Why I Upgraded My Underwear Drawer

a pile of underwear

I wrote a few weeks ago about my experience with Thinx period underwear, and a reader asked if I would share more about my overall underwear drawer, since I seem to be on a bit of an underwear journey these days. That reader was very perceptive. I have been on an underwear journey – away from plastic panties, the male gaze, and the 5-for-25 bin, and towards the organic cotton bikinis and feminist lingerie of my dreams.

Just a disclosure before I begin: none of the products discussed in this post were gifted, and I don’t have a relationship with any of these brands. There are affiliate and referral links peppered throughout the article, and I may receive a small commission and/or store credit if you make a purchase using one of those links.

So, where was I? Oh, right. The 5-for-25 bin at Target. The pair of panties that I would pick out of my underwear drawer and think “these are uncomfortable” before putting them BACK IN THE DRAWER and choosing another pair. Why was I putting them back in the drawer? Why was I continuing to buy “cute” underwear that chafed or pinched or didn’t breath well or deformed immediately in the washing machine? Why did I let these panties exist in my underwear drawer for so long while I consistently chose “the good pair” over and over again instead? Shouldn’t all of my underwear be the good pair?

Late last year, I decided that yes, every single pair of underwear in my drawer should be the good pair, and I set about making some big intimates investments.

| What I Wanted |

How to describe the anatomy of a good pair of underwear? For me, it’s a cotton bikini in a neutral color. That’s it. I don’t like lace. I don’t like patterns or bright colors. I don’t like boyshorts or hipsters or thongs. The closest thing I had in my drawer to what I envisioned as the “perfect” underwear were my Calvin Klein bikinis, which have the cute little logo waistband and in general are very comfortable and well made (I live near a Calvin Klein outlet, so Matt and I stop in periodically for underwear – he wears Calvin Klein underwear almost exclusively). I had about five pairs of those, in black, white, and grey, and I reached for them often. They weren’t perfect for every situation, though, given the logo band, so I knew that going forward I wanted panties that were as plain and unadorned as possible.

| What I Bought |

I got very lucky during the Pact Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and ended up buying about $100 worth of underwear for just over $12. I bought two six-packs of bikinis, one all black pack and one pink-white-beige combo pack. Those are what I wear most days now.

I really like Pact for a lot of reasons. They’re a Fair Trade Factory certified organization, they use organic cotton in all of their products, and they have a fairly accessible price point. I like that they make so many simple, comfortable styles, and in my experience, they really hold up. In addition to the underwear, I also bought several pairs of leggings for hanging out around the house, two sports bras, and two gym outfits. They’re having a sale this weekend and they finally restocked most of their underwear sizes, so I might invest in a couple of thongs, because even though I don’t love thongs, sometimes an outfit simply requires one.

P.s. You can use my referral link for 20% off your first Pact purchase, and FYI, Pact does let you double up on discounts. They have good sales on holiday weekends, so that’s typically when I stock up.

pact underwear in black pink and white

| About Lingerie |

Is conventional lingerie the devil, or what? (Dad, this is a good place for you to stop reading) I used to spend money on “sexy” lingerie at Victoria’s Secret and then never, ever, wear it. I bought it to have something sexy and fun for my partner and I to enjoy, but every time I put it on I felt like an idiot. Who designed this stuff? A dude, probably. Someone who didn’t consider how hard it is to feel sexy when you’re trying to figure out which weird lace strap goes where and how to get this one part to stop digging into your sensitive bits.

Yeah. Never again. The one extravagant underwear purchase I made recently was a beautiful, organic cotton set from ARQ. ARQ is one of those Instagram-darling brands that I started a love affair with because I saw so many ethical fashion influencers wearing their stuff. But honestly,  the more I saw, the more I liked. I decided I liked them for real, not just because Instagram told me to.

ARQ is a company that I feel really good about buying from because they’re a small, family owned business making base-layers for women and children using GOTS certified organic cotton. I find their adult pieces to be sexy in a lovely, understated sort of way, and I absolutely adore the set I bought. It was pricey (just under $60 for the two pieces – I think you save 10% when you buy two or more pieces at a time), but really worth it imo.

No one needs special underpants to be sexy for their partner, but I personally love how my ARQ set makes me feel, and yes, I will be buying additional sets in the future. It looks like there might be some new colors coming this spring!

ARQ underwear set in green

I bought the Crop Tank and the High-Rise Undies, both in Celadon, size S. I normally wear a medium in bottoms but the size chart on the ARQ website seemed to indicate that a size S would fit me better, and I am really happy with the fit of both pieces. Pictured above next to my BHLDN robe that I bought for my wedding, because floral robes were the hot wedding trend of 2016 and I am nothing if not a basic b.

| My Current Underwear Stats |

At this point, I’ve tossed the majority of the terrible 5-for-25 underwear. I still have a few pairs of synthetic-y type panties that I wear to the gym, as well as a few thongs and seamless type panties that are necessary for certain outfits. I kept all my Calvin Klein bikinis and still wear them frequently. All total, I probably have somewhere in the range of 25-30 pairs of underwear (including six pairs of Thinx). I didn’t talk much about bras in this post, but I have one particular bra from Gap that I really love and own several of, plus a few VS bras that still serve me well. I’m fine with my bra situation, tbh.

I don’t wash my underwear in any special way – I just toss it in the machine with everything else and I also put it in the dryer. My Pact undies have held up perfectly – no deforming or holes or anything. I wash my ARQ stuff in a mesh bag to protect it, and I usually just tumble dry it low to get it most of the way dry, and then lay it out to finish drying completely.

My underwear storage is limited by space – if you’re a new reader, please note that my husband and I live on the 4th floor of his parents’ townhouse in two small rooms – so I don’t have any fun organizational secrets to share with you. I have one of those IKEA drawer organizer things that sits on a shelf in my closet, and I just kind of shove the undies in the front compartments, wherever they fit. Bras go in the larger compartment in the back of the organizer. I always keep a nice smelling bar of soap in it to give my clothes a pleasant, subtle scent. My mama taught me that trick when I was in high-school and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Questions about anything I talked about in today’s post? Let me know in the comments!



6 thoughts on “Why I Upgraded My Underwear Drawer

  1. Pact doesn’t seem to offer the option of doubling your referral code with the sale discount code, so someone purchasing has to pick between the two. Unless maybe I read that incorrectly and you meant doubling up on different discounts? Regardless, I appreciated your insight as a fellow non-frills cotton girl. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also have been on an underwear journey lately! I got so tired of the 8-for-$35 deal from Aerie, whose underwear would crumble after only a few months. I am slowly building a drawer of comfy, cute, and sustainable underwear.

    I have also decided that 2020 is the year I stop wearing uncomfortable bras! This is definitely a tougher journey, but I am committed. Definitely going to check out ARQ, as I’ve been searching for an ethical yet not-uncomfortable lingerie set. Thanks for the inspo!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The waistband of my Pact boyshorts unraveled within months. I saw poor reviews of theirs on the website but risked it anyway. The opportunity cost was more pairs from MeUndies or Thirdlove, which are currently the most durable and comfortable options in my drawer.

    This is not to say all Pact models are bad! Just heed the reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s fair! Like I said in the post, all of my Pact undies that I’ve been wearing for the last couple of months have held up really well. And it’s funny that you mention MeUndies because I actually spent a ton of money on a few pairs of MeUndies last year and absolutely hated them. The fit was terrible and they deformed, unraveled, and got holes in them. Definitely the worst underwear investment I ever made! I think it goes to show that people can have really different experiences of the same brand.

      Liked by 1 person

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