You don’t have to be a fashion designer or textile producer to appreciate a garment made with a beautiful fabric. A great fabric has the power to elevate design and give life to it, thanks to the way it was made, or perhaps the history it carries within its fibres. When we get dressed we should consider the appropriateness of a fabric to the occasion, climate, or perhaps the mood we might be in that day. Ever been overwhelmed by the daunting task of getting ready for something special? Why not pause for a moment and tackle the task by matching fabric with the weather? A little process of elimination like this can shrink a scary situation into a series of small steps.
Let’s start with the summer wardrobe (because let’s face it – we’re all daydreaming about taking that tropical weekend away to escape from the dismal cold). When we think of summer fabrics linen, cotton, hemp, poplin, chambray, and lightweight denims should spring to mind. These are all natural fabrics that come from the ground and are made to breathe. They’ve been worn time over, some by ancient civilisations, to shelter you from the sun while air holes between threads let that breeze through to keep you cool.
These classic summery fabrics also hang beautifully with the help of some intentional scrunching. Try wringing the living daylights out of your linen shirt to give it a super textured finish that says ‘I could give two hoots about an iron’. I say, when the Universe seems to be working against you, work with it. Unlike synthetic textiles, natural weaves for hot climates will age gracefully and never trap heat close to your body – perhaps this is something you can think about when you’re stuck between two killer outfits in a store. The fabric decision will always help you make the right choice, because at the end of the day the best style advice I could give you is to ditch short-lived trends for a wardrobe that will mature with you.
In hope of not completely contradicting myself, I do need to add that synthetic fabrics can have powerful technical value. Some fabrics have brilliantly been developed to do things like keep us dry, or up-cycle ocean plastic that would otherwise be left to choke wildlife. What we should really ask is whether a fabric brings anything extra to a garment, because today we’re presented with so much choice in fashion that it’s hard to know how to start looking.
There is also much romance in how some age old textiles can be so technical too. Sometimes we can’t deny that ancient thinking like woven silk or knitted wool keep us warmer and happier than any synthetic fabric could ever. Think of your mum’s best Merino wool jumper, and how wonderful it feels on, or how it hasn’t deteriorated after years of usage. Use this valuable food for thought to help you make great wardrobe investments that you’ll never regret.