Sustainable Skivvies: Bikinis, Briefs, Boxers, Bras, and More

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Dear Readers,

Last fall, I held a charades party. Over the course of the evening, it became clear that I use one word in a manner totally out of step with my peers, and for which I apparently deserve to be mocked. Those things I pull over my legs every morning? I refer to them underpants. I suspect that you, like my friends (who mostly say underwear or panties), do not. Whatever you call them, they’re one of fashion’s great equalizers. Almost all of us don underwear daily, and while some of us delight in scoring vintage blazers and jeans, used underwear has never had much market value. Until recently.

Does your underwear make you feel this good? 
Entertainment Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

Even those of us who do our best to recycle, repurpose, and donate everything have probably tossed off-color undies, ripped hose, holey socks, and stretched-out bras in the trash. Now, there’s a better way. Subset and SuperCircle have created a pioneering intimates recycling program that will basically pay you to send in your old underpants. Put at least five items (laundered, please) in your own bag or box, and Subset will send you a free shipping label. Once they receive the package, you’ll get a $25 credit to spend on their innerwear (which is also 20% off with code BLUEDOT). Your old skivvies will live on as furniture batting, insulation, and more — and you’ll get more room in your top drawer. 

Few things are more personal than underwear, which is why I’m offering a wide range of suggestions. Overall, we recommend looking for natural materials like organic cotton, silk, wool, and bamboo fibers, among others. That said, synthetic fabrics are almost unavoidable in underthings because of the stretch that they provide (these compostable undies are the only ones in this newsletter made entirely from natural fibers). When assessing synthetic materials, we look for certifications like Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which ensures that the textiles contain no harmful substances.

Of course, you could just go commando — as one Bluedotter recently joked to me, the most Earth-friendly underwear is probably wearing no underwear at all. But if you’re a bit more modest, we’ve got you covered. 

Happy shopping,

– Elizabeth Weinstein, Marketplace Editor

Earth-Friendly Undies for Everyone

A woman facing the camera wearing a blue Kent t-shirt and underwear

Plantable Underpants

We’re delighted to tell you about Kent, an intimates company known for its compostable underwear and “plant your pants” program. All of Kent’s underwear, boxers, and tees are made in California from organic, Peruvian-grown pima cotton and nothing else. You’ll get them for 15% off with code BLUEDOT. Read our review.

Two women stand in a field, wearing matching sets of organic cotton underpants and tops that are white with a cheerful 90s-style design of red-orange lines. The clothes come from the brand Thunderpants.

The Most Cheerful

Thunderpants makes Fair Trade organic cotton underwear (or “thundies!”) in fun prints, all designed for “wedgie-proof comfort.” Kids and inclusive sizing for women. Save 10% off your order with code BLUEDOT10.

Man facing away from the camera wearing Pact boxer briefs and a t-shirt

Affordable Organic Basics

Pact makes comfy, affordable, sustainable clothes for men and women, with a focus on staples like loungewear, tees, and underthings. The brand uses organic cotton, works with Fair Trade Certified factories, and has an innovative Give Back Box program that makes cleaning out your closet easy. Read our review.

A group of people wearing Subset undergarments

The Ones I'm Wearing Now

We all have different senses of style, but pretty much everyone dons undergarments. That’s why two fashion industry veterans and former design school classmates chose to focus on sustainable underwear, a category where they knew they’d be able to make a big impact. Save 20% with code BLUEDOT. Read our review.

A woman's belly and upper thighs are shown. She wears three pairs of brightly colored underwear in green, pink, and turquoise from sustainable underwear brand Araks.

Sustainably Sexy

Araks Yeramyan, the founder of lingerie, swim, and lounge brand Araks, makes lovely, sexy, sustainable wear for everyday use. Her garments, inspired by pop art and a childhood of visits to the Philadelphia Art Museum, are designed to make a woman smile. Everything is made in New York City. Read our review.

A woman wearing a white sweater and blue Saalt period undergarments

Reusable Period Products

Saalt makes long-lasting menstrual cups, period underwear, and specialty detergent, all without PFAS or other toxic chemicals. Saalt’s founder launched the brand after realizing that the majority of women worldwide lacked reliable access to period products, and the company donates 2% of revenue to women’s charities. Read our review.

Super-Soft Skivvies

You, our readers, seem to love Boody, the Australian brand that makes silky-smooth underthings, basics, and activewear from bamboo-based fabrics. It’s one of the brands you buy from most. For men and women. Read our review.

Five women of varying ethnicities and sizes stand on a grassy hill and wear similar sustainable workout clothes in brown.

Sports Bras Galore

Move over, Lulu; step aside, Alo: Girlfriend Collective makes the athleisure everyone wants to be seen sporting these days. The brand uses mostly recycled and organic materials to make comfortable, fashionable, sustainable workout wear. Items are available in sizes XXS–6X. Read our review.

A smiling child in blue tie-dye shorts and a yellow shirt sits on a skateboard while a bigger kid in purple tie-dye shorts stands next to the skateboard.

Comfy Kids' Undies

Mightly’s mission — “Kid-friendly styles in Earth-friendly fabrics at family-friendly prices” — sounds simple enough. But we haven’t found many companies that pull it off like Mightly. The entire line is Fair Trade Certified, made from GOTS Certified organic cotton, and you'll save 20% off when you use code BLUEDOT20 at checkout. Read our review.

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Elizabeth Weinstein
Elizabeth Weinstein
Elizabeth Weinstein, Bluedot’s Marketplace Editor, lives in Manhattan with her husband; papillon Finley; and cats SanDeE* and Modell. When she’s not asking the folks at Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom to try on their most sustainable sneakers in a size 9½, she can be found at the Union Square Greenmarket or gardening on her rooftop terrace.
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