No Lingerie Collection Is Complete Without These 7 Staples

The vast majority of lingerie trends come and go, but knickers are for life, which is ironic seeing as they’re the underwear style that is constantly overlooked. Bras command most of the attention, likely because they can be styled in a way that makes them integral to your outfit—think a flash of lace underneath an unbuttoned blouse or simply on its own as your ensemble’s focal point. However, as knickers are, for the most part, going to be covered up (sheer and naked dresses aside), they’re all too often forgotten about. It’s a shame because there are so many beautiful briefs out there.


(Image credit: @charlottekuhrt)

Now, though, lingerie brands are putting knickers back in the spotlight, making shopping for your smalls a more stylish endeavour than ever before. But do you know your Brazilian from your bikini? Your French from your shorts? Keep scrolling to see and shop the types of knickers that belong in every lingerie drawer.


Knickers don’t come more classic than full briefs. Bridget Jones did this underwear type an injustice with her beige iterations with a ’40s-style high waist. Look for styles that feature a cool print or luxe fabric, and you’ll see just how glamorous they can be. Wear them with short skirts and dresses for maximum coverage.


A cross between a bikini and a thong, Brazilian knickers (also known as hipsters) typically feature wide sides that sit low on the hips and thus inform an integral part of any curated underwear drawer.


Don’t be fooled—shorts can be just as sexy as any other underwear style. Much like with full briefs, finding interesting finishes is key. What’s more is that they come in both high- and low-rise cuts, making them a versatile option under a variety of trousers or skirts.


The ’80s silhouette might be a passing swimwear trend, but as far as lingerie is concerned, high-leg knickers are a staple. Featuring a semi-thick band that sits just above the hip bone, these are ideal for anyone who may want some extra support around the stomach.


Thongs are often considered the teenage lingerie of choice. (Once you’re allowed to start buying your own, naturally, you opt for the most barely there style.) But for grown-ups, thongs are ideal for layering under formfitting clothes, as the chances of VPL are swiftly eliminated.


Bikini knickers tend to sit lower on the hips and have narrow (but not floss-like) sides that sit just below your hip bone, making them ideal for wearing with low-rise trousers or skirts. They also give excellent bum coverage.


French knickers are another shorts style, only in this instance, they’re floatier and more lightweight than straight-up briefs. Usually made with silk, satin or lace, they’re easily the most decadent knicker option out there and are often designed with a matching camisole in mind.

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

Next Up: This Bra-Size Calculator Is a Thing of Genius

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.