Style + Ask The Edit

In Praise of Thong Underwear

Last week, I wrote about my hatred of visible panty line (VPL) and how Hanky Panky thongs and boyshorts can help eliminate that problem.  But several of you expressed your skepticism or downright opposition to thongs and non-cotton underwear in the comments. 

I must admit that I was taken aback by some of the comments because it’s been 11 years since Sisqo released “The Thong Song,” so I thought thongs had gone mainstream.  I was a bit surprised to discover that, for several of you, thongs are unexplored and confusing territory.  So let’s delve into this uncharted underpinning realm, shall we?

The first comment that I would like to address is, “Thongs are for sluts.”  First off, if the kind of underwear a person wears is your metric for judging a person’s character or promiscuousness, you’re an idiot.  That’s right, I said it, an idiot

I’ve been celibate for almost six years, and I wear a thong every day. And even if I were sexually active, owning a drawer full of lacy underthings would not make me a slut.  This isn’t the Victorian-era, so stop slut shaming based on underwear preference.  Wearing sexy underwear can be empowering even if no one but you will ever see them. 

Secondly, I find Hanky Pankys to be very comfortable for daytime wear but I’ve never been able to sleep in one.  If you don’t feel comfortable wearing one, then find something else that you will be comfortable wearing that won’t cause VPL.  A boyshort or hipster might be more to your liking. 

I suggest stopping by the local Nordstrom or lingerie boutique (Coup de Foudre in PQ is a Belle favorite) and asking some questions.  You’re a grown up, no one will judge you for talking about underwear.

Third, there were a number of comments about thongs being unsanitary.  This one was a bit of a head scratcher for me, since I had never heard this assertion before.  So I did what any good blog editrix would do, I Googled and then asked an expert. 

Google brought back several dozen search results, but the vast majority of them were just web forums and message boards where women were having a discussion like the one we had in the comments.  The only “news” article on the main page was this one proclaiming thongs to be unsanitary.  But the article is from Yahoo and was written not by a medical expert, but by a woman named Nicole, a Yahoo Network Contributor on fashion and style.  And while she made a number of vehement assertions about the unhealthiness of thong underwear, she didn’t provide any citations or expert sources to support that claim. So, I asked my OB/GYN.

When asked, my doctor had this to say about the cleanliness of thong underwear: If you have sub par hygiene to begin with, you regularly seek treatment for yeast infections, you’re on antibiotics or you are suffering from colon health issues, then thongs are not for you.  Thongs can exacerbate a pre-existing issue, but as long as you have good hygiene and you wash them in hot water (not warm) you should be fine.  But should you develop an infection or any of the other problems listed above, you should give up the thongs until the problem clears.

The doctor also said that you shouldn’t sleep in thongs, and that you should also take a day off from wearing them each week.  She also said that cotton thongs and cotton underwear are generally better for hygiene since the material is breathable.  Since I wear Hanky Pankys, which are made of nylon lace, I pressed her on the cotton point. 

She recommended that if you wear lace, nylon or silk underwear during the day, you should sleep in cotton underwear.  She also insisted that I buy underthings that have a substantial cotton lining.  She also recommended a brand called OnGossamer, which sells thongs and briefs that wick away moisture.  This is, apparently, what she wears. 

If you have any further questions, I suggest you ask your health care provider during your yearly visit as I am not a medical expert and everyone is different.

10 years ago, I never thought I would be writing a blog post singing the praises of the thong-th-thong-thong-thong (damn, that song was catchy and totally misogynist).  But I’m a thong convert thanks to Miss M and her Hanky Panky obsession.  What can I say?  Thongs are contagious. 

So if you’ve never tried one, this might be a good time to branch out.  Who knows?  You might actually like it.



  1. RMS says:

    Thank you, Belle, for getting the thong song stuck in my head.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  2. Belle says:

    Sorry, let's try something else. “Put de lime in de coconut…”

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  3. C says:

    Since when do thongs completely entirely prevent panty lines? A visible thong line is just as bad if not worse than regular old underoo lines! I argue it's about material and fit, not just the cut of the undergarment. Also- thongs every single day? Give me a break.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  4. CynthiaW says:

    I'm not.a thong-wearer, but I'm inspired to try again with a better fitting thong – tthere are some things that it seems that they would be ideal for. As for being surprised that Belle (or anyone) wears a thong every day – why? I wear the same style underwear almost everyday and I would guess that most people do.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  5. P says:

    Hear Hear! Lace thongs are the best! I've even gotten my (extremely conservatively dressed) Mom to wear them!

