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We did the hard work by testing dozens out to spare you from embarrassing panty-lines.
Thongs are one of those things where you either like them or you don’t; there are no in-betweens — pardon the pun. Seriously though, in the discussion about unmentionables, thongs are a hard pass for some; non-invasive rear coverage is the only way to go. For others, rear coverage is for suckers, and thongs are non-negotiable.
If you’re not on Team Thong for daily wear, it’s worth noting that thongs may have a place in your lingerie drawer. Stylist and founder of The Blanc House, Lana Blanc, says, “The main reason for wearing a thong is to reduce visible panty lines. Thongs can be particularly useful when wearing certain fabrics (like silk), and even bodycon styles, which are less forgiving when it comes to undergarments and tend to show every seam.”
Tracy Freno, customer service manager at lingerie destination Bare Necessities, agrees saying, “Despite what some people may think, thongs are actually very comfortable and are a great undergarment to wear to prevent panty lines under clothing. Most thongs are designed with super soft fabrics like lace or cotton, which are lightweight and gentle on the skin. The right thong panty has the ability to make the wearer forget they are wearing any underwear at all!”
So, if your prior experience with thongs drove you to swear them off forever, maybe that’s the problem — you didn’t try the right thong. A good thong is made from a soft, breathable material, and it lays flat under your clothing. But the best thong for you is the one that checks your boxes for comfort and fit. If you’re ready to try again, here are a few of the best thongs for your shopping list.
Best Overall: Commando Mid-Rise Thong
What We Love: The smooth raw edges lie flat under clothing.
What We Don't Love: According to reviewers, the edges may roll and bunch.
When posing for the cover of Vanity Fair in 2017, Serena Williams chose to go Commando. As in, the tennis champ chose to wear a Commando thong as her only wardrobe item that is. So, we guess you can say this thong has Serena’s seal of approval?
If Serena wore it, we obviously had to follow suit, which is why writer Bianca Kratky requested a pair from the brand to try out herself. The immediate reaction that came from pulling these over her legs was, "Ahhh yes, just how a thong should be." The combination of the brand’s ultra-soft butter fabric (basically, modal) and signature raw-cut edges do what you want a thong to do — disappear under your clothes without riding up or irritating your body. Wearing it all day, she almost forgot they were even on (we guess that's where the name Commando comes from). Beyond being completely smooth under clothing, the thong stays in place, so you’re not pulling and tugging all day, and the modal fabric that’s sustainably made using beech trees is breathable and super soft. Some reviewers felt that the raw edges rolled a bit, especially on larger sizes. We didn't notice any rolling, but it might be something to keep in mind when you purchase.
Price at time of publish: $30
Size Range: XS-3X | Colors: 8 | Materials: Modal, elastane
Best Budget: Calvin Klein Women's Carousel Logo Cotton Thong Panty
What We Love: It comes in a multipack, which is cost-effective.
What We Don't Love: They're not seamless, and if you don't get the right size the waistband can dig.
When you’re looking for more bang for your buck, multipack underwear is almost always the way to go. And with this budget entry on our list, you’re getting a designer label at a bargain price (just over $8 per, to be exact) — check and check.
Incredible pricing aside, these cotton thongs feature that famous elastic logo waistband, soft cotton stretch for flexible comfort, a fully lined gusset, and minimal rear coverage. Ever since Kratky discovered the multipack at her local Nordstrom Rack, she's been buying them in bulk. Her advice? They're going to remain in good condition for years, so don't forget to consciously swap them out for new ones after a year or two to spare yourself from accidentally over-wearing them (because they're not going to deteriorate on their own). Just note that they are not seamless like the ones from Commando, and if you accidentally get a size too small, the waistband will dig a little. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a sporty yet sexy thong, this is it.
Price at time of publish: $38
Size Range: XS - XL | Colors: 17 | Materials: Cotton, elastane
Best Splurge: La Perla Thong in Onyx
What We Love: The little flower embroideries are beautifully feminine.
What We Don't Love: It's only available in three colors.
If you know anything about La Perla, then you know that delicate lace and exquisite feminine details are the hallmarks of the brand. La Perla is a real treat, but with price points that point to the heavens, it certainly qualifies as a splurge. But Blanc says, “If you’re going to splurge, do it on La Perla.” And we couldn’t agree more.
La Perla’s Onyx Thong with lace floral embroidery is the pinnacle of sexy. But more than just gorgeous, the stretch fabric keeps things comfortable. Since the lace is on the minimal side, it remains invisible under even form-fitting clothes. We love this unique piece so much, that our only complaint is that we wish it came in more colors.
Price at time of publish: $135
Size Range: XXS- XL | Colors: 3 | Materials: Cotton, elastane
Best Cotton: Everlane The Cotton Thong
What We Love: This thong is made from cotton, but according to reviewers, it’s not bulky and lays flat.
What We Don't Love: The black color fades in the wash.
