We've had a series of lovely lace launches, and it feels like it is time to go back to basics, and give ourselves (and yourself) a break from lace. Afterall, how many lacy pieces can you possibly have in your lingerie closet? We pondered over this a little, and cotton came to our minds. A fabric we all know so well yet hardly think much of, cotton has definitely been underrated and deserves more credit than it has been getting, as compared to its lace, silk and bamboo jersey counterparts. Just like coffee, fine wines and luxury goods, not all cottons are created equal, so let us reintroduce the "fabric of our lives" to you.
Not all cottons are equal
While there are quite a few types of cottons around, there are specifically five types you need to know.
1) Egyptian Cotton
You know what Egyption cotton is. Just like how Carrie Bradshaw was crazy over Manolo Blahniks, Charlotte York of Sex and the City is the number 1 fan of 500-count Egyptian cotton bedsheets. Egyptian cotton is made in Egypt, a fine, glistening cotton that has long thinner fibers. This is the most popular cotton used to make bed sheets and cushion covers, but not so much for lingerie.
2) Upland Cotton
Upland cotton is one of the most commonly used cotton, making up around 90% of the total worldwide cotton production. It is less expensive, of a basic quality and is used to make several other fabrics. The T-shirts you and I wear are probably made from upland cotton, unless otherwise specified.
We now introduce you to three types of cottons used to manufacture high quality lingerie.
3) Pima Cotton
Pima, oh Pima. A superior blend of Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton grown in Peru, South America and Australia, it is increasingly used by lingerie manufacturers to create lingerie that is soft and durable. The Pima is similar to the Egyptian in terms of its quality and has achieved status as one of the world's best cottons. Take note - due to its highly absorbent strength, clothing and lingerie made of Pima cotton stain more easily, so be sure to only wash them with like-coloured clothing to prevent any colour runs! Also, having the word Pima cotton on the label does not necessary mean they are made of 100% Pima, unless specifically stated, which brings us to......
4) Supima Cotton
An abbreviated name for "Superior Cotton", the Supima is 100% Pima cotton solely made in the United States, and the Supima trademark is also the consumer's only guarantee that a product is made of 100% pima cotton. Furthermore, if a clothing is not made of 100% Supima, the manufacturer has to list down the weightage eg (80% Supima, 20% upland cotton), so as not to mislead the consumer. Accounting for only 3% of all cotton production in the United States, imagine how luxurious and exclusive this cotton must be! This cotton is also very durable, well able to withstand the damage from washing machines. Easy to wear, easier to wash.
5) Organic Cotton
Do you know that conventional cotton is one of the most contaminating crops on earth, using 25% of all insecticides in the world and up to 10% of all pesticides? Furthermore, most pests develop immunity to these products in 5-6 years, forcing companies to develop stronger chemicals. All these chemicals endanger the farmers and their families’ lives on a daily basis and could potentially be a hazard for all human beings using cotton products, as they contain trace toxins which are never eliminated. We might experience skin irritations, headaches and allergies from these trace chemicals, due to prolonged exposure. Organic cotton production thus seeks to restrict the use of pesticides and fertilisers to only natural ones, like the use of manure to curb pests. They are never genetically-modified, and have to be accredited by international organic standards. Also, since organic cottons are all handpicked by farmers, they are stronger and more durable compared to other types of cotton, as the use of heavy machinery and defoliants actually weakens fibres. This means that the common cottons you and I use are already damaged even before use!
Reading up about cotton has definitely made us appreciate this fabric better, and we hope it makes you feel the same way. We are also happy to know that we are on the right track, confident that we have brought the best of cottons to you. Our recommended brands - SKIN Lingerie, Knock out! Panties and Eberjey - all offer amazingly soft, smooth and durable cotton options which you can explore. One of them is even high-tech! (Guess which one?) Furthermore, they are all tried and tested - they are as soft as they claim to be - so once you go pima, you definitely cannot go back!