A Secret Trick


So! I’m 35 years old and you know what random thing I finally did that changed my life? It had been bothering me for as long as I can remember…


I bought twelve pairs of black underwear!

For the last few decades, more often than not, I would open my underwear drawer to find that all my decent pairs were in the wash, so I’d end up wearing a ratty old pair or (let’s be honest) a bikini bottom. It drove me crazy, but was something I just kind of accepted. Until suddenly I realized that, forehead slap, I COULD JUST ORDER MORE. I immediately went online and ordered a dozen new pairs. Such a small thing, but it makes the morning routine much smoother and makes me feel pretty and put together all day.

What about you? Do you have a fully stocked drawer or are you always sneaking around in bikini bottoms, too? :) If you’re looking for more pairs, I’d recommend these and these.

P.S. A great packing tip and four pretty outfits.

  1. Bay says...

    I just found this now!

    A couple of years ago, I decided to throw out ALL my cutesy, college-age-bought undies and have an underwear uniform. I feel WAY more like a queen when my bra and undies match, so why wouldn’t I always make them match? Duh! Took me decades, too.

    Now, I have black, nude and burgundy (my “fun” option) in all my underwear and bras. I never do not match. It’s easy and it makes me feel like I’ve got my life together. :)

  2. silly lily says...

    It’s hard to feel sexy in your lingerie when you buy it at Kmart. In fact, it’s hard to call it LINGERIE.
    But I’m an all cotton girl, so if I’m buying Hanes anyhow, might as well save some money at the same time. Bonus: when you don’t spend a fortune it’s easy to have an excess of undies. Laundry problem solved.

  3. Bobbie says...

    I use to work at a lingerie store many moons ago. This was the most valuable little trick I learned!

  4. Nicole says...

    Yes! I think I am in the 100 range just for the simple fact you can never have enough.

  5. Ann says...

    Stocking up on undies for kids and spouse is also very helpful. for the same reasons you stock up for yourself.

  6. I recently cleared out my underwear drawer–it was full of too old, too ratty, too small. I’d rather have an empty drawer on laundry day than a drawer full of panties I don’t want to wear.

  7. Sarah says...

    I call it the ‘limiting factor’ – knickers are too small to make a washing load, and they should NEVER be the limiting factor. They are small. Have thousands (that you’ll wear, of course). Having 1-2 pairs of jeans, that’s fine, they fill a wash up quick enough for rewear. Always been a fan of MANY MANY underpants, mainly through washing delays when in boarding school.

  8. Emily says...

    Another great source is Pact Organic – all organic cotton (conventional cotton uses a ton of pesticides) and no sweatshop labor.

    • Kate says...

      Not 100% cotton, though. They use Elastane blend in their underwear.

  9. Sharon in Scotland says...

    I only ever wear black cotton knickers for Marks and Spencer in the UK, I look a lacy, different colours, patterns, but always go back to M and S’s black cotton knickers

    • Bea says...

      So funny, me too! And I live in America now, so whenever I visit the UK, Marks and Spencer’s is my number one errand. I stock up on three new five packs to last me a few years hopefully. I used to love their socks too, but it seems the quality is not as good as it used to be?

  10. This is so true! I’ve never had a look at those Gap ones though so might have to go have a look at those! x

  11. OMG! Having two baskets of black and nude panties changed my life. Somewhere in my 50’s I figured out I could actually indulge myself and have more than enough. Check, one stressful thing gone each day. I even keep them in the closet along with hooks for my bras and PJ’s so WOW, I can get completely dressed in one place.

  12. I wait for Victoria’s Secret or Aerie to have those 7 for $25 type of deals on underwear and pounce. The other day, I noticed that I finally have more cute, lacy pairs than granny panties, which made me really happy.

    I don’t throw the granny panties away, cause there are just days when I don’t care. But when I’m wearing underwear that makes me feel sexy, it just elevates my entire day.

  13. This is so clever! Funny how we spend a good chunk of our lives looking for underwear or in my case socks – never having enough of those necessities! :) x Tali

  14. Susanna says...

    YES! Black cotton hipsters have been a staple since high school. I figured it out because part of my dance costumes involved wearing a black pair in case of indiscreet panty flashes. The same works with a pair of black tights and a short dress. I’ve only recently branched out into beige pairs for light-coloured bottoms and thongs for wearing with leggings.

