Fabric Content Guide - Pt. 1

A Guide to Fabric Contents and Quality Clothing - Part 1

“What is this made of?”

You know how the labels on our food items are getting more and more complicated? Sometimes it feels like we need a PHD in nutrition and government spending to understand what we are feeding our families. Well…I hate to tell you, but fabric content is even worse. The labels on clothing usually don’t give a good indicator of what our clothes are really made of, but that is where we come in! Today we want to break down fabric contents for all of you so you can get a better understanding of what your clothes are made of what you can do to find high quality pieces that will last you for years! So…let's get into it! 

Rayon, Polyester and Acrylic 

First things first, let's debunk a common misconception. Rayon, polyester, and acrylic are not inherently bad fabrics. They're often dismissed due to preconceived notions, but they are really just blended fabrics and their quality depends on the materials they are blended with. Sometimes, they may contain plastics, while at other times, they might be blended with high-quality materials like bamboo or cotton that result in soft, durable clothing. Unfortunately, clothing labels rarely specify the exact blend, so you must rely on factors like feel, price, care instructions, and the reputation of the brand.

Rayon: A more sustainable option 
Rayon is a breathable cellulose (plant fiber) fabric made from wood pulp. Unlike plastics, it is biodegradable and can mimic the feel of smooth cotton, silk, or linen. It was actually developed in the early 19th century as a silk substitute, and rayon is increasingly used in linen blends to add weight and reduce wrinkles. One thing to note is that Rayon has a tendency to shrink when wet, so gently stretching it out after washing can help maintain its desired shape
Polyester: Durability Meets Reputation
Polyester is a broad term for a blend that can be durable and suitable for clothing. Its quality often hinges on the reputation of the brand using it. If polyester clothing feels squeaky, it likely contains plastic. Since polyester blends do not require full disclosure, the feel of the fabric becomes a crucial indicator of its composition. 
Acrylic: Soft and Allergen-Friendly 
Acrylic has become a favored alternative to wool in many sweaters. While technically a plastic-based fabric, recent advancements have made it softer and more comfortable. Forward-thinking companies use innovative processes to create lighter, allergy-friendly sweaters. However, care in washing and wearing is essential to prolong their lifespan.

Fabric at Madd Style - We take out the guesswork

At Madd Style, we believe in hands-on evaluation. We touch and try on 95% of everything we stock. This hands-on approach enables us to identify when companies incorporate plastics to cut costs or when reputable brands, like Habitat Clothing, select only the best polyester or rayon for their price point because their reputation matters. It matters to them, and it matters to us. When you shop at Madd Style, we've done the legwork to remove much of the guesswork. We assess different clothing lines each season to ensure their fabrics pass the comfort and wearability test.

We hope this blog has shed light on the basics of fabric contents and how to spot quality clothing. Next month we will have a Part 2,  where we'll delve deeper into materials like cotton, lyocell, modal, and an emerging fabric trend – trademark fabrics. Until then, happy and informed shopping!