My Lingerie Drawer Is Stuffed—Here's What I'm Tossing and Buying


(Image credit: @emmanuellek_)

Ever since I was young, I’ve had an affinity for shopping. I’m a part of that generation that grew up aimlessly wandering about the marble corridors of the local mall on the weekends and after school. I can still smell Abercombie & Fitch, I can recall the joy of finding a designer bag in Macy’s, and I can admittedly remember the excitement of wandering into Victoria’s Secret. The last activity was probably the most exciting prospect for my pubescent self because lingerie has always been something I thoroughly enjoy. I know some people adamantly hate bra shopping, loathe holiday-themed lingerie sets, and cannot stand shapewear, but I’m not one of those people. I’ve been a long-standing fan of shopping at annual lingerie sales, I had multiple lingerie subscriptions, and I always will find another excuse to buy a silk slip dress. So it’s no surprise that my lingerie drawer has begun to overflow over the years, which, for a resident of New York City, is a problem because space is so valuable. When you have a limited number of drawers, the best possible solution is to opt for a capsule wardrobe—including one for your lingerie collection.

I’m vying to clear out my drawers to only the essentials and invest in some long-term lingerie staples, and I’ve done some digging to narrow down which undergarments I’ll be parting with and which 11 pieces are worth purchasing. Whether you’re like me and own way too much underwear, you’re itching to ditch some bras, or you loathe shopping for undergarments, this lingerie capsule will make your life way easier. And the drawer space you’re about to have? Well, you can thank me later for that.


(Image credit: @veroocampos)

Toss: Any uncomfortable or overworn underwear.

Invest in: Cozy everyday panties

Even as an editor, I’ll admit to keeping a pair of underwear far past its expiration date. They’ve shrunk a size down, and somehow I can’t seem to part with them, or they're hot but so itchy. Well, friends, this is a public service announcement (aimed at me especially) to please let the worn-down underwear or uncomfortable pairs go and invest in a few new everyday pairs. It’s an investment you won’t regret, especially if you opt for underwear in cozier fabrics like cotton and jersey and hemlines like briefs and boyshorts. 

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(Image credit: @nitsanraiter)

Toss: Too-tight and tattered thongs

Invest in: More durable and comfortable thongs

With the revival of the visible-G-string trend, there’s no better time to invest in a better thong than right now. Some rules of thumb when it comes to whether you should break up with this staple are the following: If the lace is hanging on by a thread quite literally, toss them. If they're itchy, toss them. If you can’t fit into them anymore, toss them. Yes, this is a sexier piece of lingerie that’s never going to be as comfortable as a pair of boxers, but that doesn’t mean you have to be suffering in them. (Great thongs do exist.) Opting for pairs made from cotton and silk with thicker bands is one way to make this staple cozier.

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(Image credit: @dronme)

Toss: Blood-stained panties 

Invest in: Actual period panties 

The following statement may be TMI, but it must be stated: most women, without a doubt, have that pair of panties. You know, the ones you wore and somehow bled through due to your period, menopausal spotting, or postpartum leakage? And while it’s easy to want to hold on to them, scrub them, and designate them the "IDC” underwear to wear when you’re over pads, there’s a far better solution: actual period panties. Many people have mixed feelings about these, but honestly, they’ve changed my life, and I swear by them in any lingerie capsule. They’ve removed the guilt I have around potentially ruining another pair of underwear, they’ve made my periods more comfortable, and they’re more sustainable in the long term.

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(Image credit: @javiera)

Toss: Small and worn-down teddy bodysuits

Invest in: Timeless teddies 

Fashion people have a hard time justifying getting rid of anything. After all, it could come back in style, you could fit into it again, and you could finally have the perfect moment to wear it. But when it comes to lingerie, this rationale doesn’t fully apply, especially when talking about teddy bodysuits. I can’t tell you how many teddies I’ve held on to despite my boobs and butt no longer being able to squeeze into them or because they’re so beautiful. But being that I live in New York, with a limited amount of drawer space, it’s best to part ways with teddies that don’t fit or that I haven’t worn in a long time. And should I buy new ones, opting for ones in neutral hues is the move to ensure longevity.

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(Image credit: @emmaleger)

Toss: Too-trendy lingerie sets

Invest: Classic lingerie sets

There was one point when I had a subscription and was regularly buying new trendy lingerie sets for myself. And while subscription services can be excellent for scoring a deal, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t end up getting way too many pieces I wasn’t entirely in love with because I had to use the pre-bought store credits each month. It’s how I ended up with a vibrant, fuzzy green lingerie set that looks like The Grinch. Needless to say, I have to trim down the collection, so I’ve landed on buying matching lingeries sets in neutral hues, timeless prints, and natural fabrics. When you opt for less-trendy sets, you can be sure they stand the test of time.

