Fashion + Lingerie

Should you really buy cheap underwear? Five Compelling Reasons to invest in quality lingerie.

When it comes to underwear and lingerie, choosing quality over quantity is essential. While skimpy styles are totally fine, skimping on quality can have serious drawbacks. There’s more to consider than just appearance or style – be it a thong, high-waist, or brief. Cheap synthetic bras and panties can negatively impact your health and the environment. Discover five compelling reasons to invest in high-quality, sustainable lingerie for your everyday essentials.

May 30, 2024

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In today's world of fast fashion, buying cheap throwaway clothing has become the norm. And underwear is no exception. In fact, when it comes to our undies, it’s very easy to fall into the ‘out of sight, out of mind, so why spend the money’ trap. 

But there are many reasons why investing in ethically made, sustainable underwear may be even more important than focusing on outerwear. And remember, you get what you pay for! 

Here are five reasons why your underwear shouldn't cost less than a cup of coffee.

1. Your Health Matters: The Benefits of High-Quality, Sustainable Underwear

Sustainable TENCEL™ bras hanging on a rack

Most of the time our undies are out of sight, so why the fuss? Well, that’s one way to look at it. But in fact, your bras and knickers are the first things you put on in the morning, and the closest things you wear to your skin everyday, giving you support while at the same time protecting your delicate areas. 

If you are buying cheap underwear, it’s likely you are investing in non-breathable, synthetic materials like nylon and polyester that are prone to trapping heat and moisture, and may even cause friction. This in turn, can lead to discomfort and an increased risk of infections, like thrush and bacterial vaginosis.

And it's not just down under that cheap under-garments may aggravate. Bras often have their own issues too. Too-loose bras can cause friction and irritation under your breasts causing under-boob chafing. And, too-tight bras can cause pressure on the neck in turn causing stiffness, discomfort, and even shoulder and back pain that can lead to headaches. 

Underwire can dig in and leave unsightly marks on the skin. And non-breathable fabrics cause sweating, creating the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to grow. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a rash can develop.  Not exactly the desired effect you're looking for from a garment that should be making you feel comfortable and supported.

Instead, lingerie pieces made from long-lasting, high-quality materials like TENCEL™ Modal, while a little more costly in the short term, are kind to your skin, promote overall health and comfort, and look good in the process too. 

2. Caring for the Environment: The Hidden Price of Fast Fashion

A large pile of discarded clothing

There’s no doubt, everyone loves a bargain. But there is almost always an unseen price to pay. With all the talk about the environment these days, it makes sense to question how the big fashion houses can sell their products so cheaply. Yet sustainable brands seem to come at an unwarranted higher price. But there is a very good explanation. 

For one thing, fast-fashion brands use cheap synthetic fibres like polyester, nylon, and acrylic to create their low cost items. These textiles take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Furthermore, just from laundering these types of materials, tiny pieces of non-biodegradable plastic, microplastics, end up in our waterways and oceans.

And here’s just a few staggering facts. Did you know, the fashion industry may be responsible for up to 10% of global emissions? It takes 3.781 litres of our precious water just to make a single pair of jeans. And, have you ever wondered what happens to the enormous amount of unsold clothing items left for shops to dispose of? Well, they end up in landfill or are simply burnt. According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, a truckload of clothing is destroyed every second. All of this, so we can keep up with the latest trends. Before we even consider the environment, when you think of the poor and homeless that could benefit from all this waste, it is very sad indeed. 

On the other hand, well-made, higher quality items made from sustainable materials, necessarily cost the brand, and you as a consumer, a little more. But, this enables brands to create quality products in a more eco-conscious way that will last longer, keeping them in your drawer and out of the landfill. So, you not only do yourself a favour, but you help the environment too!

3. Ethical Considerations: The Human Cost of Cheap Underwear

A garment factory with idle sewing machines

With sustainability, our planet is not the only element to consider. We need to think about people too. In an ideal world, we all  expect to be treated fairly and paid properly for our work. But this isn’t always the case. Unfortunately like a lot of fast fashion items, cheap underwear often comes at a high human cost. Often, behind those tempting deals are exploited garment workers enduring harsh working conditions and unfair wages. 

