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Best underwear for women 2023: Briefs, bikinis and more from £6

For all-day comfort and support, this is our pick of the best underwear for women of all shapes and tastes

For all day comfort and support, it’s essential to have the best underwear. It forms the basis of every outfit, and whether your priority is comfort, cuteness or a combination of the two, there’s the perfect pair of knickers out there for you. From daily wear cotton undies, to those that suck in your tummy and lift your bottom, the type of underwear you choose may vary from outfit to outfit. What you wear under your day-to-day work slacks may not be suitable under your favourite bodycon dress, after all.

However, shopping online for a good pair of knickers can be a challenge. You can’t judge how the material they’re made from feels against your skin, nor can you try them on before you buy to see how they fit and whether they suit your body shape.

So, with the vast assortment of brands, fits and materials from which to make your choice, we’ve done the hard part for you. Read on to discover our pick of the best underwear for women right now, for a range of budgets. But first, browse our guide on how to choose the perfect pair of knickers for your style, shape and budget.

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Best underwear for women: At a glance

How to choose the best underwear for women

One of the most important factors to consider when buying underwear is the style you’re after. How will they fit? What kind of coverage do they offer? Different styles offer different fits, so it’s important to pick a style that will suit your body shape.

What types of women’s underwear are available?

Some of the most common styles of knickers include:

Briefs: These are the most common type of knickers. In the past, this style has had a reputation for not being particularly flattering, but this isn’t the case now. Waist sizes come in low-, mid- or high-rise options for an optimal fit. Briefs offer full coverage and work under most outfits, from gym clothes to a favourite pair of jeans.

Bikini: Similar to briefs, bikini underwear has higher-cut leg holes. Also known as Brazilian cut, they sit low on the hips, which, in combination with the high-cut legs, makes legs appear longer.

Thong: A good option for eliminating VPL (visible panty lines), thongs offer basically no coverage over the bottom. This makes them ideal for tight-fitting clothing.

Cheeky: A fun combination of briefs and thongs, cheeky underwear provides partial bottom coverage, showing a little bit of skin. In other words, you get bottom support but without an abundance of fabric.

French cut: This style offers full coverage, with a high waist and high-cut leg holes that typically reach just above the widest part of the leg.

Seamless: This isn’t necessarily a style of underwear, but a good quality to consider. Seamless underwear doesn’t result in visible panty lines, which allows you to wear even the most body-hugging clothing without showing off what’s underneath.

Note that there are too many styles for us to highlight each one in our recommendations. But many items on the list can be found in multiple styles to best suit your preferences.

What else should I consider when buying women’s underwear?

Take into account your body shape and how the underwear will fit you. If you have a round bum and choose low-rise knickers, chances are you won’t get the bottom coverage you’re looking for.

Consider the type of fabric, too. Your underwear should at least have a 100% cotton gusset for breathability and moisture wicking. Cotton underwear is very common, as are microfibre and nylon options.

How we test underwear for women

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. As such, all the women’s underwear that features here is worn beneath a variety of outfits to assess its fit. In those instances the underwear is recommended for a particular activity type, it’s tested in that scenario to ensure we make an accurate recommendation.

As well as the fit of each style of underwear, we consider the overall level of comfort, the quality of the material from which it’s made, and the shape of each product after frequent wear and washing. Finally, we confirm the sizing of each product.

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The best underwear for women to buy in 2023

1. M&S Collection 5-Pack Cotton-Rich Lycra Full Briefs: Best budget women’s underwear

Price when reviewed: £7 | Check price at Marks & Spencer

Underwear is an everyday essential, so having the ability to buy multiple pairs at an affordable price makes the job easy and convenient. This set from M&S includes five pairs of full cotton briefs in a similar colour palette. There are three pairs in a solid colour and two pairs with feminine floral designs, with the briefs available in a variety of sizes from XS to XXL.

Note, too, that these knickers are made of cotton that’s sustainably sourced. This means your underwear will be both breathable and absorbent, which is perfect for all-day wear. Plus, you can feel confident that your purchase isn’t doing extensive damage to the environment. If pinks and florals aren’t to your taste, Marks & Spencer also offers these full brief five-packs in other designs and colours, including black and white patterns or even all black.

Key details – Available sizes: 6-28; Materials: Cotton, Lycra

Check price at Marks & Spencer

2. Sloggi Tai Control Knickers: Best control underwear

Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at John Lewis

If you’re unhappy with your shape wearing your regular knickers under your favourite outfit, then maybe control underwear is the answer. The Sloggi Tai control knickers from John Lewis deliver both all-day comfort and a smooth, streamlined figure. Each pack includes two pairs of full briefs in the one colour, with options in black or white. Size options are more limited than other types of underwear, ranging from size 10 to 20.