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(Image credit: @laurencrowe88)

Donate: Old T-shirts

Invest in: Slip dresses

How many T-shirts do you own that take up most of your drawer space? Call it a hot take, but I find T-shirts annoying—not just because they happen to be one of the most common overproduced items that end up in landfills, but I just don’t get the hype around them. Sure, if you have a staple T-shirt that’s a part of your everyday wardrobe or reminds you of a beloved person or memory, I get that, but when it comes to what to sleep in, there are far chicer options—ahem, the slip dress. One beloved nightgown can replace that space taken up by a slew of old ratty T-shirts. It can give you the same cozy feeling but will make you feel even more special. Plus, you can wear a slip dress out on the town too should you feel inclined. Slip dresses are the staple I’ll choose over a T-shirt any day.

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(Image credit: @champagnemani)

Donate: Ill-fitted strapless, push-up, and underwire bras

Invest in: A multi-wear, well-fitted bra 

Bralettes not your thing? You can still heed the advice and ditch any bras that don’t fit well in search of better ones. I’d recommend not only searching for bra brands that suit your specific needs (e.g., if you’re bustier or have a small chest, if you’re breastfeeding or need chest compression) but also narrowing down your bra capsule. You probably don’t need 15 different bras, but having one multifunctional one, one strapless one, one backless one, and one push-up bra is more rational.

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(Image credit: @bubblyaquarius)

Donate: Mismatched and worn-down pajama separates

Invest in: Matching pajama sets

We all likely have mismatched pajamas that we’ve managed to hold on to over the years—you know, the ones we lost the matching top to at a Laundromat, so we’ve now paired it with a random T-shirt that’s also holding on for dear life. And sure, I highly recommend using and wearing your pieces to the fullest extent you possibly can because it’s important from a sustainability point of view. But if you find that you’ve got way too many pajamas in your drawers, then it might be time to round up all the mismatched pieces, order a Thredup donation kit, and make space for a matching pair. Bonus points if you treat yourself to a silky floor-length set or a feather-adorned pair.

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(Image credit: @annelauremais)

Donate: Uncomfortable bras of any kind 

Invest in: Cozy bralettes

There’s a pang of guilt attached to bras that I think all women can empathize with—you invest in a push-up, strapless, or underwire bra only to find that upon putting it on, it feels like torture. The wire is poking you, the cups are too big or too small, and you’ve already forked over the cash, so why would you get rid of it? But if you’re not wearing it, then why keep it? As someone with big boobs, I’ve had to work at it for years to get to a point where parting with bras didn’t bring on an existential crisis, but I’ve learned not only that there are great places to donate bras but also that bralettes are a comfortable everyday alternative. From personal experience, there’s nothing better than ditching your bad bras and making room for something better.

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(Image credit: @ali_tate_cutler)

Donate: Ill-fitted or uncomfortable shapewear

Invest in: Durable and comfortable shapewear that works for your body type

When building a lingerie capsule that can last long, you want to invest in great pieces, and you should apply that same ethos to shapewear. It can be easy to want to find the most affordable pieces, but sometimes it can lead to buying a bunch of shaping shorts, tights, or even waist-cinchers that don’t fit well, are unbearably uncomfortable, or fall apart quickly. It’s best to read the reviews, decide what type of shapewear works for your body, and then invest in one. Because once you find the right shapewear, it will be perfect for any special occasion or everyday wear. 

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(Image credit: @spicy.mayo)

Donate: Any pieces that don’t spark joy

Invest in: At least one piece that makes you feel beautiful

You’ve made it to the end of this story, and hopefully, you’ve been inspired to narrow down your lingerie drawer too. But if there’s one piece of advice I hope you take away from this story, it’s that the key to building a lingerie capsule you love doesn’t just come down to function (which is essential) but also pieces that bring you joy. If you’re holding on to that bra because you wish you could fit into it again or that slip dress reminds you of an ex, why continue to hold on to pieces that don’t spark joy? A bra or pair of boxers may seem like just undergarments, but the right lingerie can change the way we move through the world (goodbye, wardrobe malfunctions) and how we see ourselves, and that's priceless. 

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Next up, 10 Lingerie Brands French Girls Swear By

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.