If you are like me, and you want to reorganize your wardrobe to be more sustainable, you need items that are made of durable fabrics. During my hunt for an everlasting wardrobe, I found out that there are so many fabrics available that can help you make your wardrobe green!
sensibly By investing in durable fabrics you can wear your (favorite) clothes for a much longer period of time. When clothes last longer, it means that you need to buy new clothes less often. By buying less clothes you can make a huge difference and impact the environment in a positive way.
In general, the longer a garment lasts, the better it is for the environment. If we would all start buying less clothes a whole lot of environmental problems would decrease.
Let’s look at some examples in more detail. Here are my favorite fabrics for an everlasting wardrobe (in no particular order).
Linen is an example of those age-old fabrics that just doesn’t seem to get old. Literally! Linen fabrics last an incredibly long time, as linen is made of the bast of the flax-plant. It is super strong and durable and linen garments won’t easily get ugly, old or worn.
buy gabapentin online forum According to Seroquel uk Magic Linen , linen is known to be the strongest natural fiber in the world. It is generally thicker than cotton and therefore has increased longevity.
Linen fabrics are super breathable, which means that they won’t get smelly easily. According to Wholesome Linen, linen also has antibacterial properties, which means that when you do start to feel a little sweaty in a linen garment, the fabric will be able to prevent bacteria from growing – or break them down as they emerge.
In turn, this means that there is a lot less need to wash linen garments in general! Despite linen actually getting softer over time, it is always better – in the end – to wash your garments sparingly: washing garments (no matter the fabric!) will always wear down and possibly damage the fibers.
Now, like I said, this might not be as much of an issue for linen, because another benefit of linen clothes is that they get softer over time! This means that older garments are probably even more comfortable to wear! Isn’t that a win-win?!
Apart from being comfortable to wear, linen garments are very, very likely to maintain their shape and color over time as well. Whereas many fabrics will start to lose their shape and new-ness over time, linen fabrics will remain their look in the long run.
Hemp and linen are very similar because they are both fabrics made from bast fibers. The main difference between hemp and linen is that linen comes from the flax plant and hemp from the hemp plant.
According to Hemp Traders, hemp is also one of the strongest natural fibers in the world. It has little stretch and will therefore easily maintain its shape over a prolonged period of time.
Hemp is breathable and can therefore be comfortably worn in warm weather. The benefit of hemp is that it is antifungal as well (according to Hemp Traders), therefore keeping bacteria and bad smells at a distance!
Hemp clothes will therefore need little washing. By limiting the times hemp products are washed, they will remain stronger, of course. But, again like linen, when hemp clothes are washed, they will become softer with every wash.
Hemp clothes will maintain their shape, color and quality over time.
3. Rayon (Made with FSC Certified Eucalyptus!)
While I try to avoid synthetic fibers at this point, I do have to add rayon to the list of durable fibers. Now, I also have to add that I only use rayon for my sports clothes and fit girl outfits (LOL).
Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber, which means that it has a natural source (normally wood pulp, but I prefer eucalyptus – more on that later) but is industrially (chemically) treated to be turned into a fiber.
So, here’s the catch with rayon: rayon is partially natural and is therefore often (misleadingly) sold as a sustainable fiber. However, not all rayon is made the same way and not all rayon is therefore durable or sustainable!
The rayon I like to use myself is made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) eucalyptus. According to Patagonia eucalyptus is a lot stronger than other material used for rayon, like the regular wood pulp (pine, spruce) or bamboo, and therefore a lot more durable!
To me, this is important because rayon is still man-made and will always require chemicals in order to be turned into fabric. By opting for a durable source, you can limit the amount that you’ll need to buy new (gym) clothes tremendously!
Now, even rayon made of eucalyptus is not perfect: it has no natural antibacterial properties. Rayon in general is also very prone to pilling and fuzz especially after it is washed – and given that most of my rayon garments are often sports clothes, I’m going to need to wash them! – so this is a downside that could potentially shorten the lifespan of your rayon garment.
Luckily, there’s another solution to that as well and you can look for rayon garments that have not been treated with formaldehyde finishes to prevent pilling, but with organic and biodegradable finishes.
