Dear Answer Angel Ellen: As I’ve gotten older and flabbier, I’m finding that when I wear pull-on pants, leggings, jeggings, jeans, etc., you can see the lines from my underwear. Spanx work somewhat, but you can still see the line. Is there something you or your readers can recommend?
— Barbara H.
Dear Barbara: Ahh, the annoying VPL! That’s “Visible Panty Line,” and it is an issue no matter how old or young, flabby or fit you are. The tighter the clothing, the more likely you are to have this problem.
(Can I take just a minute to whine about the word “panties” — which is used much more often by men, most of whom do not wear panties and probably don’t understand it’s a cringey term? As my friend and former Chicago Tribune colleague Louise Kiernan wrote long ago, “‘Panties’ just sounds salacious. Panties are lacy, filmy, schoolgirl naughty. ‘Underwear’ is a neutral term.”)
Barbara, what you need is seamless underwear — and there are many brands and styles to choose from. Byrdie.com lists two dozen “Best Seamless Underwear That Feel Like Second Skin.” Here are the top choices:
— Best Overall: Calvin Klein Women’s Invisibles Hipster (calvinklein.us, on sale, $10.50)
— Best Overall Runner Up: Seamless Universal (yourparade.com, $8 and up)
— Best Budget: Fruit of the Loom Women’s Seamless Panties (amazon.com, multipack $12.48 and up)
— Best Value: Commando Butter High Rise Panties (wearcommando.com, $32)
Other considerations: Many of us are wearing underwear that’s too tight because of the sizing of women’s underpants. Make sure you’re in the right size. Too tight and you’re asking for panty lines, especially around the legs. Also, stay away from cotton, which tends toward heavier seams. Thongs are a good bet, but lots of us think they’re crazy uncomfortable. And, of course, you can wear no underwear at all, or affix only a slim disposable pantyliner to your leggings, etc.