Did You Know

Why Your Underwear Has That Pocket, And Other Things You Didn't Know

Fashion101

After using something for a couple decades, you'd think you would know everything about it.

For example, how many people know that the hole in elevator doors are a special keyhole for emergency workers, or that the hole in pen caps are designed to not block a child's airway, in case it gets swallowed.

There are so many secret uses for everyday objects, and I'm learning new ones every year.

One hidden mystery that I recently came across was the reason why women's panties have a "pocket."

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We've all noticed this before and probably never thought too much about it.

Was it designed to hide money? Secret notes? Apparently the answer is neither.

The Mysterious Pocket

The reason why practically all women's underwear have a pouch is because they're required to.

This layer is made from a special soft tissue that is meant to add more comfort.

But that still doesn't answer the question as to why there is a pocket. Couldn't they just sew it both ways?

Innersy Women's 5 Pack High Waist Tummy Control Solid Color Cotton Briefs PantiesAmazon

We will get to that but first...

A normal component of any underpants, whether for male or female, is what is called in the trade a gusset in the crotch area. Mainly it is there for reasons of fit, but when it comes to female underwear, it can also be there for the purpose of hygiene and absorbency.

The gusset eliminates four seams coming together in one spot creating freedom of movement and a more comfortable wearing experience. A gusset also helps disperse stress around the crotch area making the clothing more durable, and tasks like crouching easier.

These gussets are normally double thickness. If you look at the gusset area in different manufacture of knickers (yes, that's another term for panties) you will notice that it is usually sewn in with a concealed seam at each end. Sewing these two seams is a right royal pain in the butt.

It is becoming common in cheaper brands to only use one seam in this area, and the end result of this is to leave the gusset unattached at one end, thus forming a pocket-like opening.

You'll note that this type of "pocket" occurs primarily in cheaper garments. However, the reason it is done this way is not to save fabric. The real purpose of leaving the one seam out is to make it faster to sew the garment. By only sewing the one end of the gusset, it saves between 10 seconds to 30 seconds per garment, possibly more, and when multiplied by the number of garments produced you can see that is an appreciable time saving. And a time saving equals a cost saving.

This fact about women's undergarments may not have been mind-blowing, but these next ones may be...

5 Things You Need To Know

1. The white stain on your underwear is a good sign.

Over time, you'll notice that your dark shades of underwear start to turn white on the inside.

Many people attribute these bleach-like stains to the quality of their detergent or underwear, but it has nothing to do with that.

These stains are caused by natural secretions, which works to balance your body's pH level in order to fight off bad bacteria.

2. The average woman owns about 21 pairs of underwear.

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I don't doubt that.

Studies have shown that a majority of women change their underwear every day, but we don't do laundry every day, so it's important to have many pairs at hand.

Update: Since this article was written a new study found that women own an average of thirty four pairs of knickers, that’s three times as many as in 1999, when the average was just 12.

3. You should throw out your underwear and bras once a year, even if you wash them regularly.

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Underwear should be thrown out every year for health reasons to reduce the risk of urinary tract and other infections, the Good Housekeeping Institute warns.

Failure to do allows bugs such as E. coli and dust mites to flourish, causing problems from urinary tract infections to thrush and allergies, The Sun newspaper reports. And while in use, underwear should be laundered regularly on the hot wash setting.The Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) guide also says that despite washing systematically after use, most people’s clean underwear contains up to 10,000 living bacteria.

4. According to bra-fitting experts, about 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size.

fsHH / Pixabay

If your bra feels in any way uncomfortable, you're likely wearing the wrong size.

To figure out if your bra is fitting properly, click here.

5. Not only are many women wearing the wrong size of bra, they're also making these underwear mistakes...

If your underwear is too tight or made of something else besides cotton, you're at risk of trapping moisture, which can become the perfect breeding ground for an infection.

The more the area down there can breathe, the better. Some people suggest sleeping commando at night.

Did any of these undergarment facts surprise you?

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.