Viva la Sexy Granny Panty!

By: Marianne

Today, I would like to talk about an item of apparel very near (no pun intended) and dear to me: sexy granny panties. Emphasis on the “sexy.” If the term “granny panties” doesn’t appeal to you, I suppose we can stick with “retro high-waist panties,” if we must. This enduring style smooths and accentuates curves; even in this age of ultra-low-rise jeans, thongs, and whale tails, it has a dedicated following. But what separates the “sexy” from the “granny”? What makes for the most flattering high-waisted styles? What should you wear them with? Where can you buy panties in this cut, or at least stare at luscious bombshells decked out in this modest yet figure-hugging style?

So if you’re new to the game, let’s define the overarching style. “Granny panties” is usually said in a self-deprecatory or possibly even offensive tone in reference to underwear that’s just not sexy. “Not sexy” is the basic definition, and can encompass the following factors.

The Am I Wearing Granny Panties? Checklist
-Coverage: Where is the waist and legline on your panties?
-Fabric: Are you rocking the plain cotton? What color is it? Is it ultra plain or featuring a generic floral? Has it, perhaps, seen better days?
-Elastic: Is the elastic chunky and white, purely utilitarian?
-Volume: Beyond the amount of coverage, how does it fit on you? Is it gathered into the aforementioned chunky elastic, causing it to bag around your bottom?

Now, I’m not trying to suggest that you have to wear sexy underwear every day. There are certain days (of the month, perhaps) where that may be too risky for your favorite silky treasures, or they may not be up to the physical rigors of your day’s activities. But you should be aware of the detail differences between giant grandma thunderpants and the sexy granny panty.

The Sexy Variant
The classic disclaimer, of course, is that this is my opinion of what makes for a flattering and sexy style. I’m certainly not going to pretend that your hypothetical lover will automatically go wild for the sudden increase in coverage, but I find that a good high-cut panty draws attention to and defines the waist and lays much smoother under dresses and skirts. Here’s I would describe my preferred retro high waist panty.

Ideally, the waistline should go all the way to your natural waist, which is an inch or so above your belly button. When it stops short of that point, I find that it visually widens my waist because it’s not drawing attention to the narrowest part, as well as disrupting the curve to my hipline. Having an unbroken line from the narrowest point of your waist down to the hip emphasizes the curve of an hourglass silhouette. If you find pressure across your stomach to be uncomfortable (ie, that caused by the elastic waistband), look for a panty with an even higher waistline. Kiss Me Deadly seems to have several awesome “longline” (ultra high rise) options right now.

This unbroken line looks a lot smoother under your clothing. For comparison, the working theory of a thong is that the absence of fabric and elastic across your butt eliminates VPL. Or something. In practice, I find that the tension is transferred to the elastic waistband and just creates a little muffin roll – not cute. Interestingly, I picked up a high waisted thong from Fairy GothMother, which may offer the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, all of this is only effective if you are wearing a dress or a garment with an equally high, or higher, waistline. Occasionally I’ll try to wear high panties with low-rise jeans if my shirt is long enough and my regular boy shorts are in the wash, but I always feel awkward even if no one is in the position to notice the disparity. As evidenced by some of these photos, I often wear high waisted panties with a corset (to help prevent corset muffin or awkward peeks of skin), but it makes going to the bathroom a challenge – you should aim for about an inch of overlap between the bottom of your corset and the top of your panties.

For fiber content, my favorite panties are a nylon-spandex blend (say, 85% nylon) that often has an attractive satiny sheen and offers nice control and smooth shaping. I also picked up a pair at M&S in England in a lilac cotton novelty print that I found quite charming, but a cotton or cotton-lycra blend jersey won’t have the same control shaping or satin-look. (Personally, I intend to experiment with organic cotton interlock for the Pop Antique line.)

In closing, I have three recommendations: two styles, retailing for less than $20, that I’ve purchased and love, and a tumblr dedicated to this beloved subject. Rago Shapewear has a perfect classic cut panty (style 910) with a nice tall rise and super smooth shaping; the size small is listed as a 26 but is snug enough for even a 24” waist. (A variation with lace at the legline and a stomach inset was my pick of the month in December; the fit is virtually the same.) If I could buy these in bulk and wear them every other day, I probably would. My other go-to is Parfait by Affinitas’ Charlotte Brief, which I have in both peach/black and red/black. I think the lines and details are flattering and feminine; it’s a very cute pinup style. My only nitpick is that the rise is a smidge low, though it looks as though the similar Alexis Brief is taller. Finally, for your viewing pleasure and style inspiration/research, might I recommend one of my favorite, slightly silly tumblrs: fuckyeahgrannypanties.tumblr.com/

What’s your favorite cut of underwear and why? If you’re a devotee of high-waistlines, which brand(s) do you prefer?

