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Does adjustable underwear work? I tried it for my body’s fluctuations

IMAGE VIA @sottobrand/INSTAGRAM
WORDS BY LAUREN PAYNE

Trialling underwear that’s made to fit you. 

I have a complicated relationship with my body. There are quite a few reasons for this, but it’s mainly because I was a teenager in the early ’00s and have spent many years trying to rewire my brain into accepting that not everyone can, or should, look like Paris Hilton. 

Growing up in this era was tough for someone like me who lives with PCOS. While you’re trying to accept the severe acne, excess body hair and weight fluctuations that come with the condition, the world is telling you that your symptoms just aren’t okay. 


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I’ve spent years rebuilding my relationship with my body and can now honestly say we’ve come to an understanding. I know when my hormones are out of balance, what can cause my acne flare-ups, and when I just need to sit on the couch with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s to feel more emotionally balanced. 

One thing I’ve also learned is how often my body weight fluctuates throughout my menstrual cycle. In the few days leading up to my period, my mid-section bloats a lot and pants that usually hug me in all the right places can suddenly feel a lot tighter. On really bad weeks, it can even cause a wedgie or two. Then, once my period has begun, my body slowly morphs back down to its regular size.

Because of my monthly bloating, I tend to purchase stretch underwear quite a lot. Stretch underwear is great for anyone whose weight regularly fluctuates, but when a garment is stretched too often, it’s generally unable to shrink back down to its original size.

This, of course, means that we can be left with a drawer of saggy underwear that really just doesn’t fit us in the same way it used to. Not ideal. This is where Sydney-based label Sotto comes in, with its tightly edited collection of fit-focused lingerie, which includes adjustable underwear. 

The product

 

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Now, when I was first introduced to the idea of adjustable underwear, I was intrigued. I knew this meant the underwear would probably have buckles, which may or may not feel cold against the skin and look a bit odd underneath some clothing.

But when I thought about all of those saggy pairs of undies that had been ruined by my monthly bloat, I wondered if adjustable underwear could actually be something that could better support me, and my body, through this uncomfortable part of my cycle. 

When the La Sera Mesh G-String and Preferita Mesh Panty arrived at my doorstep, I was so pleased to see how luxurious they looked. When you think of adjustable underwear, you probably wouldn’t picture a g-string or a cheeky panty (especially one made of mesh!), so when I pulled the underwear out from their box, I knew I was going to be in for a very interesting experience. 

Adjustment one

The first time I wore the underwear, I had to tighten the sides slightly. Once I did, the underwear fit my body a lot better and looked genuinely amazing. My period was due in three days and my monthly bloat had already begun, so to have to tighten the underwear straight away was quite surprising to me. 

 

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I’m usually between a size 10 and 12 and when I’m bloated, I can move up to a size 14. This underwear was a size large and honestly, I expected to have to loosen the underwear at this point in my cycle, not tighten them. However, because I knew I was only at the beginning of my monthly bloat, I assumed I’d probably have to loosen the underwear in the next few days.

Adjustment two

The following morning, I tightened the underwear again. I went about my day with the underwear feeling really comfortable until about lunchtime, when I felt myself bloat exponentially. I then loosened the underwear slightly so that they felt comfortable again and went about the rest of my day. 

Usually, when something like this happens, if I’m wearing underwear that doesn’t like to stretch, I can end the day with red marks on my stomach and hips because the underwear has dug into my skin. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it definitely doesn’t feel great, which is why I usually opt for a pair that’s able to stretch. 

It felt nice knowing I was able to adjust my underwear to suit how my body was feeling at the time. I knew that just by loosening the straps, I could avoid getting any of those dreaded red marks.    

The break 

At this point, my period came and as a period underwear user, this meant I had to retire my adjustable undies for a week. I’m not going to lie, I did actually find myself wishing I was wearing my adjustable underwear during my period. Some of my period underwear can be quite restricting, depending on the material it’s made with. 

Period underwear can sometimes feel quite un-sexy as well, and I missed how nicely my new underwear fitted my body and made me feel. Had my foray into the world of adjustable underwear started to make me feel more confident in my body?

Adjustment three

Now that my period had ended, I knew I had debloated and so I wasn’t too surprised when I had to tighten the underwear slightly when I put them on. They actually felt quite loose throughout the day, so I ended up tightening them periodically to make sure they still felt secure enough around my hips. 

 

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I also ended up exercising in them, which probably isn’t advised, but they were so comfortable I genuinely forgot I had them on. I went about my regular strength training routine completely forgetting I was wearing a mesh g-string! I ended up having to tighten them one more time towards the end of my session though when I could feel the underwear slightly slipping during a set of mountain climbers. 

Adjustment four

They only needed one small tighten in the morning and then felt great for the rest of the day. I think by this point I’d started to notice just how normal it felt to adjust my underwear; I wondered why this wasn’t something more people were doing on a regular basis. We adjust our belts, our shoelaces, and our bra straps – why weren’t we already adjusting our underwear!?

Adjustment five

I had to tighten the underwear a lot when I put them on this time and I wondered if it was because the underwear had stretched slightly after their most recent wash, or because I never truly realised how bloated I became around the start of my period. I was really shocked!

Either way, they felt wonderful on me once I’d made the necessary adjustments and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt so amazing in them. This seemed to have become a running theme for me. When I put them on and made the necessary changes, I would look at myself in the mirror and feel so pleased.

 

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Having a pair that actually felt secure on my body every single day was so refreshing, and really made me wonder how much of an impact my underwear has on the way I feel about my body day-to-day. I don’t think I’d ever really thought about how the fit of my lingerie could improve the way I perceived my body, and how I felt in it. 

The verdict

Anyone whose body tends to fluctuate regularly should give adjustable underwear a go. I never anticipated that the pairs I tried would feel so pleasant on. I also didn’t anticipate them improving the way I felt about my own body.

I’d look at myself in the mirror on one of my more bloated days and love the way I looked in the underwear. I felt really sexy, when usually, at this time in my cycle, I’d feel heavy and uncomfortable. 

You’d also potentially end up saving money in the long run if you had multiple pairs of adjustable underwear in your wardrobe. You wouldn’t have to invest in new underwear every time a few pairs started to stretch and sag a bit too much. Instead, you could simply tighten the straps and, what do you know, your underwear suddenly fits just as well as it did when you first bought them! 

I’ll definitely be reaching for adjustable underwear more often now and I’m honestly wondering why more people aren’t doing this already. Honestly, why aren’t we all already adjusting our knickers? 

You can explore Sotto’s range here.

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