the agony of underwear

May 5, 2010

This is a rant, a full-on rant. I don’t expect anyone else to agree with me – you can all think I am loony if you want, but I am still going to have my rant!

I like my girls to wear white, modest (not bikini or hipster…or heaven forbid, thong!) underwear. We don’t do characters in this house for anything (meaning I don’t want my children to be attached to the latest craze of TV show, movie star, or action figure – I want them to be attached to God, family, and freedom. All that Spider Man, Dora, Sponge Bob, and Barbie stuff can go hang out at another house because we don’t want it here.) and I certainly don’t want their underwear to have characters on it. I don’t want to bribe my children to go potty so they can keep their Princess panties clean. “We wouldn’t want Belle to get wet, would we?”

I understand that some people use this method. Its just not my method. If its yours, fine, do what you want.

So, my little Annesley decided she was done with diapers thirteen days ago. She goes into the bathroom all by herself or comes and finds one of us to take her. She goes in our bathroom, in public bathrooms, at our friends’ bathrooms. She is a diaper-wearing-haven’t-a-clue-when-I’m-going-potty turned master-of-my-pee-and-poop-and-total-pro-at-this-whole-bathroom-thing. It happened overnight, literally. One day she was fairly clueless, the next she used the bathroom like twelve times.

The problem is, she doesn’t have any underwear. There are none left that I can find from Blythe and Keziah. They could perhaps be buried in a clothing tote somewhere, but I went through the 2T box and couldn’t find any. So, yesterday I took her shopping to find some. She was so excited and kept telling everyone “Me, wear, new wear me, mom me new wear” Which means, “I am getting underwear, new underwear, mom is taking me to get new underwear.”

I went to Sears, which with my older girls was my favorite place to get underwear. I loved their TKS stuff. Great prices, soft cotton, nice, stretchy elastic, and came in packs of all-white or a mix of white and pastels. Yesterday, all that was changed into thin, scratchy cotton, thin elastic, and worst of all, the yucky feeling fabric was covered in characters. Uuuuggghhh! is what escaped me lips and I told Annes we couldn’t buy this underwear, we would go to another store. Disappointed, but still excited we moved on to JCP with a brief stop at Old Navy just in case they had something fabulous to cover my girl’s bum. Nothing at Old Navy at all, only characters available at JCP. On our way to Macy’s we passed the Gymboree store. So we tried there. They had fabulously soft cotton undies, not quite the brief style that I prefer, but possibly do-able. No white. Only bright, garish, grown-up looking prints. Leopard print on two-year-old underwear? It was also $4 a pair (why is underwear called a pair? It is one single thing with two holes. It was really $4 each.) which is out of this mama’s budget. So, we continued on to Macy’s (with a quick stop at a public restroom for Annes to empty her bladder). Surely they would have something lovely at such an outrageously expensive store as Macy’s. Nope. Back out to the car. We then tried TJMaxx, Kohl’s, Ross, and Walmart. I looked at Shopko awhile ago and there was nothing but characters then, so I didn’t try them again. I could still try Target and Fred Meyer, but I ran out of time. Nothing. Nothing! Annes was pretty heartbroken by this point and I was frustrated beyond belief (I know, I shouldn’t have gotten her hopes up, I should have looked myself without her so she wouldn’t have to endure the excitement-disappointment-rekindled hope-disappointment cycle).

Some stores didn’t even have underwear in anything smaller than a size 4. My little girl can barely wear the size 2T/3T size underwear, the size 4 looked humongous. Everywhere we looked there were characters, characters, and more characters. Bikini cuts, hipsters, Hannah Montana, Princess and the Frog, and myriads of other Hollywood produced idols that my little Annes doesn’t even know exist. I opened all sorts of packages and felt the cotton, most of it was unbearable scratchy. I wouldn’t want it touching my skin and I wasn’t about to have it touch hers.

I know this probably sounds silly to many of you…I mean, spending hours looking for underwear for a two-year-old? I know, I know, it seems like it doesn’t really matter what covers their bums. The problem is that it matters a lot to me and I can’t just turn that part of me off. I feel this huge responsibility to guard what I bring into their lives. I know they will encounter stuff in the world that I don’t approve of, but that doesn’t mean I have to give it to them. I can’t let myself feel good about impressing upon their little minds that all of this stuff is good. I don’t want them to attach importance to the things Hollywood puts out. I don’t want them to become dependent on it. I don’t want them to feel they want or need to have a shirt or pants or shoes or book or toy because it has a character they like on it. I certainly am not up to dealing with a tantrum over said item when they absolutely-must-have-it-right-this-minute. I have no patience for stuff like that. None. I want tantrums to be over something important, not the Sponge Bob coloring book that is overpriced and under quality (you know that is a joke, right? I don’t want tantrums over anything, but if I’m going to get them it better be over something more important). I want them to be able to judge something for its innate value, how well it is made, how well it will serve them, how reasonably or unreasonably it is priced instead of being swayed because it has a certain character on it.

We never found anything up to my specifications, but I did finally buy her some at Walmart that are colorful and soft and don’t have characters. She picked them out and is very proud of them. There were only four pairs (there is that “pairs” again) in the package, so she really needs some more because there is no way my laundry habits can keep up with that. So, if you know of some fabulous underwear somewhere, please let me know (and yes, I do know about Hanna Andersson underwear, it is heavenly, it is $6 a pair and I am not willing to pay those prices no matter how soft and organic the cotton is).

Meanwhile, I am contemplating starting an internet underwear business specializing in white, modest underwear in sizes to fit everyone from the smallest of human beings to the largest of us, so I can save other mothers this same hassle. Are there any other mothers out there that need saved from the bikini cut and mass marketing of characters to our children’s private parts?

Related Posts


  1. LaPriel

    AMEN! What a frustrating trip you had. I’ll look around and see what I can find. For fun, you should google modest clothing. It is a rather interesting search. Enjoy.

  2. Kerri

    Well, you could learn to make them yourself. My mom used to do that. Kwik Sew makes nice patterns. I think I have an old Stretch and Sew pattern. You can pick the fabric and elastic and get just what you want.

  3. LaPriel
  4. Sally

    He hehee My kids wear character underwear and we laugh because they have no idea what any of it is. It just doesn’t seem to matter or be the focus of our lives–so I get away with buying whatevers available and on sale.
    It’s always good to have strong morals, though, that you stick with.That principle alone will probably be the lasting lesson.

  5. I sooooo agree with you Tracy!!!! Not only do we have an underwear problem but a bathing suit problem as well. Seems all little girls swimsuits are covered in characters or they don’t cover enough of my daughter’s body! So…yes….a place to get nice classic, modest underthings for people at a good price would be AWESOME!!!!

  6. Tasha

    I remember my Mom making underwear for us when I was younger. We always laugh about it, because she is not a seamstress. But they turned out well, I think! I can’t think of anything else that she ever sewed, but for some reason she decided to make underwear.
    Good luck!

  7. Here’s a link to some white (brand name on band), but it doesn’t list a size anywhere.

  8. What I use isn’t white but they are modest and free.
    Most little girl dresses come with matching diaper covers. I use them as panties. The smaller sizes (6-12months) still fit my 2 yr old because they are meant to go over diapers. So we have quite a collection. I love the bright colors too. I know you said you just want white but maybe you’ll settle for matching? At least they aren’t characters.

    • tracy

      That is a great idea for people who buy dresses like that! I buy all my kid’s clothes at second-hand stores, so that isn’t a great option for us, but I think it would work great for someone!