When you’ve got a big day ahead of you, sometimes a little fashion-based boost can make all the difference.
One of the phrases you won’t find in a textbook for learners of Japanese is shoubu shitagi. Sure, a thorough text will cover shoubu, meaning “to challenge,”or “have a showdown,” and shitagi, the Japanese word for “underwear,” but their meaning when combined is something that most formal courses skip right over.
Shoubu shitagi is usually used in talking about lingerie, and refers to a matched bra and panties a woman wears when she wants to feel especially confident or otherwise powerful during an important event. In a recent poll by Japanese lingerie company Wacoal, 31.7 percent of the respondents (out of a total pool of 1,100 women between the ages of 20 and 49) said that they have shoubu shitagi they wear for romantic dates. 51 percent of those surveyed also said they own a pair of shoubu shitagi for other occasions when they want a mental boost.
20-somethings reported the highest instance of wearing shoubu shitagi in the workplace, something that 48.3 percent said they’ve done to psych themselves up for a crucial meeting or critical project. Among work classifications, those employed in administrative roles had the highest rate of shoubu shitagi use, at 58.5 percent of those polled.
Researchers also noted a difference in shoubu shitagi preferences depending on purpose. While the same hues ended up as the three most popular for both romantic and business shobu shitagi, pink was the top choice among those wearing the special lingerie for a date, followed by black in second place and white in third. On the other hand, black was the number-one pick for workplace shoubu shitagi, trailed by pink, and then, once again in third place, white.