From “second skins” to the moisture-wicking prowess of polyamides, fabrications for unmentionables have grown by leaps and bounds. But cotton has long been the gold standard for underwear. And while cotton undergarments may be known for their bulk, Everlane expertly answers back with its cotton thong, which is the ultimate undergarment for everyday wear, including a smooth waistband, tagless design, and minimal coverage. When Kratky received a pair to try from the brand, she was pleased as soon as she pulled it out of its packaging. Anyone that enjoys minimalist thongs will appreciate these. A no-nonsense, simple, and elegant underwear that's both comfortable and cute. And let’s not forget, it’s made of super-soft Supima cotton that gives your comfort level a nice boost while laying flat. Just be aware that the black shade, which Kratky tested, does fade a bit in the wash, looking a bit gray after awhile.
Price at time of publish: $15
Size Range: XXS-XL | Colors: 4 | Materials: Supima cotton, elastane
Best Plus-Size: ThirdLove Comfort Stretch Thong
What We Love: Its stretch and flexibility make it the perfect thong for everyday wear.
What We Don't Love: The waistband is a little wider, making this not as minimalist as other options.
The Comfort Stretch Thong by ThirdLove is all about, well, comfort and an expansive size range of XS to 3X so every thong-wearer can have an inclusive shopping experience. The nylon-spandex construction offers a second-skin look and feel, so there’s no VPL, and they’re comfy enough for daily use. The even better news is that the plus sizes aren’t limited to the basic colors; bright limited edition colors like Cherise, bluejay, and lavender are also available up to 3X.
Kratky found the seamless underwear to be a great staple underneath her bike shorts at the gym. They're comfortable, stretchy, and don't show from under form-fitting bottoms. While it didn't disturb her, it's worth pointing out that the waistband is on the wider side, so it's not as minimalist as some of the other options here.
Price at time of publish: $16
Size Range: XS-3X | Colors: 12 | Materials: Nylon, spandex
Best Seamless: Bombas Women's No Show Thong
What We Love: It’s size and color inclusive.
What We Don't Love: There's an anti-slip design in the interior which doesn't look very cute.
Beyond the exceptional color and size selection, the Bombas’ thong, which goes up to a size 2X, is made from a modal nylon blend that's so lightweight and breathable, it offers a second-skin-like feel to wearers. After Kratky received a pair, she found that the extremely stretchy fabric was almost spandex-like, making them particularly great for workouts. The interior of the thong features anti-slip stickers that work to keep the undergarment in place. It prevents underwear from rolling down or slipping and sliding as you wear it, but you won't be able to tell it's there. Although Kratky doesn't find the patterns of the anti-slip tags particularly sexy.
Price at time of publish: $18
Size Range: XS-2X | Colors: 7 | Materials: Modal, nylon, spandex
Best G-String: Negative Underwear Glacé G-String
What We Love: The material feels substantial.
What We Don't Love: The lack of fabric takes some getting used to.
Have you noticed a recent trend of having your underwear show from underneath low-rise jeans again? We know, very early 2000s. While it's not for everyone, if you're interested in trying the daring trend, these are the underwear to go for. Negative Underwear's G-String Thongs are like the adult version of the youthful style. Kratky got to try a pair and adores how soft and stretchy the fabric was (from what little there is). Yes, the back is basically fully exposed by the little (yet sturdy) string, the velvety, luscious, and smooth fabric does cover what needs to be covered tastefully. After wearing it for the whole day, Kratky was impressed that the string never felt uncomfortable or invasive, even though it might feel weird at first. In fact, she forgot she was wearing a G-string at all.
Price at time of publish: $32
Size Range: XS-XXL | Colors: 6 | Materials: Lycra, Belgian stretch nylon
Best for Special Occasion: Gooseberry Dainty Thong
What We Love: You can adjust the waist band size (!!)
What We Don't Love: The material isn't particularly soft or stretchy.
Some thongs are meant to look invisible, and others demand an audience. File this Gooseberry Dainty Thong under the latter category. When Kratky received a pair to try, she immediately fell in love with the floral lace panty's striking royal blue color. The mesh design is mostly in the front and a little in the back, but the sides feature an interesting design element Kratky hasn't seen before on underwear: they're adjustable. Yup! You can change the sizing of the band much like you would bra straps. And once they're in place, Kratky was pleased to learn that they don't slip. Perhaps that excuses the brand from only offering one size (!?).
She did, however, find the material to be a little stiff. They're not super stretchy or soft, but we guess that's excusable since they're not exactly designed for all-day comfort but more of a short-wear show.
Price at time of publish: $25
Size Range: One size | Colors: 7 | Materials: Nylon, spandex
Best Lace: Hanky Panky Low Rise Thong
What We Love: It’s available in a ton of colors.
What We Don't: It’s one-size-fits-all, which may not always be inclusive.
