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A Definitive List of the 12 Best Pairs of Underwear

Of all the things we put on our body to make an outfit, an often unseen garment plays one of the most significant roles in that outfit’s success. In my opinion, the more low-maintenance a pair of underwear is, the better. Comfort, rise, and the polarizing issue of panty lines all play a major role in a pair of underwear’s ascension to the hall of fame (more points if said underwear is breathable, with easy care instructions). Below, I’ve rounded up the pairs that score big points in my underwear drawer:

1. If You Are Very Active…

Girlfriend Collective Mid-Rise Brief

Leave it to activewear brand Girlfriend to make the perfect pair of underwear for running around, and with a fabric blend made of 80% recycled plastic bottles to boot. (This underwear is also quite good for more dormant moments.) After wearing them a full day—whether embarking on errands or working out—this underwear doesn’t ride up. Honestly, its existence is hardly noticeable. Which is really the goal here. Five out of five stars.

2. If You’re Looking for a Sustainably-Minded, High-Rise French Cut…

Knickey High-Rise Brief

A review of these Knickey briefs in seventeen words flat? A soft and comfortable pair of breathable cotton underwear that isn’t too thick and gives zero wedgies. Elaborate on that, you say? This high-rise stays in place throughout the entire day without riding down or bunching, and the soft elastic prevents chafing and discomfort. Plus, they come in a range of extremely fun colors like “butterscotch” and “bon bon.”

3. If You Want the Comfiest Pair for the Best Price…

Gap Stretch Cotton High Leg Brief

Very similar to the aforementioned Knickeys, this low-drama cotton pair is discreet and doesn’t cause wedgies—plus it won’t wear out after many, many cycles through the laundry. For $10 (and sometimes less!), this is a great option and a Team MR favorite.

4. If You’re Looking for a Pair That Feels Like if Silk and Cotton Had a Baby…

Proclaim Mid-Rise Brief

Proclaim, an inclusive nude lingerie line, makes their products in Los Angeles with earth-conscious fabrics. With 92% Tencel and 8% spandex, this extremely soft pair of underwear comes in sizes S-3X and four shades.

5. If You Want a Colorful Pair With a Long Lifespan…

Entireworld Organic Cotton Bikini Brief

If you’re like me, and of the school advocating for something thick to act as a barrier between you and your jeans, I recommend these (take your pick from the 14 different colors!). Other members of Team MR consider this their go-to pair for sleeping, as this 100% cotton bikini brief is completely breathable. One editor noted that these can run a smidge small, and they’ll shrink a little in the dryer. (Entireworld recommends air-drying rather than a tumble.)

6. If You Want to Buy in Bulk…

Marks & Spencer Pure Cotton Full Briefs

M&S makes a wide range of underwear—from boyshorts to briefs to thongs—but my favorite are the high-rise full briefs. Not too thick, these briefs are perfect to wear in hot weather. They come in a four-pack, so it’s a one-and-done underwear collection—strike that item off your to-do list!

7. If You Need a Secure, High-Rise Pair for the Absolute Hottest Days…

Pact High Rise Hipster

Many friends and colleagues, who range from XS to XXL, urged me to try Pact, and it did not disappoint. Pact is Fair Trade-certified underwear made with organic cotton—it’s pre-washed, so you can count on this pair keeping its shape and fit after many wears. I love the high-rise hipster because I’m a high-rise kind of underwear gal.

8. If You Want a Quality (and Seamless!) Pair Designed for People of Color…

Nubian Skin Classic Brief

Nubian Skin focuses on nude undergarments for people of color, and the ultimate crowd-pleaser is their Classic Brief, which comes in four shades: caramel, cinnamon, berry, and cafe au lait. Made of 62% polyamide and 38% elastane for full comfort and breathability, this is a seamless pair of underwear available in sizes XS through XXL.

9. If You Want a Pair to Make You Feel Sexy and Satisfied…

Soma Cotton Blend With Lace High Leg Brief

For a truly barely-there pair of underwear, try the Soma. They show zero panty lines while somehow also having a lace trim, which makes them a little bit more sexy even while still technically qualifying as a brief. They are cotton-blend, so they’ll pass the breathability test after a full day of wearing.

10. If You Want a Durable Pair That Doesn’t Slide Down (Ever)…

Organic Basics Organic Cotton Briefs

Made of 95% GOTS-certified organic cotton and 5% elastane, this pair is my favorite where security is concerned. With a thick waistband, this pair stays put, while the softness and high-cotton composition is so comfortable that they’re inconspicuous.

11. If You Want a Pair Designed to Be Worn Under Denim…

Warp + Weft Bikini Brief and Bikini Brief Plus

For denim aficionados everywhere, Warp + Weft’s seamless underwear was made to be worn under jeans. They’re made of 95% modal (a jersey fabric) and 5% spandex and topped off with a 100% cotton lining, making them lightweight, durable and resistant to pilling. Invisible elastic! A size range of XS through 3XL! Six shades! What’s not to like?

12. If You Just Want a Trusty Classic Pair That’s Lasted Generations…

Jockey Hipster

The OG of underwear, Jockey makes a great cotton hipster that comes in a three-pack. The hipster is full-rise and full coverage, boasting 100% cotton for complete breathability. This pair is the big bang-for-your-buck option.

Homepage image via Girlfriend Collective. Header image via Proclaim.

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