As the calendar turns to another year, many of us find ourselves making resolutions, setting goals, and embracing the idea of "new year, new you". The process of reflection and introspection can be useful for us to re-centre ourselves around our priorities and focus on what really matters. However, it can also be highly self-critical and can often promote hyper-consumerism, as well as making us feel guilty if we can't do everything as perfectly as the images we see promoted across social media channels.
This year, we've already seen more of a push-back against the annual perfectionist drive, with many people instead embracing more of the 'new year, more me' trend instead. At Y.O.U Underwear, we've taken a different approach and are going for a 'new year, new underwear' angle, as we start by looking at the most important item in our wardrobes to see how we can have more impact.
With sustainability at the very heart of what we do, we're all about getting the most out of our undies and encourage customers to mend, repair and re-purpose their old items before replacing them. Indeed, we even ran a clothes mending workshop in our Oxford shop last year to help you get started with repairing items. However we also recognise the importance of knowing when to let go of those old pants you've had for years, no matter how lucky they might be...
Why is it important to replace your underwear regularly:
1) Hygiene and health
Our underwear serves as a primary protective layer between our bodies and outer clothing and the world and absorb sweat and bodily secretions. Over time bacteria can accumulate in the fabric, leading to potential hygiene concerns and health issues like increasing the risk of urinary tract and yeast infections as well as skin irritation. Regularly replacing your underwear can ensure a fresh and clean foundation, promoting better personal hygiene, intimate area health and reducing the risk of infections and discomfort.
2) Comfort and fit
Your body is constantly changing, and so your underwear should change with it - remember, it's meant to feel good, look great and empower you! At Y.O.U, we are firm believers in body positivity and comfort first, and there is no reason to be wearing underwear two sizes too small for you just because of what the label says! Wearing underwear that is too small is not only really uncomfortable, but can also be really bad for your circulation, intimate health, and create mega VPL (visible panty line) - not a good look!
3) Environmental considerations and embracing sustainable practices
A lot has changed in the fashion world in the last few years - gone are the days of Victoria's Secret's grip on the underwear industry and a lack of alternatives to their synthetic, unsustainable underwear. Now, there are so many great products and brands that are infinitely more sustainable, both socially and environmentally. By choosing quality, durable and ethically-made undies, you can contribute to a more sustainable fashion cycle, as well as reducing your own social and environmental footprint.
So, how do you know when its time to embark on an undies draw refresh?
1) You can't remember the last time (if ever) you have cleaned this drawer out:
While there is no hard and fast rule on how often you should replace your underwear, some experts recommend every 6-12 months or so. Whilst we think items should last much longer than that, it will depend on the quality of the garments and how many pairs you have. If you have a smaller number of pairs in rotation that you wash regularly, you may need to replace them more frequently as they will have gone through more daily wears and washes and their quality may have degraded more rapidly. We always recommend using a cool wash (30 degs) and not tumble drying items, as that helps increase their lifespan and is more environmentally friendly too. Investing in high quality underwear made from breathable, sustainable fabrics like our 100% GOTS certified organic undies which are super comfortable and long-lasting, will also ensure you can love the same knickers for longer.
2) Your undies are showing some tell tale signs of wear:
As much as we may love our old undies, we need to give them a critical look and assess the signs and symptoms that suggest that its time for them to go. These include:
- Holes and tears
- Stretched fabric and faded colours
- Worn out elastic
Save My Knickers is a great product for removing stains, and holes and fading themselves aren't necessarily reasons to replace items, but they are triggers to make you think about repairing them, re-using as cleaning cloths for example, or starting to improve your stitching skills!
3) Your underwear doesn't make you feel good
It is easy to overlook the importance of underwear in how we feel about and express ourselves. Indeed, access to underwear is itself the founding inspiration behind our whole business, so it's important to recognise how it can boost our confidence and self-esteem, as well as dignity and even safety. A refresh - or even tidy - of our underwear drawers can help us to feel good, and clearing items is said to create mental as well as physical space.
What should you do with your old underwear?
If you have decided to part with some of your old underwear, it's important that you dispose of it properly and sustainably. For the past 2 years, we have been recycling old underwear thanks to our partnership with TerraCycle. We collect old garments and turn them into usable products rather than them ending up in Landfill. As well as accepting our own underwear, we will recycle socks, underwear, tights and swimwear from any brand!
If you're local to Oxford, you can drop your clean underwear, socks & tights at our shop in Oxford’s Covered Market, directly into the TerraCycle box, 7 days a week.
If you're elsewhere, or can't get to the shop, you can post them to us at Y.O.U Underwear, 11 Bodley Place, Oxford, OX2 7TF and we'll make sure they get recycled.
Another great way to repurpose your old undies is to make them into rags. Rather than sending your underwear straight to landfill, and hence contributing to the negative impact of the fashion impact on the environment, why not repurpose them? These garments can make great dusting and cleaning rags.
So, with all that considered, we think that everyone can agree that it's time for some underwear drawer spring cleaning! Our underwear at Y.O.U is a great way to embrace these new principles for your undies, combining environmental and social sustainability with comfort, style and functionality. Explore how all our underwear is made with eco-friendly materials, ethical manufacturing practices and innovative packaging options to make a positive impact on you and the planet!
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