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Every men's magazine I have ever read said, "Wear only high quality natural fabrics." I was oh so happy to toss every piece of polyester my mother had ever bought for me including those leisure suit components and those dang restaurant tops and slacks I wore for years as a server. They were heavy and hot and I couldn't understand why for Pete's sake anybody in management would want us to wear those. As for socks, please just give me a pair of thick, soft cotton socks with a comfort heel and no bunching in the toes. I began to collect everything in cotton, wool, linen, silk...seems my life had been saved and the world was wonderful. 

After I started amassing this collection of natural fibered attire, little chips and cracks in the foundation of this theory started to form. I discovered how quickly many natural fibers wrinkle and stain. Wear a cotton t-shirt, under a cotton shirt, under a wool suit in the summer and just try to stay fresh and clean without getting yellow, ugly sweat stains everywhere. Laundering those was almost worse. Put on a linen suit and sit in a car. Forget it - might as well call you shar pei. A cotton shirt at the beach - those pics of studly men looking breezy and put together by the ocean - not! You look like something old and ragged that the cat dragged in two weeks ago and was just discovered in the corner of the laundry room under the litter box. Not to mention you smelled like it too.

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It really wasn't until two things happened that I discovered the secret behind fabric selection for the foundation of men's clothing: My trophy wife ran the 3-day and I had a heart attack in the same week. (You see the trophy wife running and you might have a heart attack too - just kidding honey.) But each event is related in the selection of clothing fabric. 

You see, she learned in her training that for runners, walkers and other athletes: "Cotton is rotten." Essentially cotton does not wick water away from the body. It holds onto it and creates increasing humidity next to the skin. Of course we know that evaporation helps cool the body and moisture on the skin can create chaffing, so this is a problem for athletes who need to stay both cool and scratch free. After my bypass surgery I had a number of scars that did not heal very quickly and were very sensitive. Every single time I put on a natural fiber shirt or undergarment, especially cotton, my sensitivity signals went off the scale. That cotton, linen, wool, etc. was so rough (Same goes for sheets, but that's another story.)  I could feel every, individual fiber and decided most of the time to go sans shirt which became a problem for most everybody else who had to view me and my scars - well, mostly me. 

Anyway, I went on a search for the best undergear and shirts a guy could buy that were not scratchy for sensitive body types, cool and comfortable, non staining, and look marvelous all the time. I discovered Tencel or Lyocell which is a biodegradable wood pulp fabric and Climalite from Addidas which in some cases is an all synthetic and sometimes a blended fabric that fits comfortably, cools, and looks great. Of the Climalite I prefer the Sport Performance which is all synthetic. This Climalite underwear is probably the best find for those with sensitive skin. They also make water wicking socks too. Many of my shirts are now Tencel based and I'm buying more and more of my clothing in these fabrics. I've found it everywhere both online and in retail stores such as JCP and Kohl's. 

No need to suffer with rotten clothing as technology really has made fabric better for guys.  Just go buy it! 

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Reader Insights

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A reader suggested Woodies for an eco-friendly option. They are undershorts made from Tencel and come in briefs, boxers and boxer briefs. They don't have trunks or t-shirts, but it is worth checking them out.

 


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    The Castle - Home, Self & Sanity

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