The Women’s Underwear a Lingerie Editor Buys in Bulk

I’m a fashion editor who covers lingerie, so it’s not uncommon for my desk to be strewn with an assortment of women’s underwear—bras, shapewear, bodysuits, and other undergarments—at any given time. Brands send me their products to review (a huge perk of the job), so I can say, with confidence, I’ve tested a good amount of what’s out there. Despite my professional expertise, my own personal lingerie drawer was embarrassingly atrocious, in desperate need of organization, and overrun with pieces I never touched. (Those “special occasion” items you get for the right moment? Yeah, they just took up space.) Every morning I’d be looking for that one specific pair I actually liked, which required a rummage through my mess of a collection. It wasn’t an ideal routine.

Then, around six months ago, everything changed: A delivery arrived from Chantelle, the heritage French lingerie brand, containing a sample of its Soft Stretch 2.0 bikini, then a new release from its Soft Stretch line. I don’t normally get excited about things like this. I’ve tried plenty of undergarments in my day, and rarely do I feel wowed by something like a relatively plain, monochromatic panty. But this was different. You know those commercials for allergy medicine, when a person can finally breathe and see clearly again after suffering from itchy eyes and congestion? That’s how I felt trying on this underwear.

Chantelle’s Soft Stretch collection boasts thong, hipster, bikini, and high-waist briefs in staple colors such as black, white, and nude, as well as blue, pink, and gray. They retail for $18 a pair, and come in packs of three for $45 or of five for $75. There are also tank tops, crops tops, and bodysuits in the same amazing, soft-stretch knit fabric.

What sets the Soft Stretch 2.0 range apart from other underwear I’ve come across is the way the fabric hugs your body without losing stretch—I immediately noticed that the seamless material is bonded, meaning it’s flexible and overall has a better look on the waistband and leg openings, rather than laser-cut; plus, it doesn’t ride up or down, or stretch out with wear, another issue I frequently ran into with this type of fabric.

Before discovering this line, I had specific underwear for every occasion: moisture-wicking for exercise, regular cotton for every day, seamless for formfitting clothes, etc. And frankly, it was exhausting. This part of my outfit, which you couldn’t even see, required way too much brain power. But with Chantelle’s Soft Stretch 2.0 bikini, I didn’t have to think about an underwear change—it was all of them, rolled into one: breathable and quick-drying enough for a workout class in July, lightweight and comfortable enough for the comings and goings of a single day, and smooth enough to avoid panty lines.
Since that first encounter with Chantelle’s Soft Stretch 2.0, I have ordered 15 pairs of these bikini briefs and have thrown out most of my existing underwear collection. More important, I vowed to never put up with subpar underthings ever again. It’s the small things, people.

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