19 August 2021
The clothing industry has come a long way from the knickers or bloomers of fashions past.
It's undoubtedly using less material, which is a win for sustainability.
However, one thing that remains the same is the taboo topic of underwear, lingerie, panties and bras, or as Steve Urkel from the '90s sitcom "Family Matters" called them — the unmentionables.
For men, the common, but still somewhat invasive question of "boxers or briefs?" makes for socially acceptable conversation, even now that boxer briefs have entered the debate.
However, women are usually held to a different societal standard to avoid public discussions about such risqué subjects, lest it is deemed unladylike.
But why not talk about it?
There's much to know and understand about underwear that could significantly impact various aspects of health, comfort and even the environment.
It is important to know how to best care for the bottom half of your "unmentionables," and how often they should be replaced.
As some general guidance, the recommended life span of underwear is six to 12 months, depending on your care cycle.
As for keeping them clean and bacteria-free, many people forget to read the clothing tag; that tiny piece of instruction is the key to your underwear's cleanliness and longevity — another win for sustainability.
Different materials have different requirements. For example, the recommended wash temperature for cotton-based underwear is warm; for synthetic or microfibres, it's often cold water; and for delicates, hand-washing (squeeze don't twist).
Most underwear materials can't handle high heat in dryers either, so it's important to check your tags — before they fade and become unreadable, which may be an indication they've reached retirement age.
All of the above applies to how you care for upper undergarments, which include a range of bras and undershirts.
Whatever your preference, always ensure they are the right size and type and offer the best support.
Various studies in the United States and United Kingdom have identified that at least 80% of women wear the wrong bra size, and as a result, often experience discomfort and poor posture.
If you believe you are in the percentile who wear the correct size, there's no harm in double-checking if it has changed the next time you go bra shopping.
If you're overdue for a size check — and need some new underwear — you can visit stores such as Silhouette in Camana Bay, which offers a wide variety of styles from high-quality brands for all genders, shapes and sizes. The shop's team of experts will assist you in finding your perfect fit with both professionalism and discretion.
This article originally appeared in the August 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.
About the author
Ariel Thompson is a content manager at Dart, having joined the company in 2017. A lifelong writer, Ariel was born and raised in the Cayman Islands before studying abroad at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, for her degree in public relations and film and television. With eight years of experience in communications, Ariel joined Dart after working as Cayman International School’s first marketing communications officer. As her name would suggest, Ariel is a Disney fan and has a singing voice to rival The Little Mermaid’s. She loves to conceptualise TV and movie scripts and hopes one day to be a director. When in Camana Bay, Ariel can be found enjoying Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar’s Pad Thai, or shopping with friends and a scoop of gelato in hand.