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  6. Shamala says:

    VPL is unacceptable. For the thong haters, just wear (or don't wear) whatever you need to avoid it – whether it's the undergarment or the garment that must change. I'm more than a little surprised that you got so much push back, Belle.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  7. CCV says:

    I've been wearing thongs since high school and have never considered them unhealthy. It's a clothing choice, not a lifestyle. I actually don't own a pair of briefs and don't plan to change that. Make your own decisions, ladies, and remember that both VPLs and whale-tails are never classy.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  8. Jen says:

    Please consider that visible “cottage cheese” is also a fashion no-no. Many women should not be wearing thongs, as they do not provide a shaping layer between their dress & pants and what lies beneath.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  9. VA says:

    I cannot believe someone said “Thongs are for sluts.” I bet that person is friends with a ton of un-slutty women who wear thongs to avoid VPL and he/she just doesn't realize it.

    I like the Cosabella thongs at Nordstrom – totally invisible, even under clingy things like jersey. If someone is getting a “thong line” like C mentions, that probably means you need to size up so it's not cutting into your hips.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  10. LPU says:

    I used to hate thongs – my older female cousins referred to them as “butt floss”. I owned a few, for when they were absolutely necessary. But after reading about Hanky Pankys, and having a credit on Rue La La that was burning a hole in my wallet – I decided to give them a try. Skeptical ladies – they are on sale at Nordstrom right now – GO GET A PAIR. If I could afford an underwear drawer makeover, it would be made up of Hanky Panky thongs.

    Also, thank you for putting the kabosh on 'slut shaming', Belle. That talk has no place in a world of empowered females (who happen to wear pretty underthings), especially on a blog like this.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  11. KLo says:

    Hear hear!

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  12. Kate says:

    I'm a fan of thongs with a lace band, but cotton lining. The lace band is less prone to causing a visible thong line, but I find the cotton more comfortable than a fully lace thong. Also, a lot of the line issues with thongs are caused because women buy them in the size they wish to be rather than the size they currently are. The band should lay flat, not bunch up and stretch.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  13. MW says:

    I was a big fan of Hanky Panky thongs – until I found “The Lacie” from Victoria's Secret. Just as comfortable (if not more) and much more affordable.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  14. Ava says:

    If someone has visible “cottage cheese” I think they have bigger issues than what undergarment they are wearing. (i.e., the clothing is too tight, too cheap, too thin..)

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  15. FLlova says:

    6 years!!!! Belle we need to find you a ring.
    PS the classiest girl I know (unfortunately not me) has an all nude underwear drawer – it's not just material or cut, but color too!

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  16. amy b.s. says:

    i seriously never considered that people didn't wear thongs especially with work clothes. vpl is just not okay.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  17. lexberns says:

    This is so relevant to my life right now! I literally just bought my first two thongs the other day and It was like a miracle for my backside. I'm still getting used to the, shall we say, lack of containment back there, but under a pencil skirt or pants at work… they are perfect.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  18. KC says:

    Viva the thong! Great post Belle. I wear thongs every day and have never had a “health issue” with them. Also, I would like to point out I am not a slut for wearing them ­čÖé

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  19. prosecutordc says:

    Personally I feel uncomfortable wearing thongs under dresses/skirts and there are other underwear options to prevent VPL. However, I do wear thongs several times a week. And I find them very comfortable…I wear the lace ones from SOMA, similar to Hanky Panky but cheaper and I think they hold up better too after washing.

    One more thing…when I had gained 2-3lbs a few months ago for no apparent reason and my clothes were a tad tight…thongs made them fit so much better! You gain a little room and its lovely!

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  20. Broads of the Beltway says:

    VPL is caused by clothes that don't fit properly – not by underwear.

