By CLAUDIA CONNELL
Last week, Marks & Spencer reported a 64 per cent rise in sales of Brazilian knickers as women fall over themselves to buy them. But if you’re not brave enough to brazen it out in Brazilians, there are plenty of underwear types to try. Claudia Connell gives you the bottom line on today’s knicker tribes...
What are they? Inspired by swimwear seen on the beaches of Rio, these knickers give you good coverage at the front and a high cut at the back with a soft, non-elasticated leg so the fabric doesn’t show through clothes.
Worn by: Older women who should have more sense. Lured in by those three-for-£10 offers at M&S and pictures of the gorgeous Brazilian supermodel Ana Beatriz Barros wearing them, it’s only when they get their purchases home that they realise that these knickers look good only on Brazilian supermodels.
What are they? Comfort knickers. The underwear equivalent of a big bowl of fluffy mashed potato with melted butter. They come up to your armpits and (unlike the thong) leave everything to the imagination.
These tatty old faithfuls lie forlornly at the bottom of the laundry basket just waiting to be loved and worn. Once brilliant white, they’ve been put in with the coloured items a few too many times.
Worn by: Every woman at some point or other but strictly only on days when she can be sure of a) never getting run over, and b) never being seduced by a handsome man. These knickers are for her eyes only.
THONGS AND STRINGS
What are they? Teeny, tiny little triangles of fabric that don’t flatter anyone over a size 8. As a general rule, the less there is of them, the more you pay. They provide (just) enough to cover your modesty at the front while letting it all hang out behind.
Worn by: Glamour models, porn stars, reality TV stars and Essex girls.
What are they? Also called ‘cami-knickers’, these saucy creations usually come in silk and satin with a lace trim. Worn over the course of a day, they build up enough static friction to power a small car. Should never be paraded anywhere near a naked flame.
Worn by: Nurses in Carry On films, au pairs in dated TV sitcoms and French maids who find themselves locked in bedrooms with vicars in Seventies farces. Surely nobody in the real world wears them, do they?
CONTROL PANTS, AKA BRIDGET JONES PANTS
What are they? A modern day miracle and the greatest invention since the wheel.
These re-inforced super-pants can make you a dress size smaller, delivering the equivalent of a tummy tuck and a bum lift all in one go.
Worn by: Anybody having a fat day or wanting to ensure a perfect silhouette when they pour themselves into a particularly fitted outfit. And larger ladies needn’t be ashamed — even skinnies like Gwyneth Paltrow have confessed to never walking a red carpet without first donning a pair of Spanx.
What are they? They tend to come in packs of five and are often given as ‘wacky’ gifts at hen parties. Ones with the days of the week on are particular favourites, but designs with ‘Little Miss Naughty’ or pictures of cartoon characters such as Hello Kitty are also widely available.
Worn by: The immature, highly annoying office-joker type. The sort who’s always first up to sing karaoke at the office Christmas party.
What are they? Men’s underwear for women. Sporty and practical, they come down to the top of the thighs, cover the buttocks and sit under the belly button.
Worn by: PE mistresses, sporty, no-nonsense types who can’t be doing with the fuss of frills, lace and high cuts.
What are they? Plain, simple knickers that are scant enough to be sexy but substantial enough to not feel like your bottom is falling out of its world. Usually worn in plain white and bought in multi-packs.
Worn by: Students, office workers and busy mums who pick them up in supermarkets along with a loaf of bread and a box of Tetley.