  15. This is a great idea. Should buy more underwear!

  16. I cannot figure out the picture with “a secret trick” what is that?

  17. I have a lot of black string bikinis and I am very happy. Being comfortable is my only love when it comes to clothes.

  18. Don’t you find the best way to stay in enough clean clothing (underwear included) is to have two little kids? I have two boys the same age as Anton and Toby and I feel like I’m forever doing loads of their mud, dirt, food, paint stained laundry! Therefore my laundry gets thrown in frequently too and there’s no need for bulk buy underpants or wearing bikini bottoms!

  19. lol i recently did the same, in an effort to simplify my life – but i bought 14 black pairs of hipsters from Soma Intimates (the best!!) and got rid of everything else.

  20. living in Egypt it is difficult to get basic pure cotton underwear, so when friends visit from overseas and ask is there anything I want, this is top of the list. You can get prints and frilly fancy undies here, but basic white, nude, black are almost impossible to find and relatively expensive. Sounds strange to ask visitors to bring you undies, but that’s top priority for me.

  21. Ha ha! My mom taught me that every year on your birthday, you buy yourself a gift… New Underwear! All the others go in the garbage (well, not the super special ones ;)
    Life is too short to be caught wearing ratty undies.

  22. If I didn’t know it before, then I know it now, you are a genius at knowing the best things to post about. Seriously.
    Thank you!

  23. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever had this problem. Maybe back in middle school. I love buying underwear :) $26 for 5 pairs at Victoria’s Secret! I probably do that about once a year, plus all the free ones they give you during the year :)

  24. I’m living in France and recently confirmed that French women’s underwear always matches their bra (what the third commenter alluded to). I can’t even imagine being that organized, so I pretty much just buy black bras and the same black Gap bikinis. I have one skin color “t-shirt bra” that my husband would like to throw out. In France there’s no need to hide the bra you have on under a t-shirt…

  25. My favorites are the Natori boy shorts, but those are like $20 a pop and aren’t available at the moment. I do love those Gap lowrise bikinis though and have been wearing them for years.

  26. totally understand the crisis and eureka moment Joanna! In addition to increase the number of undies I have now made it a point to always check sale /clearance racks of lingerie departments to keep the stock fresh … there is the added benefit of buying something nice sometimes for just $5 instead of regular $20 and above ! I am regular reader for years now.. but rarely leave comments! bad me! But I am taking this opportunity to thank you for the great space you have created here!

  27. I laughed out loud at bikini bottoms! The idea has never even occurred to me. My favorite cute black pairs are from Thinx, and bonus, they send 7 reusable cloth pads to girls in Africa for every pair you buy! They have the cutest styles, and they’re all so comfortable.

  28. I second Vashnie! I come from a Latin family and my mother and grandmother instilled in me from a VERY young age (8/9 yrs old) to hand wash that days underwear in the shower with me. It felt like such a chore when I was a kid but has made such a big difference as an adult. I never run out of clean undies!!

  29. Lululemon “light as air” hipster are really nice and simple. The best thing about them is that you will never see your panties’ outlines. So smooth!

  30. SOCKS!!!!! Socks drive me crazy. I have two littles too and matching their socks drove me insane. Last year I threw everyone’s socks out including mine and my husbands and each person got one brand of white socks and I bought 15 pairs each. Best thing I ever did. No match, no losing, I don’t even have to pair them up.

    • Laura says...

      Yes! I did the same and it’s GREAT.

  31. One of the things that’s always bothered me is why they only sell the hanes or fruit-of-the-loom 6-pack underwear in white or horrible pre-teen patterns. We’re grown women here! Why not sell pack of all black? I wish they did so we didn’t have to drop $150 buying them by the pair. PS: Why is one pair of underwear called a pair?

  32. @Vashnie, great idea. I have hand-washables that wait *weeks* to get done because my sink is tiny and I’m intimidated by the task (even though I’ve done it plenty of times before). Taking them into the shower would be so much more effortless!

    @Julia McGuire, I’m also all about Aerie and I’m 25! I literally don’t even know how many black boyshorts I have from them. They’re perfect!

