Thursday, 20 October 2011

The vagaries of underwear

I’ve never been a brand name kind of girl; I don’t understand the desire to pay for the privilege of wearing an advertisement for a particular brand. Nor do I understand the desire to pay three times the value of the clothing item to advertise the product for the manufacturers.

As a result I frequently shop at Target. In fact, I generally buy my underwear and gym gear there. Lately, however, I’ve been pondering the wisdom of this. Buying underpants and leggings for the gym at Target has led me to start questioning if I’m not actually a bit deluded about my size. 

I used to think that I was in pretty good shape. I used to think that I am not actually overweight or even plump; now I’m questioning that assumption. I mean I work at keeping fit and being in shape, I go to Spin classes and then do weights a couple of times a week, walk the dog, and do Bikram at least once a week. Plus my diet is pretty good; I like to eat healthy. So why is it then that the underpants I buy at Target need to be at least one (sometimes two) sizes bigger than my regular clothes?

I’m generally a size 10, sometimes a 12, yet if I buy size 10 underwear I have serious VPL (Visible Panty Line) even if I buy both the outer and inner wear at Target. So I can be wearing some size 10 cargo pants, bought from Target, but if I wear size 10 undies I have muffin top. Surely if I fit into size 10 clothes I should fit into size 10 undies? I recently bought size 14 undies in a desperate attempt outwit VPL. Yet I can still see the outline of my undies.  Perhaps I need to go more upmarket and buy my underwear elsewhere? Or maybe I'm just an odd shape and underwear doesn't quite fit me. . . 

I’m having the same problem with my leggings. I refuse to pay the $65 (and more) I encountered when trying to shop for leggings at Rebel Sport. Instead I trotted off to Target and bought a pair for less than $20. I mean, they’re going to get sweaty, they’re going to be washed frequently, I’m not going to look great while wearing them, sans make-up, at a Spin class anyway so $20 seems a reasonable price to pay.

The trouble is I ended up buying the size 12s because the 10s gave me a little bit of a muffin top. (Friends will laugh at me but it’s true.)  So I opted for the larger size, now they’re starting to get baggy in the knees and legs- I’ve only had them for three months.  And I still don’t like that they’re a little too tight in the waist/hip area for me. Oh, plus how do I find undies that don’t give me VPL under the leggings- even if I buy large Bridget Jones' grandmother type undies? I’ve checked out other women at the gym (in a very discreet non-sexual way) and they don’t appear to have a muffin top or VPL. What’s the secret?

Why are these two items sized so differently? Maybe my back/butt is actually fat?! (Although I don't know how it would have the hide to be with all the squats, lunges, spinning and walking that I do.) I have size 10 jeans (and some size 9 ones too!) size 10 shirts and blouses, size 10 cardigans, size 10 trousers and am willing to admit sometimes I do buy size 12 instead. Yet size 14 undies still give me VPL! But how can my underwear be a bigger size than my outerwear? How?


  1. Ha ha! Hi Stella. I wish all I had to worry about was a VPL. You've read about my own fitting room strategy of avoiding looking at myself above the hip-line for fear of what I'll see. Still following your proclivities with interest but haven't commented for ages because I've been reading your blog on my iPhone and it's too complicated to respond. Made a special effort to get the computer out so I could let you know I still look forward to your updates. Cheers. Fraudster.

  2. Here the underwear sizes are different from the regular clothes sizes. So you could be a 12 in one and a 5 in another. Sizes here (and I'm sure elsewhere) also vary with the manufacturer. One company's 10 is another's 8.

    My guess is your issues might have more to do with style and cut than size. You might need something that's cut differently, or for the VPL a brand that is more seamless.

    As for the women at the gym, my guess is they're wearing thongs, or nuthin' at all!

  3. Hey Fraudy,
    Well thanks for making a special effort and letting me know you're still hanging in there. Haven't been very active blogging lately, bad me. Am thinking of doing NaBloPoMo in November and blogging every day. Woohoo.
    And yes I remember well your own fitting room quests! I'm beginning to think it's just Target, we shouldn't buy trousers, leggings or underwear in Target.
    NQ- I would just give up. How stupid. I guess once you find a brand that you understand the sizing you would stick with it. Yep, you're right, went for a different cut. Seems to be helping. My complaint is that with the Target brand itself I seem to vary in sizes. Surely they should be consistent with their own brand?
    Thongs? Nah, our gym says proper shoes must be worn. (Bahahaha.) Yeah, I know what you mean, we call them g-strings over here. Wonder why?