Image credits:
Parfait by Affinitas Charlotte Brief on Victoria Dagger by Jesse Alford
“Giant grandma thunderpants” screenshot from Venture Bros.
Kiss Me Deadly Amelie longline girdle panty on Morgana by Iberian Black Arts
Rago 910 on Victoria Dagger by Mask Photo
Kiss Me Deadly Vargas Panty Girdle on Morgana by Iberian Black Arts
Rago 910 on Victoria Dagger by Antonio Abadia
Various high waisted panties from Marks & Spencer
Parfait by Affinitas Charlotte Brief on Victoria Dagger by Samantha Guss
Rago 910 on Victoria Dagger by Mask Photo

32 Comments

  1. 09/03/12 at 5:44

    I love the look of granny pants – own a fair few pairs myself but they rarely see the light of day… But then most of mine are slightly mad and probably not best suited to the jeans I slob around in every day. I’ve still yet to find a way to actually wear these outside of the bedroom: http://www.thislittleladywenttolondon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/RandP.jpg

    • 10/03/12 at 13:59

      Haha, most panties don’t see the light of day (except through a window) since they go under my clothes. I guess they see studio lighting more often than most, though.
      Those Rigby and Peller ones are STUNNING. I wonder if I could still find them anywhere because, seriously, wow. I love the vertical seams and the way the ruffles are only on the side hip, and they look like they offer more bum coverage than most ruffly panties do.

      • 11/03/12 at 10:26

        I meant figurative light :P They rarely leave the knicker drawer! Afraid the R&P ones are from a few seasons ago, I doubt they’ll bring them back… I managed to snap mine up at one of their warehouse sales luckily! Ruffles aren’t just on the side hip though, that photo’s a little deceptive as they go all the way round the back. Good bum coverage though!

  2. 09/03/12 at 6:44

    I own a few pairs, but all of them are sheer or have sheer panels-I find them too unsexy otherwise. My favourite are a pair of lace fronted ones by Fleur of England.
    In general I find this style a great alternative for slimming pants. They slim you slightly without being restrictive, and of course give a great line under high-waisted pencil skirts, although my boyfriend calls them “weird” !

    • 10/03/12 at 14:06

      Ooh, I bought a cute pair of lace front ones in pale pink at M&S but the suffered an unfortunate accident and now I think I have to dye them. Sigh. I definitely agree that contrasting fabrics and textures can help rejuvenate the style.
      Sadly, mesh panties don’t agree with me, especially if I have to be sitting all day, they go all itchy and it’s terrible! I always think they look cute but rarely decide to wear them because I just find them too uncomfortable for all-day wear.

      Yeah, I think those body shapers look like bike shorts or something equally utilitarian and unsexy; for smoothing out the hipline and posterior I think granny panties are the way to go for sure. I tend to base my lingerie styles on what makes me feel sexy because it’s easier than trying to cater to someone else’s taste, especially when it’s usually so plain compared to what makes me happy. I have strong opinions and anyone who dates me probably likes that about me. :)

  3. 09/03/12 at 7:04

    I love high waisted knickers.

    And I mean LOVE.

    I find that, being a plus-sized girl, high waisted knickers make me a lot more comfortable than low-rise, and feeling comfortable in your underwear is always attractive!
    My boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind them, actually, especially the sheerer they are!

    • 10/03/12 at 14:07

      Looks like we’ve got another vote for sheer granny panties! Interesting.
      I *totally* agree with you that feeling comfortable is attractive! It’s hard to feel sexy if you’re concerned about lumps or itching elastic or something.

  4. 09/03/12 at 7:57

    very nice post…Viva la Sexy Granny Panty! look amazing..

  5. UpliftMaximizationTechnician
    09/03/12 at 10:36

    After years of itty bitty panties, nobody is more thrilled with the backlash and acceptance of gigantor undies than I! I’m a size 14/16, and usually prefer wearing skirts and dresses, so granny panties work exceptionally well for my needs. I also think that sometimes, more is less. When it comes to sexiness, the secret of what lies beneath can be titillating! It’s great to see SO many companies have picked up on this trend, and combined it with an element of shapewear. Marie-Jo is doing some awesome tall panties this season, but my all time favorite is a style that Pleasure State VIP came out with several years ago, that I have never seen again. High waisted black satin, discreet side zipper (for easy removal!) with a white lace panel overlay..and boning! Not only do they stay up, but amazing shape, super comfy and super sexy!! I should have bought more!

