If you want to experience a fabric that is light, airy, and incredibly soft to the touch, look to the superior pima cotton. But go in with eyes open, as you will never be able to wear lower grade cotton again. Just a warning.
Pima cotton is considered one of the superior varietals of cotton. It is named after a group of Native Americans who first cultivated it in the US, although the actual origins of cultivation were actually in Peru dating as far back as 3100 B.C. Pima is now grown primarily in Peru, the Southwestern US, and Australia. One of the reasons for its greatness is its airy feel and yet it remains highly durable and warm. It is said to last at least fifty times longer than lower, more common forms of cotton. Pima is also more absorbent than other forms of cotton. It is also less likely to pill which is a personal pet peeve of mine with cotton. I’ve been known to throw out a shirt after only several wears because it had pilled and I couldn’t stand the feel or look of it any longer. Ah… the trials and tribulations of being a perfectionist and an aesthete.
“In the 18th century, James Hargreaves invented the Spinning Jenny, and Richard Arkwright pioneered the water-propelled spinning frame which led to the mass production of cotton. This was truly revolutionary. The cotton manufacturers created a whole new class of people – the urban proletariat. The structure of society itself would never be the same.”
–A. N. Wilson