I had planned on being very scientific about answering this question. I was going to survey my closet for fabrications and present you with fancy statistics and graphs detailing the fiber content of my closet and my satisfaction with the blends.
I’m afraid that didn’t happen, so we’ll have to rely on my faulty memory for my preferences.
The #1 quality in a garment that attracts me is color and pattern. (Is that two qualities?) Next, I reach out, feel the item, and evaluate the fabric. If it passes that test, I move on to shape/drape/fit.
Fabrics I love: silk, wool, cotton, suede, leather. They all breathe (except patent leather) and some of them take dye well (cotton!).
Fabrics I like: linen, cotton-poly blends, lightweight synthetics. Synthetics get a bad rap, but they wear forever. Cotton-poly breathes well AND resists wrinkles!
Fabrics I tolerate: jersey (cotton or cotton-poly or synthetic) and pleather. I find that most jersey knits are unflattering, lose their shape, and pill quickly. Faux leather is the sweatiest thing around.
Fabrics I hate: double-knit polyester, anything that sheds, anything “crunchy.”
My level of tolerance really depends on what I’m paying. I’ve come home from the thrift store with pleather and scooped up a polyester knit at a swap. I can only wear those things on cool, dry days, so the cost-per-wear isn’t worth spending much. If I’m buying a $200 dress, it had better be silk and I don’t even consider boots over $100 that are of “manmade materials.”
A faux leather skirt and a knit polyester dress. Do not wear on hot and humid days.
Regardless of the price, though, I am always hunting for my favorite fabrics. I expect to find some really nasty polyester when thrifting, but it is a nice surprise to score a silk blouse, instead.
I kind of want to wear this thrifted silk blouse every day. The silk/linen skirt isn’t bad, either.
I realize I've interchanged the terms fabric and fiber here, so I apologize for the confusion. Generally, I prefer woven fabrics. I save knits for sweaters, tees, and leggings. It is interesting to note that polyester is much more comfortable and pleasant to touch when woven instead of knitted.
How important is fiber content when you're shopping? Does it matter if the fabric is woven or knitted?