The right size panties will be comfortable and flattering under everything you wear.

How to Size Panties

by Michelle Powell-Smith

Panties aren't sized like other clothing and a too-small or too-large pair can lead to wardrobe mishaps you don't want. Choosing the correct panty size can prevent discomfort and help you look your best. You may, depending upon your body and the style, need different sizes in various brands or styles for the best panty fit.

Get It Right

Before you go shopping for panties, take the time to take a hip measurement. Simply wrap a cloth tape measure around the widest part of your hips and note the measurement. Be honest with yourself for the best panty fit. If you're shopping for your wife or girlfriend, steal a look in her closet and note her sizes. She's not likely to be pleased if you ask for a measurement -- plus, you'll spoil the surprise. The right panty size will cover your hips adequately, avoid riding up and not have any sagging or bagging.

Number Sizes

Panties are often sized by number, typically starting at a 4 and going up to a 14. Sizes smaller than a 4 and larger than a 10 may be more difficult to locate. These sizes correspond to hip measurements, but may vary slightly by brand or manufacturer. In most cases a 4 corresponds to a petite or x-small and a 14 to an x-large. Panties marketed toward juniors may be smaller than those intended for the misses or plus-size market, so you may need to go up a size for a better fit if selecting from this type of junior-oriented brand.

Small, Medium, Large

Panties may also be sized from x-small to xx-large. These sizes are relatively self-explanatory and typically correspond to the size you would choose for yoga pants, pajamas or other garments. In most cases, labels also identify a comparable dress size, like 12-14. Small, medium and large sizing is also typical for shapewear panties. Choose the size that best fits your hips to make certain of a good fit.

Dress Sizes

Less often, panties are sized by dress size. This is especially true for plus sizes, sold by specialty retailers. Choose the size that corresponds to your pants size for the best fit. In many cases, panties sold by pants size will not include hip measurements or other size comparisons; however, if you are familiar with the brand's normal clothing fit, it may be similar.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

Photo Credits

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