    My main motivator for stocking up on black boyshorts was my period. I just had enough of staining pretty panties and having to pick my least favorite on the day I thought I was going to start (I *hate* wearing panty liners if I’m not actually bleeding…) and then I realized how much easier my life would be with a huge supply of “period panties.” I’ve been eye-flirting with the brand THINX… next time I have some spare cash, I think I’ll try them…

  33. I did this at my last birthday – 34 :-) I asked my Mom and my husband to buy me some undies – any style – only black. Now no matter whats going on on top I feel a little sexy underneath!

  34. yes. i buy them in bulk, same with socks. i used to wear the vicky secret stuff but now i am quite happy with hanes from target.

  35. So simple. SO BRILLIANT.

  36. You’re cute hahaha.

  37. There are some things I wish came with an expiration date. Bras, panties, kitchen towels. I always end up rooting past the ratty ones trying to find my favorites!

  38. Some of mine had started wearing out, so I stocked up recently, too. Jockey, but pretty colors and patterns so it’s a nice little pick me up in the morning. :)

  39. haha! i love buying new underwear, it’s a guilty pleasure pick-me-up on crummy weekends. gap body is the best for it–there’s always a sale!

  40. Perfect timing on this post…I’ve been wanting to refresh all of my underwear but wasn’t sure what new brand/pair to try.

  41. I like this post. For me, it was bathing suits. I owned far too many ugly, ill-fitting unflattering bathing suits which I accumulated, rather than actually consciously acquired (people gave them to me, I bought them because they were on sale, one I even found- I know!!!). Purging all those suits and purchasing three that fit, are flattering, & that make me feel good was a major revelation in my life. Only took 40 years! to figure out…

  42. Same thing for jeans and shoes. When you find a brand and style that works for you, buy two or three! Because next year they are certain to change the style or discontinue them. I LOVE black under things!

  43. My problem isn’t running out of underwear but failing to replace the ratty pairs. Let’s face it, womanly areas are delicate, and cotton is usually the best thing to swaddle them in. Until all your cotton panties have worn out elastic, old period stains and the odd hole or two. I’m so bad about just throwing them out and buying new pairs even though I know it would make a world of difference.

    Please tell me I’m not alone in this. Just confessing it makes me want to go spend hundreds of dollars on all beautiful underwear!

  44. Bikini bottom?!? Never for me! I always have clean underwear,and when I have to buy some new, I try first a pair of two and see if they fit me well.
    Anyway, black underwear save the day!

  45. I’m also on the Hanky Panky train. Yes, they’re expensive, but I’ve found they last a very long time, always look nice, and you don’t need to worry about how they’ll look underneath pants or a skirt.

    Also, now that I’m 25 weeks pregnant, I’m finding they’re brilliant pregnancy panties. Because they’re low cut, they’re under my bump so they’re not stretching out and they’re also SO comfortable!

  46. So practical and I still haven’t caught on yet haha I’ve never tried the bikini but will think of that next time I run out of panties LOL

  47. I have a gazillion pairs of undies but mainly wear the same 10 pairs or so. I need to go through them but for
    some reason it’s hard for me to get rid of underwear. Strange.

  48. I’ve been talking aboutabout doing this for ages! Buying only black bras and underwear and a couple nude sets. Gonna make it happen in 2015.

  49. I pretty much only wear black cotton panties. I discovered years ago that I could get any other brand/style of bra in black too, and they always match, and I feel totally put together. ( I used to do this with white & nude too, but realized I like black the best). I’ll still get occasional other colors for fun, but love my “basics uniform”! It keeps things simple & chic!

  50. I live in HK, and I love the modal thong from Target, so yes, I order in bulk and bring them back with me. I’ve been wearing this underwear for years–ever since I worked with a man in Saudi Arabia who said he looked for panty lines–I know ick!! So, this underwear is always found in abundance for me. Wow, I’m just realizing that was WAAAAAY back in 1999!

    Fun tip Joanna! Thank you:D


    Ann of Kremb de la Kremb

  51. I do the exact same thing – in fact, with those exact same Gap underwear! (Except I do the low-rise bikini cut rather than the boyshort.) I have 5 pair each in black, gray and nude – such a great, easy to reach for basic. I have more fun undies too, but those are great to have on hand and just be able to reach for them easily. A fully stocked underwear drawer is a must-have, for sure!

