Given the environmental impact of the fashion industry it’s important to choose natural fabrics when shopping for clothing if possible. Not to mention the fact that natural fabrics are often more comfortable, more beautiful and generally better quality than synthetics.
So we should all be buying natural fabric when we can. But sometimes determining what the fabric is actually made of can be confusing. We all know cotton and polyester but what about the less familiar ones- Ramie? Viscose? I’m breaking down the different fabric types you should keep an eye out for when shopping.
Natural Fabrics to Look For
Cotton – We are all pretty familiar with cotton whether it is in denim, tees or button down shirts. You’ll sometimes see cotton in a blend to add stretch. As a fabric it is durable, breathable and perfect for all seasons. It’s not called the ‘fabric of our lives’ for nothing!
Linen – Another natural fiber, linen is actually made from flax. Since linen doesn’t have much elasticity it won’t become saggy or stretched out easily. It’s also very breathable and moisture-wicking making it ideal for hot weather.
Ramie – Ramie is a cellulose fiber, just like cotton and linen. Sometimes you’ll see ramie blended with cotton and it will look similar to a linen but with a more lustrous appearance.
Silk – Silk is known for its luster, shine and soft feel but it can also come in a raw form. Raw silk has more texture and less shine but still with a soft and floaty feel. While beautiful, the downside of silk is the extra care it may require.
Rayon (also called Viscose) – Many people may not realize rayon, or viscose, is actually a semi-natural fabric made from wood pulp. Rayon is soft, drapey and can often mimic the look of cotton or silk. Keep in mind rayon can be prone to shrinking in the wash so it is best to hand wash and lay flat to dry. Other types of rayon include Tencel, Lyocell and Modal.
Not all the fabrics in our wardrobe can be natural, synthetics can be amazing for swimwear, workout clothing and undergarments. But making an effort to buy natural, eco-friendly materials when you can is a great place to start. I can guarantee you’ll feel more comfortable, especially on a hot summer day!