It’s been awhile since I covered undergarments here on the blog, but these foundational pieces are the most important part of any wardrobe. An otherwise comfortable outfit can be ruined by underwear that aren’t a good fit.
Knickey contacted me to see if I’d like to try out some of their underwear (gifted), and I’ve been pretty excited to tell you more about them. But, it’s taken me awhile to write this review for two reasons – first, I’ve been wearing their underwear for a few weeks so I can form a proper opinion, and second, I’ve been trying to find a good way to write about my experience specifically as it relates to organic cotton and feminine health. Because let’s face it, talking about your underpants and health can be hard on the internet (remember, I have a full-time job outside of blogging…hey everyone!)
But let’s just get into it, because I think this is a really interesting, important topic that we should absolutely be comfortable talking about.
Knickey makes certified organic cotton undies. And, natural, breathable fibers are just straight-up better for your vaginal health. The statistics are clear: 75% of women will get a vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lifetime, more than 40% will get multiple, and 8-10% will experience chronic infections each year. The vagina is also one of the most absorptive organs of the body, and links directly to reproductive organs. Knickey set out to raise the bar with breathable (that means no petroleum-based fibers!), organic underwear that is free of harmful pesticides.
Something I loved about Knickey, before I even tried their underwear, was the way they talked about organic cotton and health in their marketing materials. I believe that too many companies market their organic and sustainable products using a fear-based approach, and as a sustainability marketer myself, I strongly disagree with that strategy. So much of the sustainability marketing out there takes advantage of consumers who want to make the right choices with their purchases, but simply don’t have the background in the industry to understand what claims are accurate (and that is nothing to feel bad about, we all can’t know everything). Knickey clearly and honestly lays out the argument for organic cotton on their website, stating:
While many chemicals may not pose a threat to human health, other key chemicals used in textile production have known effects on human and environmental health – but are still regularly used by mainstream brands. In fact, only a fraction of all textile-related substances have undergone toxicity testing for safety to work with – and even fewer to wear. Some are known carcinogens [read: cancer-causing], endocrine disruptors which are extremely harmful to hormonal systems and reproductive health. Ingredients for many of these chemicals are actually protected by “Trade Secrets” and can’t be properly tested for human safety.
Many chemicals do not pose a threat to our health – at the dosage we are typically exposed to – but there are certainly pesticides we know to be harmful, and there is still a lot of research to be done on how many of the substances we are exposed to daily can affect women’s reproductive health. Please bear in mind that I am, of course, not a doctor, but am familiar with some of the research on this given the industry I work in. To put it simply, there is just a lot we don’t know about many of the substances we are exposed to. That doesn’t mean we need to be afraid, just that we need to be aware. While I think Knickey’s language is definitely persuasive about choosing organic cotton, I don’t believe it to be using a fear-based approach.
They also have the certifications to back up their claims – their underwear is Organic Global Textile Standard Certified, Fairtrade International Certified and OEKO-TEX certified.
Choosing organic cotton has benefits outside of your pants, too. It is safer for plants, animals and other humans than conventional cotton, and is farmed in a way that helps promote biodiversity.
Organic cotton uses 91% less ‘blue’ water (from groundwater and surface-water bodies, such as freshwater lakes and rivers) than conventional cotton, and growing organic cotton, rather than conventional cotton, also reduces levels of water pollution by 98%.
Organic cotton is also sourced using fair labor standards with workers who are paid a living wage. Forced labor is a well-documented issue in the conventional cotton supply chain. Knickey’s underwear is responsibly and fairly grown and made in India.
Lastly, and of particular interest to me, is the fact that Knickey has a recycling program for your old undies. Again, I’m impressed that they speak clearly and accurately on their process here – the undies are recycled in NYC and turned into things like insulation and rug pads, which is a common use for “downcycled” textiles.
I tried out the Low-Rise Thong and the High-Rise Brief and really liked both of them. Overall, they are both very comfortable and breathable, as promised. Without going into the details, I suffered from some of the health issues Knickey has set out to alleviate with their products, and it severely affected my quality of life for a long time. So choosing organic and breathable fibers is important to me, and I’m glad that more brands are starting to keep women’s health and well-being in mind when designing products.
The rise on the thong isn’t really that low-rise, which I was happy about since I prefer a higher-rise undie. Bear in mind that I also have a pretty short torso, though. The thing I like most about their thongs, however, is the fit in the crotch. There is no polite way to say this, but most brands make the crotch area of their thongs way too small!!!! Why?! These have full coverage in the front, and they don’t move around during your day and end up in some sort of uncomfortable location. I will likely never buy another brand of thong again, as this has been a huge annoyance for me in the past and has finally been resolved.
As for the high-rise brief, the rise was really high on me! I love them, but have to wear them only with my highest-rise bottoms (again, the short torso). Many high-rise undies feel bulky and thick underneath your clothes, but these are comfortable and fit well, even under tight denim.
The thinner waistband is comfortable and didn’t roll down when I moved, which is another plus. My only complaint is that after washing, the trim on the legs did get a bit ripply and didn’t lay as flat as it did new, but they still fit fine.
Overall, I’d really recommend their undies if you’re looking for a brand that is relatively affordable, sustainable and comfortable. I also believe they market their products in a responsible way, which is so needed when companies are making claims about health and sustainability.
Questions? Thoughts on organic cotton? Drop me a comment!