But while we always look forward to fresh whites for warmer weather, the challenge is hiding underwear lines while still getting support and coverage. Thinner fabrics and lighter colors keep us cool in summer's searing heat, but their scantness makes choosing undergarments a more fraught process than during the winter, when panty lines and colors or patterns are well-concealed under thick, woolen layers.
The term "visible panty line" (a.k.a. VPL), first coined in Woody Allen's 1977 film "Annie Hall," carried a slightly sexy connotation at the time. Today, however, many women go to lengths to avoid the tell-tale imprints on their derrieres. And while the advent of the thong, in the 90s, solved the VPL problem, it created another issue: discomfort.
Famous red carpet VPL gaffes (and there are some doozies) occurred mostly in the days before celebrity stylists, who are paid thousands to ensure tasteful dress selections and safe underwear choices. And then there's off-duty celeb underwear mishaps -- Misha Barton's yellow pants moment stands out in our memories, as does Britney Spears' infamous panty-less incident.
If you're looking to avoid the VPL, there are a plethora of great new options available for keeping undies under wraps. With advanced fabric and production technology, a rapidly growing number of underwear and shapewear companies -- Calvin Klein, Hanky Panky, Spanx and Maidenform, to name a few -- offer infinite varieties of "invisible" undergarments in a range of hues -- from ivory to chocolate -- and coverage, from basic thongs to fuller-coverage boy shorts and even tummy-tucking pieces.
In this road test, our intrepid intern, Sarah St. Lifer, and editorial assistant, Amanda Feinberg, tried on 3 styles each and bravely hit the streets in their summer finery in order to test the 'invisibility' of these nude knickers.
Somewhat surprisingly, they found all 6 styles to be comfortable and satisfactorily discreet. No big bloopers here. One pair -- the Spanx Undie-Tectable brief -- was, in fact, detectable, though barely. It showed a line through Sarah's seersucker pants so faint that you can't even see it in the video. Everything else stood up in spades to the white pants test.
One note: as you view the video, please excuse the bleep about half-way through -- we loved Spanx's Skinny Britches but the tongue twister of a name tripped up even our expert road tester! Now, without further ado, here is our invisible underwear road test.
Speaking of underwear, check out this sizzling video featuring Rafael Nadal for Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans.
And see another recent Road Test, of Spring 2011's Turban.