12
Oct
11

Underwhere: Underwear Made in America

Main point – it is difficult to find made in USA underwear, but they can be found. (At the bottom of the blog entry, there is a list of brands of American that are still made in the USA).

It had been about nine months into my quest when I noticed that the random store shopping was getting me nowhere in the underwear department. I had investigated everywhere or so I thought: Sears, J.C. Penny, Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as the discount stores: Ross, T.J. Maxx, Burlington and the Designer outlets – Nada. Not even Nada had any underwear. The closest I had come to finding anything not made in Asia or Central America was a few months back. I was in one of the discount stores (I think it was a T.J. Maxx), when I came upon a box of underwear. I inspected it, it was made by a prominent designer, and made in Italy. the price tag $50. The only problem (besides the price) was that the box was empty. Either I am paying $50 for a box or the contents had been pilfered. And getting the usual help in such a place which is often none, I decided to track down any other underwear vaguely close. And what do you know, there was nothing remotely connected to this single empty box of Italian designer underwear. So, how did it get there in the first place? Of course, a brief paranoid thought passed through my mind, is somebody playing a joke on me? No, that would be crazy, but then again, why is that box here in this discount store?

After fruitless searching, I decided I needed a more directed approach. Well, at least, I knew that there was Italian underwear out there somewhere. But, the question remained: “Is there underwear still made in America?”  I remember years ago, when Fruit of the Loom proudly advertised it was made in America, but that was a long time ago, and now no longer true. So, I did a computer search – I have always felt that Google is still the best search engine, so I googled “Underwear made in USA”. And bam, 25,900,000 entries. Of course, the best leads are in the first few pages. I wanted to find an actual retail store nearby that sells underwear and I came up with a few good leads: American Apparel at the Valley Fair Shopping center in San Jose, Eco Goods in Santa Cruz and REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) in Saratoga.

My first visit was American Apparel – for more information, you may want to visit my blog entry: Favorite US Stores #1: American Apparel. So, briefly, everything in the store is made in the U.S. Their main store is in Los Angeles and that is also where their clothing manufacturing occurs. With regards to underwear, it has the largest selection of American made underwear than any other store. They had briefs, they had boxers, they had bikinis, and they had boxer briefs. There were numerous colors as well, some even neon colored. I passed on the neon colors but did end up purchasing six pairs of boxer briefs – my personal choice for the last two years. It was definitely a big score, and I can always go back for more.

My next stop was REI – a large chain of camping, accessories and clothing found all through out the US. I was looking in particular for Patagonia underwear, because up until very recently Patagonia was made in the US. I found the underclothing section and found some Patagonia – which were few and far between. Even fewer were American made underwear. I found a pair of patterned boxer briefs made in the US in my size, and right next to that pair was an identical pair except that one was made in Mexico. Probably, what is happening is that they are probably going to totally phase out all American made clothing by Patagonia. I guess I was lucky to get this one. Maybe it will be a collector’s item in a few years. But all was not lost. As I was still in the underwear section, I found the store brand – REI – also made underwear that was made in the USA. So, I bought a couple more pair of boxer briefs. I felt the visit to REI was a semi-successful venture.

The last stop was Eco Goods in downtown Santa Cruz. For those who don’t know Santa Cruz – it is a small city just 30 minutes south of San Jose requiring a trip through the Santa Cruz Mountains. The mountains keep many of the citizens of San Jose away for which the Santa Cruzians are grateful. This keeps Santa Cruz unique. In downtown Santa Cruz, there is a diverse mixture of people: aging hippies, grungers, surfers, teenagers, a few families, and a few business people. Eco Goods is also unique. It is a store that specializes in environmentally friendly products. The products are made of recycled material or made of plants, like hemp or bamboo. Some of the products are made in America, but about 65% are not. I found a couple of boxers briefs – one made by bgreen, and another made by Bamboosa.  I also purchased a couple of T-shirts and a light jacket. I f you are in the neighborhood, Eco Goods is definitely worth a visit.

For ladies underwear, the ability to find underwear made in America is even more difficult, because the percentage made in America is so low. I have found only a couple of clothing manufacturers that make ladies underwear in the U.S., there may be more, but I get a little uncomfortable shopping for this product for very long. The names are Hanky Panky Undies – which can be found in Anthropologie and Nordstrom’s; Spanx – found at Dillard’s or Nordstrom’s; and Zinke Bras – found in Anthropologie. Blue canoe makes ladies underwear, panties and bras. I found Blue Canoe at Eco Goods in Santa Cruz, California. For the lastest listing of underwear makers see my blog entry : “Listing of American clothing brands -retail”.

Updated February 26, 2014.

Listing of Underwear Brands Made in USA (found in Brick and Mortar Stores)

  1. American Apparel
  2. Araks (bra & panties)
  3. Bamboo Boxer Co.
  4. Bamboosa
  5. bgreen
  6. Bills Khakis
  7. Blanqi
  8. Blue Canoe
  9. Commando
  10. Debra Marquit
  11. Farr West (slips)
  12. Free People (bra) (rare)
  13. Flint & Tender
  14. Freemans Sporting Club
  15. Hanky Panky
  16. Kiki De Montparnasse
  17. Merona (tights)
  18. Omgirl (bra)
  19. Only Heart (Bra and panties)
  20. Parisa
  21. Patagonia
  22. REI
  23. Result Wear
  24. Second Base (cammis)
  25. Solow
  26. Spanx
  27. Special Delivery NYC
  28. Steven Alan
  29. The Lake & Stars
  30. Thom Browne
  31. Underwares USA
  32. Undrest
  33. VPL
  34. Zella
  35. Zinke

“Underwear makes me uncomfortable and besides my parts have to breath”. -Jean Harlow

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5 Responses to “Underwhere: Underwear Made in America”


  1. 1 Amy
    January 28, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Jack, great post. I was *just* thinking about this. I have been having a hard time finding a good bra. No need to go into details, but all the ones I’ve found out there don’t have the right things that I might want. Hrmph.

  2. 3 Elizabeth
    August 9, 2016 at 3:10 am

    Three months ago I purchased three packages of Fruit of the Loom Under wear for women I threw away the sales slip plus the package they came in Three Months Ago Hell’s Bell
    They are all ready coming apart at the waistband all the way around plus the right leg
    Also….Made in the USA …….B S to that try Made in Indonesia. That’s Sure the He’ll not
    USA…. I bought them at Wally Word (a/k/a
    Wal-Mart)

    IF I NEW how to sew i’d make my own
    USA Merchandise has gone to the Dog’s


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