underwear hidden somewhere deep in the sale section. look past the potentially barfy prints and buy a myriad of STYLES so you can give them the proper test drive before committing to anything at full price.

  19. Ashley

    I make underwear like this!

    I did a sale in my town the other night and I keep hearing back from folks about how comfortable they are. May be what you’re looking for? Check them out: bullfight.etsy.com

  20. sp

    the AE boybriefs are ok, but i’m not a fan of the thick edging (fine under jeans, but harder to wear under some of my skirts/dresses)

    i do like the bikinis at gap and victoria’s secret (i usually go with low-rise). my favorite VS is probably the extra low rise hipster, which i find has enough butt coverage to go around my butt rather than up my butt.

    and though i am nearly butt-less, i find that boy shorts or cheekies definitely give me wedgies. and i am almost exclusively a no-thong girl (go ahead and check out my underwear line!)

  21. califmom

    I feel I must contribute my .02 on this. Those modal panties from Target are divine, and they do stretch out, and are only available online in my area at the moment (must be change of underwear season). But they are like wearing air. Love them!

  22. Jemaleddin

    I have it on good authority that the key to all wedgie issues in relation to women’s undergarments is getting the proper size. If you feel like your underwear is bullying you, go up a size and try again.

    But I’m just a dumb man and probably shouldn’t have an opinion on things like this.

  23. Spatula

    Oh, thank god for all these suggestions. I think they may allow me to reduce my medication without, yes, cutting someone.

  24. la_florecita

    I like hanky pankies too, but it took me a while to get used to them. Here’s one I don’t think anyone has mentioned. They’re called commandos and they’re my most comfy underwear.


    Also overpriced but I got some out-of-season colors at Nordstrom for 60% off. GapBody and Victoria’s Secret also have knock offs and they’re pretty comfy, too.

    *Tip. ANY panty with a seam down the middle of the front or the back will inevitably ride up your butt. 2 of the American Apparel panties you linked to fail from the start.

  25. Sarah

    Adding my support for Gap Body – cute and comfy. The low-rider bikinis or similar STAY PUT. Plus, their bras fit me really well.

  26. Sheri Bheri

    ZOMG! Okay, I went to check out the Hanky Pankies, and then I was going to look at the men’s boxer briefs because there’s NOTHING better than men’s boxer briefs if you have a thighs-rubbing together-chafing problem! (Seriously, and the cotton is wafer-thin.)

    Then I discovered the concept of the “trophy shelf”! OMG! It’s a “push up” for men! HILARIOUS! Thanks Maggie!

  27. lucy

    thought i’d also mention that i found discounted hanky pankys (thongs and boyshorts) on bluefly.com!

  28. Kristy

    All I wear are Hanes Her Way low-rise. Always white cotton because I’m daring like that. They never ride up and are quite comfortable.

  29. weremonkey

    The Body By Victoria ipex stuff at VictoriasSecret.com does not go up my butt, so it probably will not go up yours. Some of their stuff does fit that way, but that particular description/line fits pretty comfortably.

  30. Maureen

    Jockey bikinis – not the French cut, the regular bikinis. They have enough butt fabric to cover generous cheeks, so there’s no cause to ride up. They come in silky stretch to go under clingy clothes, or regular cotton. Love them!

  31. Ashley

    I despise thongs, except for the way-too-expensive cosabella cotton lace. However, my mother introduced me to these: http://www.soma.com/store/home.jsp in the vanishing edge style. I wear the bikini cut and they actually stay in place with a little silicone rubbery leg. At 26, I can pull off my mother’s underwear without looking like my 8th-grade home economics teacher.

  32. Alissa

    Go to Nordstrom, they have a brand (theirs I think) called Frills. They make a boy short, and some kind of hipster. Fairly inexpensive, very soft, no riding up the butt, no lines showing in most things i have worn with them.

  33. aarwenn

    Ah, I see the problem: you are looking at American Apparel for all your underwear needs, and American Apparel makes clothes for stick figures. I have never seen less butt fabric on any pair of underwear ever! That’s the key, you see: a generous amount of fabric to cover the half-moons, much like a generous bra cup is needed to prevent spillage. The suggestions on here are great! I need to put my vote in for Victoria’s Secret–the bikinis, especially, are a no-ride model, even after biking, riding the motorcycle, and dancing.

  34. Bethiclaus

    Right? I’ve given up on stylish underwear, which is sad on so many levels, but I just don’t need the extra fabric, you know, up my butt.

  35. Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer

    Asking a girl about her underwear is like asking for a recommendation from them on their hairdresser – we ALL have our favorite (as the comments show). I am making a list to check out. Maybe you should do your own underwear review based on all the recommendations?

    You could call it What My Ass Wants.

  36. Heather

    I know what you are going through. I’m an assless, hipless girl trying to keep up my maternity pants. It does not go well. No matter what kind of half-panel, full-panel, hidden-panel nonsense I try, I spend the whole damn day pulling up my pants. Gah.

