Guide To Plus Size Panties – But Why Are They Called A Pair?

Panties 10 comments

A Brief History

Yes, the pun is intended. And why not? Panties should be fun. Every girl should have a drawer full of “fundies.” Speaking of a drawer full, did you know that panties haven’t always been a clothing staple for women?

It’s true. Up until the late 1700s, women wore petticoats and perhaps a chemise, but nothing that resembled what we wear today. Clothing was worn as much for warmth as it was for any others reason.

When pantalettes, the early forerunners of panties, were added, they consisted of two legs that were tied together at the waist.

That’s right, everything was open. And, that’s where the term “pair” came from; a separate covering for each leg. They didn’t begin stitching the two legs together until the late 1800s.

Pantalettes, precursor to today’s panties

Also known as drawers, they weren’t the lovely lacy creations you might envision. Lace-trimmed versions weren’t available to women until the latter half of the 1800s.

The term “knickers” also came into common usage around this time.

Wondering where the term knickers came from? It’s a shortened term for knickerbocker, which was a loose fitting type of pant men wore. Ladies of the day adapted knickerbockers for wear under their then-fashionable hoop skirts.

As women’s needs changed, so did the configuration of what has become women’s panties. Today, you have a wonderful selection of styles and fabrics to choose from. It just depends on what you want and need.

Current Styles

The following are the basic styles of panties. There are definitely more categories but these descriptions should get you started.


This basic, utilitarian style is popular with many women and has regained popularity in the past few years. The waist sits at or near the natural waistline and they offer full coverage of the bottom with the leg opening following the natural division between the torso and leg.

Boy Shorts

Similar to briefs, boy shorts also offer full coverage with the addition of a small leg.


Hipsters sit at or below the hips and their leg openings hit above the thighs.


Bikinis also sit on the hips but generally give full coverage of the bottom


Thongs have coverage in the front and nowhere else. That’s why they are prized as a true “no visible panty line” panty.

Specialized Panties

This specialized category includes period panties and incontinence panties.  If you’re not Icon pantiesfamiliar with them, take a look at what’s available.  I think you’re going to be impressed.

You can read more about period panties here, at the THINX site.  You can read more about Icon incontinence panties here.

Does Fabric Matter?

Depending on what you’re doing, what style of panty you’re wearing, and how often or for how long you wear them, yes. Type of fabric can make a big difference.

The most popular fabrics being used in the manufacture of women’s panties today are cotton, polyester, nylon, and silk.


Most of us have no problem wearing cotton. It’s soft, comfy, and relatively inexpensive. Cotton can also wick moisture from the skin.

The problem with cotton is that once it’s damp, it dries slowly. On some parts of the body, this may not be a problem, for a pair of panties, it can be.

One option is to change your panties at least once during the day, depending on what you are doing.


Polyester can do some amazing things, but it doesn’t breathe and it holds in your body heat. Some manufacturers add special chemicals to polyester to help it wick moisture from your body. If you wear panties made of polyester, you probably want to be sure they have a cotton crotch.


Like polyester, nylon doesn’t absorb moisture, and it holds in the heat. If it’s a hot day, or you’re exercising, nylon panties will cause you to feel hotter. Follow the same recommendation for polyester panties and make sure your nylon panties have cotton crotches.


Silk is such a beautiful fabric, and silk panties are such a delightful little luxury, but it’s not very breathable or very absorbent. You may not want to wear silk on a daily basis.

You Have Options

One option not discussed above is going through your day without panties. However, if your goal is to stay healthy and comfortable, no panties isn’t really a good option.

Fabrics and seams rubbing sensitive body parts can cause problems you just don’t need. Besides, wearing beautiful panties can make you feel like a million bucks and send you into your day ready for success and maybe even adventure.

So, Where Do You Find These Wonderful Necessities?

You may already have a shop or two near you that stocks things you find desirable. Many department stores are also expanding their plus size lingerie departments. But, just in case you need a little more inspiration, I’ve included a few sites that may surprise, and I hope, delight you.

Playful Promises. Shop their US site for sexy panties, bras, and more.

Dottie’s Delights. Dottie’s carries “burlesque and pin-up inspired lingerie” up to 3X. You can also find Dottie’s Delights on Etsy too.

Ewa Michalak. She carries a lovely range of plus sizes, and also has a bridal lingerie department. Her brand is also carried in a couple of stores here in the US.

Cacique. Don’t overlook this familiar line at Lane Bryant.

Torrid. They have a very good selection of plus size lingerie including bridal.

Kiss Me Deadly. Located in the UK, this shop seems to carry a limited selection of plus sizes. However, it may be worth taking a few minutes to check them out because they do custom made-to-measure shapewear that is beyond stunning.

Elila. Lovely collection of plus size panties and other items.

Hips & Curves. You’ll find a wonderful selection of panties here in sizes up to 6X.


If I’ve told you something new about women’s panties, I’m happy. If I gave you a new place to search for your perfect pair, I’m thrilled. We all deserve to have pretty things that make us feel special. I think lovely new panties can do that. So, whether you call them panties, knickers, or drawers, I wish you happy hunting!

By the way, they’re called drawers because to put them on you have to step into them and draw, or pull, them up into place.

Let Us Know In The Comments Below!

As always, if you have a question, comment, or manufacturer you’d like added to the list, please let me know. If you’d like a little help tracking down something special, help me do my job and ask!


I may benefit from qualified purchases.



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Author Nancy


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