Learn from my mistakes

My most recent dud purchase really upset me. I spent a fortune – more than $100 – on a skirt which just turned into a mass of lap wrinkles the first day I wore it to work. It was like huge arrows pointing to my crotch saying – I sit down all day.

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I’ve had it.

I want clothes that:

  • Don’t wrinkle too easily
  • Aren’t dry clean only
  • Aren’t really difficult to iron and
  • That last beyond a couple of washes.

(Is that too much to ask?)

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The answer after much research is: Don’t buy anything with more than 30% viscose. Don’t buy anything with viscose and modal.

Here is more detail from my research into fabrics and fibres….

It’s all about the fabric.

The dud skirt was a blend of the following fibres: 57% viscose, 41% modal and 2% elastane.

  • Viscose – Creases easily (lowest elastic recovery of any fibre). Stretches and shrinks more than cotton when wet, which is why it is always dry clean only. Dries slowly. Not durable.
  • Modal – Must be ironed after washing. Prone to stretching. Resistant to shrinkage so can be machine washed.
  • Elastane (lycra) – When stretched, it always reverts to its original form. Most of my pants are a cotton/elastane blend, so Elastane is not the culprit.
(Viscose is first generation rayon, Modal is second generation, and Lyocell/Tencel is third and most recent generation of rayon. Tencel is more environmentally friendly than the other two.)

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My successful purchases contain either polyester, silk or cotton (either 100% or a blend).

  • Polyester – Many of my tops that have lasted long term, don’t need ironing and don’t wrinkle when I wear them are polyester. Polyester is the best wash-and-wear fibre, however some people are concerned about its toxic qualities. It isn’t always the most comfortable fabric in summer depending on the cut.
  • SilkThinnest of all natural fibre. Wrinkles are meant to “fall out”. These shirts need an iron but only a gentle iron. I would say they don’t last as long as shirts in other fabrics. They get holes in them and tear.
  • Cotton – Creases easily. All you need though is about 2-3% elastane (lycra) in your skirt or pants to remove the creasing problem. Cotton can be prone to shrinkage, although, as with all fibres, the fabric quality depends upon how it is processed, the thickness, the quality of the materials, weaving, etc.

For example, another skirt that doesn’t wrinkle so much is: 76% polyester, 18% viscose and 6% elastane.

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Want to read more? Here’s some interesting (to me anyway) information on fabrics, that explain a lot: