While clicking around on Touch of Modern, you may have stumbled across Pima, a material that’s both a little familiar and kind of confusing to most men. What is it? What makes it special? And why does it cost more? As menswear experts, we can tell you with complete confidence that there’s a reason this lustrous, fast-wicking fabric is called the King of Cottons.
The simple answer to your question is that Pima is an altogether better fabric — richer, lighter, warmer, more durable, and more retentive. But let’s give you some background information first.
Pima Cotton, also known as Extra Long Staple, or ELS, is primarily grown in the Southwestern US, Peru, and Australia. It’s named after the Pima tribe, the group of Native Americans who first brought the sub-strain to the US, and was a staple fabric of 20th century — before fabrics were outsourced en masse and made in those huge, nightmarish factories you see in the news. As the name implies, it has an extra long staple, meaning that unlike your garden variety cotton, it produces a thread that can be woven multiple times into the same piece of fabric.
This has several effects that you’ll notice as soon as you touch it: it’s softer, airier but more dense, and highly absorbent. That means your tee or sweater will fit better, hold its shape for longer, feel both lighter and warmer, doesn’t immediately get damp when you’re sweating, and is much more likely to be sourced and produced ethically. Now that bump in price makes sense, doesn’t it?
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