Best underwear for women to revamp your lingerie drawer

We've rounded up the best underwear for women so you can shop the top brands with confidence.

Best underwear collage: Skims, Commando, Heist, and more brands
(Image credit: Future)

We’ve made it our mission here at w&h HQ to find the very best underwear for women. For the purposes of this piece, our fashion team tested enough pairs to fill a (very much overflowing) lingerie drawer—and then some. 

Why? If there’s one part of your wardrobe you should never compromise on, it’s your lingerie drawer. It’s not a stretch to say that a bad pair of briefs have the power to ruin your day (let alone your outfit).

Just like your best bra, good underwear forms the base on which you build your outfits. For everyday, cotton briefs are best. They’re soft, breathable and have the added benefit of being relatively inexpensive. If you’re after something a bit fancier for a special occasion, try whispy lace or luxe silk. They might not sit quite as nicely beneath your best jeans, but equally you’re not likely to be wearing them for too long. Laser cut, seamless underwear in a nude shade will go undetected under even the most form-fitting of clothing.

As for style, it’s all down to personal preference. Thongs offer the least amount of coverage, with boy shorts and high-waisted control knickers providing the most. Briefs span a relatively wide spectrum, with styles like the bikini and hipster sitting within the same category depending on where you shop. 

Ultimately, you the best underwear for women will tip-toe the fine line between fashion and functionality. They should look good, as well as being comfortable enough to wear all day without fear of digging in or riding up. Surely that’s not too much to ask? 

Best underwear for women—key brands to shop

Not sure where to start? These are our go-to brands to find the best underwear for women:

  • Commando - buttery soft basics from $22/£20
  • Heist - comfortable designs with a modern twist from $30/£14
  • Les Girls Les Boys - unisex label with streetwear influences from $22/£15
  • Skims - underwear with an inclusive shade and size range from $18/£20
  • Spanx - smoothing styles with no VPL from $20/£24
  • Stripe & Stare - supersoft knickers made from renewable sourced from $24/£15

The best underwear for women—as chosen by our fashion experts

To bring you a reliable round-up of the very best underwear for women, our fashion team put briefs, thongs and shorts from the biggest lingerie labels through their paces. They tested them when working from home, when running errands, and even to yoga classes. Our reviews are a reflection of how the underwear looked, how comfortable it was to wear and whether it came up true to size. We’ve rounded them up by brand, with our top picks from each. 

best underwear: Skims briefs in nude

(Image credit: Skims)

1. Skims

Best plus-size underwear

Reasons to buy
+Inclusive sizing and shades+Wide range of different styles 
Reasons to avoid
-Can sell out quickly

Forget Bridget Jones knickers, Skims is the classic beige pant’s younger, cooler cousin. Founded by reality TV star Kim Kardashian, the brand’s focus is on comfortable, functional underwear that looks just as good beneath clothes as it does without them. Skims has made it onto our best underwear list for a number of reasons, the most important of which is their inclusive range of ‘nude’ shades. Instead of ‘one-size-fits-all’ oatmeal, there’s a choice of 8 different hues. The sizing is generous and welcoming too, spanning from XXS-4X, which is equivalent to a US 00-26 and UK 2-30.

Our fashion team's top picks from Skims: 

best underwear: Commando underwear in beige

(Image credit: Commando)

2. Commando

Best seamless underwear

Reasons to buy
+Super soft fabrics+Go undetected under any outfit 
Reasons to avoid
-No cons from us!

US brand Commando has long been our go-to for solutions-based underwear that won’t make you feel frumpy. Available in various nudes, white and black, all pieces are buttery soft and seam free. Going the extra mile to ensure the brand’s sizing and quality is reliable, Commando’s founder and CEO Kerry O’Brien personally fit-tests every single piece. This attention to detail is reflected in the comfort-factor. So much so, Commando’s classic microfibre thong is now a staple part of our usually thong-adverse Deputy Fashion Editor’s underwear drawer. She’s in good company, as it’s not only the brand’s bestseller, but was worn by Serena Williams for her 2017 Vanity Fair cover. 

Our fashion team's top picks from Commando: 

best underwear: Spanx underwear in nude

(Image credit: Spanx)

3. Spanx

Best high waisted underwear

Reasons to buy
+Comfortable enough for all day wear+Smooth and hug your frame
Reasons to avoid
-Look small to begin with

Spanx might be the brand synonymous with suck-you-in shapewear, but our testers were pleased to find their knickers were comfortable enough for everyday wear. Like shapewear's more forgiving little sister, Spanx’s briefs won’t leave you hot and bothered, nor will they restrict your movement (or how much you can eat for lunch!). We’d recommend Spanx underwear for anyone looking to lightly streamline their shape and create nice, smooth lines beneath clothes. 

