font loading for Top nav



News that thongs are having a resurgence in the M&S lingerie department is bound to be divisive, so we asked two women to fight it out over the important question: big pants or thongs?


Robyn Wilder defends big pants

“Reader, we don’t know each other well, so please don’t think I’m being forward when I tell you that my drawers are full of big knickers. Because they are: cotton knickers; satin knickers; fruit-coloured, patterned knickers with frills on the bottom; cheeky little boy shorts with fluting up the seam; and handy shapewear numbers with a discreet lacy panel to smooth down a post-Christmas tummy.

“Or, to be frank, a post-baby tummy. I have young children now, but before I had kids I lived in bikini pants and (although, for me, sometimes it felt as though I was flossing my bottom) the occasional thong.

“The thing about giving birth, though, is that it can make your below-stairs area feel a bit down in the dumps (temporarily), so I cheered mine up by going out shopping for some underwear with more comfort, coverage and colour.

“I haven’t looked back. Big knickers are where I live now, because big knickers are like a big hug for your tummy and bum. The trick is to buy good-quality pairs – knickers that are cotton-rich or silk; that fit well, and won’t go saggy in the wash. And ones that look nice, too – knickers that make you smile, rather than sigh, when you put them on in the morning.

“I like to wear my big knickers under high-waisted trousers, because they provide a useful buffer between my belly and the waistband, and – better than that – I like to put on my biggest, fanciest, floofiest knickers that cinch in my waist and end in pretty little frills around my bottom, then prance around the bedroom pretending I’m Marilyn Monroe on a photoshoot on the beach, and waving and blowing kisses at imaginary photographers.

“Try doing that in a thong!”

Sophie Goddard is team thong

“Last summer I received a wedding invitation with the post-wedding, beach-party dress code labelled as ‘thongs and bathers’. Luckily for everybody involved, I quickly deciphered “thongs” = Australian slang for flip-flops, thus narrowly avoiding what could have been the most embarrassing social event of my life.

“This is the only time thongs and I have come close to a fallout. Like R&B star Sisqό, I’m a firm fan of the minimalist style of underwear. And unlike Sisqό, thongs have thankfully moved on a bit since the Nineties, when hordes of us wore uncomfortable, diamanté-encrusted numbers under low-slung faded jeans.

“In 2018, thongs are no longer the ill-fitting, scratchy polyester numbers many of us remember with a wince. In fact, a thong shouldn’t feel uncomfortable at all – if it does, it’s probably down to incorrect sizing. Instead of chafing or irritating like those dodgy teenage versions, it

should feel like you’re not really wearing any underwear at all (and let’s face it, that’s the dream, right?).

“Comfort aside, did I mention they’re the most useful and versatile style of underwear around? No longer will the perfect outfit be ruined by a pair of granny pants peeking above your skinny jeans, or an unsightly VPL in those sleek leather trousers. There are billions of options to choose from too – from high-waisted lace numbers to sporty, seamless styles (my personal favourite) and I have a sneaky feeling you’ll find them much more flattering than you’d first imagine, too.

“The only issue? For me, it’s that tell-tale glimpse of a thong if your jeans reveal it. It even has a name – the dreaded ‘whale tale’ (yep, seriously). But, unless you’re rocking loose, Nineties-esque denim it’s unlikely to happen. And you know what? If that’s the only drawback, I’m running the risk.”


Big is beautiful with high-rise lace shorts
Small but perfectly formed with silk and lace
Add some ooh la la with these French knickers
Make your outfit a VPL-free zone

Trending stories

Editor’s Pick
The giant straw hat
Wear It Your Way
Wedding planners
Ways to Wear
The colour yellow
Steal Her Style
Paula Bonham Carter