A Woman’s Guide to Choosing The Right Undergarments for Every Occasion

Picking your undergarments can seem like an overwhelming thing when you consider that there are over a dozen cuts of underwear and bras to pick from. That isn't even taking into account the different types of fabric they come in. That said, you can easily find undergarment combinations with the right fit and style. And these can be outfit-appropriate without sacrificing comfort.

A good way to manage your undergarments is simply by categorizing them into specific events and picking from the smaller selection at that point. This way, you already know what to use for every occasion and your stress with picking your outfit can be lessened that much.

Daily wear

This section puts comfort above the rest, since this is what you wear on the regular for chores, random outings, and general activities. You want the right support with durable materials and flexibility. Convertible bras can be a good option so you can change up the straps depending on the cut of your top, but in general, a sturdy T-shirt bra shouldn't do you wrong. In terms of lower garments, consider picking between hipster, bikini, and boyshort cuts since these are in the middle ground of comfort and style. It's not necessarily frumpy but it's still breathable.

Of course, you also need to consider the weather. Cotton is the best bet for breathability in the summer to avoid moisture, but as mentioned in our winter dressing guide by Ella Barry, you'll want to opt for thermal underwear with skin-tight fabrics like wool, polyester, or silk against the cold.


Though this depends on the nature of your work, a safe choice for corporate environments or official meetings is to simply wear skin-tone. You can pick the fabric based on your own comfort, but the crucial point is to wear nudes so that your underwear blends into your skin and isn't visible under your clothing. This counts for both the top and bottom.

Style-wise, reliable options are the front-closure bra or underwired bra paired with some seamless panties.

Romantic evenings

If you're going for a sensual look to match that romantic evening you have planned, then you'll want something that not only makes you look sexy but actually makes you feel confident. According to Pretty Me’s feature on the best lingerie, the most crucial consideration here (even over the style) is the size. If it's too big or too small, you won't feel comfortable enough to even feel good about yourself in the garment and it defeats the purpose. Plus, a good fit means a more flattering overall look.

From there, you can choose from a variety of lingerie types, like 3-piece bikinis, bodysuits, bustiers, chemises, thongs, and robes. Once you've got the proportions in check, the texture, fabric, color, and design really come down to your own preference.

Sports activities

Cotton and mesh-like fabrics are your friend for panties, because this wicks moisture and doesn't trap heat. On the flipside, your sports bra should be made of synthetic fibers instead so they can wick sweat and properly support your chest during constant movement. The right fit and compression will prevent pain and injuries. Based on Harpers Bazaar's article on gym wear and why it matters, research notes how the right gym wear directly affects our performance and motivation to work out.

When fitting your undergarments for physical activity, you want the compression level to be just right. It should be tighter than your regular bra, but it should not give you a hard time breathing and moving.

Formal events

In formal events, there is a lot of care that must be taken into curating your look. No matter how gorgeous your gown or suit may be, it can easily be muddled by an ill-fitting bra or underwear that sticks out from parts of your garment. In general, you'll want to make sure you wear seamless underwear so that you don't have any lines showing through your clothing. This is especially important if you're wearing a fitted outfit or the outer layer of fabric is thin. You could also consider wearing spandex underwear, since they tend to conform to your body better.

For your bra, certain gowns may make it so that you need to opt for strapless or tube bras that still give you support and cleavage without peaking through the top of your gown's bustline.

Picking the underwear that suits you is no small matter, as a study on the Journal of Consumer Culture revealed that underwear is sometimes considered an extension of one's identity. You can instantly feel more confident when you wear the right pair of undergarments! After reading this quick guide, you should be able to manage your delicates selection a bit more, figure out what your staples are, and know what type of undergarments you can make do without.