Choosing the perfect fabric for an outfit can be overwhelming. The options can seem endless — rayon, polyester, linen, cotton—the list could go on and on. But don't worry; we’re here to help.
After reading this article, you’ll be acquainted with the previously mentioned fabrics, the impact they have on style and the environment, plus the positives of wearing each. As a bonus, you’ll get a few friendly fashion tips because we’re style lovers at heart.
Soon you’ll be able to navigate any boutique, department store or fabric shop to select the perfect textile to wear to a laid-back get-together with friends or a sophisticated cocktail party, dress code required.
Now let's take a closer look at linen, cotton, rayon and polyester, all great fabric options that offer their own unique benefits to the wearer and the environment.
First up is everyone’s favorite summer fabric — linen. It’s smart to add linen garments to your wardrobe, especially when our weather (finally) changes from frozen and frigid to hot and humid — you’ll thank us later. Because linen is breathable and lightweight, this natural fabric has amazing temperature-regulating properties to keep you cool while making you look cool too.
Linen is extremely absorbent and dries quickly. Whether you’re donning a floral print maxi dress at a backyard barbecue or a breezy tailored pantsuit to an outdoor wedding, linen always looks naturally elegant and effortless. Those who want to look chic and feel comfortable should have many different linen options in their closet.
While some like to adhere to the age-old fashion rule — never wear linen before Memorial Day or after Labor Day — the truth is, this fabric can be worn all year long. Layering linen with thicker clothing like sweaters and cardigans will help you stay warm in the winter and even elevate your outfit to the next level. When it comes to fashion, rules are always meant to be broken.
In addition to being stylish, linen is also one of the most sustainable fabrics in fashion history. It’s made from a flax seed plant that can be woven into a strong fiber, producing almost zero waste. Plus, it's biodegradable and requires very little water and pesticides to produce. Eco friendly and fashionable—we’re adding linen clothing to our wish list ASAP.
Next, let's talk about cotton, another natural fabric that is extremely comfortable to wear and easy to care for. Created from the cotton plant, this fabric is completely biodegradable so it’s a great option for sustainable fashion fans.
The fashion industry is always evolving, but crisp cotton has remained a favorite for men, women and children too. Why? It’s just so comfortable and always looks classy. You don’t have to be draped in heavy fabrics or clad in restrictive skin-tight attire to be considered fashion forward, and cotton proves it.
Due to its versatility, designers can create new patterns and cuts to please all different walks of life. It may be the material of your favorite pair of underwear or your go-to t-shirt you pull on every Sunday.
Its classic and timeless feel lends itself perfectly to everyday fashion, like sweatpants and sweatshirts, or home goods, like bed sheets and towels. Without a detailed description of its soft texture, you can probably already imagine the feel of cotton without much effort at all. It is very much the fabric of our lives.
Next on our list is the ever-popular rayon, also known as viscose. A semi-synthetic fabric made from the cellulose fibers of trees, rayon is a great alternative to cotton and offers a similar softness and drapability.
If you’re into the free-spirited Boho aesthetic, with a love for dressing in bold prints, long layers and loose sleeves, then rayon is your best friend. It’s famous for its flowy and feminine drape and the flattering silhouette it can create.
Because rayon is made from renewable raw materials, it’s more absorbent and dyes easier than other textiles. Plus, it can mimic the feel and texture of silk, wool, linen and more. Rayon is also eco-friendly and biodegradable. We love a fabric that can really do it all.
Those with a love for athleisure and lounge sets will most likely find lots of stretchy rayon already hanging in their closet. In fact, it is very likely your favorite pair of leggings are made of this breathable fabric.
Style tip: it’s a good idea to wear rayon garments when you head out on a light jog or gear up for an intense workout because you’ll stay cool and sweat-stain free.
Finally, let's chat a little bit about polyester — the most widely-used clothing fiber in the world. Made from oil based products, this synthetic fabric is so popular because it’s durable, wrinkle resistant and easy to care for. Basically, you can skip the trip to the dry cleaners and toss it all
directly in the laundry. These garments can be washed many times yet maintain their shape, plus polyester is known for being stain-resistant too. Those with toddlers and small children can appreciate this quality.
The ever-popular polyester can be used to create everything from slinky mini dresses to more sporty styles, like biker shorts and comfy capri pants. Plus, it’s extremely budget-friendly so your bank account will appreciate it too (especially if you’re hitting the malls and boutiques every weekend or scrolling through new arrivals while online shopping at night.)
In fact, on your next shopping trip, you can perform a little experiment of your own: on your way to the fitting room, take a peek at the fabric tags. You’ll find your favorite eye-catching styles are made from this very popular textile. Fun fact—approximately 60% of garments on retail racks are made from polyester.
In the end, when it comes to fashion, trends are always evolving but the importance of fabric remains unwavering. Whether you’re draped in a cotton dress, linen button-up, rayon lounge set or polyester fashion top, you can be comfortable and fashionable.