Fabric Fail: Discomfort

Introduction

FABRIC FAILS—WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW YOU CAN PREVENT THEM

Fabric Fails happen when you find yourself in clothes made of mystery fabric. They may be cheaper for manufactures, but can be a disaster for you. The problem is, it’s easy to mistake a mystery fabric for cotton. They can look like cotton and even feel like cotton—but only at first.

Learn more about discomfort (a fabric fail) to see what awaits if you don’t check the label.

Fabric Fail-Discomfort

DISCOMFORT

76% OF CONSUMERS SAY THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO SACRIFICE COMFORT.1

HERE’S WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

I bought a “professional” looking sweater to wear to client meetings. It was made of some fabric I’d never heard of. It looked good, but it felt awful. It was so itchy I had to wear a long sleeve shirt under it (which of course, made it too hot). Then I accidentally washed it and now it’s probably a child’s size small. Fabric fail on so many levels.

After catching an Avett Brothers show last spring I was so blown away by the show I decided I had to get a concert shirt. It took me forever to get through the line. I managed to snag the last medium (which was a tad large and I hoped would shrink). Turns out this was the worst purchase ever. Not only did the shirt not shrink to fit me, it also is so uncomfortable that I can’t wear it without another shirt below it. Concert success! Shirt fail!

ABOUT DISCOMFORT

Clothes shouldn’t just look good, they should feel good, too. Discomfort can mean a lot of things—itchiness, lack of breathability, lack of temperature control, or stiffness.

TYPES OF FABRIC TO WATCH OUT FOR

Oil-based fibers, such as nylon and polyester, are less likely to be breathable compared to cotton.2

When surveyed, people say they are more likely to stop wearing polyester and rayon casual shirts and pants because they are uncomfortable and clingy compared to cotton casual shirts and pants.3

People have identified polyester athletic wear as being uncomfortable and clingy, sticky and scratchy compared to cotton athletic wear.4

Wool and weir fiber are known to itch and irritate.

60% of consumer complaints of discomfort are in garments predominantly made with non-cotton fabrics.5 That’s because cotton is a natural fiber. Its comfort can be attributed to its softness and the fact that it’s one of the most absorbent fibers, which aids in temperature control and breathability. Cotton fiber absorbs water vapor given off by the body, so skin does not become wet and clothes don’t cling or stick.6

BOTTOM LINE

Cotton equals comfort, so look for cotton on the label.

CHECK THE LABEL

  1. Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor.™
  2. Marjory Joseph. Introductory Textile Science, 5th edition, 1984, pp. 358-359.
  3. Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor.™
  4. Cotton Incorporated 2012 Sports Apparel Survey.
  5. Cotton Incorporated Customer Comments Project.
  6. Kathryn L. Hatch. Textile Science, University of Arizona.
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