It was National Underwear Day today, according to a press release from a well-known British purveyor of pants and bras. My reaction on reading this was “oh yeah, sez who???”

I guessed that, like most of these so-called National Days, this was a manufactured, blatant attempt to get people into the shops to buy stuff they don’t need. National Underwear Day, I subsequently discovered, is actually an American invention, launched in 2003 by a US company that gave away 5,000 pairs of pants and sent out loads of emaciated models to roam around New York in their under-garments.

National Underwear Day, according to the organiser, is “the day when underwear becomes not just the first thing you put on and the last thing you take off, but the most important thing you wear all day”. Actually, I’m at that age where a nice pair of comfy sandals is more important.

In a shock announcement, the organisers revealed that 80% of Americans never change the type of underwear they wear. Perhaps the knicker manufacturers need to hire new marketing staff, then?

Anyhow, it all sounds pretty tasteless, so I won’t name the British company concerned other than to say it issued a statement urging “every woman from office worker to stay at home mums, to wear their best undies!”

“Ask yourself,” it pronounced, ‘do I have the right shapewear for my figure and needs?’ Nah, probably not.

‘Are those greying knickers ready for the bin?’ Yeah, probably.

‘Do I wear the right size bra?’. Dunno. Don’t care.

“Women ask themselves these questions every day,” it went on. No, they don’t. I’m bored now.

In a mark of protest I selected a fetching ensemble of a manky old pair of pants that were white and frilly once but frankly a bit grey now, teamed with a limp pink bra with the lace trim all frayed and tired.

Then I went down the local charity shop and helped my friend Christina pick out a bra costing £2. “No point spending £20 when I can get a perfectly good one for a tenth of that, is there?” she said, giving her own cheerful finger up to National Underwear Day.

Meanwhile, a British “home emergency expert” also jumped on the underwear bandwagon by putting out a press release saying it recovered more than 5,000 pairs of pants, knickers and socks from the nation’s pipes last year. Crikey, that must be what happened to all that new “shapewear” I bought to celebrate last year’s National Underwear Day.

Pic credit: Suat Eman,