It’s that crotch smell, which for some reason seems to be amplified by stretchy yoga pants and leggings. And because we wear stretchy pants everywhere (thanks, athleisure), it’s becoming somewhat of an urgent problem. "In focus-group interviews, women have said that’s a place where smell in clothing is particularly bad," says professor Rachel McQueen of the University of Alberta, who studies how textiles develop and retain smell.
"There is so little known about the science of it," says McQueen. "The mechanism of odor from humans is so complex. There might be research going on in-house [at textile manufacturers), but it’s all quite confidential." (Male textile researchers wouldn’t return my emails on the topic of vagina odor in textiles. Can’t imagine why.)