While lace is often synonymous with the discomfort that leads to intermittent wear, Hanky Panky’s low-rise thong single-handedly changes everything you know about lace thongs. Made with the brand’s signature stretch lace, the Hanky Panky lace thong sits smoothly under your clothes (something you’d never expect from lace), and it sits low on the hip, minimizing the possibility of a lacey whale tail. It only comes in one-size-fits-all, which apparently has a significant amount of stretch, but it still limits the number of people who can wear it. We hope the brand expands its size-range soon.
Price at time of publish: $24
Size Range: One-size | Colors: 35 | Materials: Nylon, spandex, supima cotton
Best Workout: Lululemon UnderEase Mid-Rise Thong
What We Love: It’s made from breathable, sweat-wicking materials.
What We Don't Love: It runs small.
When you’re looking for a great workout thong, hitting up Lululemon is kind of a no-brainer. And it was pretty apparent that the UnderEase Mid-Rise thong nails it. Whether you’re perfecting your downward dog or working things out on a pickleball court, these thongs will support you through it all. Made with modal and elastane, this thong is breathable, sweat-wicking, and quick-drying. Add a dash of Lycra, and you have a thong with four-way stretch and excellent shape retention. But be aware, like many Lululemon items, it does run a tad small.
Price at time of publish: $18
Size Range: XS-XXL | Colors: 9 | Materials: Modal, lycra elastane
Our Testing Process
In order to recommend the best thongs, we tested numerous underwear ourselves to get a first-person understanding of how they perform. Seven out of the ten mentioned products have been personally handled and worn by the writers of this story. We tested them based on comfort, style, durability, and breathability. We considered which occasions each thong is best for, be it an evening out or going to the gym, and took those reflections into our recommendations.
What to Keep in Mind
Lifestyle and Wardrobe Preferences
“No matter what style of panty we wear (but especially with thongs!), it’s good to take into consideration your lifestyle and wardrobe,” says Freno. “We often suggest including several styles of [panties] in your drawer to go with any outfit – and the same is true for thongs. Allow yourself the luxury of choice in your panty drawer. If you have a variety of fabrications and colors to choose from, it can get your day off to a great start when you go to put on that important first layer of clothing.”
Keep in mind that a loose thong may bunch and lead to an uncomfortable fit, and bunched fabric may be visible under your clothing. On the other hand, thongs that are too tight can feel restricting and lead to chafing, which is equally uncomfortable.
“Wearing a thong that fits perfectly and provides you with the comfort you deserve will leave you feeling empowered and give you the confidence to take charge of your day,” says Freno. “[For that reason], sizing is important to think about when buying thongs. [Ultimately], if the panty is too small, it will create an unattractive look and uncomfortable feel.”
While thongs made from specialty fabrics are good for date night, they may not be the best option for daily wear. Thongs intended for daily wear should be made from breathable, comfortable materials. If that means cotton to you, then go for it. If it means modal or a stretchy lace, that’s fine too.
“I'm a huge proponent of undergarments in breathable fabrics such as cotton, but if you're still seeing lines or your ensemble leaves little to the imagination, opt for a seamless thong (usually nylon, jersey, and/or spandex) for a nearly invisible look and feel,” says Blanc.
Your Questions, Answered
Should you size up on a thong to make it fit better?
“It is not necessary to size up when wearing a thong – in fact, it’s not a great idea at all,” says Freno. “Not only will it not make the garment fit better, but it will also cause it to bunch up in other areas, and no one wants that!” Freno warns that while a tight fit isn’t good, a loose fit isn’t any better as it may “cause the garment to shift uncomfortably and cause chafing while wearing.’
Is wearing a thong hygienic?
According to Freno, “As long as your thong is laundered properly and fits well, they are perfectly safe and hygienic to wear.” That said, it’s also important to wear these items judiciously — keeping things sanitary may include changing them out once or twice a day to prevent the spread of bacteria.
How do you avoid a whale tail?
Despite the fact that Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa have cultivated a “whale tail” trend, it’s not something we all strive for — or at least for everyday wear. The good news is, it’s fairly easy to keep the garment on the down-low. To do so, Blanc says, “wear a thong with a rise that's similar to the article of clothing that you're wearing over it. For example, if you're wearing low-rise jeans, your thong should also be low-rise.” Anything but will indubitably lead to whale tail or what Blanc likes to call "a sexy plumber’s crack.”
Why Shop With Us
Sharon Brandwein is a freelance writer and SEO specialist. She has vast experience reporting on lingerie and undergarments, having written numerous articles for InStyle already about undergarments. Bianca Kratky is a commerce writer at InStyle, with over two years of experience covering fashion and beauty. Together, they tested and wore over half of the mentioned products themselves to provide a first person review. They also interviewed a select group of experts — including Lana Blanc, personal and fashion stylist and founder of The Blanc House, and Tracy Freno, customer service manager at Bare Necessities — for more information on how to shop for thongs
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Read the original article on InStyle.