Bras and Undies

An Ode to Granny Panties—Because, Let’s Face It, They’re the Comfort We Crave

Rebecca Norris

Photo: Getty/ Carmen Jimnez / EyeEm
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a lot. It’s safe to say that we’ve all been looking for things that bring us comfort. For some, that’s been extra-long bubble baths or enjoying copious amounts of wine. For others, it’s been all about finding the most comfortable clothing possible and refusing to live by the notion that pain is beauty. And, of course, some have found the most comfort in combining more than a few things as the days have grown darker. For me, 2020 self-soothing has consisted of an endless supply of chocolate, pasta, and Relax Riesling, while having the comfiest granny panties within reach.

Yes, you read that right—granny panties.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: under-boob-skimming waistlines, full booty-covering behinds, and a not-so-flattering color or print. And hey, I can’t even blame you. After all, that’s the image that the media—magazines and movies included—have painted forever. Nowadays, however, granny panties have taken on a more modern look, and likely to your surprise, they’ve been a go-to among shoppers of all ages in 2020.

The rise (and return) of granny panties

Here’s the thing: Granny panties have been around for a very long time. The high-waisted silhouette dominated the ‘40s and ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, and now, 2020. In the ‘40s and ‘50s, granny panties featured cotton fabric and the fullest-coverage, often looking more like ultra-mini shorts than undies. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the silhouette got a slightly cheekier twist, with more prints, and in the ‘80s and ‘90s, granny panties utilized softer fabrics and higher cuts.

As for 2020, shoppers are granted a nice little combination of all three eras of the style. Depending on where you go, you’ll find a slightly different variation of the silhouette. Where Knickey stays true to cotton, Liberté and Hanky Panky veer romantic with lace; Aerie opts for an even higher waist but cheekier behind, and Parade embraces ultra-colorful fabric to put an end to the idea that granny panties are innately neutral.

Regardless of the brand, these new iterations prove one thing: Granny panties are back and better than ever. Don’t believe me?

According to Cayla O'Connell Davis, the co-founder and CEO of Knickey, the brand’s High-Rise Brief ($13) is by far their best seller. “It has more than twice the number of five-star reviews than any other style in our offering, and accounts for almost 40 percent of our sales in 2020 [up from 27 percent in 2019],” she shares. “Many people purchase our Starter Set to sample each of our styles in their size at first, and are surprised to discover that their favorite fit is the High-Rise Brief."

best granny panties
Photo: Knickey

Shop now: Knickey High-Rise Brief, $13

And Knickey isn’t the only one seeing uber success with their higher-waisted, granny-inspired styles in 2020.

According to Gale Epstein, the co-found of Hanky Panky, there’s been a 30 percent growth in the brand’s Signature Lace French Brief ($30), which features a high waist and full coverage.

best granny panties
Photo: Hanky Panky

Shop now: Hanky Panky Signature Lace French Brief, $30

What’s more, according to Cami Téllez, the co-founder and CEO of Parade, the brand’s newest style—the High Rise Brief ($10)—is quickly becoming their best-selling style.

best granny panties
Photo: Parade

Shop now: Parade High Rise Brief, $10

Amber Tolliver, the founder of Liberté, has noticed the same trend. “Our Crosby High Rise Briefs ($45) consistently sell well,” she exclaims. “They are ultra-feminine and have the added bonus of being extremely comfortable which is perfect for WFH vibes but also are beautiful enough for date night. I think high rise has gained popularity because we are no longer compromising. Our lingerie doesn’t have to be either comfortable or beautiful so why not choose something that delivers the best of both worlds.”

best granny panties
Photo: Liberté

Shop now: Crosby High Rise Briefs, $45

The secret behind the universally-irresistible silhouette

As much as granny panties have evolved over the years—melding with the new era’s desire for different colors and fabrics, and often cheekier behinds—one thing has remained undeniably the same: the waistline. Granny panties may have grown more revealing in the backside cuts and transparent fabrics used, but the high rise is a staple of the style that will remain unchanged. And for good reason!

According to Davis, high-waisted undies are such a must thanks to their very position on the body. “From a design standpoint, the fact that [they] sit at the natural waist, and don’t cut across the lower belly at an awkward or arbitrary point provides both a practical fit and supreme level of comfort under a wide range of clothing types—whether it’s worn with a pair of jeans or just with your WFH loungewear,” she says. And that, my friends, is 100 percent how I feel and why I’ve stocked my underwear drawer with a style I once only scoffed at.

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