  37. Nicole

    Go with Alfani, available at Macy’s. They’re soft, stretchy, have a non-whore sheen to them (from the lycra), and don’t gather. They also lay flat and give you barely any panty line. They are the best underwear I’ve ever owned, hands (cheeks?) down, and are very affordable.

  38. Rachel

    A few years ago, I found the perfect underwear source: Marks and Spencer (yes, the UK department store.) The problem? I can’t get them in the US. If you’re ever in England, check them out – I personally go for the black, low-rise briefs.

  39. bradleytee

    Sweet…I get to be the first male opinion to weigh in on the topic. I have never understood the thong theory and must admit I agree with you Maggie, I can’t imagine how a handful of fabric, regardless of the silky smoothness or sexy appeal could be comfortable when shoved, ball like, between your cheeks. My theory is that thongs and the sexy underthings liken themselves to shaving your legs before going on a date…wear them…assuming you plan on getting some. And for the record, we(us shallow, visually responsive men,) sure appreciate your efforts!

  40. Tori

    Serious up, them Hanes “wedgie-free” skibs are the best thing on the market. I myself am a young, carefree lass who also does not care to have things creeping into the bum. I do not find thongs convenient or comfortable and all the ladies out there who do, you my friend are a liar! Give me a nice cotton , moderately-granny, any day of the week.

  41. Meg

    Go commando! I do whenever possible, and I wear Jockey bikinis when I have to wear underwear. They’re the only ones that don’t climb up my rear end.

  42. steph

    YOU TOO?! Wow. I thought it was just me. I just use Jockey or Hanes Her Way cotton bikini-briefs. (They are sort of in between.) They are sexy enough. We don’t all have to look like pr0n stars. Let’s get away from the stereotypes. After all, briefs were good enough for the pin-ups of the 40’s & 50’s, right? Still sexy, right?

    Also, cotton is good for letting your hoohoo breathe. That’s important. :)

  43. steph

    OH, Maggie, please buy everybody’s suggestions and test them, and post about it. I want to hear the final verdict on all this.

  44. misstraceynolan

    Nope. Comfortable yet stylish undies do not exist. Repeat: they do not exist. Go get yourself some cotton jockey briefs, or a pair of spanx and love the comfort.

  45. Dani

    OMG! I’m soooo glad this came up. I’m almost down to my pre baby weight & I’m tired of constantly picking at my butt. I’m gonna try some of these recomendations & see what works for me.

  46. Carolyn

    Amen! And yes, THIS is a truly magnificent use of the internet! Talk about timing – just last week I threw a fit while trying to get dressed and empied half of my underware drawer into the trash out of pure frustration! Then I went and stole a pair of my husbands boxers and wore them around the house for the rest of the day. I think this post just saved my sanity and my marriage! Thank you!

  47. onbeelay

    Really I think the only way to truly make this truly a web2.0 experience is that we should all send Maggie a pair of new(Tags on:)) underwear through the mail so she can then let us know which one of us is Iron Chafe America.

    Comeon what size do you wear Maggie and where to send it!

  48. EricaLucci


    A few years ago, they shifted the company direction to entirely comfort. Everything they make now is intended to be comfortable first and stylish second. Plus, it won’t cost an arm and a leg.

  49. Amber

    I concur with the Gap Body recommenders. I haven’t bought underwear from anywhere else in years. I have a big butt and their ultra-teeny low-rise bikinis still work for me, as long as I suck it up and buy the right size, ie. large. I also have three modal bikinis I bought from them last year that are the best underwear ever, and I should have bought 10 more because they’re not available anymore. In summary, cute, basic, comfy, inexpensive when bought in multiples. Yay!

  50. Alison

    I hate to be the lone dissenter, but I’m not a fan of Gap Body. Their underwear stretch out and get too loose on me, and I’ve found their bras come apart quickly (underwire poking out, etc.)

    I do love Banana Republic cotton underwear. It’s smootha and soft, stays put and looks cute. Also, I got some thongs at Nordstrom Rack a while ago…the brand was called Steve. Very comfortable.

  51. Amy

    I also really like the ones from Old Navy – comfy fabric, no wedge, no cutting into my gut, etc. And cheap!

  52. jane!

    Because I actually have an ass, I can’t wear those styles either. I’m a fan of Gap Body– not too expensive, uber-soft, typically quite cute, and they do. Not. Ride.

  53. Mary

    Calida low-cut boy brief panties (available at herroom.com and probably other places as well)
    are a bit pricey, but the best and most comfortable undies I have ever owned. They’re actually pretty cute and unlike many boy briefs these don’t have an up-the-butt seem running down the middle, plus the leg openings are low enough to keep everything in place and eliminate any lines.

