Up until a few short years ago, the notion of my clothing (specifically, underwear) affecting my health was a foreign concept. I vaguely recall my mother — much to my chagrin as a teenager who worshiped frilly lace thongs — arguing that basic brands producing cotton underwear were far superior. Now, I think back to the unbreathable, unnatural undergarments I subjected my most sensitive skin regions to over the years and it sends shivers down my spine.
As I’m getting older, I have a better sense of what my body needs, and at the same time, it seems as though my body is needing progressively more and more TLC. This harsh truth presented itself to me via intense skin irritation whenever I wore underwear that wasn’t crafted from cotton. Mesh? Nuh-uh. Lace? Nope. Nylon? Take a hike. It might sound hyperbolic, but it was kind of a nightmare situation.
Worst of all, I didn’t realize my underwear was even the culprit. After many Gyno visits, I heeded my doctor’s advice and made the switch to cotton, and my issues reduced drastically. And while I still have the occasional skin sensitivity conundrum, it’s nowhere near the kind of frequency I was dealing with before. All of this to say, I’m a big-time advocate of cotton underwear, and if you’re considering migrating your underwear drawer to a cotton-only inventory, continue ahead for my favorite brands (yes, I’ve tested each and every one of them).
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I had tried ThirdLove bras in the past and already appreciated the brand’s hyper-dedication to fit (my favorite is the wireless bra, for the record). The underwear doesn’t fall short of what you’d expect; their Pima cotton is soft and breathable and I love the no-underwear-lines effect.
Everlane’s Supima cotton feels nice and delightfully soft on my skin. The brand offers a tight edit of colors and cuts, all leaning into a classic, minimalist vibe that jives well with my sensibilities. I also appreciate their return policy for your first pair of underwear (if it doesn’t fit, you can send it back within 30 days to get a refund or store credit).
As someone whose top priority when it comes to underwear is material, Pact is a no-brainer for me. The brand’s organic cotton is impressively breathable and I like that it is transparent about the Fair Trade factories its products are made in.
Botanica Workshop, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Their organic cotton underwear is the kind that makes me want to put it on and nothing else (which I often do at home) — so stylish, so cozy, so good.
In truth, I had never thought I’d try Skims solely because I’m not a shapewear kind of gal. But when I laid eyes on the cotton underwear (namely, the string bikini and briefs) I was hooked. The look is distinctly ‘90s-inspired and molds seamlessly to my body.
I love Commando’s cotton bikini and thong for when I want a “naked” effect — AKA, no underwear lines. The raw-cut edges make it feel like I’m wearing nothing in the best way possible.
Hara the Label
Hara the Label made me fall in love with high-rise underwear (the brand offers other cuts, but the high rise is queen). The undies are technically crafted from bamboo, not cotton, but this natural fabric feels equally breathable and causes zero irritation for me.
When I came across Oddobody, I felt seen in the truest sense of the phrase. The brand’s mission is centered around the idea that 100% organic cotton underwear is what’s best for your vagina. To put it simply, I’m obsessed.
I’m originally from California so have a soft spot in my heart for this CA-based company. But hometown loyalty aside, Pansy’s organic cotton underwear is among my favorites because I love the way it feels on my skin, am smitten with the color options, and the silhouettes are cool and classic.
ARQ’s high-rise undies are crafted to perfection and come in a slew of exciting colorways. I’d 10/10 recommend wearing these briefs while working from home with a cute cropped sweater, speaking from experience.
I’ve been wearing Richer Poorer’s boxer briefs for ages now and can say with confidence they are among the most comfortable undies in my collection (though truthfully, they’re all pretty comfortable these days!). I recently acquired the tie-dye version and can confirm they are as fun to wear as they look.
Savage x Fenty
Rihanna’s lingerie line includes plenty of lacy options, but the colorful cotton briefs are a must if you prefer playful underwear.
Kotn’s undies are made from Egyptian cotton and come in earth-toned colors that have a romantic bent to them. I normally don’t like prominent waistbands on my underwear but these styles are an exception.
I don’t remember when this leak-proof underwear entered my orbit, but I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s are my go-to underwear when I’m on my period, and always feel heavenly on my skin.
Nubian Skin offers comfortable cotton underwear in a diverse range of nude shades. For those who find that other labels aren’t inclusive enough in their “nude” options, here you’ll find something for you.
Knickey creates undies with organic cotton and its thongs are definitely one of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn because of the balance between stretch and cotton in the areas that matter most. As a side note, this holiday season the brand has a few cute colors coming out that would make for a good stocking stuffer (Sugar Plum, Fig Leaf, and Cherry — all to be released between November 4 and 19).
Made by hand in Los Angeles, Proclaim offers a range of high-coverage options — both in a handful of nudes and bold colors that are fun to wear on days when you want to skip pants altogether.
Stripe & Stare
This is the pair of underwear that kicked off my foray into a cotton-only rule. After wearing a few pairs several days in a row and realizing how much better I felt down there, I knew it was no coincidence. Also, it is no exaggeration when I say Stripe & Stare’s underwear is exceptionally soft.