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Panties for women: 5 high-tech features you'll see by 2020

Like all forms of fashion, women’s underwear have evolved over time to match our changing lifestyles and preferences.


Panties might seem simple, but consider for a moment everything we ask of them. They’re really a multitasking technology which have to ensure our daily comfort, safeguard our health and hygiene, and contour the body to make outerwear more flattering. Meanwhile, we expect our panties to deliver a flirty wink in the direction of our romantic partners (and a confidence-boosting high five back at us in the mirror).


Increasingly, we also want panties to be eco-friendly and ethically produced. We want them to reflect our values as well as our full range of moods: upbeat and fun, luxe and stylish, cozy and reliable, and up for everything we put them through – from office chairs to errands to weekend camping trips. 


Different cultural moments have sometimes emphasized one purpose over the other, and individual women have different priorities and preferences. Your drawers are complicated!


The good news is that there’s never been a better time to expect overachievement from your underwear. Technological upgrades are making your panties even better at delivering on all your demands. Here are five high-tech features to look out for in 2020.


  1. High performance fabrics. Most of us are trying to move more these days, whether we’re weekend warriors on park trails, regular after-work yogis, or super-busy moms squeezing in 10,000 steps a day between lunch breaks, errands and making dinner. We expect our clothing to keep up with our active lifestyles. That means panties designed to move with us: waistbands and leg openings that stay in place, with fabric that breathes and flexes without bunching, riding up or rolling. Design is part of the solution, but so is the quest for great fabrics that stay comfortable no matter what we put them through. Cotton blends typically provide great cooling and breathability, while incorporating fibers that enhance movement and stretch. Increasingly other natural fibers are making an appearance too, with properties similar to cotton but with other appealing attributes. Beechwood tree fiber, showcased in Tommy John’s Cool Cotton, is key to our blend that keeps you 2-3 times cooler than cotton, dries 4-5 times faster and is silky-soft to boot. Look for more high-performance fabric blends in 2020.

  1. Designs tailored specifically for different body types. Women are demanding a greater variety in sizes and styles throughout the fashion industry, to better suit our full range of body types. Brands are facing increasing demand to offer a full range of sizes and styles, with some styles specifically cut to flatter and fit comfortably on different body types. Tommy John’s currently carries sizes XS-XXL and five styles that look and feel fantastic on a range of figures: boyshort, high-rise brief, brief, thong, and cheeky.

  1. Panties that help you through your period. Most women already have period underwear, whether or not they were designed or marketed for that purpose. During our periods, we often reach for comfort and practicality: thicker, more absorbent linings to keep any leaks discreet, darker colors and busier patterns to hide any stains. Recently some brands have targeted this function specifically, creating period underwear meant for that time of the month in that they actually double as hygiene products, absorbing blood flow. It’s not an idea that appeals to everyone. These specialized panties tend to be pricey and the designs are still in their early stages. But depending on whether the trend proves durable and the technology proves reliable, this could become a more regular feature of women’s panties in 2020 and beyond.

  1. Natural and sustainable materials. Consumers are increasingly demanding more sustainable products, for a gentler touch on the environment. When it comes to materials, this can mean a few things. A higher percentage of natural materials often means less harmful waste at the end of a product’s life cycle. Materials that are sustainably sourced from plants that can be easily replenished. And higher-quality, more durable materials last longer, reducing a consumer’s overall waste production. The beechwood fibers in Tommy John’s Second Skin Collection are a great example of the kind of sustainable natural fiber we’ll be seeing more of in 2020.

  1. “Smart” panties! The jury’s still out on whether women actually want their panties to record and collect their health data, but that doesn’t mean someone isn’t trying to sell them on it, for eye-popping prices. Ultra-expensive “smart” underwear promise constant detection of your body’s activity that can help you tweak your workouts and sleep schedule, or even possibly uncover underlying health issues. We don’t think these are a substitute for your annual physical just yet, but who’s to say it’s not smart to throw down a few hundred bucks for a week’s worth of thongs, if they can yield spreadsheets worth of data about what your body is up to? 

Clearly, high-tech upgrades aren’t just for software…they’re for our softest wearables, too. And we’re proud to say that Tommy John’s women’s panties are pushing the limits of technology in design, materials, construction, and more. If you don’t think your first pair is the most advanced and delightful underwear you’ve ever worn, they’re completely free.