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COLUMN: Why do fabrics matter?

Do you ever pick a garment off a rack and fall in love with the color or the way it feels on your fingers?

Do you ever try on that same garment, only to find that it doesn’t fit right, the material is transparent or it feels too light to shield you from the cold?

There are a few ideas to understand before jumping to the conclusion about a garment’s fit. It could be that a garment does not fit you, rather than you not fitting the garment.

Fabrics have fiber contents and chemical properties that shape them, break them, wear them and tear them.

The blends of materials tell you how much the garment will stretch, if it needs to be dry cleaned, if it is sustainable in weather conditions and so on.

Of course, there are different types of clothing you wear for certain activities.For instance, you would not wear the same clothes to go on a run as you would to attend a black-tie affair.

Aside from the obvious, there are certain brands and companies which have perfected their fiber contents and created timeless designs.

Levi’s, an expert in denim wear, blends a majority of cotton with a small portion of polyester — less than 10 percent — and a small fraction of elastane, another name for spandex.

Cotton gives the jeans body or shape, polyester gives the jeans strength so as to not fall apart and elastane makes the jeans stretch.

IMAGE convertible dress

When comparing products, these contents are important to consider in understanding the quality of any garment.

Lower quality denim will likely contain less cotton, which is the most expensive textile that goes into making a pair of jeans. Therefore, this pair will not have as distinct a shape and might appear 

Lululemon, a sporty girl’s go-to for yoga and activewear, contains luon, which is a fabric known for sweat-resistance and recovery, and spandex, a synthetic fiber known for its extreme 

Both of these fabrics are high in quality, so a pair of leggings will last longer than the average nylon blend, which will pick up other colors in the laundry and possibly develop tiny balls of fuzz that eventually lead to the wearing away of a garment.

A durable handbag or backpack to carry around campus is an important staple for those who are on the go.

Longchamp’s Le Pliage bag contains a polyvinyl chloride coating inside its canvas. The canvas makes a distinct body to keeps its shape. The cowhide trimming ads detail and makes for a comfortable strap.

Aside from what we wear, fabrics are important in cook-wear, gardening materials and household goods. So before thinking that the quality of a product does not matter, pay attention to the fiber content so you know what you are buying and what you can expect from the product.

Whether you are cooking, traveling, observing fashion trends or not, fabrics are apparent in every aspect of our lives.

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