Big Knickers (Siam) vs. Fancy Pants (Olivia)

When it comes to your smalls, do you favour frivolous confections of silk and lace, or sturdy cotton pants? We asked xoJane writers Siam and Olivia to debate this serious and important issue...
Publish date:
February 13, 2013
fashion, lingerie, valentine's day, big pants, Agent Provocateur


Anyone who read my insightful, ahem, special report into bikini lines won’t be surprised to hear that I’m a fan of the big knicker (all the better for keeping my big bush in) *no, I can’t quite believe I just said that either*. Anyway…

I used to be Sisqo-keen on thongs. I’ll never forget my first thong; it was sheer with silver flecks in it – a Topshop special, and boy did I feel grown up when I wore it. I’d sing along to the thong song, shaking my arse, smug in the fact that at that very moment I was living the cotton-up-your-crack dream. I wore them everywhere and thought nothing of it.

Then I moved on to French knickers; they seemed so classy. There was a time when I couldn’t go shopping without treating myself to a new pair of fancy pants. And then. One day. Out of the blue, I decided I’d had enough.

So yes, there was a time when I cared about my undies. And now I don’t. Maybe it’s old(er) age. Maybe it’s just a sign o’ the times, but nowadays nothing makes me happier (in the underwear department at least), than a great big pair of classic M&S cotton knickers, and I’m not ashamed to say it.

But what about sexy times? Surely you should make more of an effort when bedroom shenanigans are on the cards? In the past I’ve stressed and faffed, and spent small fortunes on fancy lingerie (because when it’s matching and costs so much that you have to pay on a card, it’s lingerie), but the effort x expense vs. appreciation ratio has never quite added up.

Yes, I might feel like a super hot vixen, but the sad truth is, in my experience, most boys (men?) just don’t give a rat’s arse. Finely crafted, hand-stitched, big-bucks lingerie or washed-out, M&S multi-pack briefs – you’re still a half naked girl, and that’s really all that matters.

And anyway, it’s not really about the boys. The truth is that although the idea of tie-side thongs and balconette bras, waspies and suspenders, babydolls and bodysuits might seem like a rollicking good time, initially, in theory, in reality, in the cold light of day, in front of the mirror, is it only me who looks/ feels like a trussed-up Christmas turkey?

I read an Iggy Pop interview on the weekend (by my good friend Simmy in the Independent, check it out) in which Mr Pop came out with a fantastic and strangely relevant quote. When asked about his infamous silver leather pants, Iggy blithely said that he’d sold them years ago for some dope, and justified his lack of sentimentality thus; "It's the dick in the pants not the pants on the dick". I couldn’t agree more.


I am absolutely pro-lingerie. It is my favourite thing to get as a present, my favourite thing to buy myself (possibly after face masks) and my favourite thing to wear. My penchant genuinely isn’t for anyone else. I know that it’s Valentine’s week (is that a thing?) and I am probably expected to talk about the benefits of wearing Agent Provocateur for your loverrrr but, mainly, I’m into it for me.

That’s not to say that sometimes I haven’t carried the less comfortable of my lingerie around in that secret pocket in my handbag and whipped it on in the toilets before taking my clothes off (please tell me someone else does that?), but it is to say that I wear it when I’m not expecting a shag.

However, when loverrrrs do come into play, it make me feel about fifty times sexier, which improves everything, y’know? Also – people do notice. I don’t think anyone cares if you’re wearing your M&S knickers because naked girls are always quite exciting, but the amount of enthusiasm that a suspender belt can conjure livens me up quite a lot.

I have had people that have had the absolute privilege of seeing my AP collection years ago still comment on how good my lingerie was. It’s certainly not a necessity, but I’m into it.

I’ve put on a bit of weight recently. Probably not the amount that anyone else in the world would notice, but I keep an eye on this stuff with the strictest militancy and beautiful underwear is one of the things that makes it feel alright. So, I’m wearing a lot of it at the moment. It makes me feel curvy in a beautiful, sexy way and not the blobby one that is making me want to cry.

Also – I am not an elegant vixen when I’m at home. I don’t want this piece to give off the wrong impression; I spent the majority of time in bed, smoking and watching Extreme Hoarders on Netflix. But I do love a silk negligee or a babydoll because they make me feel like a beautiful grownup.

I am spending this Valentine’s night alone, for the first time in a fair few years (cue violins). I’m not in a relationship, and I’ve decided that I’m not going to go on a first date or conjure up some old-flameyness because I’m actually pretty happy to be single at the moment.

Also, Fashion Week starts on Friday and I need my beauty sleep. But, I am buying myself some underwear that I can’t really afford, to wear for myself, because it makes me feel sexy, and attractive, and I deserve that. And I’ll read some Andrea Dworkin whilst I’m wearing it.