The sales numbers are in and thongs are out for the millennial generation.
The new driving force of consumer trends (the millennial generation is generally considered to be those born in the 1980’s through the early 2000’s) are rejecting splashy, trendy, male-gaze-y underwear in favor of simple, comfortable staples, and we say: it’s about time!
The sale of women’s underwear has been problematic from a feminist perspective. We see them everywhere as we walk through the malls: women dressed up to appeal to men, wearing sexy underwear, and proclaiming the newest underwear trend created by men for men (worn by women). There is also a significant gender imbalance in underwear company executives.
Now Millennials are voting with their dollars: comfort over sexiness (or at least what we have been made to believe is sexy). Last year, sales of thong-style underwear have decreased seven percent, while full-bottom styles have seen an increase of 17 percent.
Female entrepreneurs are also starting to enter what used to be a male-dominated marketplace. Boutique underwear designer Me and You offers “Feminist” full-bottomed underwear — cotton and made in USA, since Millennials also tend to be more conscious consumers.
Another underwear designer, Hello Beautiful, also offers high-waisted cotton panties as its signature product. The design is intended to create a more European shape and to inspire women to feel confident about their bodies.
Nothing against thong underwear — some (your humble author included) find them more comfortable to wear. It’s encouraging to see, though, that women are considering what is most comfortable and attractive for them is the first criterion for new underwear purchases. That’s a trend we can all support.