Have We Seen The End of Sexy Lingerie?

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GQ

This just in: thongs are out and granny panties are on the rise!

It's no secret that millennials are changing the way that we think of "sexy". They are throwing out their lumpy padded bras. They're getting rid of that uncomfortable underwire. Heck, they're even just flat out going braless. The way millennials treat their tatas has changed. Not only that, but the way they're treating their derrière is changing too. These days "sexy" doesn't necessarily mean skimpy and lace. What are millennials finding sexy? Granny panties.

“Within millennial and Generation Y consumer groups, it’s considered cool to be wearing full-bottom underwear,” Bernadette Kissane, an apparel analyst at the market intelligence firm Euromonitor, explains. She says what millennials have long been thinking: “Thongs have had their moment.” And that moment is over.

Data provided by the research company NPD Group further confirms this fact. Sales of thongs have decreased 7 percent over the last year, while sales of briefs, boy shorts and high-waist briefs have grown 17 percent.

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Why is this happening? Some cite the rise in popularity of high-waisted pants and more loosely fitting bottoms. Others believe the rise of contrarianism in terms of being individualistic may have led to women moving away from the traditionally sexy Victoria's Secret model look. Regardless of what exactly is leading to this shift, it is changing the way that millennials think of "sexy".

There are many companies that are taking advantage of this preference change. One example, Daphne Javitch of Ten Undies, explains that "there’s a widespread misconception that men are into pearl thong, lace contraptions,” when in fact, "men are into girls in T-shirts and white underwear.” This is why her company has largely focused on created fuller-bottomed undies, which led to an extreme cult following.

Another company that has caught onto this idea is Me and You. Their take on the high wasted panty revolution is a bit different from Ten Undies though.Their number one selling product is a pair of white cotton underwear with the word "feminist" etched in bubble letters across the rear. “Most lingerie is designed to appeal to a man,” explained Julia Baylis, designer for Me and You. “For us, that’s not even a consideration. This is underwear you wear totally for you."

“What’s sexy for us is being natural and comfortable,” said Mayan Toledano, another designer for Me and You. This idea of comfort being sexy is something that many women are happy to jump on board with.

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Unlike traditionally popular lingerie brands (think Victoria's Secret), these new waves of companies are focusing on women being empowered by feeling sexy however they'd like. More importantly than that, they are giving women the opportunity to dress for themselves for a change.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be more traditionally sexy and wearing a thong; that doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist,” Toledano said. “This is a step toward embracing more variety in what’s offered.”

When Greer Simpkins began looking into creating her own lingerie line, Hello Beautiful, she visited a Victoria’s Secret store in New York. “I noticed that a lot of women would come in with a friend, and they’d be asking: ‘Do you like this? Do you think he will like it?’ ” said Simpkins. “They’d be thinking about everyone else but themselves.”

Hello Beautiful was an opportunity for Simpkins to empower those women to think about their own approval and comfort before others' opinions when they were picking out their undergarments. Hello Beautiful has one main design: a cotton panty with a high cut and narrow back, modeled after the more traditional European design for undergarments and swimsuits. Many women find this design sexy in the way that it hides areas they are more self-conscious about while still highlighting their curves.

So at the end of the day, are thongs doomed to drift away into oblivion? That's what so great about this new generation's way of thinking: it's totally up to you! No matter what your preference is: lace, cotton, silk, full, skimpy, or somewhere in between... YOU should have the power to decide what makes YOU feel sexy.

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