4. Alpaca Wool
Linen, hemp, cotton (below) and silk (below) are fibers that are incredibly comfortable to wear in summer. And while a thicker garment might keep you warm during mild winter days, I do love to have a warm sweater ready for really cold days! And that’s where alpaca wool comes in!
Woolen garments in particular, but alpaca wool specifically, are stronggggg. I even read that alpaca wool is the strongest mammal fiber in the world.
(More about that in another article I wrote: How Strong Is Alpaca Wool?)
Alpaca fibers have a special texture that make them flexible yet durable.
Alpaca woolen fibers have particularly small scales – which is so unique for their fiber texture. These scales make alpaca woolen garments highly resistant to many different things: from wind and rain to fire and wear and tear.
Alpaca woolen garments will also maintain their new look for a long time. The fiber is naturally shiny and almost silky, and with the correct care, alpaca woolen garments will remain to look beautiful and as-good-as-new!
Now, most wool fibers are prone to pilling, stretching and felting, and the same applies to alpaca to a certain degree. However, most alpaca yarn (and other high quality wool) will use a long fiber strength, which means that the hairs are long enough to prevent much of the pilling and fuzz.
Alpaca fibers are resilient to a high degree and will jump back to their normal shape and size when they are stretched out (read: worn often!).
Felting will only occur when alpaca woolen garments are not taken care of properly and can be prevented in most cases. The simplest way of doing so, is by simply not washing alpaca woolen garments. Easy enough, right?!
Alpaca wool has some antibacterial properties, which means that it won’t get smelly easily. Whatever smells do get trapped inside the fiber are aired out quickly, because alpaca wool is very breathable.
Silk is said to be the strongest animal fiber (according to Sewguide – although I believe spider silk is technically stronger, and I believe a snail has won the strongest fiber competition recently: read more on Science Mag)
But, one way or another, silk is strong! However, silk garments are normally made with very thin yarn, which makes them a bit more vulnerable to damage and wear and tear.
But-but, silk wouldn’t be in this list if it were not a durable fabric, so there must be some benefits to wearing silk!
Indeed, there are. Plenty, actually.
Silk is a very luxurious and luxuriously looking fiber because of its shiny look and feel. It is very soft on the skin because the fabric is so delicate. Now, the cool thing about silk is that it can be made so finely because those silk fibers are strong. You don’t need to bundle them up to make them strong: a thin piece of silk yarn is already really strong.
Silk is also breathable and will therefore not easily absorb smells or body odors like sweat – if you sweat at all, because silk is one of those lightweight fabrics that is great for hot summer days!
According to the Hindustan Times, silk is also antibacterial and therefore another great asset when it comes to clothes that don’t need much washing. And you know the benefit of that by now: less washing means less wear and tear and a garment that looks good for a longer period of time.
Silk does require the right care and treatment for the most durable results 🙂
6. Angora Wool
Angora wool is another type of wool that is durable, and more than regular wool! While angora wool is maybe not the strongest wool fiber out there, it is definitely strong enough to make it to this list.
Angora wool has a fluffy fiber texture and is much more playful than other wool fibers. Therefore, it is not as prone to pilling as other wool fibers. This is a great benefit as it keeps garments made with angora wool look new for a long time.
With the right care, you can prevent angora wool from shedding and felting – two downsides of angora wool. But, if you wash angora woolen garments sparingly, you will find that they will last a long time!
Angora wool is odor-resistant like many other wool fibers, and therefore doesn’t require a lot of washing. This of course, helps with the durability of angora woolen garments, as they can last longer this way.
While angora wool does not have the best resilience, it does have great wicking capabilities, which should help prevent a garment from losing its shape when it gets wet. And given that this is the greatest risk for angora woolen garments to lose their shape, it will help to increase its durability.
Mohair is in several ways very similar to angora wool – and therefore has similar durable features. While mohair comes from a goat, and angora from a rabbit, they are both shiny and silky fibers.
Mohair has a lot of crimp: it is a curly fiber that has great resilience. This means that it is very likely that a garment made with mohair will maintain its shape over time. Even if it is temporarily stretched out a sweater made with mohair will jump back to its original shape.
