You’ve probably heard about the importance of choosing the right bra size, but did you know it’s also important to have the right size panties? Many women think guesstimating their underwear size is fine, but this is not the case. At Leonisa, we want you to find the perfect fit that conforms to your shape, especially if you’re shopping for specialty items like butt lift underwear.
The right fit allows underwear to sit comfortably on your body and helps it perform as intended. The good news is that you don’t need to seek out a professional to properly size your underwear. You can do it at home if you understand how it works.
The Basic Scale of Underwear Sizes
How is underwear sized? The short answer is that, like many types of women’s clothes, it depends on the brand and style. Some brands of intimate apparel use the standard XS-XL scale. Plus-sized brands offer additional sizes of 1X and higher.
There are also underwear brands that use a numbered scale. Confusingly, these numbers don’t correspond to dress size, so a size 7 in underwear might be a size 12–14 in clothing.
You’ll want to determine your size based on your measurements for the best fit. These are usually done at the hips and waist and could be listed in inches or centimeters.
Here’s a sample of our size chart at Leonisa:
- Small: 37–38 inches, dress size 4–6
- Medium: 38.5–40 inches, dress size 8–10
- Large: 40.5–42 inches, dress size 10–12
Check out our sizing page for the full chart that ranges from XXS-4XL. Just remember that it isn’t a universal scale, so it won’t apply to every piece of underwear out there.
Measuring Your Body To Find Your Underwear Size
Just like fitting a bra, skirt or a pair of pants, you’ll need to know your measurements to determine your underwear size. But how do you measure yourself properly?
To measure your hips, stand on a level surface in a loose, natural pose. Keep your legs together. Circle the measuring tape around the fullest area of your hips, which is lower than your waist but slightly above your crotch. You might be able to feel your hipbones and use them as a guide.
You can take your measurements in either inches or centimeters. Remember that you’re measuring around your body, not just across the front. In other words, your measurements should be a full loop around your hips.
For many underwear types, just measuring the hips is enough. However, you might want to measure your waist if you’re purchasing high-cut underwear, shapewear garments, or anything else that extends beyond the limits of typical underwear.
Measuring your waist can be tough if you don’t know where your natural waist falls. One trick is to bend over sideways and take note of where your body starts to indent. That’s the natural waist.
Measuring your waist is the same as measuring your hips. Stand up straight, keep a relaxed pose and measure in a loop around the most indented part.
You might want to know the size of your buttocks when buying padded or butt-lifting underwear. For some people, it’s more or less the same size as their hips.
If you have a little extra on your backside, however, you might need to extend the measuring tape and make note of the measurements around the fullest part of the cheeks.
Legs and Upper Thighs
You won’t usually need to know your leg size to fit your underwear. However, it can be a handy number to remember when buying boyshorts that extend down the leg a little. It can also be useful for shapewear or compression garments with a snug fit and extended coverage across your bottom half.
To measure your legs, stand with your feet apart and circle the measuring tape around the highest part of your upper thigh. You can think of it like measuring your interior panty line. In general, you’ll want to round up if you’re in between sizes.
Finding Your Ideal Panty Type
Another important thing to know when determining your underwear size is that it can vary between styles. Thongs don’t fit the same way as briefs or seamless panties. You may need to take slightly different measurements for different types of underwear. Here are just a few common styles for women.
Bikini-style panties are popular for women. They offer full coverage of your nether regions, but between a low cut around the hips and a high cut in the legs, they’ll still feel light, sexy and minimal.
Bikini-style panties are also easy to fit. Most will conform to your usual dress or pants size, and they don’t require any special consideration beyond that.
Hipster and Cheeky
Hipster underwear is designed to ride low on your hips. Unlike the bikini style, it doesn’t have full coverage in the back, offering a bit more jiggle from its cheekiness.
Hipster underwear can be one of the trickier types of underwear to fit. You’ll want something comfortably snug around the hips, but if it’s too tight on the cheeks, it can feel like it’s riding up rather than resting comfortably. Too-tight hipster underwear can also create unflattering panty lines that bulge halfway up your cheeks. Check your reflection in the mirror before you head out the door.
They offer complete coverage, front and back, and they extend a little down the legs like shorts. However, some companies make boyshorts that offer full coverage in the front but ride up a little in the back for a mix of boyshorts and cheeky.