Paying fair wages and making working conditions more humane would do a lot to slow down fast fashion and also reduce the gender pay gap. It is estimated that women account for about 80 per cent of the approximately 91 million workers in the global garment manufacturing industry! And on top of that, as few as 2% of all garment workers are paid a living wage for their work. This is particularly true in poorer nations, where many garment workers are on average receiving just 55 percent of the pay they need to achieve a decent standard of living. 

One of the key aspects of a truly sustainable business is consideration of the labourers who are responsible for its production. Genuinely sustainable brands will prioritise fair trade practice and strive to ensure that their workers are paid a fair living wage, work in safe conditions, and are given the benefits to which they are entitled, like health and education. 

By paying a little more, you are contributing to the fight against labour exploitation and helping promote fair treatment of workers in the fashion industry.

4. How Your Lingerie Choice Can Empower Global Communities

A sign saying 'Fast fashion doesn't go with my outfit' in front of a stack of jeans

Your purchase has the power to make a positive impact on communities worldwide. Unlike the big fashion houses, small sustainable businesses are often run by local and independent designers who prioritise transparency, employ fair trade principles, and can back their claims with certifications. They will strive to have a smaller environmental footprint and contribute to the local economy at the grassroots level. 

While finding the best sustainable underwear brands may require some research, it is well worth the effort. With just a little digging, you can find reviews and testimonials to support the brand’s reputation and the quality of their products. So, your investment goes beyond the product itself – it's a vote for a more equitable world.

5. Why Quality Sustainable Lingerie is Worth the Investment

A women wearing a comfortable bra and panties set in coral blue is lying on a bed and smiling
The Freya Wrap Bra and Hestia High-Waisted Panty in Coral blue. Shop our collection.

Everybody loves a bargain. And cheap undies may seem like an irresistible steal at first. But true to the adage, ‘you get what you pay for’, these cut-rate ‘deals’ can rapidly fall apart after even just a few wears. Not to mention the fit! 

Cheap materials often lose shape and can cause the dreaded ‘wedgies’ that even proper fitting thongs should not be guilty of.  Who wants to be constantly adjusting knickers that are falling down or riding up? 

On the other hand, quality sustainable lingerie is designed to last, maintaining its shape and its softness for many wears. Investing in quality-made lingerie made with our favourite sustainable materials like TENCEL™ Modal or organic cotton pays off in the long run. 

Environmentally-friendly materials will withstand the test of time meaning fewer replacements, less waste, and a more enjoyable wearing experience. So what might seem to be more costly, works out much less expensive in the end. 

When something looks too good to be true, it usually is. Emmy Rossum

Final Thoughts

Investing in quality sustainable lingerie isn't just about self-indulgence – it's about making a conscious choice to prioritise ethics, save money in the long-term, protect the environment, support global communities, and it's about your own well-being. So it’s worth asking how it is possible for retailers to sell their products at such low prices. 

With all this in mind, the next time you're tempted by those ‘money-saving’ bargains, consider the true cost of your underwear and be sure to buy from brands that align with your values!

Ready to make the switch? Explore our latest collection of ethically made, sustainable undies, and experience the difference for yourself. 

After recently winding down from a distinguished career in the health and wellness industry, Siobhán is now channelling her passions into writing and editing. She is dedicated to the wellbeing of people and the planet, using her prose to educate others about sustainable living and environmental protection. When not working, you'll likely find her in the garden planting veggies and flowers, walking, or enjoying the wildlife in the surrounding woods.

Siobhán O'Reilly

After recently winding down from a distinguished career in the health and wellness industry, Siobhán is now channelling her passions into writing and editing. She is dedicated to the wellbeing of people and the planet, using her prose to educate others about sustainable living and environmental protection. When not working, you'll likely find her in the garden planting veggies and flowers, walking, or enjoying the wildlife in the surrounding woods.