Micro Plastics

While I’m on the topic of plastic clothing, I wanted to share something new I learned this weekend. And that is that every time we wash plastic clothing, some of the fibers slough off and end up in our oceans. So cold wash, gentle cycle helps minimize that as does washing the clothes less frequently (makes them last longer too). There’s also a product called GuppyFriend that Patagonia sells ($30) that supposedly catches 99% of the fibers. I don’t have one yet. At any rate, that bit of news killed my activewear shopping rampage. What a bummer.

Before this whole social-media-induced-fitspo-athleisure-wear-that-resurrected-polyester-from-the-80s thing took off, cotton was my workout fabric preference anyway. Who cares if it showed sweat. I’m exercising!! That’s what happens. But then everything became leggings and sweat wicking technology and dri-whatever, which does feel nice. On the other hand, I had always had this thought that plastic on my skin mixed with heat, sweat, and open pores seemed like a bit of a toxic bath. So all this is to say I’m not tossing any of my leggings that I just bought these past few months, but I’m hopping off this bandwagon for now. It was a fun ride. I’ll give the GuppyFriend a try and reassess.

For all those still on board (I don’t blame you! Leggin’s for miles!), I found this company that makes high quality leggings using recycled plastic bottles. Girlfriend Collective. Actually, their site is where I learned about microfiber plastics. Otherwise I was about ready to buy another last pair of leggings!

Ok, for real this time. This is the last pair!

Sometime last year I enthusiastically jumped on the leggings activewear bandwagon. And I have been on a shopping rampage ever since. There’s the capri, the full length, ankle length, high-waisted, solid, patterned, nylon, polyester, seamless on and ON!

By now, I have racked up enough pairs that I can’t even go through them all in a week despite my best efforts to exercise on a semi-consistent schedule. I’m gonna stop though. Seriously. After this next pair that’s arriving from Amazon, I’m fer reals gonna stop. This is the last pair! I can’t keep buying leggings! There’s no room for them! I’ve already dedicated an entire dresser drawer to activewear and they only fit in there because I keep 80% of my workout clothes at work. So I’m a bit late in the resolutions game, but hey we’re still in January (this month is draggin’), and if I have a new year’s resolution, it’s to try to reign in my passionate love affair with plastic clothing.

    However! Since I’ve been racking up experience with leggings, here’s my general thoughts and opinions about them.

  1. Nylon (as opposed to polyester) can be riskier with being see-through (a.k.a – not squat-proof, as in every time you squat, your underpants show)
  2. Dark colored leggings aren’t as fun but if you’re self-conscious in a class, they blend into the crowd. Also they won’t show sweat. Also, you can wear the black ones under a nice tunic and they can double as work-wear.
  3. Patterned leggings hide VPL the best. The busier the better.
  4. A crotch gusset is preferred. I think it helps minimize camel-toe.
  5. Light colored leggings, though pretty, are the most unforgiving in terms of showing imperfections, like VPL and being less squat-proof. I’m not brave enough to sport no-pattern light-colored leggings.
  6. High-waisted leggings hold in the belly better. It can handle a burrito baby, no problem! I’m a fan of high-waisted pants. Mom jeans all the way.
  7. Full length leggings are more versatile year-round. They’re good to have in the winter and they are generally breathable enough to be worn in the summer too. So I’ve been leaning towards full- or ankle-lengths. Capris are still easier in the summer though.
  8. US-made leggings aren’t always the highest quality. Unfortunately. For example, I got a pair of US-made leggings (Phat Buddha) and they pilled after the first wash. I still wear them and they’re very comfortable (seamless), but it speaks to the quality of them. I’m seeing a lot of high-end activewear coming out of Vietnam and other Asian countries.
  9. How I Care for my plastic clothes: Wash minimally. I wear my items a number of times before I wash them and when I do, it’s in cold water, gentle cycle. Hang to dry. This makes them last longer.

There’s nothing like putting on a nice workout outfit to get in the mood to exercise. Even if I’m just doing it in my living room.