  52. I just recently went through all my undergarments and got rid of old ones and bought new pairs. Feels great now that I’ll always have a fresh pair.

  53. I’ve definitely done the bikini bottom trick. Didn’t Liz Lemon do that once? That probably isn’t helping haha recently, I’ve been shopping the 7 for $25 or whatever it is at Aerie. I’m 25 but I tend to not like prints or writing on my underwear and I’ve been able to find tons I like!

  54. It has NEVER occurred to me to wear bikini bottoms and I feel like such a dope for never thinking of it! I usually just go without if need be :O Brilliant.

    I discovered this trick when I was pregnant. The time came when I was finally forced to buy maternity undies and I WAS IN HEAVEN because I had a whole new set of nice, black, feel-good panties. After that I never went back. As soon as I feel the need, I just restock with those exact GAP black ones you listed. It’s a great way to feel well cared for and put together, I think.

    Incidentatlly, my dad’s thing is socks. He always says, “Life’s too short to go around with holes in your socks.” I wonder when his epiphany came…


  55. I guess I learned this lesson a bit sooner, when VS had it’s sale I bought a bunch in black and grey in my favorite styles (bikini and string bikini.)

  56. I love a fully stocked underwear and sock drawer.

  57. Bikini bottoms under clothes – guilty!

  58. I’ve simply been mixing and matching but to feel more put together i’ve decided to invest more buy purchasing pretty undies.

    I like nude but buying all black is a great idea too!

  59. I actually found my Holy Grail of black underwear at Target, of all places. The other step is tossing all the less than satisfactory pairs.

  60. I just bought ALL the hipsters from gap. Thank you for inspiring my underwear drawer revamp. It’s funny how that sort of thing gets overlooked… even though it’s the most heavily used item I own.

  61. I had this revelation too! Zeroed in on my favorite style and bought it in every color imaginable. Picking a color every morning is now a fun little start to the day and my underwear outlasts my clothes, so if I’m ever out of underwear, I’ve waited WAY too long to do laundry!

  62. My tip is to toss the crummy undies. It took me until I was 32 to figure it out, but there is no reason to keep them around it they are worn out or not a good fit.

    To make sure I always have enough, Every time I go clothes shopping, I check the sale section to see if they have something I like, or to pad out an online order to get free shipping. The trick is to buy what know you like, and not because it is on sale.

  63. yes I always need underwear. Some of mine are way to ratty and old.. If i had extra money I would buy 12 pairs too!! I only buy one pair every once it a while because im poor!!

  64. Yes to this! I have a handful (half a dozen) pairs of “special” undies that I like or need for form-fitting clothing, but my “daily” underwear is the Icebreaker Hipkini (about $30). I bought a few at a time until I had enough for two weeks, then pitched the rest of my nonconforming cotton panties. When they get low, it’s time to do laundry. This is making it easier to be more critical about the rest of my wardrobe, too, because I know more readily what I never wash (because it never is worn) and it’s easier to let that stuff go come donation time.

  65. My mom has always put undies in my sisters’ and my christmas stockings, so i never run out. It’s kind of a funny tradition, now that I think about it :)

  66. I buy new undies every January 1. Two dozen pairs. Add to cart.

  67. My company solves just this problem! Check out We send premium quality panties every month in an adorable package. You can get Basics, like your lovely black ones, signature or premium styles. We’d love to send you some!!

  68. I recently did the same!! I bought 7 pairs of neutral color underwear, and it weirdly made me feel so grown up!

  69. I’ve been thinking about doing this with socks. Buying like 12 identical pairs so no sorting (and I never wear socks in the summer so all black for me) Just need to find the perfect sock and make the jump.

  70. THINX brand!!! They saved me from the dreaded “period panties”!!!!

  71. Need a quota of nude color ones for white jeans!

  72. WHAT? Really? hahaha I never wore bikini bottoms like that… didn’t even thought someone would! haha

  73. When I was nursing a broken heart a couple of years ago, I went out of my way to pamper myself. The best thing I did: brand new sheets, brand new underwear. Starting over in this way felt fantastic—like such a luxury— and, to this day, it’s the thing I recommend to anyone going through a rough patch. Bonus: now I don’t own a single pair of underwear that I would mind being seen in by anyone.

