Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mail Bag: Fiber Preference

In this post and recently…you've mentioned the fibre of what you're wearing ; does the fabric matter to you? Do you have a preference for natural fibres, such as wool or cotton, or are you drawn to the shape/drape/pattern of a garment, regardless if it's made of all polyester?


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?


The Tote Trove said...

Wow. How very interesting (and detailed!). I agree that jersey knit is awful, especially because of the pilling. (And that goes triple for acrylic sweaters, which seem to be everywhere! I never, ever, ever buy them. Except for just recently when I mistakenly bought one online.) However, I'm a huge fan of polyester! Sure, it doesn't breathe, but it never wrinkles and keeps its color forever. I guess the most important factor for me when shopping, though, is color. Something has to be bold and bright to catch my eye. If it isn't, then it'd better be animal print or sparkly!

Megan G said...

Fiber content is crucial to me. I will totally buy that tank if it's a linen cotton blend. The polyester jersey dress with that great print? Unfortunately can stay on the rack. I'm gaga for leather (and thrifted fur) and feel like a rockstar when I find a piece that's in good condition.

I adore wool blends. I have a summer weight wool skirt that is going to rock so much this winter as a layering piece. Wool is better than cotton against my skin in terms of breath-ability. So I'm definitely swayed by a good hand-touch wool.

Debbi@SheAccessorizesWell said...

For me, the first thing that attracts me is the look, but if it doesn't feel nice to the touch, there is no way I will wear it. Some wool is way too scratchy and I cannot wear it. My husband is driven crazy by my need to touch the fabrics. I don't care whether is is woven or knitted if it has substance and feels good (looks good too.)

Anonymous said...

Initially I'm drawn more toward colour or a print when second hand shopping (aka Thrift) I much prefer to wear woven fabrics whether they be natural or man made fibres as they sit far more kindly on my generous size 16 hourglass (albeit 43 yr old) figure. Knits hug parts I don't want hugged.


Leah Hollett said...

I usually buy anything... with a few exceptions. I don't like knit polyester or that weird silk/poly blend that was really hot about 6-7 years ago. I was just asked to be a contributor of a friend's blog. http://southerncomfortga.blogspot.com/ Your blog has been such an inspiration to me. Specifically belted cardigans, color mixing and pattern mixing. I thought you would enjoy following me on my 30 for 30 journey!