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I am looking for capri leggings that I can wear in the summer in Majorca with tunic-style tops. This is because I don't like my legs so don't really want them on show, I want to avoid the dreaded chaffing, and I will do some cycling.
Obviously I don't want to feel hot and sweaty so I was looking for cotton ones and have come across very expensive bamboo ones that are supposed to keep you cool.
But isn't bamboo just viscose, i.e. thin and high maintenance?
I wear the 3/4 length leggings from Next, OP. They are pretty cheap but not so cheap that they are awful. They work well in hot weather under cotton dresses. I spend a good part of the summer in the American south where it's disgustingly hot and they work fine.
Bamboo is lovely to wear but doesn't have any stretch You could say the same thing about cotton though: if it's woven as jersey it stretches; if not, it's crisp, like sheets or shirts. My bamboo joggers and t-shirts definitely stretch.
Viscose is normally made from wood fibre treated so it makes filaments and can be spun. "Bamboo" fibre tells you the origin of that wood and people interested in ecology know that bamboo is the fastest growing wood and easily sustained. It also seems smoother than generic viscose.
It's true that bamboo as a fibre is pretty 'green' for the reasons above. However, it's no longer considered an eco-friendly option as the production process involves a lot of toxic chemicals to break the bamboo down in order to make the fabric. Unfortunate.
Viscose is made from a variety of plant materials and bamboo is made from bamboo wood pulp only. They are essentially the same. The difference in qualities of all viscoses (including bamboo) depends entirely on the way that the plant cellulose is broken down and then is made into the finished fibre. I bought a bamboo nightshirt recently that was of such poor quality fabric it was unwearable. I also bought bamboo socks from TKMaxx and they are terrific!
BTW a long time ago I worked in cotton production. It is also not a 'green' fibre due to the insane amount of pesticides needed in order to grow a good quality, long fibre cotton, pesticides that end up in the water table of where-ever the raw cotton is processed into yarn. Cotton is one of the most chemical crops in the world and is most certainly not 'green'. Organic cottons tend to be very poor quality because of the lack of fibre length and are limited because of this.
I would say that the other plant-based fibres such as viscose are more 'green' than cotton because of this.