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If 2015 was Peak Minimalism, 2016 is the year the trend comes for your bra. Right now, one of the most exciting things happening in the world of lingerie is the handful of New York City-based brands that are reimagining what we wear underneath our clothes, and making it all decidedly less frilly while still being grown-up.
As Victoria's Secret and La Perla continue to churn out capital-S sexy, these brands are addressing women's needs for simple (but still sophisticated) intimates with purposefully lo-fi styles. Here are six companies making really great underwear.
Price Range: $65 to $75 for a pair of briefs, $65 to $95 for a bra.
Land of Women’s comfy, no-frills basics come in super-soft, luxurious Italian fabrics —they’re the underwear equivalent of buying a beautifully-made, utilitarian, buttery-soft leather tote .
Founded in 2013 in New York City, Land of Women has kept business close to home: Everything is cut and stitched locally by a family-owned manufacturer. But thanks to an impeccably-curated Instagram — with 12.7K followers and counting — their styles have global reach.
Price Range: $35 for a bra, $10 for underwear
Lively blends the best of swim, sport, and lingerie to create products that seamlessly fold into active lifestyles and hectic schedules. Basically, the idea is that you could go from work to yoga without having to change your bra (in other words, it’s athleisure for the lingerie sector).
Even cooler: Lively actually owns the factory they produce out of, so they can ensure that every garment is up to snuff. And since they sell directly to consumers, they’re also able to keep prices appetizingly low.
Lively’s founder, Michelle Cordeiro Grant, also has serious industry cred. She worked her way up at Victoria’s Secret to become the brand’s senior merchant (a position she held for four years) before heading to Thrillist as the company’s Vice President of Merchandising.
Price Range: $38 to $42 for a bra and $68 for a bodysuit.
Created in 2013 by sisters-turned-business partners Julia and Laura Ahrens, Miakoda is based out of an ethically-run factory in Brooklyn and only uses sustainable and organic materials like soy, organic cotton, and bamboo-cotton blends.
Julia is a Parsons grad and former Zac Posen employee, and Laura is an accomplished yoga teacher, so between the two of them, they thoroughly understand the ins-and-outs of the retail landscape, as well as importance of comfort and versatility in clothing.
Price Range: $20 - $30 for underwear, $40 for a bralette.
Jonesy’s cotton basics pull heavily from the ‘90s: they’re minimal, with a sporty edge. Prior to starting the label in 2014, founder Rachel Jones ran the (now defunct) online publication Industry of One, a periodical devoted to the style and lifestyle of creative types that profiled a number of fashion peeps, like blogger-photographer Alice Gao and designer Brandon Sun.
The brand is committed to maintaining transparency and provides detailed information on their website about their fabrics (sourced from North Carolina, China, and New York) and manufacture partners (family-owned factories along the Northeast coast of the U.S.) to their customers and retailers.
To get a better feel for the brand, check out their In Bed With series, which profiles cool women and their morning and nighttime routines.
Price Range: $55 - $80 for a bra, $28 - $45 for underwear.
Founders Lauren Schwab and Marissa Vosper spent years trying on bras, visiting manufacturers, and taking night classes at FIT to perfect the fit, feel, and design of their sexy-but-casual bras and undies.
During all the tests, Vosper and Schwab encountered the same complaint across tons of brands: tags used to print the brand name and size that are typically stitched to the band are irritating and uncomfortable. So instead, everything’s printed directly on the garment.
Price Range: ~$15 for a pair of undies.
White Rabbit uses a proprietary bamboo fabric that’s softer and more durable than cotton. (It also wicks away moisture and has anti-microbial properties). The brand has a try-before-you-buy program — order two or more of any given style, and if you don’t love them, you can get a refund within 30 days — and sells direct-to-consumer, so they can keep quality high but prices low.
Bamboo also grows really fast, making its fiber one of the most sustainable sources of raw material for apparel. The company’s manufacturing partner in Mexico City employs only women.