  54. daisy

    When I was in my teens I gave up and just got used to thongs. I figured, since any underwear I tried were going to be up my butt anyway, the less material the better. The only person I met who solved the problem completely was my friend who just didn’t wear any underwear at all.

    Now however, as far as cute styles that don’t result in panty lines, I’m down with the hipster or brief undies from anthropology. Pricey, but cute. And I haven’t had any wedgie problems so far.


  55. misha

    i hate the american apparel underwear – too tight! I must own like 30 old navy thongs. they are the most comfy undies i have ever worn. soft cotton. they done pinch my thighs so i dont have fat (b/c god forbid i actually have some on my body) being pinched under dresses. i am pretty sure they have non thong versions. i figure if is going to go up your but anyway, have the least amount of fabric there possible. AA is too tight, not stretchy enough, and way too expensive for my tastes. Gap undies are cuter but they are hit or miss. some pinch, but some feel like the old navy kind. I realized I had not bought new undies since my bridal shower in 04 (now divorced – he) and just went nuts w/ old navy undies on sale.

  56. Lauren

    Wow – I’m amazed so many people like GapBody as much as I do. I love their undies and bras and have never had a problem. I hate Victoria’s Secret, so tried Gap and its great.

  57. kpr

    I third? fourth? fifth? the Old Navy recommendation. Their cotton bikini underwear are awesome. I am 5 and 1/2 months pregnant and they are so comfortable. No riding up, no sagging, all around excellent.

  58. rebecca

    i have to second whomever voted for the hanky panky lacy boy shorts. (tip: i buy ’em at a huge discount at nordstrom rack.) i am not a fan of their thongs, though.

    the lacy boy shorts are sexy and awfully comfy, with no “rise” issues. the only hard part is that they look awfully big when they’re not on, but damn! they look good on.(if i do say so myself.)

    also mentioned, gap body bikinis have been reliable, and i love honeydew’s mesh boy shorts. without being too graphic, i feel like they creep up in front somehow, particularly with jeans, but then i just started buying a bigger size. (and cutting out the tags…no one needs to know, right?)

  59. Kristy K.

    I am adding my vote for Jockey bikinis, particularly these: http://www.jockey.com/en-US/Catalog/ProductDetails.aspx?CS_ProductID=2278&CS_Category=Underwear&CS_Catalog=Women&List=116

    They fully cover my ass, and STAY PUT. I used to be a fan of Victoria Secret’s bikinis, but then they changed the cut and size of the elastic around the butt area (now it is teeny tiny) and I can’t seem to find anything there that stand up to the old version. Tried the Target brand too – as others have noted, they stretch out. This was not a good thing for me – they started to stretch out pretty quick, and then rode up my ass. Hanes bikinis are ok – but the way they are cut, they start to eventually creep up my ass, too. I’ve been looking for a comfy pair of cotton bikinis for months on end, and really these Jockeys are the best I could find. I bought a bunch in black, b/c black underwear is always sexier, even if it is “full coverage.”

  60. Amanda

    I never have problems with any of those kinds of underwear–I have on a pair of boyshorts right now.

    Then again, I have an especially flat ass. You can’t have everything.

  61. Lisa

    Two words: Barely There. Try this brand, you will love them. Available at all major department stores for about $6 per pair and they come in many comfortable styles (suggest: hipsters) and pretty colors. Once you find a style you like, then hit HerRoom.com for the very best selection and prices. You’re welcome.

  62. Robyn

    Your day will be much better if you’re wearing hanky pankys, I promise. I ran a marathon in a pair of red, no chaffing at all!

  63. torrie

    Oh Maggie. I really hope you do a follow up post telling us which ones worked for you because you and I have a similar body type (I think).
    I spend half my day pulling my underwear out of my ass.
    I think what underwear works depends on how you are built.
    Oh, and fuck Hanky Panky’s.

  64. Lisa

    I can’t wait for the Nice to Your Toosh Shopping Guide!

    I have found particular success with American Apparel’s Baby Rib Flat Bottom Panty, which is a steal in the organic version at $6 a pair. They run a little bigger than the sizing chart implies (I wear a 2 even though I’m a size 8/10 in pants), unlike their Invisithong, which I also like but definitely lives up the rear.

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  66. Claudia

    You go girl. And, add to that those stupid brand name tags made of irritable scratchy stuff they stick in the back of necklines to WHAT? Cause me to rip them out, sometimes tearing the fabric and making a hole? When I’m calmer I do neatly snip them out with a seam ripper. Still …

  67. Sandy

    I have had some good luck with Target brand stuff. It is usually pretty comfy, and when they do start to ride up, just get new ones. They are cheap enough. The elastic wearing out is usually the reason for the creepage, I have found.

    Good luck!

  68. Philly Mama

    I agree with GAP body, but not their teeny bikini which definitely winds up your butt. Also, the Victoria Secret regular ol’ signature cotton bikinis work well for me. Had my baby 11 months ago and I hear you about things fitting totally differently afterwards.

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