  74. This comment has been removed by the author.

  75. Last year for my birthday, I got a subscription to Make it Good’s underwear of the month club. It’s completely made in the US, super comfortable & durable, and each month has a different pattern. It’s such a treat to get in the mail!

  76. I’ve been doing this for years! I just see it as an extension of the whole ‘wardrobe uniform’ mentality – if you buy a sweater that you love, everyone says you should buy several of them… why not do the same with underwear?
    As soon as I found a pair I liked, I bought about 10 pairs.

  77. CK says...

    I wore ratty ill-fitting cheapo underwear up until last year (and I’m 56). Then I ordered myself three pairs of really nice Wacoal underpants. They cost $18 a pair. It nearly floored me to spend that on underwear. When I realized how comfortable they are and how nice they look even after wear I decided from here on out that is all I’m wearing–expensive, comfy undies. Some things it doesn’t pay to skimp on.

  78. I’m addicted to Hanky Panky undies. My maid of honor gave me some at my lingerie shower, and now they’re all I’ll wear.

    My trick: they’re like $25 a pair, so I buy them at Neiman Marcus Last Call when the whole store is on sale, which gets them down to about $9 per pair. I have some interesting patterns due to this tactic, but it is SO worth it…they seriously feel like heaven.

  79. I love this. I did the same thing this summer at the hanes outlet. My family was wondering what the huge bagS of underwear were about.
    I also find that doing this to your sock drawer, towels and hangers is super wonderful.

  80. Great suggestion!! I actually did this myself last weekend. I bought 12 new pairs although mine were from primark. The joys of post student skintness. Looking forward to buying more decent underwear in future. Great tips too about matching underwear and buying a couple extra pairs of smalls Trine.

  81. I stock up on the boy briefs from Aerie in solid colors. They are $27 for 7 pairs! And I love that they committed to not retouching their models. I suppose they are technically made for teens and college-aged girls, but I’m 27 and love them.

  82. My very sweet husband noticed and just went ahead and bought me a ton of pairs. I’m always watching my money and trying to make do with what i have, but i think he got tired of seeing me in beat up old underwear. :-)

  83. This is brilliant. I’m glad I’m glad I’m not the only 30 something with underwear issues.

  84. Usually I’m well stocked, but now 2 thirds way into my first pregnancy I went to a maternity store & stocked up! Bad enough to scrape the barrel with what clothes fit – underwear was the last straw :)

  85. Don’t get the Gap ones! I tried this trick a little while ago and bought about 10 of these, but they frayed so fast that they’ve already become my new ratty panties.

  86. Every year on my birthday I go buy myself some new underwear, usually about five or six pairs. Then I can go through my old pairs and part with anything that is losing its shape. I never seem to run out, even when I’m past due on laundry day!

  87. When I first moved away from home for university I didn’t have a washing machine and used to hate going to the laundrette so would just buy more knickers (and clothes!) instead of doing washing. I came home at Christmas with a load of dirty washing (lucky mum!) and she counted over 30 pairs! Needless to say I couldn’t really keep that up…

    I now have the reverse issue and can barely get through a week without doing laundry. Maybe I should take a leaf out of your book!


  88. I hhhhhate when I realize that I only have the crummy undies left. It totally affects the whole day!
    In Dramatic Fashion

  89. Running out sounds like such a nightmare that I have probably 125+ pairs! I can’t stop buying them.

  90. Totally guilty of wearing bikini bottoms! The ties on the sides are annoyingly bulky under jeans.

  91. I always have clean underwear. Good thing – I don’t think I could fit in a bikini :)

  92. When I buy a nice matching set with bra and panties I always buy at least two pairs of matching panties, maybe a string and a hipster or two of each, since the bra can be used more than one day before washing it. So that’s another little tip for you. ��

  93. OMG! It took me 35 years to figure this out too! I just stocked up on Lululemon black this past Spring.

    I’ve found it’s nice to get six or so in a nude/light pink color for a little bit of variety as well.

  94. I actually need to cull the herd a bit again.

    When I buy bulk, I usually stick to nude color underwear and love the calvin klein hipsters.