Choose your fabric like how you choose your life partner
When was the last time you flip that nice cute skirt that you see in a shop and check the tag for the fibre-content labelling? You might have done so as a routine, and think that whatever it says on the tag means nothing to you (except when you need to wash that dress). Let me tell you:
when it comes to fabric, you have every reason to be as picky as choosing your life partner.
Now a little side note here - I deliberately said ‘life partner’ instead of short-lived boyfriends or crushes because I really want to have some more depth when it comes to such an important topic. Fast fashion pieces are like your summer flings - they are cute, colourful, and seasonal. They are also known for being ‘mistakes’, or ‘impulses’, those that you got without having too much thinking. You also can’t imagine yourself spending years with them.
So how are fabrics compared to your life partner?
You need to know what you’ve signed up for.
Sometimes it makes me wonder - why would people care so much about the person they spend 1/3 of their day with (assuming they need to work so ⅔ of the day gone), but can’t care less about what is sitting on their skin 24-7? You need to know what you have signed up for, how the fabric will make you feel, how you look in them, how you feel after wearing them (who wants to wash sweat stains on a nice silk blouse?). If you’ve bought it, you need to be responsible for how it feels on you.
It makes you feel comfortable.
Life partners accompany you through winters & summers, good choices of fabric should also make you feel comfortable in different seasons.
Remember that time when you were sweating crazily in that lovely patterned top that looks super breezy but actually you’re dying inside with drops of sweat dripping down your back? It is probably because it’s polyester with a ‘dense’ weave type.
Or when you pair that white t-shirt under that leather jacket in autumn thinking you look all cool and shit only to find you’re shivering in the wind. Why? Maybe it’s because you’re wearing a cotton, which is a super good conductor of heat and you’re losing heat faster than you know…
It complements your lifestyle.
Functionality of your choice of fabric should fit your lifestyle. If you live an active life and don’t mind walking around in the city despite sweating a bit, there is little point wearing cotton even though it conducts heat quite well (meaning it passes on heat quite quickly so you will feel cooler in it), because it absorbs moisture quickly and takes a longer time to dry, which would leave unpleasant wet marks.
If your work often dirts your clothes, you should wear fabrics which doesn’t absorb moisture easily, such as acrylics and acetate, so that water stains are easily washed off. (Oil stains is another story!)
Maintenance is necessary, but the effort pays off.
Of course you need to care for the fabric, but if you picked the right fabric, like what we’ve said above, it shouldn’t give you too much trouble.
Also, the choice of fabric also determined how much time and effort you will need to put into washing it. For instance, if you picked synthetic fabrics which mostly don’t absorb moisture easily, they are also faster to dry.
If you’re those girls who are too busy to iron or fold clothes, then probably your choice of linen will give you even more trouble because linen’s elasticity is lower compared to other fabrics, and hence it creases easily.
If you love that white blouse of yours but you love sun-drying your clothes, you better hope it’s not silk because sunlight weakens and yellows silk.
Save the search - you’ve found the one.
There’s no perfect fabric but the perfect fabric for you.
Not every type of fabric is equal - as you will see in my other posts I do hold a strong opinion against synthetic fibres as with every wash they releases microplastics that is similar to those non-recyclable plastics that you dump in landfills. But there are also pros and cons about wearing natural fibres such as cotton - it is one of the most chemically-intensive natural fibre out there.
Plus, most of the time a garment will come in as combination of different fibres, whether you like it or not.
In the end, no solution is perfect and the most we can do is to do the lesser evil. All it takes is a little bit of consciousness and a little bit more thoughts in selecting your fabric, perhaps you will develop a longer lasting loving relationship with your wardrobe :).