Reader John recently wrote:
“Underwear? That’s probably tricky to write about in an informed way, since most of us just choose one style of underpants and go with it. However, have you given any thought to posting about ethical/sturdy underwear?”
I hadn’t thought about it. But for you John, anything. Some suggestions after the jump.
If you’re looking for cheap and effective, your best bet is probably Campbellsville Apparel. Their briefs are made in Kentucky from 100% cotton, come in two colors (white and sand) and cost a mere $9.00 for three. On the downside, briefs are the co.’s only option, so no go if you’re a boxer or boxer-brief man. If that’s the case, you can check out Union Label, which has a variety of undergarments, all union-made in the US. Lastly, there’s American Apparel. Of course, their products are super low quality, and the company is run by a sleazebag, but, the underwear is affordable, fits decently (better than the two options above) and is made here. Just don’t expect it to last past the second wash.
If eco is more your thing, I’d recommend checking out Pact. They’ve got multiple styles, all of which are ethically and responsibly made in Turkey out of organic cotton that’s been treated with low-impact dyes (they also donate a substantial portion of profits to various humanitarian causes). For something a bit more subdued, there’s Cottonfield USA and BGreen Apparel. Both brands offer an assortment of understated, US-made organic undergarments at moderate prices.
If you want to give wool skivvies a try (naturally anti-bacterial, and much softer than you’d think), there are some good looking options from Finisterre, which are made in Portugal out of sustainably harvested / spun Australian Merino. There’s also Ibex, which makes their undergarments in the US from sustainably harvested / spun New Zealand Merino. And, if you really want to go all out wool-wise, there’s Ramblers Way (aka the Tom’s toothpaste guy’s clothing label), which makes boxer-briefs in the US from sustainably harvested / spun American merino. Just know before you click, the RWs are pretty damn pricey.
And since we’re on the subject of pretty damn pricey, there are some mighty handsome luxe options out there. My favorite is probably Choctaw Ridge, the new(ish) label from Left Field NYC founder Christian McCann. The pieces are made in the US, cut-slim, and come in really beautiful 1930s style gift boxes. The English brand Sunspel has some very nice stuff as well, although less and less of it is actually being made in the UK. And finally, if money really is no object, there’s Zimmerli, a 135 year old Swiss company that still produces its full range in Switzerland. I won’t spoil the surprise of how expensive they are, just be sure you’re not drinking anything when you click the link, as a spit-take may ensue.
Got a question you want answered? Send an email to brad[at]well-spent[dot]com.