What to Wear

  • 1. Fabric Overview

    There are so many fabric out there, it can be difficult to distinguish one from another at times. This quick review of basic, everyday fabrics should help you choose which one is best for you.

    • Charmeuse A soft, silky fabric that is shiny and opaque. Charmeuse is used a lot for dress wear and silk-like underwear.

    • Pima Cotton A very strong yet very smooth and soft high-grade cotton of medium staple. The longest staple fibers, longer than 1.5 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality cotton fabrics. Underwear made from Pima cotton is known for its super-soft, luxurious qualities.

    • Polyamide A synthetic fabric with wrinkle-resistant capabilities.

    • Polyester Large class of synthetic fabrics known for their wrinkle resistance.

    • Any of several synthetic textile fibers sometimes used for underwear that are produced by forcing a cellulose solution through fine spinnerets and solidifying the resulting filaments.

    • Satin A smooth fabric of silk or rayon which has a glossy face and a dull back.

    • Silk Fine, lustrous fiber composed mainly of fibroin and produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons, especially the strong, elastic, fibrous secretion of silkworms used to make thread and fabric. Silk fabric is sometimes used for men's and women's underwear.

    • Spandex Synthetic stretch fabric or fiber made from polyurethane.

    • Tactel Registered brand of synthetic performance fabric known for its springy, lightweight construction and wicking power.

    • Velvet A cotton, silk or nylon fabric with a dense soft and usually lustrous pile and plain underside.

    • Viscose A type of rayon with a soft and silky feel made from a cellulose solution.

    • Nylon A synthetic fiber that, along with polyester, made underwear fabrics more user-friendly by being easily washed and wrinkle-resistant.

    • Microfiber An extremely fine synthetic fiber that can be woven into textiles with the texture and drape of natural-fiber cloth. Microfiber has enhanced stretch and is washable, breathable and water repellent.

    • Chiffon An extremely light, thin and sheer fabric usually made of nylon, rayon or silk.

    • Combed Cotton A type of ultra-soft cotton. When cotton or another fabric is "combed," the shortest additional fibers are removed. The result produces high-quality yarns with excellent strength and softness.

    • Cotton A unicellular, natural fiber that grows in the seedpod of the cotton plant. Fibers are typically 0.5 to 2 inches long. Cottons composed of longer fibers are extremely soft and luxurious.

    • Elastane A fabric designed with elasticity that adds stretch to garments.

    • Elastic A band of rubber or latex that has the property of high elasticity. It's used for the waistband of certain styles of underwear.

    • Jacquard A type of fabric weave that creates the effect of an intricate pattern or print.

    • Leather A fabric made from animal hide.

    • Lycra An extremely elastic fabric made of synthetic fiber. Lycra was originally trademarked by DuPont, for an elastomeric effect.

    • Merino Wool Type of soft wool that is gleaned during the sheep's second or third shearing. After the third shearing, wool grows back coarser and thicker.

    • Mesh Type of fabric, often made of synthetic material, that is full of small openings similar to a net. Used for lingerie/underwear as fabric for a full piece or as inserts for an effect that is intended to be either sensual, athletic or both.

    • Wool Fiber or fabric made from the fleece of a sheep or lamb. Wool also refers to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel, alpaca, llama or vicuna.

  • 2. The Difference Between Knit and Woven Fabrics

    • Knit Fabric Knit fabrics are made from only one set of yarns, all running in the same direction. Some knits have their yarns running along the length of the fabric, while others have their yarns running across the width of the fabric. Knit fabrics are held together by looping the yarns around each other. Knitting creates ridges in the resulting fabric. Wales are the ridges that run lengthwise in the fabric; courses run widthwise.

    • Woven Fabric Woven fabrics are composed of two sets of yarns. One set of yarns, the warp, runs along the length of the fabric. The other set of yarns, the fill or weft, is perpendicular to the warp. Woven fabrics are held together by weaving the warp and the fill yarns over and under each other.