On top of that, mohair is also a strong fiber and will not easily break or get damaged. It has the same frizzy look as angora wool and will therefore look playful and frizzy! While it is prone to shedding, it is not as vulnerable to pilling.
Mohair is also unlikely to felt, which helps maintain its original softness and fluffiness! Especially with a fiber as fluffy as mohair, you would think that felting is one of the greater risks. But, according to Masterclass, mohair doesn’t have scales and will therefore not felt at all!
Odor-repellent and breathable, mohair will not get smelly easily and can actually move smells (air) around when they do get absorbed by the fabric. Mohair is also antibacterial like other wool fibers: another benefit when it comes to a limited need of washing mohair garments and maintaining them pretty!
8. Bison Down
Bison down is a fiber that is becoming increasingly popular for sustainable fashionistas! It is a super durable fiber and it even gets softer over time!
One of the amazing benefits of bison down is that it won’t shrink when it is washed (when water temperatures don’t change at least!), so it will always maintain its original size no matter what happens to it!
According to All About Bison, bison down is a lot stronger than sheep wool, which contributes to its durability. It has a fiber length of between 1-2 inches, which is long enough to produce a strong and long fiber. The longer the fiber, the stronger the fabric and less chances of pilling or shedding.
Bison fibers also rarely need to be washed, as they are breathable and have that great fiber-feature of being able to move air around.
Bison is often blended with other fibers to enhance its features, so blends with bison down are also a great option when you are looking for sustainable, durable clothing!
I wrote an article about the other wool blends that I love, check it out here:
12 Wool Blends That You Will LOVE
Qiviut is claimed to be one of the softest and warmest fibers on this planet and it therefore has a great price tag on it! It is the second most expensive fabric after vicuña.
Luckily, when you invest in a garment made with qiviut yarn, you can expect it to last.
Qiviut doesn’t felt or shrink and the fibers become softer over time. It is a durable fiber that will maintain its shape despite being not very stretchy.
Since qiviut is so light, it has great drape, which means that it looks great on anybody and makes for an elegant look! Thanks to its durable fiber, this look will be maintained over time and you don’t have to worry about it losing its newness or prettiness.
The musk-ox (the animal that produces qiviut) lives in extremely cold climates, but will shed this part of its undercoat when spring arrives. Nevertheless, qiviut is breathable as it forms an insulating layer between the thick outer coat of the musk ox, protecting it from icy winds and extreme cold temperatures.
Qiviut can also absorb and then evaporate a large amount of water (rain, sweat), which helps make it odor-resistant. Qiviut fibers are breathable and therefore won’t absorb smells easily – and if so, the air gets moved around quickly and easily.
You might wonder whether cotton should be on this list, or not. I think it should be, despite that it is not one of the strongest fibers. In fact, many people find cotton not strong at all.
Now, here’s the reason why I do think that cotton is strong: do you own a pair of jeans? A jean jacket? Anything else jean-ish? Those garments are STRONG! If you invest a good brand of jeans, with 100% (organic) cotton – no polyester or stretchy additions – they can last a very, very long time!
So generally, cotton is a strong fiber. End of story.
According to Livestrong, It even becomes stronger when it is wet, which means that you can wash cotton repeatedly without it losing its strength. Most fibers do wear down when they are washed (often).
Cotton is also slightly stretchy, which helps make the fiber more comfortable after a couple of wears. As a downside you might need to shrink down your favorite pair of jeans after wearing it a couple of times, but generally, cotton becomes less stiff when you wear it.
Cotton can also absorb a high amount of moisture, which can both add to or cut down on a garment’s lifespan. Generally, the fact that it can absorb moisture means that it can be a comfortable alternative to sportswear if you want to stick to natural fibers instead of rayon.
On the other hand it also means that it becomes a breeding place for bacteria, causing potential odor issues. However, the fact that cotton can be washed at a high temperature without damaging the fiber should provide a solution to the bacteria problem.
What Are The Characteristics of Durable Fabrics?
As a general rule of thumb, there are several things that contribute to making a garment or a fabric durable. For example, durable fabrics are:
- Moisture absorbent
- Resilient (with good stretch and memory)
- Not prone to pilling
- Not prone to losing their shape
- Not prone to shedding
- Not prone to losing its shine or softness