A model in white panties

Panties (American English) or knickers (British English) are a form of underwear worn by women. Panties can be form-fitting or loose. Typical components include an elastic waistband, a crotch panel to cover the genitalia (usually lined with absorbent material such as cotton), and a pair of leg openings that, like the waistband, are often made of elastomer. Various materials are used, but are usually chosen to be breathable.

Panties are made of a variety of materials, including cotton, lace, latex, leather, lycra, mesh, nylon, PVC, polyester, rawhide, satin, and silk. Construction typically consists of two pieces (front and rear) that are joined by seams at the crotch and sides; an additional gusset is often in the crotch, with the waistband and leg-openings made from elastomer.


The earliest known use of underwear that resembles modern panties dates back to 4,400 B.C. during the Badari period in Egypt.[1][2]


In the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore and occasionally in other Commonwealth countries such as Australia[3][4] and New Zealand, panties may be referred to as "knickers", "undies", or simply "underwear". The last two of these are gender-neutral terms and can be used for either male or female styles of underwear bottom, the American English equivalent being underpants. In Australia, male underpants are often referred to as "undies",[5] although the word can also refer to panties.


Various styles of panties (thong and G-string: back view).
A woman in boyshorts

Panties are classified into various styles based on criteria such as the amount of rear coverage, width at the sides and height at which they are worn. These categories are not necessarily distinct and usage may vary somewhat among brands:[6]

See also


  1. ^ Brunton, Guy; Caton-Thompson, Gertrude (1928). The Badarian Civilisation and Predynastic Remains Near Badari (PDF). British School of archaeology in Egypt, University College, and B. Quaritch. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  2. ^ "A History of Panties". localhistories.org. 14 March 2021.
  3. ^ Burgdorf, Katherine (12 November 2013). "Say 'NO' to dodgy knickers". The Hoopla. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Hole Proof - No Knickers". Bonds underwear, Australia. 1985. Archived from the original on 3 June 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2014 – via YouTube.
  5. ^ "Translations of Australian English words into American English". Fiona Lake. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  6. ^ Parkinson, Ann (9 September 2011). "Women's Panties". LoveToKnow Lingerie. Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  7. ^ "boy shorts". Oxford Dictionaries. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015.
  8. ^ Riese (22 June 2020). "Boyshorts and Girltrunks 101: Your Queer Underwear Guide". Autostraddle. Archived from the original on 1 October 2017.
  9. ^ Jennifer Carroll; Kathy Schultz (1 October 2009), Underneath It All, Harlequin, p. 41, ISBN 978-1-4268-4072-2, retrieved 14 September 2013