Tuesday, May 14, 2019
When you’re buying clothing you want to make sure of a few different things.
One of the main things is not just price of course but also the material and type of fabric the material is made out of. There are a lot of different kinds of fabrics and the science of that is in the study of textiles. Most people can handle a variety of fabrics but some feel better than others.
Here are some advantages of some over other:
- Cotton: One of the most widely used fabrics out there.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Very water absorbent
- Quite comfortable and breathable
- Shrinking may happen with drying over time
- Tends to tear after repeated washings
- Can be very durable as in the case of jeans
- Polyester: A synthetic fiber
- Wicks rapidly and dries rather quickly
- Relatively warm
- Doesn’t require a lot of ironing whereas cotton tends to need ironing.
- Wool: Made from animal fur, that is sheep
- Retains over 80% of warmth even when wet where as cotton can lose up to 90% of warmth when wet
- This is due to heat that is produced as discovered by the French Scientist Coulier (https://weatherwool.com/pages/the-science-of-wool)
- Rather rough on skin and tends to be scratch for some
- It tends to attract moths that like to eat through the material
- Acrylic: Synthetic
- Simulates some of the properties of wool
- A bit lighter and not as scratchy, sort of similar to polyester but thicker
- Nylon: Synthetic
- Not very breathable, you will sweat in it
- Tends to repel and keep off rain and wetness but also locks sweat inside
- Rayon: Plant based on bamboo fibers
- Somewhat sustainable materials
- Rather breathable and light and feels comfortable almost like a cross between cotton and polyester
- Tends to be somewhat slightly fragile and is used with other materials usually
- Silk: Animal based from silkworm fibers
- Feels luxurious and reminiscent of satin in a way
There are many great materials and textiles out there such as CoolMax for instance that are proprietary technologies used in sportswear that make working out much more enjoyable and allow sweat to occur and wick it away from the body and evaporate quickly so you aren’t sticky and feeling horrible during a workout.
These are also in the design like Dick’s Sporting Good’s Under Armour brands and other various sporting good runner shirts and sometimes used also in yoga pants.
Goretex technology is used in winter jackets to make sure you are warm while also having wicking properties to keep warmth in and wetness out. The most common problem in the winter is sweating which also in turn makes your body temperature drop down and feel cooler and there’s a cycle that goes on with you being too warm or too cool and that’s why they recommend you dress in layers in the winter so you can take off layers and not be in this big over sized coat with nothing but a thin shirt underneath. Instead use several thin breathable layers and layer up. Consider the way your fabrics are layered so you can block wind and wetness on the outside from the elements and remain cool and dry on the inside.
Good socks also take this into consideration. Often people that have diabetes or poor circulation have to consider the tightness of the material, the types of fabric and how it covers their foot? Nylon socks are not really recommended for people that sweat a lot or have hyperhydrosis.
Also in the winter you may see polypropylene gloves which is a type of thermoplastic polymer. They sometimes also call it polypro and can be used in cold-weather base layers as well in some warm-weather clothing. They do not easily catch on fire but can melt. They also tend to retain body odors for some people but not as much if one decides to opt for something like polyester instead.
Picking material is a fun thing and teaches you science and properties of materials, how to wash and laundry and take care of your garments properly and whether you can steam or fold it.
Next time you go shopping, look at the tag and material and not just the price. Finding the right material can make the difference
- between feeling miserable,
- how long it your product will last,
- how pricey it will be,
- type of care needed and repairs if necessary.
It is a fascinating field and helps you be prepared for the worst. Like a Boy Scout or Batman, a person has to be prepared for the worst in good weather or cold and hot fluctuations. Make sure to check that tag and make a good informed purchasing decision.
Pictured above in the featured image are Rayon Gold Toe socks. These are not bad, but will get frayed weak points if you have stress points against the fabric. The good thing is it doesn’t tend to get sweaty in them and they feel pretty good.
Some other areas of study: Smart wool, Merino wool.
More info to be updated later.