Panty Style Guide: How to Choose the Best Panty for You

Never in the history of panties have we had access to so many different styles as we do now – a quick search online is all it takes to find hip hugger panties, high-waisted ones, design with either full coverage or ultra-high leg lines, and a dozen other styles besides. That’s great, of course, but it can also be a little overwhelming! Because how do you pick one?

Today’s guide is intended to help you pick the perfect panty style – and size – for you, based on how you like your underwear to look, fit and feel. Ready to begin?

Left: Shadowline® Nylon Hidden Elastic Hipster Panty

Right: Shadowline® Nylon Hidden Elastic Full Brief Panty

Panty rise

What is panty rise?

Panty rise refers to how high up on your torso the waistline comes, and can be anything from ultra-low rise (below your hip bones) to ‘high waisted’ which generally means it covers the navel. Medium rise sits somewhere in between, such as the waistlines on our ‘modern brief’ collection.

Which panty rise should I choose?

The first thing to ask yourself is simply, what do you like the look of? Do you enjoy the retro appeal of a truly high-waist panty, or would you like to flaunt your tummy? Next, consider the clothing styles you typically wear. Under dresses, anything goes. But if you wear a lot of low- or mid-rise skirts and jeans, you’ll want an equally low- or mid-rise panty to avoid it showing above the waistband.

Left: Shadowline® Nylon High Cut Panty

Right: Shadowline® Lace Modern Brief Panty

Panty leg lines

What are the different panty leg lines?

Panties with a high leg line have a distinct ‘V’ shape, whereas styles with a lower leg line are more rectangular. Low leg panties are available with varying levels of coverage at the back, ranging from a classic full brief panty to ‘cheeky cut’ Brazilian ones that, well, show a little cheek. And then there’s also the option of tap pants – long leg panties that resemble loose shorts.

So which panty leg line should I choose?

Pick a lower leg line if you’re looking  for plenty of coverage. Many people however swear by high cut panties because they visually elongate your legs, by showing more of them. So if you’re looking to flaunt and flatter your legs, give those a try. Because this style leaves the hips free, it’s also ideal for those with particularly wide hips compared to their waist size, to avoid underwear that digs in at the thigh.

Left: Shadowline® Nylon Seamless Full Brief Panty

Right: Shadowline® Cotton Hipster Panty

Panty fabrics and fibers

The Shadowline panty range offers a range of USA-made fabrics, all made from a choice of two primary fibers: cotton and nylon. Wondering which is better, cotton or nylon panties? The truth is that they both have substantial benefits, which is why we picked them! Here’s a quick guide to help you choose between the two:

The benefits of nylon panties

Nylon is a man-made fiber which retains its shape over time, doesn’t shrink, dries quickly after laundering, and has an exceptionally lightweight and smooth feel (it was originally invented as an alternative to silk, after all!)

The benefits of cotton panties

Cotton is a natural fiber, which means it’s very breathable and hence ideal for maintaining hygiene. Even in our nylon panties, we use cotton for the gusset for just this reason. It’s also super-soft and naturally hypoallergenic, meaning even sensitive skin types can wear it without irritation.

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Panty sizes

How do I know my panty size?

The first step is to check our size chart. For panties, the most important measurements are your waist and hips. If you fall between sizes – for example your waist measurement puts you in a size M but your hip measurement puts you in a size L – then choose the larger size. This will ensure your panties won’t dig in!

Our panties with spandex come in S-3X sizing, while our spandex-free nylon and cotton panties come in a wider range of numerical sizes. That’s because the non-spandex designs have a more precise fit, while some of the styles with added stretch can comfortably flex across sizes. If you already have a pair of Shadowline or Dixie Belle panties that fit you well, use this chart to work out your size in the other styles:

So there you have it, you should now be able to choose your perfect pair of panties! What will it be – a navel-grazing full brief? An 80s-esque high leg? Low-rise hipsters? We’d love to know!