The great skivvy experiment of 2015


That’s right, undies from the internet

At Mr. Tucker’s birthday dinner earlier this summer, I ended up having a conversation where I lamented the state of women’s underwear. That’s right kids, it’s like I have a giant sign above my head that says, FUN AT PARTIES.

The cause of my sadness? The inability to buy an inexpensive multipack of underwear in only a black colourway. Sure, I can buy a multi-coloured pack or a pack of plain white ones but if I want to procure a cheap pack of 10 pairs of black underwear, it’s a no-go. My only choice is to buy them a la carte for a couple of dollars each.

I would be remiss to not point out that I had people furiously googling “bulk black underwear” after a few drinks, which in itself is kind of hilarious. However, after the next course was served and the wine glasses topped off, we all promptly forgot about it. I didn’t actually come back to the topic again until laundry day when I realized I needed to make a purchase or risk running out of underthings.

Enter: the internet.

I have known for years that there were sites where you could bulk order goods but it never really appealed to me. I thought you needed to buy 200 of the same dress to really benefit from these purchases. However, it looks like over the past couple of years these websites have opened up to the individual consumer and now you can buy smaller quantities of things from overseas. So being prone to experimentation, I threw caution – and $40 – to the wind and bought 20 pairs of underwear and two bras.

The shipping timeline from these individual sellers can be fairly long, and I had seen some up to 45 days (China is far!). So I was pleasantly surprised to see my first package arrive less than a month from when I made my purchase. I am still waiting for a second package (the bras) but since they were a bit of an afterthought when I made my initial underwear purchase, I am leaving them out of the equation here.

So was it worth it? In a nutshell: no. I had low expectations when purchasing 20 pairs of underwear from China for a buck a piece and those low expectations were warranted. The quality was incredibly low and I had a pair rip on the first day. The sizing is also smaller than people in North America would recognize. I knew this was often a challenge so I was smart enough to order a larger size.

So my overall impression? I still think that it was a worthwhile experiment. Aliexpress and websites like it act as a sales portal for a myriad of companies in Asia. So while my 20 pairs of underwear may be cheap, paying a little more and using a different supplier may prove to be worthwhile in the future. Having said that, I recently discovered that a local retailer sells an all-black multipack of cotton underwear (also made in China) for $12 for six pairs. While they are twice as much, I actually own some pairs of underwear from this company and I know they are good quality. So until I can find a place that can deliver similar quality at a lower price point, I am going to stick with those.