BAM! A Brief on Briefs for IC
This is not a sponsored post. I have not been financially rewarded for writing it and the views expressed in it are my own.
Those of you with pelvic pain conditions will know that underwear can be the source of a very literal pain in the bum! If you have interstitial cystitis, lichens sclerosus, vulvodynia, urethritis, vaginal dryness, persistent genital arousal disorder, anal fissures, haemorrhoids, or are just chapped from excessive wiping, the last thing you want is underwear that digs in, rides up, chafes, or is made from irritating materials. Many people choose to go commando, but this isn’t always practical. Loose fitting, cotton boxers or granny pants are also recommended, but again, they’re not always practical or desirable. There’s no need to get your knickers in a twist about it though, because I think I have discovered the perfect pant for those with sensitive secret places.
Have you ever heard of bamboo being used as a clothing material? I certainly hadn’t until just before Christmas, when I was sent a promotional pair of bamboo fibre socks and a catalogue from a company called BAM. It was a real stroke of genius to include the socks, because instead of thinking, “Another stupid catalogue,” and throwing it in the bin, I got quite excited about being the recipient of an unexpected present. Also, the socks were super soft. It isn’t possible to describe how nice they feel, which is exactly why BAM enclose a pair so you can stroke them for yourself. Alas, I’m only a tiny pioneer, so the socks were too big for my size 2 feet, but my mum was thrilled with them and reports that they are the most comfortable socks she’s ever had. She’s since bought several more pairs, which shows that both BAM’s marketing strategy and product quality are on point.
Mum loves BAM socks! They offer lots of designs for both men and women - I am eagerly awaiting a children’s range to fit my tiny feet! Photograph included here with kind permission of BAM.
Because I was very impressed with the socks – firstly on account of their softness, and secondly because it seemed so unlikely that they should be made of bamboo – I read the enclosed information carefully. In it I discovered several facts about bamboo fibre that really appealed to me.
- It is naturally VERY soft – bamboo feels to cotton as cashmere feels to wool.
- It is extremely suitable for allergy prone or sensitive skin.
- It’s very breathable and wicks away moisture well.
- It’s naturally thermo-regulating, meaning it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.
- It’s naturally antibacterial and doesn’t smell easily.
What really had me interested though, were the environmental advantages to bamboo clothing:
- It is biodegradable.
- It grows perfectly well without the need for pesticides or fertilizers.
- It needs very little rainwater to grow and hardly any additional watering is ever required.
- You can get the same yield as cotton from only 10% of the land area.
- It grows a metre a day! That means that even if wild bamboo were used, there would still be plenty left for pandas to eat. BAM grow their bamboo as a crop, so it doesn’t take from the pandas at all.
To my surprise, there are a few companies in the UK offering bamboo clothing and they all make much of their ethical, sustainable stance. I’ve only personally purchased from BAM, but there is as much to like about the company as the products it sells.
- It’s a UK company. Some of the other companies selling in the UK aren’t actually British. This doesn’t really matter of course, but lots of people like to support domestic businesses where possible!
- They only work with ethical suppliers who pay their employees more than the minimum wage.
- They source their merino wool (which they mix with the bamboo in some garments) from higher welfare suppliers.
- They use accredited certifications to guarantee their ethical claims and these are displayed on their website.
- They offer free returns and exchanges and their staff are really polite and helpful if you need to phone them. Feefo have even awarded them a Gold Award for excellent customer service!
- In the beginning, BAM was a one-man band and its founder, David, is still in overall charge of the company. I really like it when you can actually access the owners of a company and know that they are passionate about their product and their reputation. It’s one of the things I love about Desert Harvest and Sweet Cures – knowing the stories of the owners and being able to speak to them enables me to trust a company’s values so much more.
- You can request a good old fashioned paper catalogue and it’s made from certified sustainable sources. BAM also favour paper packaging where possible and I can confirm that it’s extremely sturdy, so your garments won’t arrive soggy or damaged!
Interested though you may be in socks and general clothing, we’ve finally reached the point of this post: BAM also make knickers and they are super, super comfortable. As soon as I saw them in the catalogue, I could see the potential for sufferers of pelvic pain conditions and I wanted to try some out so I could share my thoughts on them. My mum got me a pair as a stocking filler for Christmas and I knew as soon as I put them on that I loved them. Within hours I declared that I wanted to replace all my daytime knickers with them and up to now I have four pairs. They are the softest, most comfortable, best fitting daytime knickers I have ever had and it feels awful now on days when I have to go back to normal ones! I can’t wait to have a full collection so that I never need to deviate from bamboo again!
Admittedly BAM knickers are nothing special to look at, but nor are they unattractive. I wear some truly horrific Marks and Spencer knickers for sleeping in – think floral, elasticated granny pants that come up to your belly button and are a couple of sizes too big. They’re very comfortable, but I could never bring myself to wear them out and about in the daytimes. They’d show dreadful VPL for a start, but you know the warning about you should wear nice knickers, because you never know if you’ll be in an accident and everyone at hospital will see them? Well, I just can’t risk anyone seeing my sleeping pants! The BAM knickers are exactly the type of underwear I like to wear on a daily basis – a proper brief as opposed to a thong or Brazilian, but small enough to wear with your confidence and dignity in tact! And on the model in the catalogue, who sports thighs much more tanned and toned than my own, they look positively sexy. (In the interest of vanity I feel I should mention that I DO own some properly attractive underwear, but post-PGAD I don’t wear it as often as I used to. I was a teenager of the low slung jeans and brightly coloured thongs era, so not everything in my underwear drawer is floral or black, honestly!)
BAM briefs in a style similar to the ones I own. Sadly the legs pictured here are not mine! Photographs included here with kind permission of BAM.
I wear the BAM Hipster Briefs in a size 10, although these appear to have been superseded by a similar style which I haven’t tried yet. I’m usually a size 8 for bottoms, but the BAM 10s fit me just right, so I’d definitely recommend sizing up for maximum comfort. I honestly cannot recommend them highly enough. I often find that low VPL knickers don’t stay in place very well, but rather ride up and give you wedgies (I don’t think there is a polite term for that, so I apologise). On the other hand, the sort of knickers which have elastic trim around the leg holes stay in place nicely, but sometimes dig painfully into your fatty bits or create unattractive VPL. The BAM knickers seem to stay in place really well, even though they are seamless and don’t have any trim around the legs. I can see a bit of knicker line under my thinnest jeans or leggings, but there is certainly no-VPL under my thicker jeans. I’ve worn them at every opportunity since Christmas and they haven’t triggered my persistent genital arousal disorder at all. They also hold winged sanitary towels nicely, although the non-winged ones don’t seem to stick as well to bamboo as they do to cotton.
In short, if you struggle to find comfortable underwear that doesn’t aggravate your genital pain, I’d definitely recommend trying bamboo fibre in general and BAM in particular. It’s comfortable, functional, sustainable, machine-washable, suitable for sensitive skin, breathable and pretty enough to be seen in. Finally, I’ve talked a lot about knickers, but there is good news for my male readers too: BAM also makes a range of briefs, boxers and trunks, which according to reviews are every bit as comfortable as the ladies’ underwear! And there is plenty of yoga wear and casual wear on offer for all genders too – I have one of the hoodies and it feels like wearing a hug!
BAM make men’s underwear in various styles, and also offer a range of outer clothing. I have a hoodie similar to this one and it feels like wearing a hug. Photographs included here with kind permission of BAM.
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