Kade & Vos signature brief review

I’ve been striving for a zero waste lifestyle for over two years; the last time I bought underwear was probably August 2017. You’ll be unsurprised to learn we’ve approached underwear crisis point. If I miss a wash day, I will run out of undies, and more than one pair is falling apart or holey. The state of affairs is no bueno.

As a zero waster, I first considered secondhand. The truth is, if I had access to new-with-tags underwear from a secondhand store, I would probably buy them. But NWT wasn’t happening, so I moved on to trying to find something ethically made, meaning without sweatshop labor and with materials sourced and made responsibly. I buy very few things new, and when I do I typically champion ethical issues like labor over sustainability of materials.

This review is for the Kade & Vos signature brief. I purchased a size medium in the color red. I usually wear a dress size 8 or 10, and sizes 8-12 in bottoms. My measurements are:

Waist: 30.5”

Hips: 40.5”

Kade & Vos signature brief

Price $34

Ethics

What excited me most about purchasing from Kade & Vos, apart from the fact that it’s been over a year and a half since I had last bought underwear, was what I supported when purchasing from them. They have a clear and marked commitment to size inclusiveness and body positivity. They are openly trying to make their brand an affirming space for trans and non-gender conforming folks, as well as LGBTQI+ people. Sustainable and ethical clothing is painfully white, thin, and feminine. Having a brand out there that actively supports folks who aren’t often represented in ethical clothing options is important for showing that ethical and sustainable fashion is for everyone, not just thin white women in linen culottes. While I’m lucky to find clothes that fit me in most secondhand and new clothing stores, that’s not the case for everyone, and it’s silly of brands and silly of us to pretend that we can be progressive in consuming/producing more ethically if we are only making those products available to a small (no pun intended) portion of the population.

Kade & Vos products are totally US sourced and made. You can have a complete look at their supply chain on their website, but, “you can also rest easy in your Kade & Vos knowing the hands that helped make your product are your fellow American farmers, knitters, color experts and small manufacturers”.

Size range

S-8XL

I love everything about Kade & Vos sizing. They say that they, “do not use the term ‘Plus Size’… {and} feel that calling some sizes ‘Plus Size’ means that these sizes and shapes are somehow different from other sizes”. Their sizing goes from a 26” waist for their small and up to a 70” waist for the 8L, so the average American women with a 38.7” waist could comfortably wear their XL. They also have a Size Inclusive Guarantee, meaning if you can’t find your size, they’ll make it for you at no additional cost.

Something particularly special about their sizing is that if you’re unsure of your measurements, you can request a free tape measure to measure yourself, and their website has a few videos showing you where and how to measure. Even better, you can request a tape measure just for Kade & Vos that will help you find your sizing just for their brand. While this might seem like an unwise use of resources, it could be a lifesaver for a whole myriad of people who find taking their measurements and buying clothes sizes stressful.

style and construction

The underwear I purchased are brief cut and feature a wide, soft, fabric waist band. The edges around the leg openings are serged, meaning stitched down to prevent fraying, rather than sewn with another piece of elastic or another band like around the waist. The underwear are tagless and they have a a printed care and brand label on the back-inside of the waist band. At least at the smaller end of the size range, the underwear have a pronounced tapered shape up to the waist. As is typical, there is an extra layer of fabric in the crotch, which is stitched down on both ends of the extra fabric.

The underwear seem well made, but I have noticed two issues. The first being some wonky stitches around a leg hole; even stitching would look like lines of stitching running equal distance from the edge of the fabric all around, but in one section the space widens. This is no way affects the wearability of the underwear, but it didn’t feel right leaving it out of the review either. Finally, the serging on the stitching around the extra fabric in the crotch has already lost some stitching after about five wears. As someone who has done plenty of sewing, I imagine the seam wasn’t finished quite enough to hold the stitches down; it’s an easy fix, but not something I wanted to repair on a new garment.

Fit

I purchased a medium because I was between sizes. Their wonderfully extensive size chart advised I go with a smaller size for a tighter fit and go up a size for something looser, and I opted for the smaller size, imagining weird lines under leggings; don’t make my mistake. At least for me, the bigger size was the way to go, so if we share measurements, get a large or don’t stick these in the dryer. I can and will definitely wear the underwear, but there are more wedgies than I wanted.

They fit like a true brief and sit right below the belly button. The waistband doesn’t squeeze or dig, and there are no issues around the leg openings either. They’re described as full coverage, but I find them to be just a tad cheeky. That’s either due to me ordering a tighter fit or because there’s not an extra elastic around the legs to hold them tight. Regardless, you’ll stay covered.  

I air dry as much as I can, but these found their way into the dryer, after which I do think they were a tad smaller. In general, air drying helps extend the life of garments along with preventing any shrinkage; either way, if they shrunk at all, it really wasn’t much.

Fabric

The fabric in these under wear is a pima cotton/spandex blend (86/14), sourced totally from the US. Pima cotton is supposed to be extra soft because it has longer than average fibers; while I don’t note a difference, you might have a cotton preference. All that spandex does the trick and the underwear has a ton of stretch. The outside is smooth and soft and the underside of the fabric is coarser but still soft, with a tendency to pill more as the garment is washed and worn. I would compare it to a comfy tee shirt, or even a hoodie since the front and back sides of the fabric have different texture.

As of now, Kade & Vos has their signature brief available in black, dye-free and red. I think their small color range is still able to suit all of your needs; standard black, invisible under light clothes, and fun.

Customer service & returns

Kade & Vos accepts returns of unworn and unused merchandise with no time limit, and will send along return envelopes at request if you contact them first.

This company was great to deal with in terms of customer service. When I placed my order, there was some uncertainty if the color and size I ordered was available, and I received an almost immediate response. I requested plastic-free and/or reused packaging for my order, and I received my underwear in reused packaging and with a lovely note from one of the owners of the company. Shipping was quick and I was able to track the route of my package.

Shortly after publishing the review, the company reached out to offer me a new pair of underwear due to the issue mentioned above with the pair I have. This is evidence of excellent customer service, and the fact that buying from smaller companies usually means dealing with companies that care a lot more about you. I declined their offer for the time being, however, because as much as more Kade & Vos sounds great, it doesn’t feel very zero waste to consume more than I need. On the off chance you have an issue with a product, I have every reason to believe they’ll work to fix it.


Would I rebuy?

I would certainly buy from Kade & Vos again, but maybe not this product. It’s tempting to just try some of the other clothes they have to offer already just to support the brand, but shopping isn’t a sport and consumption isn’t a hobby, so I’ll have to wait for real need to buy from them again. I would buy a large, like I already mentioned, and I would buy their underwear for comfy everyday use if I purchased again. A brief is honestly as low rise as I get when it comes to underwear, but I do need a pair or two for when I wear pants or leggings. I’m excited to see where this brand goes and will consider them for other products.