9 Sustainable, Ethical Underwear Brands

A little over a year ago, I began to notice that every time I opened my underwear drawer, I felt something between embarrassment and boredom. I was 24 at the time, and about a third of my bachelors had been with me since high school—the rest, since college. It was time for an overhaul, and I was ready to feel cute in my undergarments once again. I also wanted to make sure that, in addition to being cute, my underwear was non-irritating and durable. That meant I was ready to invest in underwear that cost more than I’d ever paid for.

My personal biggest priority is fair pay and good working conditions for apparel professionals, the latter of which has the least possible impact on the planet, and that generally translates to more dollar signs. It costs additional money to implement and ensure sustainable practices are consistent and to invest in sustainability improvements. Higher wages, especially for workers, are non-negotiable to me, and I don’t mind paying more when I know more of my money is going toward paying my clothing-making professionals.

There are a lot of factors to consider when looking for sustainable clothing: longevity, fabric, production process, and more. I shop secondhand for a lot of my clothes, but for underwear, that’s not really an option – which also means it’s important to buy. I know that underwear can biodegrade or be usefully recycled. can be done. My search was divided into three categories: everyday basics, for which the priority was affordability because I would buy a lot of them; House Undies, which has to be cute and give good coverage for days when I just can’t wear pants; And the confidence caffeine, when I needed to walk around the world with the added excitement that comes with knowing I’m wearing really cute and/or sexy underwear. Here’s what I found.

Most of what I look for when buying underwear can apply to all of my clothes—but there are also some lingerie-specific things to think about.

Breathable, non-toxic fabric: For people with vulva, the fabric you choose is extra important when buying underwear. Simply put, your underwear is in direct contact with your vagina, and to me, the prospect of any toxic compound in the fabric absorbing directly into my body isn’t worth the risk. Synthetic fabrics made from polyester not only contain toxins from the production process, but they also trap heat and moisture, which can cause minimal irritation—and for people prone to yeast infections, it certainly helps. does not do.

Laundry Label: All lingerie needs to be washed on the cold cycle and air dried, but some of the more expensive pairs I’ve bought are hand wash only, which I didn’t pay as much attention to at the time. Knowing the extra time and energy their laundering would require, I find myself thinking twice before only hand-washing a pair.

Life Cycle: Since there’s no way to completely clean a pair of used underwear, the life cycle of this particular garment is usually limited to one person’s use—so it’s especially important to make sure it’s at least Less is made enough to last a few years, and that, once it goes bad, you can donate it to a textile recycling facility or allow it to biodegrade.

Nikki

When you consider that you can get a six-pack of Fruit of the Loom for about $10, give or take $80 for a five-pack of underwear, depending on the style. does Sound a little bonkers, especially because it’s one of the more affordable brands on the list. But when you consider that Nicky is a certified B corp — meaning it meets B Lab’s rigorous standards for social and environmental impact, as well as continued accountability and transparency about its practices — produced responsibly. Uses organic cotton, ensures fair labor standards from manufacturers, has an underwear recycling program (where you can send Any underwear!), and annually releases a detailed impact report that includes stability improvements… When you consider all of that, the cost seems reasonable, at least in my eyes. And I can attest that they are durable; I’ve been wearing my knickers regularly for over a year now, and I find them comfortable as ever — no holes, snags, or wavy waistbands. I tried its starter pack, which includes one of each style, and also bought three of my favorite styles, the Thong, which goes for $17.

Settlement

While I didn’t end up buying Pact underwear myself, it’s a bit more affordable than Nikki’s, at $75 for a six-pack of underwear, and offers a greater variety of styles, colors, embellishments, and prints. And while the brand doesn’t give as many details about its sustainability practices as Nikki does, Pact works with fair-trade-certified factories and organic cotton, and it partners with the Give Back Box program, so customers Can use their boxes came an order to send their used clothing to non-profit organizations. A solid alternative to long-lasting eggs.

tomboyx

With three-packs ranging from $50 to $75, TomboyX is the most expensive brand for everyday wear—but it’s also the most inclusive, with sizes ranging from 3XS to 6X and nongender styles. TomboyX is B Corp certified, and while its cotton is not organic, it has been tested for harmful ingredients. Some of its underwear styles are made with TENCEL modal, a biodegradable fiber made from beechwood trees, and it also offers period underwear. The sustainability page of its website gives a comprehensive overview of its current practices as well as where it plans to improve, and that kind of transparency is something I always look for when shopping online. Am.

