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Style Analysis: Lace High-Waisted Knickers


I.D. Sarrieri Lace

I.D. Sarrieri

I have always loved a high-waisted knicker. The aesthetic of this garment is a nod to a bygone era of fashion. That, combined with its functional purpose, gives me two reasons to enjoy this classic undergarment.

Traditionally, a high-waisted knicker is meant to smooth the lower tummy area to give a sleek line under clothing. Recently, however, I've noticed an array of gorgeous knickers with a different purpose - for visual style rather than shaping.

To illustrate, the latest collection from I.D Sarrieri took my breath away -- most especially the lace briefs show above. These knickers perfectly showcase the Chantilly lace, especially through incorporating the scallop edge of the lace along the waist. While the seaming provides a strong architectural element, the back coverage is not as full as it usually is with high-waisted styles, and shows off your derrière. This is not a knicker for control, but rather for visual style.

Firm vs. Soft High Waisted Knickers

Depending on the desired use for your high-waisted knickers, you may prefer a firm or soft "feel." Firm high-waisted knickers control the midriff  and give a smoother appearance under clothing (i.e. shapewear). The ideal lining fabric for firm knickers is powermesh.

La Perla Shape Allure

Powermesh, which you may have heard of before, looks like regular mesh, but has four-way stretch fabric for strength and resilience. This material is available in different weights and is often used for shapewear. If powermesh lines the front of the knicker, it's meant is to be a control garment. If the knicker does not have power mesh, it's most likely a high-waisted pant for aesthetic purposes.

Changing Function of the High-Waisted Knicker

Naturally, as fashions change, so do undergarments. Origins of the high-waisted knicker can be traced back to 1947 with the launch of Christian Dior's 'New Look'.  At this time and into the 1950's there was a requirement for firm undergarments to accompany the fashions of the time and give the "right" look. Thus waist cinchers, girdles, and corselettes came into style.

What Katie Did

Nowdays, even with so many fashion collections and different seasonal looks, there still continues to be a love for high-waisted knickers, and many different brands offer their own individual versions of this style.

The Beauty of Lace Knickers

Many people enjoy wearing lace because of the way it makes them feel. The interplay of light and shade within lace is beautiful and utterly unique to that fabric. There is both elegance and an air of mystery to wearing lace. Each shape and line, positive and negative space...all planned out to best be displayed when worn. Lace is an art unto itself.

I.D. Sarrieri

For lace knickers to be comfortable, the lace must be soft to the touch. If possible, feel the lace against your skin by trying on before you buy. If buying online, feel free to ask about the quality of the lace outright.

Evgenia Lingerie

I usually look for styles that have lace at the front and soft mesh or some other flexible material at the back, as those are most comfortable to me. If the lace is rigid the back of the knicker should be elastic so that it can stretch to accommodate your hips for comfort.

What are your opinions on high-waisted knickers? Do you have a favorite brand or style?


Kathryn Wellington

Kathryn is a lingerie and swimwear garment technician from Sydney, Australia. Lover of all things vintage and lacy.

8 Comments on this post

  1. Cynthia says:

    I would have that classic 1950’s shape, and although I’m not tall I’m long from waist to hip so proper high waisted knickers are very flattering to my shape. I would find any control briefs too uncomfortable, so for me its all about visual style and that smooth line under my clothes, and of course a touch of vintage glamour…

  2. I much prefer larger briefs. They flatter my soft tummy (where a bikini style now digs in) and are so much more comfortable. Also, as you say, with more fabric to work with you can get some truly beautiful designs. I have some that are designed for control, but most of my briefs are soft and pretty.

  3. Karen says:

    These are yummy.

    I have worn high-waisted control panties off and on but my problem is that so many of them end just below or at my belly button. Those are tremoundously uncomfortable, binding and if they are firm enough to actually provide control tend to make me feel ill after a couple hours because of the way they split up the abdominal organs.

    At this point I’ve moved on to cami-shapers or waist shapers that extend from just below the bust to the hips. That open hip can be annoying under trousers but I have better success finding rib to hip coverage in those garments locally than in finding panty shapers locally that extend onto the rib rather than cutting off in the middle.

    I would be totally open to a lacy pair of non-control brief, though.

    • Kathryn Wellington says:

      Hi Karen thanks for your feedback! When I shop for high-waisted control knickers I always look for ones which end above my belly button to avoid this problem and for a smoother line. For lace non-control knickers I would recommend to try a pair with a narrow softer elastic on the waist rather than a wider firm elastic band. Something so pretty should feel comfortable :)

  4. Ms. Pris says:

    I was excited about an entry about high-waisted knickers, and sad to find that it’s an entry in which most of the featured pieces are not actually high-waisted. A waist below the navel is not a high waist. A waist below the natural waistline is not a high waist. If you wear a lot of high-waisted knickers, where are they? Why not cover those? The only high-waisted knickers in this entry are the La Perla Shape Allure and the Sarrieri.

    This is an unfortunate trend I have seen in lingerie blogs: calling any knickers that are not an extreme bikini “high-waisted”. It makes it hard for those of us seeking truly high-waisted knickers to find them.

    • Kathryn Wellington says:

      Hi Ms. Pris thank you for your feedback. I often find this height of knicker is high-waisted despite looking like it’s not on the model. Models have longer proportions. We are all different heights, shapes and proportions so it is difficult to say that any one knicker will fit the same on everyone.

    • Thursday says:

      The mislocation of the natural waist is so ubiquitous these days that so few people actually know what a waist actually is. I agree that only the La Perla briefs are high-waisted; the rest sit at the natural waist at best. The hipster emphasis that began in the 90’s is to blame – these days, anything above the hip line seems to get classified as high-waisted!
      I think you’ll find that also, historically, until the late 60’s, early 70’s, knickers in general rose to the natural waist, and for a long time this wasn’t primarily for a control purpose. Aside from the rise and fall of fashion’s favoured midpoint throughout changing trends, the waist is the natural structural resting point for underwear, especially where non-stretch fabrics are concerned. Much less chance of losing your knickers when they fit snugly around the waist :)

    • Tiah says:

      Ditto to Kathryn’s point re: proportions. As a tall-ie who both loves a high waist and knows lots of other tall girls, what is literally high-waisted (on or above the natural waistline) very often doesn’t even reach your belly button if you’re 5’9 or over. Seat depth/rise is also one of the very few things you can’t ‘cheat’ when shooting. So always best to estimate on the measurements in a product’s description (if they provide them).

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