From sexy lace to sensible cotton and the comfiest of organic PJs these sustainable lingerie and sleepwear brands offer gorgeous options for every need. Ditch the polyester forever.
Nothing is quite as intimate as our relationship with our intimates. They support us, make us feel sexy, and are the foundation of any killer outfit. It might come as a surprise to you though that the undergarments that we hold so dear are usually made out of polyester — a plastic byproduct. How could something that so closely touches our skin be so unsustainable and bad for the planet?
What’s wrong with polyester?
The problems with polyester run the gamut. They’re sourced from fossil fuels, contributing to climate change through the release of CO2 and other heat-trapping gases. This non-biodegradable material requires more than 70 billion barrels of oil every year to satisfy global demand.
Compared to cotton, the poster fabric for natural and sustainable material (although cotton has many of its own issues, especially organic cotton) polyester production requires twice as much energy. And unlike cotton, which can be dyed with low-impact and natural dyes, polyester requires more toxic chemical dyes that have been linked to human health issues as well as damage to waterways. The fashion industry is a leading producer of wastewater.
Polyester’s problems are further amplified by its contributions to the microplastic problem afflicting the world’s oceans. Just one polyester garment can shed up to 2,000 microplastic fibers with each wash. These microplastics pollute the oceans, marine life, and water supply.
Like plastic, polyester also doesn’t break down easily, meaning most polyester garments will outlive their wearers and contribute to toxic leachate in landfills.
Luckily, with the emerging knowledge of the fashion industry’s flaws, there are a growing number of brands creating better garments, including lingerie. Here are some of our favorites.
Sustainable lingerie trends
Whether you wear lingerie for your partner, for yourself, only on special occasions, or all the time, there is no denying the sexy, feminine energy that comes from sporting your favorite set.
And like all fashion, there are some styles that are timeless classics, while others come and go with the latest trends. So if you are looking to break into the world of lingerie, want a fresh way to wear your ideal unlined bras, or love to experiment, these trends are a great place to start.
If lockdown fashion taught us anything, it was that comfort is the biggest priority when it comes to dressing for the day. And while the world might have returned to ‘normal,’ the thought of returning to uncomfortable wired bras is not something many women can get on board with.
The excellent news is bras designers have gotten ahead, and a big trend for 2023 is bras with minimal wiring for ultimate comfort. There is still plenty of support on offer without the discomfort of a sharp wire poking into you. Go one step further and indulge in the newest range of high-support, non-wired bras, perfect for everyday use.
Underwear as outerwear
This trend was first spotted at the end of 2021 and has since gained further popularity. Wearing bras, bralettes, and lace bodysuits as outer garments are one of the hottest trends for 2023, perfectly suited under a blazer and oversized buttoned shirt.
Pair them with high-waisted jeans, tailored trousers, or the chic pencil skirt in your closet for an empowering and ultrafeminine date night option or for drinks out with friends.
Bold colors and textures
Following the trends made popular in 2021 and 2022, bright colors and luxurious textures show no signs of slowing down come 2023. Hot pink was a dominating color last year and is still going strong this season, with burnt orange, french navy, and olive green being introduced into the mix.
In addition to these new colors, premium materials in textures like mesh, sheer, and Tencel will find their way into collections, exciting the senses and brighten your wardrobe.
Bows have made yet another comeback in everyday fashion, bridalwear, and of course, the lingerie community. The flirty feminine detail can transform any garment into a more sophisticated version of itself.
Alternatively, bras and bodysuits with strategically placed bows will make it clear that you’re the ultimate gift. Avoid covering these cute details for the best effect, making them ideal for a fun evening at home.
A completely sheer mesh bodysuit acts as the stencil your body is ready to fill. While you are technically entirely covered, it will look and feel like nothing is there. It is the ultimate way to add sex appeal to any outfit, with a flirty lace bra on show underneath.
Utilize sheer bodysuits to follow the underwear as outerwear trend that will also dominate in 2023. They come in multiple colors, with various patterns and designs embroidered throughout the piece, giving you an option for any occasion.
There is a quality of lace that is simply unmatched by other fabrics. It is the perfect combination of sexy, laid-back, and timeless that you can spend a lot of time and money trying to recreate. It has been around for years and continues to dominate.
If you are new to the lingerie world, embracing the all-over lace trend gives you a relaxed and effortlessly sexy effect. Lace is the perfect balance of suggestion while leaving just enough to the imagination.
There was a time when simply seeing a bra strap was deemed inappropriate. However, the days of outdated requirements are long gone, as 2023 will see a boom in strappy lingerie. Everything from bralettes and bras to full bodysuits will be made up of interconnected straps.
It is a subtle nod to the risque world of bondage, with very little left to the imagination, depending on what you pick. For those looking to embrace this trend fully, multi-strap open one-pieces will accentuate every line of your body in a playful and very sultry way.
For those slightly more reserved, a nude bra and underwear set with black strap detail will give the illusion you are after while still allowing you to feel confident and comfortable.
Sustainable lingerie brands
Sustainability is always in fashion, and 2023 will be a big year for brands to step up and take control of the sustainable fashion market. Compared to most other clothing categories, it is nearly impossible to donate, rent, or re-sell underwear due to hygiene standards and requirements.
To lessen the burden on global landfills, these brands are looking to make environmentally friendly products with high-quality fabric developed from recycled yarn. In addition, they are specifically designed to last longer and be manufactured in a more thoughtful way.
Cosabella is one of the premier luxury lingerie brands, making intimates in Italy since 1983. All pieces are handmade in family-run workshops by local artisans using Renaissance-era techniques for bralettes, boyshorts, and sleep sets, which are crafted from sustainable lace, mesh, and satins. Furthermore, the company only uses all-natural dyes and water sourced directly from the Alps.
Looking for simple but gorgeous intimates? Look no further than Baserange. Made exclusively from natural textiles, like organic cotton and linen, never polyester, the brand is handcrafted in the company’s Turkey factory to ensure product quality and good working conditions for employees.
3. Botanica Workshop
U.S.-based luxury lingerie brand Botanica Workshop uses sustainably sourced textiles such as organic cotton and recycled nylon to craft beautiful pieces. All materials are naturally dyed and the domestic factory uses eco-friendly operation policies. We love the sporty yet sexy vibe of their separates and absolutely adore this organic cotton slip dress.
Looking for classic and comfy basics? Knickey has the organic cotton undergarments for you. Not only are the styles perfect for everyday life, from under t-shirts to dresses, but they are also so comfy you won’t dream of taking them off. As part of their quest for circularity, you can also send in your old pieces to be recycled.
Parade makes something for everyone. Not only is this sustainable brand extremely size-inclusive, but it also offers its bras and panties in numerous cuts and colors. The separates are extremely comfy and most are from recycled materials.
SKIN has some of the softest and cutest loungewear around. The neutral colors and organic fabrics are perfect for a day in. Additionally, the company works with small-scale and family-owned factories in Peru where the utmost care is taken in creating products made with natural fabrics and ethical manufacturing.
Anekdot creates beautiful and delicate lingerie with deadstock materials and vintage trimmings. The Berlin-based brand uses local and ethical production across Germany and Poland, which means a shorter supply chain and increased transparency. Additionally, many of the items are made to order to avoid overproduction.
Related on Ethos: