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Tomima Talks: Under the Radar

I grew up calling panties underpants – maybe it’s because I was the only girl in a house of brothers or it’s a regional thing – I grew up in Seattle. However, the industry reached consensus long ago that this bottom-covering undergarment should go by the name of panties, and so it shall here as well. A thong used to be your best option for a no-show panty, but that is no longer the case. In this “Tomima Talk”, I thought it would be fun to share with you all the amazing new technology that’s been cropping up in the world of panties.

Stretchy panties I saw these super stretchy, one-size-fits-all panties hitting the market about 3 years ago.  Honestly, I first thought it was just the manufacturer trying to reduce their size assortment – make the panty in just one size rather than the traditional 5 sizes: XS-XL. I was rather shocked and delighted when I first got my hands on them.  Their stretch/rebound capability (the panty’s ability to return to its original shape) was amazing, and they were able to stretch around 3X in all directions. I then test-drove a few pairs from Chantelle and completely forgot I had them on. If you’re looking for a pair to wear and forget, try one of these “super-stretch” panties.

Calvin Klein

New panty edge technologies

The industry has all but eliminated the dreaded VPL (visible panty line) issue with the use of new edge finishing techniques.  Before, elastic was sewn onto the edges which created a slight but visible bulge under form-fitting clothes. It was this issue that sent women racing to thongs.  With the newer stretchy fabrics, adding sewn-on elastic is no longer necessary – except if using beautiful non-stretch lace or non-stretch fabric to get a perfect match with a bra. Here are the new panty edges available out there.

Stretch lace – Lace used to be rigid, but no more.  Sewing on semi-wide stretch lace to the edge of panties makes them both beautiful and mostly invisible.

Laser cut – Panties with simply a raw edge have been laser cut – a laser clean-cuts and seals the fabric edge to prevent fraying.  Originally reserved for haute couture, lasers have now become widely available and much cheaper, thus the reason you are seeing this edge on more panties.  This panty edge does not roll and lays completely flat on your skin. Some women, however, miss a little grip and support that this edge does not provide.

Bonded edge – Folding over the edge and fusing it together by heat and pressure is all but obsoleting traditional sewing of garments.  This type of panty edge is very smooth and flat, while giving a little less give than the overall fabric of a panty.  This stretch difference helps give a little edge grip and thus a sense of bottom support.

In recent years, I’m sure most of us have learned that a pant and jean rise is on the rise from low-rise to high-rise. Because of this trend we are seeing an increase in popularity of tall stretch lace waistband panties.  This style is a big seller for all ages. They are beautiful, give great coverage without looking heavy, do not bind at the waist so they eliminate a muffin top, and are extremely comfortable to wear. Best of all, at the end of the day, you are not left with that dreaded red mark around your waistline.

Hanky Panky Silky Skin Hi-Rise Panty 8641
Rhonda Shear Lace Brief Panty 2913

I remember sitting with the Jockey designers in New York when they showed me samples of a new panty silhouette they were calling Skimmies®.  I guess I’m a hard sell because I gave them a bit of push-back.  I remember saying “Who’s going to want to wear a biker-short silhouette as underwear?” But the answer said it all.  Women were tired of “layering” panties and shapewear.  Research was showing that women were opting out of panties and wearing biker-short style shapewear as their new panty for smoothness and support.  This was Jockey’s answer, and they were right.  Almost all slip shorts now come with a cotton crotch, light control and no binding waistband or leg edges.  I would encourage you to try one.

Jockey Skimmies Wicking Modern Fit Slipshort 2100

As a final note, do you really know your bottom type?  I did a lot of research on this several years ago and created a video about it.  It might be worth a visit because I also tell you the best panty styles for your bottom.


Tomima Founder, Owner, & CEO

P.S. As a follow-up to my last Tomima Talk, one person mentioned the idea of using/donating the elastic straps from your bras to be used to help make face masks.  An interesting bra recycling idea in today’s environment.

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