    • UpliftMaximizationTechnician
      09/03/12 at 11:15

      Some other favorites…the biggest cotton panties I’ve ever seen came from Sloggi. They are massive! I’m also a fan of the Nina Von C “Jazzpant” for a basic. Nina Von C also makes another style that is a higher french cut, very tall, with a superwide soft lace band at the top. Amazing! My everyday favorite…the Hanky Panky retro panty (I’ll be picking up the new leopard print coming in fall!)…and retro thong.

      • 10/03/12 at 14:15

        Wow! Thanks for all the great recommendations. The Hanky Panky retro cut kind of confuses me – looks like it’s high in the back and sides (yay!) but dips bellow the belly button in the front, which just feels a little contrived to my design eye. Interesting to look at some variations away from the basic silhouette, though.

  6. 09/03/12 at 13:22

    Planning to get my first “granny panty” from KnickerRocker: A Malaysian flag knicker!

  7. 09/03/12 at 17:14

    As an Australian size 14/16 high waisted knickers are by far the most flattering underwear I can find for my shape. I am hourglass, and bikini briefs/gstrings/boyshorts just cut in and make me lumpy.

    I have also built Hopeless Lingerie around them – by far my biggest selling pieces are variations on high waisted knickers – and anyone who says they aren’t sexy is just WRONG! The way high waisted shapes a womans curves is so feminine and beautiful, and of course its all about confidence too. I just feel 100 times more confident wearing something that accentuates my shape rather than makes me feel like a piece of strung up ham!

    • 10/03/12 at 14:23

      I looove the Shelly cut from the Hopeless line – I’m a sucker for cutouts, though I haven’t been using them in my own designs lately.

      Even at an American size 0 (33-24-36) I don’t like the way the elastic on most panties cuts into me, though wide-band (usually spandex lace) thongs and boyshorts are far less prone because of the way the tension is distributed instead of focused. It kind of blows my mind that people have no problem believing that they can reshape their body through waist training, but don’t realize that consistently wearing underwear or jeans that cut into their high hip/low stomach can notch a muffin roll into their body. (Forgot to mention that in the body of the article, d’oh.)

  8. 09/03/12 at 22:12

    Ooh and does latex count..?
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/61784725/high-waisted-panties

    Maybe a latex lingerie special would be interesting…

    • 10/03/12 at 14:25

      Latex is interesting because it’s kind of automatically relegated to being special occasion wear. Although I suppose most people would say the same of corsets. There are some super cute latex lingerie (or lingerie-gone-outerwear) styles out there for sure.

  9. 10/03/12 at 13:37

    ‘Everything old is new again’ Timely post.

    I thought I had seen more and more of the vintage or (sexy) granny panty influence over the past couple years. I’d say you can trace is not just to retro and vintage, but a new appreciation of burlesque as well. I still like to see my girlfriend in a basic pair of bikini panties – not thongs – and with a few artistic exceptions, the larger cut of sexy granny panties will also give you an appreciation of ‘full coverage in back’ as I saw one retailer phrase it. Everything is cyclical. I doubt this will get rid of thongs completely, or that it should for those that like them, but it’s just one more option/creative choice.

    A coincidence that gives me a (tiny) bit of insight to the comfort part: Recently on a whim, I picked up some Polo/RL briefs that a much larger design that I usually wear. Not for everyday, just for fun to see what my girlfriend what say. I don’t think I’d worn anything close since I was 10, and they weren’t black or fashion-cut back then. Much more comfortable than a lot of the bikini and string briefs I’m used to, though the right boxers are flimsier. Her reaction to them made me think about getting a few more. I think they look kind-of old school, but to her it was a whole new look, and a turn-on. Too bad I didn’t find this out at the start of Winter ; ) So, did that encourage her to try a few other cuts for herself? Yep. She says I should mention she loved the post as well, even if she’s not quite ready to try some of the examples – yet.

