Fashion Magazine

Choosing the Right Fabric to Look Elegant and Stay Cool

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport
Reader Question: Often we find blogs about elegance state that we should never wear fabrics that crush. I wear a lot of linen which crushes terribly. Could you suggest fabrics that look pressed when wearing?

Linen is one of the best fabrics to wear during the summer. It's light, it's breathable, and that helps to keep you cool. It doesn't matter how careful you are when walking, sitting, or crossing your legs, linen, like cotton, is going to wrinkle when you wear it and it's due to the chemistry of the natural fibre.

A crushed linen look can work really well for some people as long as it's not too messy. But others find the crushed look unacceptable.

Playing with different clothing textures is a great way to add interest to your look so here how to make it work best for you...

Work with your skin characteristics

Matching your own personal matte, sheen or shine that you have in your hair and skin to at least part of your outfit creates a harmonious look. Ideally, you want to match your level of texture, in your hair and skin, to texture in fabrics. Textured fabrics can be anything from lace to cable knits, Devore velvet to quilted fabrics.

Smooth fabrics work better for people who have smoother hair and smoother skin. If you are all smooth then a really crushed fabric looks obviously crushed as it doesn't look natural on you.

If you have quite textured hair or more textured skin, you'll actually find that crushed fabric can work quite well for you because you're creating harmony.

Linen has been more traditionally seen as a fabric for older women as textured skin (aka wrinkles) look best in a lightly textured garment, rather than one that is smooth and flat. So the older you get, the more textured our fabrics need to become, to match your natural texture.

Texture is just one element of the style puzzle - when deciding what to wear. But it can make a difference in how an outfit relates to and harmonises with your appearance and provides a backdrop for your natural inner beauty to shine through.

Choosing the best fabrics

Linen is the coolest fabric, and woven linens crush the worst. Fortunately, you can now also get linen knits that don't crush anywhere near as much and are still 100% natural.

Choosing the Right Fabric to Look Elegant and Stay CoolIf you happen to be a smoother person and you find that linen crushes easily and look terrible, you could consider a fabric blend. Choose a fabric with a natural base (cotton or linen, or silk) then choose natural-synthetic materials like rayon, viscose, modal, lyocell, Tencel or bamboo to reduce the crease factor but maintain breathability.

Lined linen garments won't wrinkle as much, as unlined, but the lining will mean the garment is not as cool and breathable.Choosing the Right Fabric to Look Elegant and Stay Cool

There are no natural fibres that do not crush, it's just the way of the world (and chemistry).

Synthetics actually give a more practical bent to our clothes with less crushing. Even bamboo, a natural fibre is significantly processed to make the plant into a fibre - mechanically by crushing the woody parts of the bamboo plant; then combing the natural fibre to be spun into yarn or chemically by 'cooking' the bamboo in a strong solvent.

Typically, a mix of 70% natural fibre and 30% synthetic fibre will crush less and provide less need to iron. This is why the kind of non-iron men's shirts are always cotton plus polyester mix.

Avoid 100% synthetics like polyester and nylon to avoid feeling like you're wearing an unbreathable plastic bag.

The more humid the weather the more that natural fibres will wrinkle. So depending on where you live and the climate, you may want to take this little tip into consideration.

Consider Your Personality

Personality so heavily influences every aspect of our clothing choices, what we like and dislike, how our clothing makes us feel. Classic dressing styles will prefer smooth and crisper ones while Elegant Chic enjoy soft and smooth or lightly textured fabrics. Relaxed personalities often enjoy much more texture in their garment as they don't have that same need smooth and ironed (too buttoned-up and starchy for their more easy-going personalities). Not sure of your personality style? Take my quiz here...

If the crushed linen look works for you naturally, then embrace it and keep wearing your linen. Good feedback can help you grow and become more stylish so much faster than just attempting to do it all on your own but personality trumps all style rules so you can ignore others opinions. That is just one person's opinion...

When you think about your favourite garments, how would you describe their textures? Have you noticed that you prefer some textures and dislike others?

More articles on texture

7 Simple Ways to Add Texture to Your Outfits When You Suit Smooth Garments
How to Choose Flattering Texture in Fabrics
Is that Outfit Feedback Hard Data or Just an Opinion?
Shopping Tip: Check the Label Before You Try It On
Choosing the Right Fabric to Look Elegant and Stay Cool

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