You’ve learned that what you put into your body matters, so you eat right, exercise, filter water, and tan on the regular.
But there’s another source of toxic exposure that the citizens of Tan Land must be well versed in, and that is clothing.
If you truly want to optimize your health and live a life of abundant vitality, you’ll have to do a wardrobe makeover as well.
In this article I’ll tell you what to avoid and what to wear instead.
The very idea of swaddling your soft skin in plastic should irk you, but in case it doesn’t, here are a few fun facts:
Men wearing polyester boxers can become sterile (sperm count = 0)
Washing, drying, and using plastic clothes spits microplastic particles into the atmosphere
These absorb through your skin and in your lungs, and cause nothing less than DNA damage and hormone dysregulation
The list goes on, but I can assure you, it doesn’t get better.
People love to hate on corrupt industries, such as the food and pharmaceutical industries, but one that often slips under the radar is the chemical industry.
The chemical industry, leading companies of which include DuPont, originally a gunpowder maker, and IG Farben, the notorious maker of Zykon B, is of course an offshoot of the petroleum and defense industries.
All “chemicals” in the modern industrial sense are petroleum derived, and one of their first use cases was weapons.
However, in times of peace, weapons don’t sell as well. So during the latter part of the 20th century, the industry repurposed its technology to more consumer-friendly products instead.
Synthetic Clothing Materials
Two of the biggest sectors in which the chemistry industry thrived include cosmetics and clothing.
That’s right, the entire modern fashion industry, including the makeup, clothing, and skincare chemicals, are direct products of the war-mongering, petroleum-pumping chemical industry.
And we wonder why all of these products are killing us.
The first major synthetic fabric, nylon was invented by none other than DuPont and released as stockings/tights in 1940, which were cheaper and stretchier than their cotton counterparts.
They were notoriously fragile, but priced to be disposable, leading to untold tons of nylon ending up in dumps over the past 80 years, but not before poisoning the legs of three generations of women.
11 years later, DuPont came out with the sequel to nylon— polyester, with the selling point that it could go months without ironing.
Nowadays, you’ll find it is the most common material used in blankets, sweatshirts, sweatpants, workout clothes, etc.
Also known as spandex, this one was brought to you by none other than DuPont in the 50s and was known as the first truly stretchy fabric.
This ultimately spawned the entire skin-tight revolution, without which yoga pants, leggings, and the 1980s would not have been possible.
Unfortunately, it is made of polyurethane, the same nauseating chemical used to seal wood. It is basically a synthetic rubber.
While nylon and polyester aren’t necessary materials, natural fabrics unsurprisingly don’t stretch in the same way, so even in many “natural” clothes, you’ll often find a few percent of elastane/spandex/lycra.
If you want to be a purist, you’d avoid it entirely, but sometimes it’s useful.
Real Clothing Materials
There are too many synthetic fabrics to list. That’s why I will list the fabrics you should use. Just avoid anything not on this list, as the guards at the entrance to Tan Land will deny entry to anyone wearing unapproved materials of synthetic origin.
Cotton did not become widespread until the industrial revolution. Granted, it is a natural fiber that is minimally chemically processed, so it makes the cut.
Cotton should be organic, which means it isn’t soaked in harmful pesticides. After a few washes though, the material should be clean enough even if it wasn’t organic.
Cotton is the standard American material for jeans and t-shirts. Finding pure cotton is a lot harder than it seems— even “organic cotton” brands will sneak in some polyester here and there.
Here’s where you can get fully cotton clothes:
Farm Fresh Clothing Co. My favorite t-shirts and hoodies come from here
Sol Apparels. These are my favorite shorts; they also sell t-shirts and hoodies
Etsy is a gold mine for handmade, quality items, clothes in particular. You’d be surprised how inexpensive they are too, compared to name brands
Banana Republic has an organic cotton line. Make sure to read the materials list fully though
Pact has a lot of good options for everything. I hear especially good things about their boxers.
Rag and Bone is my favorite store for jeans. But most good, “selvedge” denim will be 100% cotton.
Vermont Flannel Company makes 100% organic cotton flannel everything. If you’re into flannel, there is no better choice.
Advent Intimates sells mostly organic cotton womens’ lingerie (with a little elastane). I don’t have any experience with their stuff personally but my female instagram followers speak highly of it.
The first non-vegan fabric on this list, silk has always been a luxury fabric, affordable only to royalty and the very wealthiest Europeans.
It is incredibly breathable, light, and soft. Wearing flowy silk shirts is almost like wearing nothing at all.
The best places to buy it are:
Etsy again. There are some people who make recycled silk shirts from Indian sarees that are excellent.
RealReal and other vintage shops. Silk was very popular in high fashion in the 90s (thanks to Versace and friends), so these pieces will run you a few hundred bucks each.
SilkMaison has an incredibly wide array of silk items for women, mostly dresses of varying levels of formality and modesty. They are beautiful and traditional; every woman should have a few things from there.
Wool comes from the hair of sheep, goats, and similar animals, which is shaved (without killing the animal), then spun into a shockingly wide array of fabric textures.
Most expensive brands of suits etc. will use 100% wool or cashmere (goat wool). But it also is used for rugged fabrics like tweed, and has excellent properties for hiking and outdoor sports.
Formalwear is pretty easy to find, as long as you spend enough. But for other things, check out these brands:
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Tan Land: Natural Health and Beauty to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.