Our fashion team's top picks from Spanx: 

best underwear: stripes and stare underwear pack

(Image credit: Stripes & Stare)

4. Stripe & Stare

Best underwear for keeping cool

Reasons to buy
+Supersoft, eco-friendly fabric+Wide choice of prints and patterns
Reasons to avoid
-Only available in one shape

Fashion Editors in the know have previously described Stripe & Stare’s undies as the comfiest they’ve ever tried, and we’re inclined to agree. It’s all thanks to TENCEL Micro Modal, which is not only sustainable (it’s made from Beech trees in Austria) but far softer than cotton. Stripe & Stare only do one kind of knicker, a lace-trimmed brief, but it’s available in a myriad of colours and prints. Buy yours individually, stock up on a multi-pack box or join the brand’s Knicker Club for a monthly undies delivery. 

Our fashion team's top picks from Stripe & Stare: 

best underwear: les boys les girls underwear in hot pink

(Image credit: les boys les girls)

5. Les Girls Les Boys

Best comfortable underwear

Reasons to buy
+Breathable fabrics+Unisex designs 
Reasons to avoid
-Certain colour-ways sell out fast

Les Girls Les Boys, the latest venture from Agent Provocateur founder Serena Rees, couldn’t feel more different from it’s predecessors stereotypically sexy separates. Les Girls Les Boys has more edge, with streetwear influences visible throughout the collection. The brand’s high-waisted briefs are a customer favourite, and manage to make ‘big pants’ feel cool again thanks to modern cuts and well-placed logos. Our team loved the Ultimate Comfort High Waist Brief, and can confirm they’re just as joyful to wear as the name suggests. 

Our fashion team's top picks from Les Girls Les Boys: 

best underwear: Hanky Panky underwear in pink

(Image credit: Hanky Panky)

6. Hanky Panky

Best thong underwear

Reasons to buy
+Playful designs+Comfortable thongs
Reasons to avoid
-Bold colours aren't for everyone

Cheeky by name, cheeky by nature, Hanky Panky is a lingerie brand with fun factor. If you’re yet to discover them, expect bold colors, playful prints, and lashings of lace. Launched in 1977 with sets made from vintage handkerchiefs (hence the name) the brand has evolved to produce 15 different underwear silhouettes. While the scale of the business has increased (they sell a thong, on average, every 10 seconds), the attention to detail remains the same. Hanky Panky still only works with 8 different fabrics and remain fanatical about fit. 

Our fashion team's top picks from Hanky Panky:

best underwear: Nubian skin underwear in brown

(Image credit: Nubian Skin)

7. Nubian Skin

Best nude underwear

Reasons to buy
+Easy to follow shade guide+Range of styles 
Reasons to avoid
-Not currently widely available 

Nubian Skin creates gorgeous underwear especially for women of color. Just use their on-site guide to find your perfect match before adding to basket. If the model images aren’t enough to help you suss out the right shade for you, don’t worry. Nubian Skin has gone more than the extra mile by listing a range of popular foundation shades for each colorway too. It really couldn’t be easier. As for the underwear itself, Nubian Skin has a wide range of styles and shapes to choose from, from barely-there thongs to high-waist briefs. 

Our fashion team's top picks from Nubian Skin:

best underwear: Heist underwear in black

(Image credit: Heist)

8. Heist

Best breathable underwear

Reasons to buy
+Breathable fabrics for guaranteed comfort+Thoughtful designs 
Reasons to avoid
-Fabric can be on the thin side

Heist do underwear differently. Their mission is to “liberate women from disappointing underwear” with a focus on creating the best shapewear and briefs  that are neither niggling or suffocating. It’s no surprise then that Heist’s bestsellers are from their Sheer Collection, a range made in collaboration between the brand’s in-house designers and real women. They were put through their paces until perfect by no less than 150 women, for a fit you really can trust. Heist’s latest collection, Eco Lace, is made from 100% recycled and recyclable lace for extra brownie points. The best underwear for you, and the planet.

Our fashion team's top picks from Heist:

best underwear: Nudea underwear in nude

(Image credit: Nudea)

9. Nudea

Best underwear with a matching bra

Reasons to buy
+Good range of shapes+Matching bras make it easy to co-ordinate
Reasons to avoid
-Come up small 

Nudea are best known for their brilliantly-fitting bras, but to overlook their underwear offering is to miss a trick. Some of the best underwear we’ve tried, Nudea’s selection delivers on fabric, fit and affordability. Smooth your stomach in The Hugger, enjoy everyday comfort in The Hipster or embrace the no-frills shape of The Barely There Thong. And make sure you treat yourself to the coordinating bra too, you won’t regret it. 

Our fashion team's top picks from Nudea: 

best underwear: Hanro underwear in lace black

(Image credit: Hanro)

10. Hanro

Best underwear for everyday

Reasons to buy
+Quality fabrics+Choice of detailed and more simple designs 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited stockists 

Hanro might not be a name that immediately springs to mind when thinking about the best underwear, but it’s made our list for good reason. The brand has come a long way since launching its first knitted silk camisole in the 1880s, now specialising in sleep and underwear—with a focus on quality fabrics. Their Cotton Briefs are pure luxury—supersoft with an almost silky feel for them. The French lace used in their Moments Brief is the butteriest we’ve ever felt, for knickers you really can forget you’re wearing. 

Our fashion team's top picks from Hanro: 

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. 

She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!

Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress. 

The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.