    I find it sort of flabbergasting that thongs are toted as a solution to any problem – to me, fabric in my ass crack is in and of itself a problem that needs to be solved.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  21. saisai says:

    I get so many more wedgies when I wear full-coverage underwear than when I wear Hanky Panky thongs. The butt part is wide enough that it doesn't feel like floss, but I never have the urge to “dig in” and rarely need to readjust my underwear during the workday. Cotton bikini panties are so much more frustrating for me.

    I was very anti-thong for a long time, but when I started working and was just sitting in a chair all day long, I hated the feel of pantylines digging into my skin. Got a set of HPs as a gift and have never looked back.

    For those of you worried about them being “unsanitary”, the crotch part of HPs is just as big as on a pair of bikini panties.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  22. No Drama Momma says:

    Thanks for clearing up the hygiene issue. But as to the first comment you addressed, don't feed the troll! These asshats only exist to start drama.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  23. Yay for thongs says:

    I have always stayed away from thongs, I had maybe two pairs that I would wear when i felt daring. I always thought they were uncomfortable and was terrified that i'd be wearing pants and reach down to grab something and you'd see my g-string. That was until I realized pencil skirts look ridiculous w any other kind of underwear and that the lace thongs w the cotton lining are VERY comfortable. Also, it doesnt hurt that the BF loves my simple and classy lace thongs.

    Great post, Belle!

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  24. Laundress says:

    Poll: How do you wash your underwear? Does it vary for lacy things?

    I'm curious because I try to hand wash my lacy undies and when I'm too rushed/lazy and they go in the washer it's always cold water. Hot water causes anything elastic or stretchy to break down.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  25. Belle says:

    Laundress- I have an intimates bag like this one.

    I then wash them with Woolite on hot. No hand washing. The cold water doesn't kill the bacteria, if they don't last quite as long, I am willing to take that chance.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  26. JW says:

    LOVE cosabella, super comfortable, no VPL, fun colors, and cotton! And the “last cycle's” colors are always on clearance at nordstrom.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  27. Katy says:

    So glad you have had the balls to take on this sensitive issue. I have only had uncomfortable thong experiences and sometimes go commando, but will try your and your gyno's advice.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  28. Kate says:

    THANK YOU for posting this!

    And seriously, for any ladies out there considering trying Hanky Panky: do it! Try them! I was an adamant thong-hater before HP…they really are comfortable and you'll forget you're wearing one altogether.

    And you're right; anyone who says thongs are for sluts is a moron.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  29. DCGal says:

    I love how you're not-so-secretly a feminist!!

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  30. Belle says:

    DCGal-I prefer to think of it as pro-girl.

    July 20, 2011/Reply
  31. Jennelle says:

    Recently my best friend and I were at her house getting ready to go out to dinner, and she said she wanted to take off her underwear because of VPL. I asked her why she just didn't wear a thong? She said she didn't own any. And I was floored! She said she never liked wearing them. I wear thongs every single day. I found a brand I like, and have several in nude, white, black and a few in some fun colors. I can't believe people get so bent out of shape over wearing thongs like some of the comments you mentioned about calling women sluts! That's crazy. If you want to wear form-fitting clothes they are a must! Although, I will say that I hate nothing worse than seeing a thong sticking out of someone's pants. But I guess that's still better than granny panties sticking out of the top of someone's pants.

    July 21, 2011/Reply
  32. Katy says:

    more on underwear and feminism. Men can wear boxers and briefs and not worry about this problem. Are we wearing clothing that is too tight/thin to be practical for everyday? Sure on a Saturday night in your Bob Macke-Cher knock-off you may need specialty lingerie, but are we showing our butts too clearly at work? Or am I just showing my age?

    July 21, 2011/Reply
  33. Belle says:

    I'm not sure that someone can see any more of derriere when I'm wearing a thong and a pencil skirt than when I'm wearing lace boyshorts. Never thought about it that way though.

    July 21, 2011/Reply
  34. Awkward. says:

    a. the fact that people need you to write a post about this because they haven't heard of thongs or think only hookers wear them is absurd and speaks mountains to how clueless dc women can be about non-policy related issues.

    b. was it really necessary to talk about your personal sexual habits?

    Werid post. Just weird.

    August 4, 2011/Reply