I’m by no means a fabric expert however while shopping on a website last night I started thinking how important knowing your fabrics is. Luckily the website actually stated the type of fabric the garment was made from, which for me is always a really important factor when deciding to make a purchase. To most people the type of fabric might be irrelevant, they just want it to look good and fit. But the type of fabric your piece is made from has many implications. The fit, the maintenance, the feel, the way the garment reacts to wear and tear all depends on what your clothing is made from. The final thing that it usually impacts is the price, the difference between that Hermes alligator skin bag and the pleather fake? About £8,000, the skin is partially why. So knowing what type of fabric your buying should be a big deal.
The best way to explain how the fabric effects the fit is to give you an example from my own wardrobe. I have three cardigans all made from different fabrics, one is made from cotton, the other is a cotton/silk mix and the third is merino wool. I now only tend to look for cardigans in a wool of some kind. The reason being that the cotton cardigan looses it’s shape, it also looses elasticity in the cuff so if, like me, you pull up the sleeves you end up with gapping cuffs. The cotton/silk mix is too clingy for my liking for whatever reason the silk makes it really lightweight and it catches to other clothes when layering. Finally the merino wool is my favourite it fits perfectly and doesn’t suffer from any of the other issues.
This is really big, you often get people moaning about durability of designer clothes yet them fail to realise they’ve just bought a dress with a delicate fabric they think they can treat it the same way they would something from Zara. Carrying on from the example that I gave earlier, I can through the cotton cardigan in the wash and it will come out ok. The merino wool cardigan, if not hand washed will shrink, I know because my girlfriend shrank a merino wool jumper, que lots of hair conditioner. Also with wool you have to be careful of bobbling. If you have a bag that falls by your side the constant movement will cause the wool to pill.
Really the look and the feel silk looks very different to cotton which looks different to wool. They all have different textures as well a jumper is much nicer to touch in cashmere than it is in cotton. Experiment by taking adventure of the different textures that different fabrics offer. Remember the more luxurious the fabric however, the great care that will be needed to maintain it.
I gave the example of the Hermes bag earlier which was an extreme example, however it is true. I always try and go for the best quality fabric I can afford and that’s something I suggest everyone should do. I often look at different pieces and see if they’re worth the money based on what they’re made of as well. If I see a cotton jumper for £50 I’d usually pass on it as I know for the same price I can get merino wool, which is a better fabric. So you can use the type of fabric to help see if you’re paying for a brand name or actually something of quality.
I want you to consider the fabric when you’re next buying clothes. I was going to just write a list of different fabrics and what their properties were but thought it would be a bit boring I’d rather just open your eyes to it. Then next time you’re going to buy something you can check out what you’re actually getting for your money.
I’d love to hear what you thought…