Last weekend, I paid $20 for a pair of panties — that used to be someone else’s panties.

Alright — I’m not sure if they used to be someone else’s underwear — but they very well could have been. What I got is the Patagonia Women’s Barely Bikini — the newer, cuter, and lighter design with a seamless weave — at the store on Santa Monica’s Main Street. These undies are made through Patagonia’s Common Threads program, which takes old polyester clothes and recycles them into new clothes. That means 73% of my Barely Bikini used to be someone else’s skirt, shirt, headband, bra, or panty — or all of the above.

And the privilege wearing what was once someone else’s old duds doesn’t come cheap. At first I balked at the $20 price tag, but these cute underthings were being snapped up so quickly by other shoppers coming in after the farmers market nearby that I felt I had to get my pair before they ran out! Indeed, the black ones in my size had already all been sold by the time I finally made up my mind — so I settled on Dusty Taupe.

Oddly, while I knew my Barely Bikini was made with recycled materials, I didn’t really think about the fact that I’d be wearing very close to my skin what could have once been someone else’s underwear until I started writing this post. Mulling over this idea, I went to Patagonia’s website, where an online rep’s offer to answer questions via chat automatically popped up. This conversation ensued:

Patagonia chat

So there you have it. While $20 still seems high for a pair of basic underwear, I am very happy with my new panties, which are soft, stretchy, and comfy. I hope they will last a long long time before I send them back to Patagonia — to be recycled into someone else’s underwear.

What about you? Would you buy recycled underwear? For $20?

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