What material should your underwear be made from?

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Choice is always a good thing, but too much choice can be overwhelming. If you’ve been going backward and forward between natural and synthetic materials when trying to buy underwear, then this blog could be the saving grace you’ve been looking for.

Material can make a huge difference to your comfort levels and may even impact how long your underwear lasts, so it isn’t a decision to brush off. Below you’ll find some of the most common materials that underwear is made from, helping you to make an informed decision.



Cotton underwear is undoubtedly the best choice for day-to-day wear. It’s both breathable and absorbent while having a lower price point than some other fabrics. However, cotton underwear can be more expensive when it’s organic or ethically sourced. Cotton is a particularly safe choice for women who often experience irritation or infections. Of course, it’s always best to consult a doctor for advice, but cotton underwear is very unlikely to make any problems you have worse.

If you are opting for underwear that isn’t made from cotton, make sure that the gusset is 100% cotton, as this will still offer the breathability you need to stay comfortable.



The ultimate luxury fabric, silk underwear is certainly a way you could treat yourself. Not only is silk breathable, but it also feels incredibly smooth and soft. This lightweight material should leave you feeling comfortable and confident, but it’s usually too much of an indulgence for most people to choose as their everyday underwear.



While cotton underwear is good for pretty much every circumstance, mesh underwear is actually much better for exercising in. If you know you’re headed to the gym or are about to roll out your yoga mat, you may want to consider switching out your underwear for a pair made of mesh. This fabric is light and dries quickly, helping to keep sweat from building up on your skin. You may also be able to find underwear made from performance sports fabrics as well, which could be worth investing in if you run long distances or work out daily.



A manmade fabric that’s widely available, nylon isn’t the best choice for underwear, though it may be cheap. Nylon also usually has a soft feel, which can tempt many women into buying it. However, nylon lacks breathability and will hold onto your skin’s natural oils. This means that even after you wash your underwear, it may never smell quite as fresh as you’d like.



Despite being processed, modal isn’t the worst fabric for underwear. It feels really soft to touch and is actually more absorbent than cotton. However, modal fabric currently costs a lot more than cotton, making it less accessible for people. You’ll also need to pay close attention to the washing instructions to make sure it stays in great shape.

There’s no harm in buying underwear that isn’t made from the best fabric, just make sure you’re not wearing these every day and only used them for particular occasions.


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Written by Lola McQuenzie

Lola is one of our busiest writer. She has worked for Catwalk Yourself since 2007. Lola started working with us after she graduating from Central St Martins

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