Panty Drop! Peep These Ethical Undies for All Sizes
We wear underwear for all sorts of reasons. It would be nice if, in any of those situations, you could reach into the drawers drawer and pull out a fairly made pair of undies.
I have like 10 dirty jokes running through my head right now, but I'd rather skip the foreplay and get down to the ethically made knickers, wouldn't you?
NAJA: Nude Thongs and Bikinis
SIZE RANGE: S – 2XL
ETHICS: "Naja products are made by single mothers or women heads of households. We pay above-market wages, provide health benefits, and child education stipends." 2% of their revenue also goes to local Columbian charities that provide continuing education to these women.
ECO-FRIENDLINESS: Naja uses fabric from recycled bottles in all of their collections, and uses a digital printing method rather than dyeing fabrics, which saves a fuckton of water.
THE NITTY GRITTY: I am putting aside my gripes with Naja not carrying any of their coquettishly sexy and playful bras or underwear in plus sizes (because I want this and this and this in a 2XL and beyond, puhlease!) to focus on the positive fact that they understand that "Nude" depends on skin color, and all people are not light beige.
Fig Leaves: Sheer & Lacy Lingerie
SIZE RANGE: 4 – 22
ETHICS: "We are members of the Ethical Trade Initiative which looks out for those making our clothes and helps to improve our working conditions...We regularly check our suppliers by using certified audit companies as well as using internal resource. We recognise that we have a responsibility to act ethically wherever we source in the world."
Read more about their code of conduct here.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Once again, we have a brand that carries a rather slim (pun intended) underthing offering for plus sizes with just the two pairs of briefs pictured above, but the upside is, those two options are really rather sexy. That being said, if these, these, or these came in my size, they'd be in my cart already. Sayin'.
THINX+Slow Factory: Ltd Ed Period Panties
SIZE RANGE: XS – 3XL
ETHICS: Take Slow Factory's commitment to a 100% fair trade and clean supply chain and couple it with THINX's mission to empower more women to get on with their lives and do great things during moon time, and you have a pretty stellar ethics code between the two of them.
ECO-FRIENDLINESS: No more tampon or pad waste. 'Nough said.
THE NITTY GRITTY: "Two of your favorite conscious companies — THINX & Slow Factory have partnered together for a hyper-limited edition collaboration called Distrupting Spaces, a celebration of menstruation's ties to the moon." Each of the above panties can hold two tampons worth of aunt flo, and at $40 a piece for something so well-made and durable and wholly useful, THINX may be the smartest buy on this list.
Me Undies: Everyday Underoos
SIZE RANGE: XS – 2XL
ETHICS: The super soft Lenzing modal fabric used to make all Me Undies is GOTS Certified (Global Organic Textile Standards). This means it meets strict criteria as being both organic and ethically responsible throughout the whole supply chain. That being said, while Me Undies does go into detail about the fabric itself and they do show pictures on their website from the factories, they don't go into detail about the lives of the workers who assemble their underwear.
ECO-FRIENDLINESS: That soft fabric I just mentioned is actually made from Beachwood trees which "propagate by themselves, with no artificial irrigations or planting required." In other words, Beachwood is way more sustainable than, say, cotton.
THE NITTY GRITTY: I'd like to know more about the conditions of the factories and workers' rights in Sri Lanka and Turkey where their underwear is assembled. I'd love to see Me Undies expand beyond 2XL, of course, too!
Hanky Panky: Everyday Lacy
SIZE RANGE: XS – 3XL
ETHICS: I legitimately teared up reading the bio of Hanky Panky co-founder Lida Orzeck and I might be her biggest fangirl now. You can't blame me for that when she's on the boards for the International Organization for Women's Development and Southern Poverty Law Center. Impressive CEO bio aside, Hanky Panky as a company has got it down. Everything, and I do mean everything, is made in the US under fair labor standards. Get a pair of Hanky Pankys, and the next time someone asks you "What's more American than apple pie?" you can just show them your undies (no, don't do that).
ECO-FRIENDLINESS: While we know I'm not the hugest fan of cotton per se, I have to give it up to Hanky Panky for using Supima cotton grown in the US. It's not only a stronger yet softer fiber, it also grows in a dry climate than most other cottons, making it less of a water hog by comparison. By making everything in the US down to their recycled paper packaging (which they consider to be a keepsake of it's own...sure), they cut down significantly on CO2 from freight, shipping, and manufacturing. They even make their staff use personal re-usable hand towels instead of paper towels around the office. I mean. That's almost excessive, but I like it.
THE NITTY GRITTY: When you visit their site, you'll notice that Hanky Panky doesn't just sell to plus size women, they photograph their products on models of various body types. I was quite pleased to see an actual belly being hugged by their lacy briefs and boy shorts. This company continues to put their money where their mouth is, donating to a huge number of charities and causes, from environmental and animal welfare to women's and veterans' support organizations. I already own two pairs of Hanky Panky undies and can attest to their comfort. It's money well-spent.
Smart Glamour: Budget-Friendly Booty Huggers
SIZE RANGE: XXS – 6XL
ETHICS: Smart Glamour has cracked the code on how to offer affordable pricing AND ethical labor practices. Not only are all garments manufactured in Queens, NY, but their fabrics are sourced from local independent businesses, as well.
THE NITTY GRITTY: I have been an admirer of Smart Glamour's wares and business model for a bit now, but I didn't realize until they brought it to my attention that they also offer two different cuts of undies and other intimates. Bonus! They also offer custom sizing for some of their other size-positive garments. Such a breath of fresh air to see a truly body positive AND ethical fashion business. So much love.
Origami Customs: Strappy Underthings
SIZE RANGE: XXS – 5XL/custom size
ETHICS: Origami Customs is a one-woman show coming out of Montreal, Canada, so from a labor perspective, obviously no issues there, and it's all made-to-order, so there's a waste not, want not thing happening here that you have to respect.
ECO-FRIENDLINESS: Bamboo seems to be the Origami Customs fabric of choice, which is one of the more sustainably sourced fabrics on the market. Yay!
THE NITTY GRITTY: There is quite literally something on Origami Customs for everyone and every gender identity, from custom swimsuits to jock straps. Where inclusivity is concerned, they get all the gold stars. "We design for all bodies- offering people of any size, shape, age, ability and gender expression a safe and affordable way to have customized items that meet your individual needs." Are you as turned on as I am right now? Cleanup on aisle seven, y'all...
BONUS: Panty Drop Subscription Box
SIZE RANGE: XS – 2XL
ETHICS: Panty Drop did the noble thing of choosing to only source with ethical undies brands like Hanky Panky, so they've essentially done all of the homework for you.
THE NITTY GRITTY: For just $35 every three months, you'll get three pairs of ethically made panties in your size, based on your profile preferences: thong/bikini/boy shorts, cotton/performance/lace. My favorite part about fresh underwear is going at least one more day without doing laundry, but the element of surprise that comes with each subscription box makes it a fun way to also ensure that you will actually turn your ratty old undies into recycling.