Grab a pair of your underwear and look at the crotch. What do you see? While you might never have noticed it before, your women’s panties will almost certainly have an extra layer of fabric sewn into the crotch and, in some cases, one end of the fabric may be left open, forming a sort of “pocket” in your underwear. So, wondering why do women’s underwear have a pocket? In this guide, I’ll explain exactly what this extra layer of fabric is, what purpose it serves and why you need to buy underwear with a panty gusset.
What Is a Panty Gusset?
First, we need to establish what a gusset is. Merriam-Webster defines a gusset as “a usually diamond-shaped or triangular insert in a seam (as of a sleeve, pocketbook or shoe upper) to provide expansion or reinforcement.” If you have even had a pair of pants with a triangular or diamond piece of fabric in the crotch, that was a gusset.
Panty gussets are something slightly different. The term refers to the extra layer of fabric sewn into the crotch portion of women’s underwear. Men’s underwear may also have a gusset, but it’s far more common in women’s panties. Gussets can be found in just about every type of underwear for women, from boyshorts to bikini panties to thongs.
The gusset may be sewn closed on both sides or left open on one side, forming a pocket. However, these gussets are not meant for storage. In fact, they serve an entirely different purpose! Read on to discover what panty gussets are really meant to do and why you want them in your underwear.
Why Do Women’s Underwear Have a Pocket?
The panty gusset serves several purposes. For one, the extra layer of fabric reinforces the underwear in the crotch area, which is often the narrowest part of the underwear. This prolongs the life of the underwear and helps it to last longer. The extra layer of fabric also helps catch discharge, sweat and other things, keeping you cool and dry as you go about your day. Having a panty gusset in your underwear is important because it also helps to prevent discharge from leaking through your underwear and staining your clothes.
The panty gusset also helps your lady parts breathe. Many types of women’s panties are made from synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester, spandex and more. While these materials offer many benefits, including stretch, they aren’t very breathable, unlike cotton. Synthetic underwear often has an extra layer of cotton inserted as a panty gusset in order to place a layer of breathable fabric right next to your body. This helps with ventilation and discourages the underwear from trapping sweat and bacteria, which in turn reduces your risk of developing skin irritations, bacterial infections, yeast infections and more. If you have ever wondered why lacy or sheer underwear has a solid cotton gusset in the crotch, this is why!
Having a gusset can also make underwear more comfortable to wear. The gusset cushions your most sensitive bits, ensuring that the underwear doesn’t rub against it during the day. Without a gusset, panties might become uncomfortable to wear within a few minutes or hours. If the gusset is sewed in properly, you won’t even feel it while you are wearing the underwear, so you might not even notice that it is there. For all of these reasons, I personally look for underwear with a gusset whenever I am shopping for myself or making recommendations for clients.
Why Are Some Panty Gussets Left Open?
Many panty gussets are sewn closed at both ends, creating a second layer of fabric that lays perfectly flush with the rest of the underwear. However, in some cases, the front seam is left open. And in a very limited number of cases, both seams might be left open so you can stick your finger through the entire gusset.
While they may look like a pocket, open-ended panty gussets are not meant to hold anything. Some people claim that leaving one end of the gusset open improves airflow in the crotch area, but really it doesn’t matter whether or not your gusset is sewn on one end or both ends or neither end. What matters is that your underwear has a gusset in the first place.
An open-ended gusset might not have benefits for you, but it may for underwear manufacturers. Leaving one end of the panty gusset open can save on materials and production costs, making the underwear more affordable to make. This is why packs of underwear bought from basic consumer goods retailers often have an open-ended gusset. Higher quality brands such as Leonisa usually go the extra mile and sew down both sides of the gusset in order to further reinforce the underwear. The open flap of the gusset can catch on things or unravel, reducing the shelf life of your panties and forcing you to replace them sooner. Having a fully stitched gusset isn’t absolutely necessary, but it can be beneficial. Additionally, the gusset in Leonisa’s panties is made of cotton to guarantee maximum absorption, comfort and freshness.
Why Do Some Panties Lack a Gusset?
While the vast majority of women’s panties do have a gusset, occasionally you might come across a pair that doesn’t have a gusset. In some cases, this might be because the underwear is already made of cotton, which allows your body to breathe without the aid of a gusset. While a gusset might make the underwear more comfortable and allow for more padding in that area, it’s not as strictly necessary with cotton as it is with synthetic underwear. However, I personally still like my cotton underwear to have a gusset for that extra comfort and functionality.
Some seamless underwear styles also lack a true gusset, in keeping with their no-seams promise. However, some seamless panties actually do have a gusset, with the “seamless” simply meaning that there are no seams on the waistband or legs. When purchasing seamless underwear, make sure to read the product description very carefully and examine the product pictures to establish whether or not the panties have a gusset. If you determine that the underwear is made of synthetic fabric and doesn’t have a gusset, then think twice about wearing it, especially for long periods of time.
Finally, some forms of lingerie — especially underwear made of lace or other sheer material — don’t have gussets in order to provide a more tantalizing glimpse for your partner. While these underwear styles can be very sexy, due to the lack of a gusset, they should not be worn for long periods of time as most lingerie is made from synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester that don’t breathe well. In other words, I definitely don’t recommend using gusset-less lace panties as your everyday underwear. If you’re planning to take them off shortly, that’s fine, but don’t leave them on all day. Save them for special (and brief) occasions and wear underwear with a gusset the rest of the time. (Learn more about wearing a thong properly here.)
Now you never have to wonder again what that pocket in women’s underwear is or what purpose it serves. If you want to know more about all different kinds of women’s underwear, then browse the many other resources we have on this site. If you’re having trouble deciding among the many excellent panty styles we offer at Leonisa, then feel free to schedule an appointment with me or one of our other Personal Shoppers — or to reach our expert consultants via phone, email or chat. And if you are ready to buy, remember that all U.S. orders over $25 ship for free, so it’s a great idea to stock up on multiple pairs of panties at once!