The key to the control part of the Sloggi Tai knickers is the underwear’s double-layered, V-shaped front panel. This reinforcement helps smooth your silhouette and add shape to your figure. Although full briefs, these knickers have high-cut leg holes. The cotton fabric and comfort band make for a high-quality pair of pants that are suitable for all-day wear.

Key details – Available sizes: 10-20; Materials: Cotton, elastane

Check price at John Lewis

3. Wuka Ultimate Midi Brief Heavy Flow: Best period underwear

Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at Wuka

During the time of the month, most women are looking for comfort and reassurance from embarrassment – and the Wuka Ultimate midi briefs for heavy flow deliver just that. Eliminating the need for using sanitary products, such as tampons and pads, these briefs are designed incorporating leakproof technology that can hold up to 20ml of flow. The Wuka Ultimate briefs come in black and are available as a single pair, or in packs of three or five. As midi briefs, these knickers provide full bottom coverage with a mid-rise waist. Since they can be worn, washed and reused, they’re the perfect option for those looking for environmentally friendly products .

Being reusable isn’t the only way in which the Wuka Ultimate midi briefs deliver in this regard. As well as using Tencel, which is compostable and biodegradable, the organic cotton in Wuka’s briefs meets the Global Organic Textile Standard. These period pants are both vegan-friendly and carbon-neutral, too. Wuka also offers period pants in a variety of other size-inclusive styles.

Key details – Available sizes: XXS-6XL; Materials: Tencel, cotton

Check price at Wuka

4. Savage x Fenty Floral Lace Cheeky: Best women’s underwear to splurge on

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Savage x Fenty

Owned by superstar Rihanna, Savage x Fenty underwear is size inclusive and sultry, with the Floral Lace Cheeky underwear certainly living up to its name. Available in bold colours (including Purple Lavender, Orange Bellini, Acid Lime and Forest Green) and a gorgeous floral lace design, these knickers show just the right amount of cheek – literally and figuratively. The lace offers sheer, minimal coverage, with stretch for optimal comfort.

And for those eco-friendly folk out there, 40% of the nylon used to make the Floral Lace Cheeky underwear comes from recycled fibres, certified by Scientific Certification Systems. Savage x Fenty also offers a VIP membership, which saves you 25% on your purchases at the cost of £50 per month – and you could use it to pick up a matching bra or bralette. If you’re looking to treat yourself to underwear that makes you feel stylish and sexy, the Floral Lace Cheeky underwear is well worth the cost.

Key details – Available sizes: XS-4XL; Materials: Nylon, spandex, cotton

Check price at Savage x Fenty

5. B By Boutique Ameli High Waisted Brazilian Knickers: Best lace trim women’s underwear

Price when reviewed: £6 | Check price at Marks & Spencer

If all-over lace isn’t your style, or you’re just looking for something a little more budget-friendly, this pair of Ameli knickers from Marks & Spencer are perfect. Designed to stretch to your form, you get the sultry look of lace knickers without sacrificing comfort. Available in a bold and bright shade of fuschia, the front panel includes a fuschia and white marbled print.

Sporting a Brazilian cut, the knickers feature a high waist with partial bottom coverage, most of which is the lace trim. The rest of the underwear is microfibre, delivering a soft, almost satiny feel. With a sturdy, logo-branded elastic band at the waist, these lacy pants are a perfect combination of feminine style and a pleasant fit. For a complete set, pair them with the matching bra.

Key details – Available sizes: XS-XL; Materials: Polyamide, polyester, elastane, cotton

Check price at Marks & Spencer

6. Chantelle Essen High-Rise Seamless Briefs: Best seamless women’s underwear

Price when reviewed: £23 | Check price at Selfridges & CoNothing ruins a perfect outfit like being able to see the outline of your underwear. Visible panty lines, or VPLs, are an unfortunate but all-too-common wardrobe malfunction. And this is where seamless underwear can come to the rescue. The Chantelle Essen high-rise seamless stretch-woven briefs slip on easily and fit like a second skin. Made from a stretchy material, with no thick edges, these knickers won’t show themselves, even under tight clothes. They’re available in both black and beige colours.

These seamless briefs are designed to fit snugly yet comfortably, with the satin-like material super-soft against the skin. They’re a great cut, with an elasticized high waistband and full bottom coverage. The only disappointment is that they’re not as size inclusive as some of the other choices on our list. Nevertheless, if you fall within the sizes offered, the Chantelle Essen seamless briefs will certainly deliver the smooth and polished silhouette you’re looking for.

Key specs – Available sizes: XS-L; Materials: Polyamide, elastane, cotton

Check price at Selfridges & Co

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