OVER THE TOP
It doesn't get any simpler than the staples of our underwear drawer: cotton boxers and panties, underwire bras -- maybe even something lacy if we're feeling fancy. There have been attempts to innovate undergarments, though, and we don't mean simply wearing them on the outside, like Madonna in the 1980s, or the creation of boxer briefs in the 1990s. From period-absorbing panties to radiation-blocking boxers, here are 13 problem-solving kinds of underwear that stand out from the pack.
THE WINERACK BRA
$30 | Buy it at TheBeerbelly
The ultimate gift for that wine-loving girlfriend who has everything or the concert-goer who really wants to sneak in booze: A sports bra that can hold 25 ounces of whatever liquid you desire. Available in small, medium and large (roughly 32A through 38C), the bra has a drinking tube with an on-off valve and a removable polyurethane bladder to hold the wine.
SHREDDIES FLATULENCE FILTERING UNDERWEAR
$38 and up | Buy it at Shreddies USA
Perfect for that especially "fragrant" someone in your life, Shreddies underwear includes a thin, flexible carbon filter to absorb less-than-savory smells -- "the same carbon filter used in chemical warfare suits," Shreddies says. They're available in hipsters and boxers for men, and low- and high-waisted briefs for women.
THINX PERIOD PANTIES
$24 and up | Buy it at Thinx
Going pad- or tampon-free during a period may sound like a recipe for a disaster, but maybe not when wearing Thinx. Touted by the manufacturer as anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, absorbent, and leak-resistant, Thinx undies come in six different styles that hold up to two regular tampons' worth of blood.
$15 and up | Buy it on Amazon
Some of us try to get rid of the extra junk in our trunks, but there are plenty of padded pairs of underwear out there for those who crave a little more. Men can try Rounderbum boxer-briefs for a bit of glute enhancement; La-Reve Butt Lifter Padded Panties are one of the most popular options for women.
SPEAKEASY STASH UNDERWEAR
$24 | Buy it at Speakeasy Briefs
They look like regular boxer briefs, but Speakeasies have a hidden 5-by-7-inch zipper compartment for whatever you need to keep close (really close). Though designed to fit a 6-ounce flask, they can also hold passports, money and credit cards, phones, or other small items.
OMBRA SMART RUNNING BRA
$170 | Buy it at OMsignal
Everything else is "smart" these days, so why not the bra? Go for a run and the sensor-embedded, GPS-enabled OMbra records data on heart rate and breathing patterns as well as steps, distance, and calories burned, delivering it all to a compatible smartphone app. The removable "OMbox" can be charged via micro USB.
ELETRUNKS LIFTING BOXERS
$32 | Buy it at Eletrunks Nation
Every guy knows subtlety can be tricky when adjusting the family jewels. Enter Eletrunks, boxer-briefs with a "lifter" string at the waistband that eliminates the need to put hands down pants at an inopportune time. Eletrunks also feature a "ComfortaBall Pouch" to minimize chafing.
CAMELFLAGE SMOOTHING UNDERWEAR
$20 and up | Buy it at Camelflage
The popularity of leggings, yoga pants, and other figure-hugging pants can leave some women feeling exposed. Camelflage briefs and thongs let you "just say no to camel toe" with a flexible, breathable, non-removable neoprene insert that smooths out any bumps you'd prefer to keep private, whether at the gym or out on the town.
KNOCKOUT INCONTINENCE PANTIES
$11 and up | Buy it at Knockout Panties
Leaks and odors happen, but the brains behind Knockout think you shouldn't have to resort to diaper-like underwear or bulky pads. They make lacy briefs, bikini briefs, and thongs that are moisture-wicking and breathable, but a far cry in style from utilitarian-looking incontinence products. They also make Mighty Nighties sleepwear for women who struggle with night sweats.
EX-OFFICIO TRAVEL UNDERWEAR
$10 and up | Buy it at Ex-Officio
Long the go-to name in travel-friendly clothing, Ex-Officio offers a wide range of breathable, quick-drying, antimicrobial underwear that the company claims is so durable, only a couple pairs are needed for even long, globe-trotting trips. Washed in a sink, they can dry in as little as two to four hours.
$21 and up | Buy it on Amazon
The dog days of summer can lead to uncomfortable chafing, especially from thighs rubbing together under those cute summer dresses. Chaffree KnickerBoxers look like bike shorts, but have a seamless design and are made of much lighter, breathable, moisture-wicking Coolmax fabric. They come in two lengths for more or less thigh coverage, and briefs and boxer-briefs for men and women are available.
SLICK CHICKS UNDERWEAR
$22 to $28 | Buy it at Slick Chicks
For women who need to change in an area without much privacy or those with limited mobility, Slick Chicks underwear can be removed by undoing hook-and-eye side fasteners. That means wearers don't even have to bend or take their pants off to change their underwear. The garb is also breathable, moisture-wicking, and tag-free.
$45 | Buy it at Spartan
There's research suggesting that radiation from cellphones kept in men's pockets can hurt sperm quality. If you're worried, there's underwear for that: Spartan boxer briefs, with radiation-blocking silver fibers that also happen to be odor- and bacteria-resistant.