Every once in a while, fashion trends make women's lives a little more comfortable. There are reports that sales of thongs - or G-strings - are down at the ankles, with sales of boxer-style shorts and French knickers riding high.
It's fair to say that most women have tried to wear a G-string or thong, only to discover that it feels like a cheese cutter is slicing your bottom in half. Some are horrified when they check the rear view mirror; others are horrified to discover that the tiny bit of material has been swallowed without a trace.
Perhaps thanks to Bridget Jones's big pants, sales of skimpy thongs have fallen by 14 per cent since 2003, while sales of larger pants, boxer-style shorts and French knickers have risen by 36 per cent in the same period. Maxi pants accounted for a whopping 26 per cent of the market share and bottom-control pants have grown by 15 per cent in the last two years, according to consumer research group Mintel.
James McCoy, Mintel's consumer analyst, says, "The popularity of trousers was largely responsible for the dominance of the thong, which originally had the practical purpose of avoiding a visible panty line."
The survey indicated that there is a backlash against the thong, which many deem uncomfortable and a bit brash.
He continues, "This year, skirts have experienced something of a renaissance and this is partly responsible for this trend towards larger 'boy shorts', which are more comfortable under skirts and leaves the wearer feeling less vulnerable."
The survey also indicated that British women fall way behind other European countries in the sales of lingerie. French women are renowned for splashing out on sexy lingerie, but British women still only buy underwear out of necessity, with 60 per cent of females buying new bras and undies to replace their old ones. This is despite the availability of cheap of lingerie in high street stores like Primark and H&M. The average spend for females over 15 is just £46.20 a year on bras and pants, according to the survey.
This season's lingerie trends will not disappoint fans of big pants. The good news is that they are considerably more attractive than Bridget Jones's.
Glamour is key this autumn and winter, with the dark colours of black, aubergine and maroon dominating luxurious fabrics like velvet, chiffon and lace. The look is both glamorous and vampy.
One of the more expensive labels, La Perla, has black and nude lace briefs and shorts, pretty low-cut lace-trimmed briefs and sexy mesh shorts. Verdissima's range features mixes of luxury fashion fabrics like velvet bows and ruffled chiffon in rich jewel-bright purples and turquoises.
High street brands Charnos and Wonderbra have ditched their raunchy colours and synthetic satins for softer, more feminine styles in pretty fabrics. The lace-trimmed French knicker-style briefs in Charnos's Pin Up range are both flirty and flattering, something that every woman wants in their top draw.