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The fabrics of your wardrobe

Woman looking at clothes on a rack in a store

If you take a look at your closet, there are a whole lot of fabrics in your wardrobe. Have you ever wondered what those fabrics are made of? What makes one fabric durable and structured and another prone to pill or pull? We did some investigating into the materials that make up our wardrobes. Here is what we found:

Cotton

From jeans to shirts, underwear and shoes, cotton is one of the most commonly used materials in clothing around the world. It’s soft and breathes well and doesn’t require special washing instructions. Cotton takes dye really well, which is why it is a great patterned fabric. Did you know that velvet, chambray, velour, jersey, flannel and corduroy can all be made by weaving or knitting cotton? The only downfall of this beloved material is that it will lose its shape and coloring after a certain number of washes. Everything wears out eventually, right?

Linen

The perfect summer fabric, linen, is super breathable and just structured enough to be used in a business-casual setting. It is often used as a suit fabric. People have used this durable material as far back as Ancient Egypt, when mummies were wrapped in it to help preserve their bodies. We do wish it didn’t wrinkle so easily. Linen garments should be hung, whenever possible, to help prevent wrinkles.

Silk

Silk is a natural fiber that is made from cocooned mulberry silkworm moths. The fibers are prism-like, which causes them to refract light, creating a rainbow-like sheen. People love silk because it is smooth and soft and feels good to wear. Many dresses and shirts are made out of this beautiful fabric. The downside? Clothing made from this material needs to be washed by hand or sent to the dry cleaner. It’s so luxurious that you wouldn’t want to ruin it by throwing it in the wash, so take it to the dry cleaner for professional care.

Polyester

If you’re looking for a wrinkle-resistant fabric, look no further. Polyester is super durable and keeps its shape even after repeated wear. It’s also a good insulator and dries easily, which is why it’s often used in outerwear and workout clothes. The best part about it? You can toss it into the washing machine and then the dryer without worrying that it will stretch or shrink. Unfortunately it’s not biodegradable. It’s made with a chemical process and can sometimes be itchy.

Nylon

The word”nylon”  may bring to mind a pair of stockings. During World War ll, ladies’ stockings were made out of this material because it was more readily available. It was created to be a man-made version of silk. Nylon is strong, durable and inexpensive, and can handle your home washer and dryer just fine. The only con? It’s made out of chemicals, so it’s not great for the environment.

Wool

Wool fabric has been in use for thousands of years. It’s made from the hair of various animals and comes in several forms: cashmere, which is made from Indian Cashmere goats; Angora from Angora rabbits; and mohair, which uses the hair of North African Angora goats. Even when it’s wet, wool is warm, and it’s often super soft. It’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t transfer much static electricity. Wool is often used in outerwear, sweaters and socks. Sadly, it shrinks like crazy if washed at a high temperature, so be sure to read the instruction label before tossing a wool item in laundry.

Take a thread-level look at your wardrobe and learn about the materials your clothes are made out of.
Take a thread-level look at your wardrobe and learn about the materials your clothes are made out of.
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