ARQ

I’m deep – and I mean deep — obsessed with ARQ underwear. I own three pairs of high rise style (and matching tank tops). The quality of these is incredible; The organic cotton (plus 8 percent spandex) fits snugly on my body, and the seams are stitched firmly and never irritated. I love to have these around my house, and the year I got them they haven’t aged at all, and that’s the constant machine washing. A pair ranges in price from $24 to $34, so these are more investments, but they’re worth it, especially since the company works with a small, family-owned sewing factory using sustainably dyed fabrics. Is.

pansy

Pansy is probably the most overall durable underwear brand I’ve come across in my research. Of four underwear styles offered, three are completely compostable. Every aspect of production, from the organic-cotton farm to the small-batch dye factory, takes place in the US – which means there will be no air or freight transportation of the ingredients if you are also in the US. It’s also the only brand I’ve found that uses an elastic made from rubber and cotton, not synthetic fibers. I don’t own a pair (yet), but stretchy shorts look especially appealing for spending a day between my bed, fridge, and couch, and I love the earthy color palette. The brand recommends hand-washing its underwear but says a cold machine cycle is fine too.

vama

When I think of hemp, I think of scratchy burlap-esque clothing that I don’t want anywhere near my vagina. But this is not so. Since it is an extremely durable fiber, hemp is being used more and more in soft weaves, and like linen, it tends to soften with age. WAMA’s underwear is straightforward and prioritizes comfort, and is made from a blend of cotton, hemp, and elastane. The brand prioritizes fair wages and good working conditions as much as it affects the climate effect; Because it has factories in China, it has a staff there whose job it is to constantly audit factories and ensure that each manufacturer it works with adheres to its supplier code of conduct.

odobody

Like pansies, all of Odobody’s underwear styles are fully compostable, and they’re made from butter-soft sheer pima cotton that’s actually a joy to wear. I especially love the string bikini style, which looks both sexy and wholesome; Whenever I need to feel like the lead character, I reach for one of my three pairs. Although they are listed as machine washable, I have found that they are sensitive to the machine cycle – every time I have machine washed them, I have noticed a loose thread or two. Still, the material grips beautifully and fits well without sag or stretch, an impressive feat with no elastane involved. The company uses a family-run manufacturer in Peru and regularly visits factories and farms that make underwear.

Botanica Workshop

Against my better judgment, I’m obsessed with Botanica Workshop underwear. It is incredibly expensive; A three-pack of its high-waisted briefs goes for $195. although! I was desperate to find really sexy underwear without any polyester-based lace, and Botanica Workshop achieved it. I love the stretch silk thongs, which are slightly less expensive than briefs and are made from durable silk georgette with a small amount of spandex; I see them as long-term investment pieces. Botanica’s textiles are produced locally in small batches by artisans in the Los Angeles area, where the design studio is based. I love the pearl buttons painted on all of its underwear, and I love the fit and comfort—they feel just as expensive as they are. And yes… they are hand wash only.

lost label

I’m currently craving the Moana high-waisted G-string from Hara. a high waist And A thong make for a flattering fit with no possibility of panty lines. Based in Melbourne, Australia, HARA uses organic bamboo-based fabric that is dyed and sewn locally, although I couldn’t find information on where it gets the fabric. Its website states that it supports fair labor practices and supply-chain transparency. Since garments are naturally dyed, they need to be hand washed in cold water before wearing them first, which is not ideal. Still, the styles are warm and creative.

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