One of the fashion questions I get asked the most via private message or email is about underwear that fits well. I never have a super enthusiastic recommendation because I don’t have any that really fit exactly how I want them to, and also because what people want out of their underwear can vary greatly. Universal Standard just launched their first foray into intimates with UltimateS by (US). I was recently sent a couple of pieces from this line, along with some pieces from their refreshed Foundation collection.
Disclosure: This blog post is not sponsored by Universal Standard, but I did receive free products in exchange for sharing on Instagram. If you use my link in this post to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission on the sale at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work!
Universal Standard is one of my favorite brands because of their high quailty fabrics, spot-on fit, and committment to a wide range of sizes, 00-40. When they announced they were launching their intimates, I was cautiously optimistic. Fit is so, so tricky for underwear, but US has proven time and time again that they understand fit as one of the few brands that I never have to worry about – fit-wise. If anyone could do underwear correctly, it would be them.
As part of this launch, US also introduced a revamped Foundations line. I’ve talked about Foundations before, but they are seriously my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. They’re thin and stretchy but I don’t find them too clingy. I have tanks, tees, dresses, and turtlenecks from the original US Foundation line. When they announced they were revamping it, I bought up as much as I could of the original line just in case it wasn’t the same when it came back. Many people wear Foundations as that – foundation garments. I honestly wear the tees and tanks on their own because I love having some shape to those silhouettes versus oversized styles. They have a great length (everything is usually so short for my long torso) and are so comfortable that I also sleep in them. Needless to say, I was excited to hear that Foundations was coming back.
Where Plus Size Underwear Goes Wrong
Women's bodies are magical in their variety, but that can mean that there's no single “perfect” fit for all bodies. For example, I have a larger lower stomach and need more coverage in the front as a result. Underwear usually cuts into my lower stomach – the leg holes creeping up onto my belly, or they don't have a high enough rise to cover my belly and land on my waist. Also, the gusset (crotch) always feels wayyyy too narrow. This isn't unique to me though, I've heard a lot of plus women complain about this in underwear and swimsuits. With these particular gripes in mind, let's take a look at the new UltimateS pieces.
Universal Standard Underwear Review
The new UltimateS by (US) line comes in 3 styles:
When asked my preference, I selected the High Rise Brief because thongs and bikini cuts have been notoriously difficult to fit with my stomach.
All of the styles are made in a sustainable cotton jersey blended with modal. They are soft to the touch and thin for comfort. These aren't designed as support underwear – they're designed as a second skin layer you put on and forget.
As soon as I took them out of the package, I noticed the wide gusset. The black pair is from US and the floral pair on top is another pair from a brand whose underwear I wear most frequently. You'll notice the gusset is substantially wider on the US pair. I never expected as a child that I'd grow up to be on the internet praising crotch coverage, but here we are!
Sizing: If you're familiar with US, you know their sizing is different from other brands. If you're unfamiliar with the brand, review the size chart very carefully before ordering! Their product pages also have exact measurements of each item so you know exactly what you're getting. I am generally a size 28 in most brands, and in US I wear a 28 or sometimes a 30. I hover between their XL and 2XL sizes. Typically if an item has stretch I go to the smaller size, and if it's no stretch, I'll go larger. For these I selected the 2XL because I'm so accustomed to underwear being woefully small on my stomach.
When I first put them on, I thought “oh, they're too big” because I wasn't feeling any pulling or tightness at all. Looking at the front and back though, I noticed there wasn't any pooling of fabric or “saggy bottom” – maybe this is what underwear is supposed to feel like?! As I wore them throughout the day, I had several moments of feeling like I wasn't wearing anything because I never had to adjust them and they never cut into my stomach or legs. If you've always had underwear fit you, maybe you think this sounds strange. But for those of us who have lived that ill-fitting underwear life, it's a strange sensation.
I was also excited to find that the updated Foundations fabric is very similar to the previous iteration. It still has very light ribbing and has the same stretch and fit that I love from the originals. I hope they come out with the wide strap tanks and v-neck tees again. Currently, the foundations line has a short sleeve square neck tee, a turtleneck, a tank dress, a spaghetti strap camisole, and a long sleeved v-neck top.
Overall Impressions of Universal Standard Underwear
I was honestly thrilled with US's initial foray into underwear. I just ordered the thong and another pair of briefs, both in the size XL (1 size down from that I tried.) There's a lot of stretch in the fabric and I'm curious about the fit difference between the 2 sizes. My initial reaction is that if you're inbetween 2 sizes like I am, go for the smaller one. But, I'll update this post if that theory is proven wrong upon arrival of my most recent order.
I do hope that in the future they come out with a mid rise brief, and also more fabrics and colors. This fabric is super breathable but I could also see the cut of these items being wonderful in a firmer/thicker fabric for a tiny bit of smoothing. For those familiar with US, think their next-to-naked fabric, or some other type of thicker smoothing material. For now though, I'm glad to have underwear that is so comfortable that I feel like I'm not wearing any! I never had to adjust them, either. No rolling, pinching, or drooping. Hooray for crotch coverage! 😂
Shop UltimateS by (US) here in sizes 00-40.