With the increase of performance apparel on the market its easy to get lost in all of the wicking, anti-macrobial, anti-chaffing and anti-whatever else is on those sales tags. After four months on the road here’s my break down of performance women’s intimate apparel:
REI: Function and soft, the REI panties were in the running for number one from the beginning. Available in several seasonal colors and cuts, they also were the cheapest of the ones I tried at about $16 a pair. Unfortunately the craftsmanship is poor. The material has stood up well to constant hand washings and wringing, but the seam quality is just not there. In both pairs the material has separated from the seam in the same places. [ad#reviews] In addition their design was clearly by a man as they don’t address all the features women want- mainly they have bulky seams which lead to VPL. If I didn’t want it at home I don’ t want it on the road. They also have a tendency to ride up and tend to run small. (Why on earth would someone make a women’s intimate apparel line run small- NO ONE wants to buy a bigger size, come on REI!) Bottom Line: Due to quality and design flaws these are below average. Best thing about these: REI has a good refund and return policy for members.
ExOfficio: I have used Ex Officio’s panties for several years. They function really well, great for exercise or high intensity activities. The quality is excellent, no sign of any rips or seam flaws (I’ve had one pair for almost 3 years!) and they wash and dry easily. The only con I can see is that they don’t have cute designs. Available in a few colors there are no designs, just solids, which is fine, but not exciting. All the designs I’ve had tend to run slightly large so if you are in between sizes I suggest sizing down. (yay!) Regular MSRP is $25, but I was able to pick up a few pairs on sale at REI for about $15. Bottom Line: Excellent quality, very practical, but could make the designs cuter. Highly Recommended. 🙂
Patagonia: Tested both the boy cut briefs and the camisole. I LOVE the patagonia line. Very functional and well designed I find myself wishing I could wear these every day. Remarkably comfortable and cute, the Patagonia boy cut briefs have an excellent fit and are high quality. They have stood up to four months of hand washing without a single tear or snag. Their seams are flat so none of the VPL problems, and did I mention they fit really well? The camisole is adorable and even though its cream the fabric is thick enough not to be see through. Its comfortable enough to sleep in on a 14 hour bus ride and I appreciate the small design details like wrapping the seams in soft fabric. I’ve found both the camisole and the bottoms to run very true to size. MSRP is higher than the other two brands tested, but they occasionally go on sale. Bottom Line: Excellent design, quality and style. Highly Recommended.