Eye-catching undergarments are meant to provide multiple layers of warmth and meaning.

As Japan’s most prolific purveyor of feline-themed merchandise (including marshmallows, fortune cookie-like rice crackers, and scratch-and-sniff stickers), it’s no surprise that the official Twitter account for Felissimo spends a lot of time talking about cats. Even still, people were puzzled back in June when the company made an odd request by asking Twitter users to share photos of “black cats that look like they’re wearing white panties” because of their fur markings.

Still, the Internet was happy to oblige, with submissions including this one from Osaka-based cat welfare organization Naoko, in which the cat does indeed look like it’s lounging in a pair of pearly panties.

Now, months later, we finally know why Felissimo wanted such images in the first place. Apparently it needed some visual references for its latest cat-themed underwear.

If you’re thinking those look a little more substantial than Felissimo’s previous cat-themed lingerie offerings, you’re absolutely right. These undergarments are known in Japanese as haramaki (“waist-wrapping”) underwear. Made of thick, warm material (this particular pair is a polyester/polyurethane/nylon blend), haramaki underwear are designed to keep the wearer toastily cozy during the colder part of the year.

While haramaki often come in bright colors and somewhat loud patterns, Felissimo’s Fluffy Black Cat Haramaki Underwear is pretty subdued…except for the tuft of fabric meant to simulate the white pantie-like markings on its feline muse. And yes, we really do mean “tuft,” as the decorative fabric on the crotch is luxuriously long.

The unique haramaki can be ordered here through Felissimo’s website for just 1,454 yen (US$13). While not the cheapest undergarments available in Japan, they’re still rather affordable, and Felissimo will donate 40 yen of each purchase to an animal welfare organization.

In parting, we should also point out that haramaki are meant to be worn over, not in lieu of, a regular pair of panties. So once you slip on the Fluffy Black Cat Haramaki, you could be wearing as many as three types of underwear, depending on your exact counting criteria.

Source: Felissimo via IT Media
Images: Felissimo