Hello Pulse Fam!
We are SO excited to introduce a new three-part series covering some fashion basics that most of you have heard of, but may not necessarily truly understand or know how to utilize that knowledge to the best of your advantage. Today we are going to be kicking things off with the absolute foundation of all clothing – fabric.
I’m sure most everyone has seen the commercials and may even know a little of the cotton-field history, but we’re here to break it down further for you. Cotton is without a doubt the most popular fabric used and is created by being spun into yarn and is best known for its softness. It’s found in t-shirts, denim, sweatshirts, basically A LOT of articles of clothing but also in non-fashion items such as q-tips, towels and sheets. It’s known for its breathability, strength, lightweight and moisture-wicking ability. This makes it perfect to wear year-round as it’s cool for the summer and is a great base-layer in the winter time. Make sure it’s washed in cool water as it shrinks in hot water.
Example: Sneak Peek Jeans Bethany (60% cotton, 38% rayon, 2% spandex)
Another staple piece that has been used basically since the beginning of time. Originating from animals, it makes for extremely warm and soft fabric. From scarves to jackets, sweater and gloves, even blankets, wool is versatile but should be taken well care of. Wash in cold water (no detergent) and lay flat to dry. Hot water, hot air (from dryer) will make it shrink and hanging and wringing will stretch it out.
Also originating from animals, leather has been used for thousands of years. As clothing garments, shoes, in cars, it’s very versatile and with innovation, vegan options have become available. Because it takes a lot of work to prepare leather and use it, it typically costs more than most other fabrics and it’s critical to take good care of it. There are lots of special-made leather care products to clean, protect and prolong their life. It’s no secret that leather is an incredible at keeping out cold and blocking wind, however, it’s not breathable so avoid wearing it during the warmer months.
A more luxurious fabric, mainly because of how much work it takes to curate, it’s also another fabric that has been used for centuries – mainly for rich Kings and Queens back in the day. It’s made from the cocoon of insect larvae and then spun into yarn and weaved into fabric. It’s used for gowns, shoes, blouses, scarves, furniture, lots of different things. As it is lightweight, it’s best to wear in the warmer months and because it is very delicate, most save it for special occasions. Take care of it by hand washing it in cold water and hang to dry.
A synthetic fiber invented just under a hundred years ago, became a cheaper, quicker and easier alternative to silk. It’s made from wood pulp and other plant derived sources making it breathable, moisture-absorbent and able to mimic the texture and feel of a wide range of fabrics. A popular choice for athletic wear, it’s also used in denim, outerwear, dresses, etc. Not as durable as other fabrics, rayon should be hand washed as machine washing can cause it to stretch, shrink or bleed.
Example: Fall Florals Blouse ( 100% rayon)
Another synthetic fabric created just over fifty years ago, polyester is made from types of plastic making them incredibly versatile. It’s flexible, wrinkle-resistant and moisture-resistant also making it a popular choice for athletic-wear, however it is not particularly breathable. It is extremely durable, so when it comes to laundering there aren’t many special instructions, but check the label to see recommendations.
Example: Sweet Summer Time Top ( 100% polyester)
If you’re a woman and haven’t heard of spandex, I don’t know where you’ve been the past fifty odd years!! This synthetic fabric was created with elastomers as a replacement for rubber making it incredibly elastic and flexible yet still bounces back. Probably the most popular choice for athletic clothing, figure-shaping support, hosiery, swimwear and so much more. An extremely durable, soft, deterioration and abrasion resistant fabric, makes laundering easy – hand or machine wash in warm water (no bleach) and machine dry on low temperature or hang to dry (do not iron).
Example: As Long As You Need Elbow Patch (55% polyester, 42% cotton, 3% spandex)
Like rayon, this synthetic fabric was made around the same time (under a hundred years ago) to mimic silk and was actually dubbed the name “synthetic silk”. Most popularly known for its hosiery use after the War, but it’s popularity is also contributed to it’s durability yet lightweight, shrink-resistance and how it doesn’t stretch out but is prone to electricity. It has wide uses from sneakers, jackets, handbags and is often blended with other fabrics such as rayon and cotton to create a more delicate blended fabric. Because of that, laundering varies as some may be machine-wash (avoid bleach) safe while other blends should be hand washed. Make sure to check your tags!
Example: Seamless Layering Tank (92% nylon, 8% spandex)
This synthetic fabric is a cheaper, quicker and easier alternative to wool. It is used in many sweaters, outwear, scarves, as its warm yet lightweight! There are blends and varieties so like nylon, make sure to check the tags for special laundering instructions. Also be careful as acrylic isn’t very abrasion resistant and is prone to electricity.
Example: Perfect Blanket Scarf (100% acrylic)
There you have it! Some very common fabric materials that are all probably hanging up in your closet at this moment. We hope you learned a little bit more and it makes more sense on how to care for you clothes in regards to what material they’re made out of 🙂