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Bargain shopping for underwear

Where you can skimp on the skimpiest parts of your wardrobe.
By Marissa Conrad |

Whether to pay out or penny-pinch on the most private part of your wardrobe turns out to be a heated debate. (From the mouth of a D-cup pal who swears by Nordstrom and Betty Schwartz’s: “Victoria’s Secret can suck it.”) Different shapes certainly call for different undergarments, so if you know what works for your body, stick with it. But if you’re on the fence about your bra/boxer budget, popular opinion among at least 40 friends and colleagues is this: Women say it’s best to invest at least $50 in a bra, while bottoms can go into the single digits. The most stylish among our male panel say to shell out more for a well-fitting undershirt, but to skip expensive boxers. And one last tip from a Victoria’s Secret lover: “VS mails coupons like candy,” says Melanie, 28. “You can reliably get a free pair of underwear and $10 off a bra every month if you so choose.”

Body by Victoria lace push-up bra, $52 at Victoria’s Secret (locations citywide)
“More expensive bras have underwires that are made of things other than wire, such as various resins, and so hold up longer after washing, don’t get bent out of shape (but instead spring back) and conform to your body more when you move.”—Anonymous, 27

Xhilaration cotton with lace bikini, $5 at Target (locations citywide)
“I regularly wear five-for-$20 undies from Target, and they hold up for years. The $100-plus fancy lingerie thong that I got as a gift nearly fell apart after three gentle-cycle washes. Who wants to spend time hand-washing underwear?”—Lizzy, 27

Calvin Klein cotton stretch V-neck undershirt, $34.50 for two at Bloomingdale’s (900 N Michigan Ave, 312-440-4460)
“A cotton stretch undershirt is more form-fitting, so you can’t see lines under your slim-fit dress shirt.”—David, 29

Men’s patterned boxers, $8.50 or $15 for three at Old Navy (150 N State St, 312-578-8077)
“When your boxers start to wear out, it’s time to buy new underwear.”—Chris, 26