Do you think about the type of fabric your clothes are made from, or what the most commonly found fabric is in your closet? Knowing what about fabrics and what kinds of fabrics there are can help you decide what’s appropriate to wear for comfort, for the weather or simply to events, and what to buy on your next shopping trip.
The textile industry distinguishes between two types of fabric fibers: natural and synthetic. As natural fibers suggest, they are derived from natural goods, such as plants and animal products. Natural fibers are great for layering as they let your skin breathe and keep you warm without feeling constricting. They are prone to impurities, but are environmentally friendly. Prices for natural fibers are generally higher than for synthetic fibers. Examples of popular natural fabrics are cotton, wool, silk, and leather. Synthetic fibers are all man-made, and require artificial processing such as color dying, but the processing also depends on the type of fabric. Synthetic fiber is not as comfortable to wear as natural fibers, but it is cheaper in price and can be used for multi-purposes.
Fabric Blends & Types
Fabric blends are when two or more fibers are spun together to create a blend. It’s common for man-made fibers to be mixed with natural fibers to improve the quality and characteristics of each. Fabric blending uses one fabric to enhance the poor characteristics of another fabric, and can create a very versatile product. Polyester viscose rayon is one example of a high-quality fiber blend that is durable, resilient, and soft in texture. A wool/silk blend offers softness, comfort and warmth for the winter. Spandex added to any fiber will give it the elasticity that’s necessary for today’s fitted clothing. All these blends and more are available at all price points.The Doncaster Collection features many of these fabric blends.
Common types of fabrics include:
- Wool: sheared from sheep, wool is great for colder weather and absorbing moisture. Merino wool is one common type of high-quality wool sheared from a prized breed of sheep.
- Cotton: harvested from the plant, cotton is a common fabric in the US. Cotton is hypoallergenic, easy to wash, sturdy, and resistant to flames.
- Leather: harvested from animal hides, leather is elastic and comfortable to wear but is not considered business professional.
- Polyester: usually man-made from a chemical process, polyester is stain and wrinkle resistant, a common fabric in the US.
- Silk: created from silkworm cocoons, silk is known for its delicacy and softness.
- Rayon: manufactured from cellulose, rayon is considered semi-synthetic. It is versatile and can mimic other fabric textures.
Men’s Custom Fabrics
For men, it’s important to be knowledgeable about different levels of fabrics, especially if you plan on customizing a suit or jacket.
The different levels of fabric for men begins with the designation Super 100’s, which increase and decrease by intervals of 10. In Super 100’s, the number tells you what the thread count is, which determines the tightness of the weave. A higher number, such as a Super 150, results in a more elegant, expensive fabric. A lower number, however, wears better and is more appropriate for an active lifestyle. When customizing suits and jackets, it’s important to know the fabric origin of your garments. This can help determine the style. In England, the weather is often damp and cold, so men’s wear feels thicker and heavier. In Italian culture, men’s wear is fine and light.
Knowing what types of fabrics there are and the characteristics of each fabric can help you decide what best suits your style.