There’s a lot of choice out there – both in terms of style and fabrics. While style is definitely a subjective and an impossible to debate topic (just to be clear, I’m not talking about design, which can be easily divided into good and “what were they thinking?!” categories), materials, on the other hand, are objective and incapable of lying.
We don't know what to look for
Choosing good materials will ALWAYS leave you better off in the long run. The only problem is that most of us have no clue whether a 50% viscose and 50% cotton t-shirt will keep us happy or sweaty throughout the day. That’s why we don’t look at the composition and just buy clothes based (mostly) on how they look and feel.
To be fair, that’s not really that bad, considering we want our clothes to look good and feel nice to the touch.
But the problem is this – materials go way beyond the initial touch and can either make a piece of clothing comfortable and long-lasting, or a pain we rarely ever put on.
And for those of us who want something that will last and won’t makes us uncomfortable in any way, investing in good materials is very important.
"And it's made from 100% cotton!" marketing trick
I personally always had this belief that 100% cotton was in some luxurious-way special. It’s clear why – people have been repeating “and it’s made from 100% cotton” in a way that makes it sound like a rare and remarkable fabric. Of course, it’s not. It’s one of the cheapest, most abundant, and most pollutant fabric we have around today. If I could send a picture back in time to “Past-me”:
And I’m telling you this not because you should avoid cotton like the plague. No. I want to help you break out of the marketing bubble you might be in, just as I was with that fancy 100% cotton.
Besides, it’s great to know what you’re paying for and what you’re getting. Especially, if you share our belief in owning less, but better. It’s all about making an educated and intentional buying decision. That way you will end up buying less crap, because you will know it’s no good for you in the first place. As Tyler would say – “the things you own, end up owning you”. And it’s true when you don’t really know what you’re buying or why.
You only need to know the basics
I will start doing small overviews of different fabrics and their properties, this post being an introduction (why it's so long). So if there is anything specific you would like to know, just leave a comment or email me.
What you need to know about cotton
It’s time for some #knowyourstuff about cotton. These facts are about plain simple weave cotton which are used for t-shirts and the like.
- Breathable and good at absorbing moisture
- Durable (more than other natural fibers but less than synthetic fibers)
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Not good at keeping you warm when dry. When wet, loses all insulation abilities.
- Gets smelly fast (does not evaporate sweat very well)
And the ugly:
- Due to it being very cheap and abundant, it’s the most pollutant fabric in the world
Okay, the verdict is in. If you want something that can withstand the entire day (or even more) without giving you any problems (in terms of sweating, odor and general discomfort), you will have to look for something better.