    • 10/03/12 at 14:33

      Thanks for chipping in with your perspective, Frank! Interesting to hear how the style applies to menswear. Your girlfriend might get a little more mileage out of reading through reader comments, as some people contributed recommendations that vary from my very simple, classic taste in cut. There may be some good inspiration in UpliftMaximizationTechnician’s comments, for example, or checking out Gaby’s line, Hopeless Lingerie (http://hopelesslingerie.bigcartel.com/).

  10. 10/03/12 at 14:53

    Kath tea- Off to go see if the they have NZ ones. I am afraid I have to shun full cut panties. My backside is a funny shape and I don’t want my panties creeping up.

  11. 13/03/12 at 17:22

    Good article with fab examples! I’ve become a recent fan of these myself, especially since I’ve taken to sewing trim onto the plainer ones for the extra cute factor. And as an hourglass, they really are more flattering on my figure—though I can see how other types are flattering on other types of figures.

    I dolled up a plain store-bought pair with lacy ruffles for my sister’s wedding shower (Mom had us play this game where everyone brought a pair of panties they’d wear in my sister’s size, & she had to guess who’d brought them, but she didn’t tell me this in time for me to order anything, so this gal was under the gun!). They were a really big hit with the other ladies at the shower, and a few gals actually wanted to know if I could make some for them. Wild.

    At any rate, I hope this is a trend that continues. More choices can’t be a bad thing!

    • 10/04/12 at 17:42

      Adding trim to a simple style is a great idea to jazz them up! It definitely has the potential to work out better than trying a new style because it’s cute and then finding out that the fit is off.

  12. 17/03/12 at 17:52

    I LOVE high waisted knickers and I wear them under dresses, high-waist skirts or shorts. I’ve always loved this style, and I totes agree with you about them having to end at the natural waist or higher and not lower! I think girls with boyish physiques might be able to pull that off, but not me with my child-bearing hips.

    One thing I do think is important, on all underwear styles, but especially these is rear coverage. Too much and it just looks dowdy and like I have a huge, fat, wide, flat ass. I have a great pair from intimissimi that make me feel soooo sexy because they have a ‘cheeky’ cut, that cuts a horizontal line through your ass cheek, making my ass look much smaller and perkier. You can see them here:

    http://patterns4life.blogspot.com/2011/06/lingerie-photoshoot.html

    This sumptuous red pair I modelled for karolina, one of tla’s contributing bloggers made me feel like a siren:

    http://patterns4life.blogspot.com/2011/11/lingerie-by-karolina-laskowska-shot-by.html

    New lingerie designer charini does some stunning architectural ones:

    http://patterns4life.blogspot.com/2012/03/lingerie-by-charini.html

    I love my triumph shape sensation and have used it on a couple of shoots:
    http://patterns4life.blogspot.com/2012/02/new-pics-from-adam-robertson.html

    And if I could afford it, the green ones or the black waspie (which I think gives the same look) from la perla’s roaring collection:

    http://patterns4life.blogspot.com/2011/07/la-perlas-roaring-collection-has-me-all.html

    Ummmffff, so gorgeous!!! I can dream…

    • 10/04/12 at 17:45

      Oh goodness so much amazing lust-worthy inspiration. Thanks for all the links! You’re gorgeous. I love love love Karolina’s stuff.

      • 11/02/13 at 13:27

        thanks :) yeah, karolina is very talented + hardworking, winning combination.

  13. Kenny
    28/10/12 at 20:50

    I find the term “granny panties” offensive. It shows a lack of historical perspective on the development of ladies undergarments. Over the course of the 20th century, women went from wearing ankle length “drawers,” to G-strings. Members of the current generation seem to think that the minimalist styles of today are “sexy.” Wrong! Lingerie, and panties in particular, should leave something to the imagination, something to titillate the sexual proclivities of the observer. Styles which immediately give it all away spoil all the fun, and romance. In reality, the traditional lingerie of the 1930s and 40s, and into the 50s, was the sexiest, because it was often elegant, romantic, and conveyed a sense of innocence. The wide-leg tap panties, in silk or rayon, with lace or ribbon detailing. were incredibly sexy. Likewise, saucy little rayon bloomers or cuff leg briefs conveyed their own sense of innocence and femininity. These French-inspired styles are what Harlow, Ginger Rogers, and Carole wore (as revealed in the pre-Hayes Code films), and they were certainly not “grannies.” Even the cotton cuff leg Lollipop briefs are sexier and more innocent than the dreaded thong. Remember, the granny of today may have been the “babe” of yesterday. Just visit the Secrets in Lace web site to see what sexy is.

Leave a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! I love hearing from TLA readers.