Sizing is critical with boyshorts since their coverage is so extensive. You’ll want something that fits in the waist, hips and legs. Taking your measurements for boyshorts rather than relying on the usual XS-XL scale is a good idea.
Also called high-waisted and high briefs, high-rise panties extend over the hipbones and towards the waist. They usually offer full coverage of your rear, but they can be modeled after cheeky panties. Some brands also offer mid-rise underwear with the same cut but a slightly lower extension over the navel region.
The versatility of high-rise panties makes them a great choice for a wide range of outfits. However, it can present a challenge when it comes to sizing. For example, some styles of high-rise panties might be too constricting if you have a larger rear end.
Your best bet for finding the right fit in high-cut underwear is to know your exact measurements. Don’t rely on other numbers or sizing scales. Know the exact shape of your body.
Thongs are designed with a small strip of fabric between your cheeks rather than full-butt coverage. They’re meant to completely eliminate visible panty lines. They come in multiple styles, including tanga-style thongs that have small triangles of fabric and G-strings with very little fabric at all.
Depending on the style of the thong, its sides can be made of everything from lace and string to regular-cut cotton. This can affect what fit will be most comfortable for you. For example, you might like a looser fit for a triangle-shaped cotton thong and a more secure, skintight fit for a G-string.
As its name suggests, shapewear is designed to shape the body. This usually means either slimming it down or padding it out. In underwear form, shapewear is often a lower-body garment with extensive coverage. It can cover the belly, waist, hips, butt and upper thighs, depending on the style.
Finding the right size in shapewear will require knowing your measurements and body shape. Apple shapes, for example, tend to carry weight around their middle, so a comfortable fit for high-rise shapewear might require them to size up.
Another thing to consider about shapewear garments is that they’re usually designed to be slimming, so there’s an element of compression to the fabric. This can affect what feels right to you in terms of fit.
Signs That Your Underwear Doesn’t Fit Correctly
Sometimes, you can tell right away that your panties aren’t sitting right. Other times, the discomfort will creep up on you, or you’ll just have that nagging feeling that they aren’t feeling or moving with you like they should.
Here are a few signs of poorly fitting panties:
- Bulges under the fabric
- A “muffin top” above the waistband
- Visible panty lines
- A baggy or saggy crotch
- A too-tight crotch or camel toe
- Uneven coverage across the cheeks
- Anything that cuts off your blood circulation
A properly sized pair of panties will rest comfortably against your skin. Even if they’re designed to be snug, they won’t restrict your blood flow or dig into your skin hard enough to leave impressions for hours afterward. You should be able to slip a finger beneath the waistband without difficulty. The cheek coverage is balanced and symmetrical and doesn’t shift out of place whenever you move.
Another sign of good, well-fitting underwear is that it does its job without issue. For example, if it’s a butt enhancer, its padding shouldn’t slide around or give you a weird silhouette. It shouldn’t create any visible panty lines or weird bunching if it’s no-show underwear. Underwear that fails in its intended purpose is often a red flag that something is wrong with the fit.
Tips for Finding the Right Underwear Size
If you’re finding it a challenge to determine your underwear size, the problem might stem from how you’re taking your measurements. Another possibility is buying the wrong kind of underwear for your body type. Here are a few tactics you can try for a better fit.
Relax Your Measurements
Are you squeezing the measuring tape around your hips? Try putting a finger between the tape and your body. It’ll give you a little more breathing room regarding underwear size. You might also take your measurements while wearing a comfortable pair of panties, resulting in looser, more everyday measurements than skintight ones.
Stand in a Comfortable Pose
Similarly to the above, your pose is important when taking underwear measurements. A common sizing mistake is standing too rigidly with your legs and feet tightly together. This will make your measurements too small. Take your measurements while standing as you do in day-to-day life for a loose, comfortable fit.
Verify Your Measurements
We recommend double-checking your numbers and the particular areas of your body that you’re measuring. Is that really your waist? Are you too high or too low on your hips?
Finding the Perfect Fit for Underwear
Figuring out your underwear size can be challenging, but once you do, an entire world of fashion will open up. Shop at Leonisa for bras, panties, shapewear and more. Whether you’re looking for boyshorts or butt lifters, you can build a collection of intimates with style!