Knickers in a Twist? ShopSmart Poll Finds a Woman's Underwear Affects Her Attitude

Dec 13, 2010, 20:21 ET from ShopSmart Magazine

Average Woman Owns 21 Pairs of Underwear, 10% Own 35 Pairs or More; 10% of Women Admit to Going Commando in Public

YONKERS, N.Y., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Underwear isn't just the foundation of your outfit but of your whole attitude as one in four women have had their mood affected by wearing an ill fitting or unattractive pair of underwear, according to a new national poll published by ShopSmart magazine. The poll, which is featured in the January 2011 issue of ShopSmart from the publisher of Consumer Reports, also found that on average women own 21 pairs of underwear with 10 percent of women owning 35 pairs or more.

While nearly half of women (47%) feel sexier or more confident wearing a nice or special pair, the poll also found that one in 10 women admit they will venture out of the house without underwear on at all. This, in some cases, might be the better option for the one-quarter of women who have a pair of underwear they would be embarrassed for someone else to see.  

"What you wear under your clothes is just as important—maybe even more—as what you wear on the outside," said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. "So for our 'Look Better Dressed' feature we recruited real women for underwear makeovers. Readers will also find the results of our first-ever body shapewear test, best lingerie websites, great fit tips and more."

How Much Does Underwear Matter?

  • Nearly one-quarter of women (21%) vary their underwear selection depending on their mood and 12% feel it is an important part of their outfit.
  • Topping the list of worst undergarment offenses is underwear or thong that sticks out of clothing, especially among those age 18-34 (49%) and 35-54 (55%).
  • Half of women have complaints about the way their underwear fit, with wedgies (30%) topping the list, followed by doesn't lay flat under clothes (19%) and not enough coverage in the rear (14%).

In Our Drawers:

  • Almost two-thirds (65%) of women stick to neutral colors, with white (29%) most popular followed by black (21%) and beige (15%). No one is envious of green as it came in dead last (1%) behind red (2%), purple (4%), blue (5%), a print (6%) and pink (9%).
  • Women in the 18-34 age group seem more adventurous with their color choices with over one-third (35%) indicating a color, not a neutral, as their favorite pair and 12% who chose a print.
  • Nearly half of women (46%) cite the brief as the underwear style they wear most often, though women ages 18-34 skew towards the bikini style.
  • More than half of women (56%) overall fold their underwear; twenty-seven percent just toss it in the drawer.

The Skinny on Body Shapers:

  • Over half (53%) of women have ever tried a body shaper; of those, the majority (84%) report a negative experience including uncomfortable to wear (60%), difficult to don (52%), and too tight (41%).
  • One quarter of women who tried a body shaper felt the product did not do as claimed, and one fifth of women who have tried a body shaper never wear them.
  • Most women (61%) who wear body shapers do so only for special occasions.

Bloomer Buying Habits:

  • Mass merchandisers are the most popular place for underwear shopping, with over half (54%) of women typically purchasing their underwear at these stores. Younger consumers ages 18-34 are more likely to purchase their underwear in specialty lingerie chain stores.
  • Underwear shopping does not always come easy. Fifty-five percent of women have difficulty finding a comfortable style, and nearly one-third have difficulty determining their correct size.
  • Although half of women indicate that they have fit complaints, only eight percent of women try on a new brand or type before they purchase them.

ShopSmart's Tips on Finding a Great Fit:



Body Shapers

Too Tight: Your breasts are spilling over, and the band is constricting or leaving indentations on your skin.

Too Big: It hikes up in the back, and you have gapping in your cups.  A professional fitting is the best way to find the perfect bra.

The Three C's: Covered, concealed, and confident. If your panties are creeping up and creating a wedgie, or if they're digging into your cheeks or waist, they're too tight. Go down a size if they look bulky through your clothes. Underwear should fit like a second skin.

They should decrease the measurement in your targeted area by at least half an inch. Pick the size that corresponds to your actual measurements. If your skin is spilling over the edges, it's too small. You'll know it's too big if it creases, bags, or rolls. It should feel like firm-fitting underwear.

ShopSmart Underwear Poll Methodology:

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. 1,008 interviews were completed among women aged 18+. Interviewing took place over October 14 – 18, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 3.2% points at a 95% confidence level.

About ShopSmart magazine:

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports' celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and "best of the best" lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at

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SOURCE ShopSmart Magazine