As someone who crosses the street with the recklessness of blindfolded deer I’ve made it a priority to heed the advice of my late grandmother Mimi who once put the fear of God in me. Her words: always wear nice underwear just in case you suddenly die.
I used to take “nice” to mean pretty, lacy things. Anything scalloped and tied with a bow, slices of fabric so alarmingly demure that one might mistake them for anklets. My stupid “delicates” were so delicate that they had to air-dry on lavender-scented twine and be clipped with artisanal clothespins; prior to that they had to be hand washed in the Swiss Alps which required one hell of a dangerous hike and therefore one very fancy pair of underwear.
An endless cycle! It was so annoying.
It was also expensive. When you’re a lingerie shopper for the sake of morbidly circumstantial aesthetics, one begins to wonder where the line between “always be prepared” and “full blown insanity” is drawn. For me, I’d say it was somewhere around the time I nearly stabbed a surprise guest with a vintage letter opener — not because I was scared he was trying to murder me, but because I was scared to be found murdered in such an ugly bra.
The lightbulb finally went off when I came across the Instagram account of @tenundies. At first I was casually stalking photos of a wedding dress that came up on my “discover” feed. The woman in the dress was Daphne Javitch, and Daphne is a living Pinterest board. As I continued scrolling for potential pins, I realized that this was not just the account of my spirit guide but also for a brand of cool ass underwear.
It was every bit as pretty as those aforementioned lacy things, if not more. The brand, Ten Undies, opened my eyes to a whole world of simple cotton briefs that make even the word “panty” sound unnecessarily fussy. It’s kind of like better-than-normcore underwear for the deliberately low key, self-styled girl.
If Ten is for the woman who waits one day longer than she probably should to wash her hair, who looks like she skateboards and drinks a lot of fresh squeezed orange juice so her skin perpetually glows, then Skin is for the ideal version of yourself when you sleep: freshly showered, crisp white sheets, a simple tank top and the most simple pair of underwear.
Also for the perfect-sleepers/dangerous street crossers of the world: Morgan Lane. The pajamas can be worn as street clothes, and the dark mesh separates are beautifully appropriate for any potential emergency. (Even if you’re just going to the E.R. for a swollen tonsil, your doctor might be hot and appreciate a well-sewn two piece.)
Bodas makes nursing brassieres. Not exclusively — they also make lovely soft triangle tops and knickers for those who aren’t with child — but if there’s anything more dangerous than a baby, I’m all ears.
Finally, there’s Negative Underwear: underpinnings brainstormed by two young women who “get it,” made for the woman who would rather go commando. The elastic bands of the bras and bottoms lie flat, eliminating any errant fleshy bits that could possibly poke out and destroy a good outfit. The vibe is feminine, unprissy and cool.
All in all, a perfect solution for the paranoid hypochondriac who’s sick of lace but would rather die than be seen in a bad bra.