SACRAMENTO — As many as 2.5 million pairs of cotton panties have been sold across the country in the past decade, according to new data.
Searches for cotton underwear have also spiked in the Southeast, according a survey by the research firm HBR.
In Florida alone, more than 10,000 pairs of panties were sold last year, while more than 7,000 were sold in the South, according the survey.
While the spike may be puzzling to some, it could help explain why cotton panties are so popular among people of color.
“It’s definitely about culture and where they come from,” said Melissa Johnson, who runs the clothing boutique “The Clothier.”
“I think that’s why it’s such a popular thing for us, for folks who come from places that have a lot of racism, or where they are comfortable with it, or for people who are transgendered, people who have an issue with the way they dress, or have a desire to wear cotton.”
“It definitely is an American tradition and something that I feel like we all have in common.
And people who live in the United States tend to like to wear a lot more things that aren’t white and not black.”
While some people are quick to point out the cotton fetish may have to do with the weather, Johnson said it’s a good excuse to dress up.
“Because when you have a good day and you have cotton, you’re going to look cool and you’re not going to get a cold,” she said.
The HBR survey found that a quarter of people in the U.S. said they wanted cotton to go out the closet.
But what if you didn’t want to wear anything cotton?
Johnson said she prefers cotton because it is easy to care for.
“I’ve got the cotton in the drawer, so it’s just like a garment,” she added.
“And I like to feel comfortable wearing it and not worry about what others are going to think about me.”
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