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You Need New Underwear

When was the last time you reassessed your underwear? Yeah, it’s a little weird right? I bet most of you haven’t thought about your underwear for months, maybe years.

After years of ill-advised lacy thongs, I finally admitted that I like to wear very plain black briefs with minimal decoration (a style called ‘bikini’ apparently). Now I buy them in multipacks when I notice that my regular pairs are looking ropey.

As part of my effort to reconsider what I own and buy, I worked out that I need about ten pairs of everyday underwear- enough to last me a week, with a few days overlap for washing days. New underwear brand MeUndies suggests a stash of twenty pairs but, as I wash my clothes once a week, I think I can halve that and be fine. Then three or four pairs of fancier pants (there’s no way to say that without sounding silly).

So, I’ve started from scratch. I bagged up all my threadbare pants and retired them to the bin, keeping only the pairs that look reasonable. I laughingly said goodbye to the thongs- and my youthful optimism- with no regrets. 

Now, how much does it cost to buy ethical, comfortable, nicely designed underwear? And where do I start?

  1. Decide which style of underwear you enjoy wearing. Nordstrom has a good basic guide to common styles (Underwear Expert have a very in-depth guide for  men’s underwear…we appreciate their thoroughness).
  2. Work out how many pairs of underwear you need- one week’s worth? Two week’s worth? Be realistic about how often you wash your clothes but also be strict and remember that the less you own, the less you have to wash and store!
  3. If you can’t afford to buy a set of ethical underwear in one go, start putting aside money in your monthly budget so that you can buy better quality, ethical underwear next time you need to.
  4. Even if you don’t have the money to restock your delicates now, you can still have a ruthless clean out of your underwear drawer! If it’s unworn, super fancy lingerie, you could even consider Ebaying them.


Available Worldwide:

Hanky Panky

Cheapest pair:  $30/£23

Cost of buying set of ten: $300/£230

Ethics: Transparent and ethical labor practices; manufactured in the USA; sustainable fabrics; environmentally friendly production and packaging; regular donations to a variety of charities.

Good for: Sexy lacy styles

Sloane & Tate

Cheapest pair: $29/£22

Cost of buying a set of ten: $290/£220 or packs of 3 briefs for $82/£63

Ethics: Transparent and ethical labor practices, manufactured in the USA

Good for: Minimal and masculine styles

The Nude label

Cheapest pair: $25/£20

Cost of buying a set of ten: £200/ $250

Ethics: Transparent production and ethical abor practices; commitment to introducing more environmentally friendly fabrics as the company grows

Good for: Minimal styles

Also available at: http://www.the-acey.com/ (UK/EU) and http://needsupply.com/ (US


Cheapest pair: $27/£20

Cost of buying a set of ten: $270/€220 or box sets of 3 pairs available for $79/€67 making a set of 9 $237/€201

Ethics: Vegan and environmnentally friendly materials and fabrics (modal); made in Hungary in OkoTEx and GOTS certified factories; ethical and transparent labor practices including with small producers in India; environmentally friendly packaging

Good for: Minimal styles

Also available at:  http://www.the-acey.com/


Cheapest pair:  $11.50/£9

Cost of buying set of ten: $115/£90

Ethics: Sustainable fabrics, Ethical Fashion Forum Fellowship 500 Certification

Good for: Pretty printed styles


Cheapest pair: $15.50/ £12

Cost of buying set of ten: $155/£12 or packs of 3 briefs for $39/£30

Ethics: Sustainable fabrics, transparent and ethical production and labor practices, donates 1% of turnover to charities and grassroots environmental projects

Good for: Basic and athletic styles

Available in the US only


Cheapest pair: $20-22 for US. (Shipping to Europe is possible but very expensive! Starting at around $85!)

Cost of buying set of ten: $200

Ethics: use of recycled fabrics, digital printing to reduce water waste; transparent production and ethical labor practices; Underwear for Hope program which trains and employs single mothers in Columbia to sew their handmade pieces

Good for: Nude and fun styles


Cheapest pair: $34

Cost of buying a set of ten: $ 340

Ethics: Transparent production and labor practices, organic non-GMO cotton, certified by the Organic Cotton Standard (OCS), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and Fair Trade USA

Good for: Basic styles

Also available from:  https://www.azurabay.com/

Available in the UK/EU/AUS/NZ only

Mighty Good Undies

Cheapest pair:  £12.45

Cost of buying set of ten: £124.50 or packs of 2 for £25 and packs of 7 for £78

Ethics: Fair trade and organic cotton, eco friendly dyes, renewable energy, each pair means a donation to the South Pole Group, helping to offset carbon emissions

Good for: Athletic and Multipacks- they even offer a subscription service!

What does your underwear drawer look like? And any alternative suggestions for the expression ‘fancier pants’ would be appreciated!

Want to read more? Here are some of my excellent sources:

The Good Trade

Good On You

Eco Cult

The Cut

Main photo from The Nude Label, other photos from their respective companies. 

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