Is Pima Cotton Better?
Not all Pima Cotton fabric is created equally.
Although Pima cotton is the world's finest cotton, it is not always "better". Pima cotton fabric has historically been used only in luxury clothing as it is a relatively rare, extra-long staple cotton. As savvy retailers seek a competitive advantage, "pima cotton" has begun to appear in tees, cardigans, sweaters and home décor - at minimal quality level to reduce costs. Read our guide so that when you are shopping, know what to look for ensure you get a high quality pima cotton tee product.
Why Pima Cotton is Considered "Better"
Breezy, Breathable, and Soft
For cotton, the most important factor determining what makes the cotton "better quality" is the length of the fiber. Simply put - all things held equal - the longer the fiber, the silkier the finish.
The Longest Cotton Staple
Only 3% of the world's cotton is "extra-long staple". Pima cotton's extra-long length makes its:
- Less Likely to Pill
- More Durable
Pima Cotton vs. Conventional Cotton
90% of all cotton produced globally is considered "conventional cotton", also known as "cotton". Conventional cotton is ~ 40-50% shorter than Pima cotton, which can make it have a courser finish.
What does 40-50% shorter fibers feel like? I would say it's similar to comparing low thread count to high thread count sheets. Nobody ever really prefers having a coarser fabric. Pima cotton feels nicer because its smoother and finer finish.
Working with a family-owned, vertically integrated supplier in Peru helps QINTI provide the highest quality products possible.
3 Things you should know about Pima Cotton
- Pima Cotton vs Supima Cotton: Supima cotton is a trademark used to market Pima cotton grown in the United States. It does not necessarily mean the clothing you are buying is of higher quality.
- Fast Fashion Pima Cotton is Usually Not Better: Today, there is an increase in demand for pima cotton through fast fashion retailers. Pima cotton at these retailers is usually marked at a higher price, but are not luxury quality. Weave and knit matter!
- Pima Cotton is frequently Fake. Platforms like Amazon have sellers that frequently mislabel their products. Walmart, Target and Amazon are currently dealing with a lawsuit over fake pima cotton products.
Things to Look for for when buying Pima Cotton
Check for Pima Cotton Composition
- Less than 90% Pima Cotton can make the clothing feel less like Pima Cotton. Certain types of clothing (like women's pima cotton tees and dresses) can benefit from a small amount of synthetic material for added stretch and/ or durability.
- "Modal" makes a Pima Cotton Tee or Dress feel "clingy". Modal is a semi-synthetic material frequently used by the Amazon Brand as well as in other cheaply made pima cotton dresses. It is lightweight but can make the clothing feel flimsy and/ or clingy.
Check the Pima Cotton Supplier
Even reputable brands have adapted to a fast fashion pace:With the emergence of social media, brands have shifted their strategies to launch new ranges multiple times a year. To keep pace, brands are churning out products, frequently sacrificing quality in the production of their goods. For larger brands, we recommend searching for products with reviews or feeling the product in-store.
When searching for high-quality cotton products, do not look at the term "Pima Cotton" as a guarantee of better quality. Instead, read the product details to get an idea of quality, verify that the supplier and brand are reputable and have a track-record of providing high-quality pima cotton products. At Qinti, for example, we worth with a family-owned, vertically-integrated supplier. The details about our suppliers are on our page. The more information available on a website, the better able you will be able to get a sense of how an item is produced.
For impeccably crafted products, check out our women's pima cotton clothing and accessories, below!
Shop Women's Pima Cotton
Pima Cotton Cardigan - Waves
Breathable and breezy, our wonderfully soft pima cotton cardigan is the perfect layering piece for warmer months.
- Open Front
- 3/4 Sleeves
- Made in Peru
- 100% Organic Pima Cotton
- Insert in mesh bag
- Use a mild soap
- Select delicate cycle and cold water
- Lay flat to dry