Bikinis, hipsters, and thongs may be the top-selling underwear styles, but make way for granny panties! According to market research authority NPD, the sale of high-cut briefs doubled in two years from $79 million in 2010 to $197 million in 2012. Over the past decade colorful lace thongs and patterned bikinis have dominated retail shelves, while basic full-coverage underwear have had the same depressing stigma as mom jeans. But a sudden interest in retro, vintage styles with a higher waistline is bringing back the comfy undies once regarded as completely un-sexy. Typically reserved for laundry days, that time of the month, or when there are zero prospects of an intimate encounter, the new styles of high-waisted briefs are definitely more provocative than your average granny panties.
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If pop stars are any indication, high-waisted briefs are where it's at. Fashionable and trendy stars like Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Beyonce are all wearing them onstage, often with cropped tops and boots. Celebs like Fergie, Katy Perry, and Krysten Ritter are letting them peek out from sheer dresses on the red carpet. And actresses like Amanda Seyfried, Sofia Vergara, Kerry Washington have all worn high-waisted hot pants on recent magazine covers. And let's not forget about Taylor Swift's fondness for the retro, high-waisted bikinis she's been rocking all summer long. Full coverage bottoms have never looked hotter, and we have the stars and fashion magazines to thank.
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"A lot of looks in fashion and editorial have been influenced by the vintage look, so it began to adjust our notion of what's stylish and sexy," Daphne Javitch, founder of intimates brand TEN Undies, told Yahoo! Shine. "In the last two months every editorial that we've been involved in has had specified high-waisted requests. They all want the high-waisted. So I've definitely noticed an increased in popularity."
Other brands confirm the trend. "At Hanro, we've definitely noticed an increase in fuller coverage briefs and boy leg styles," Jan Snodgrass, US president of Hanro of Switzerland told Yahoo! Shine. "There has been a measurable increase starting in 2011. Customers are making a point to seek out these styles. Our cotton seamless full brief has been Hanro's top selling style for a long time."
Angelica Melendez, DK & DKNY Intimates Creative Director, feels the return of full-coverage underwear was inevitable at this time. "The high-waisted trend is back because of a cross generational appeal. They provide a retro credibility to the younger generation whose ready to wear includes crop tops, hi-waisted shorts and skirts, while also appealing to a more mature audience for its elongation, extra coverage and slimming effects," Melendez told Yahoo! Shine. Snodgrass feels the full-coverage look is fresh, young, and modern. "It also goes hand in hand with the more lady, demure ready to wear trend we've been seeing on runways," she says.
Comfort and fit are another reason to try this retro style. "Wearing high-waisted underwear is almost like wearing shapewear, but without the commitment of full on shaping pieces," Isabel Baert, INTIMACY Head of Buying, told Yahoo! Shine. "They're often the most comfortable option available in bottoms - there's no cutting or awkward lines-it's a very smooth look." Candice Smith, a bra fitting stylist at INTIMACY in Atlanta says their customers love the look. "What's great about a high-waisted panty is that it still feels sexy yet it does a great job of hiding flaws in the lower tummy area that we don't want anybody to notice!"
It's time to ditch your negative feelings about the cut, because experts feel the modern touches paired with the classic fit is a sensational look on most women. "Perhaps 'grandma' styles served more of a practical function in the past, but a lot of Hanro styles have beautiful lace details that are really special," says Snodgrass. She says celebrities wearing larger briefs for public appearances and in magazines makes it more desirable to wear them. "There's a reputation of high-waisted underwear being like granny panties or a girdle, so I think people don't immediately associate high-waisted undies with being sexy," says Javitch. "But the truth is they're so flattering and cute [because] they come in at your waist. Even if you have a tummy or if you're a little bit rectangular, they extenuate your silhouette."
Other retailers are on board with the trend as well. Chantelle, the leading French lingerie outfitter worldwide, has three appealing new high-waisted styles in their fall/winter 2013 collection. The shimmery Galuchat panty gives the illusion of shark skin, while their So Light model is crafted with sheer tulle. "Each high waisted bottom is made with various materials to sculpt each area of the body-round the backside, smooth where the thigh meets the hip," Kristin Palermo, publicist for Chantelle lingerie told Yahoo! Shine. "The bottoms are fit tested extensively to ensure they don't shift or ride while wearing." The popular lingerie site FigLeaves.com offers 59 pairs of sexy full-coverage briefs. Hanky Panky, "home of the world's most comfortable thong," has an entire section devoted to hi-rise briefs.
You may not be a convert just yet, but Javitch says not to be surprised if your first pair gets you hooked. "It's not always the first style girls think of, but once they wear them they usually like them and come back for more."
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