Sweat is part and parcel of tropical climate. For some, avoiding sweat can be impossible and trying to work around can be extremely tedious. The best way to accept the sweat and dress for it. Yes, you got it right, dress for sweat.
It gets easier this way. You know you are going to sweat, there is no way out. No matter how breathable the fabrics are, be prepared for humidity to take control. So choose fabrics that help you dry faster. Below is a list of fabrics rated according to their characteristics of breathability and moisture wicking properties.
- Bamboo fiber is the first choice in terms of breathability and moisture wicking properties. The porous nature of bamboo fiber helps in better breathability while keeping you cool and moisture gets wicked easily. It is a man made fiber using bamboo as raw material, processed into cellulose fiber suitable for making yarn.
The downside to bamboo fiber is the process itself, it requires toxic chemicals to break down bamboo into cellulose suitable for making fabric.
- Cotton blended with polyester has both breathable properties of cotton and quick drying properties of polyester. It is the most economical breathable fabric.
But it has downsides too. Firstly the fabric may fade unevenly over a period of time. Second, polyester will make you feel hotter than usual.
The new alternative to regular poly cotton blend is the hybrid polyester. With the new processing technology the polyester has more moisture wicking and cooling properties. These polyester fabrics are most often used for active wear. The colour fastening is technically better than the regular polyester blended fabrics.
3. Viscose, Rayon and other similar fabrics, there are many different patented names for this type of fabrics. Viscose and Rayon are most commonly used terms for fabrics made of natural fibers. The raw material used to make these types of fabrics can be derived from plants and trees. They are soft, breathable and moisture wicking.
The downside to these types of man made fibre into fabrics is again the manufacturing method. As the name suggests, the raw materials are made into a viscose type of solution using chemicals just like bamboo fiber processing.
These fabrics are commonly found in the ready to wear -fast fashion industry. They are economical and can be easily used for lightweight garments. The lifespan of lightweight viscose / rayon fabrics is short. Frequent washing can result in fabric damage.
4. Linen comes at the fourth position because of the texture of the fabrics, they coarse. It is derived from flax plants, sustainable and eco friendly. Linen has excellent moisture wicking properties and is highly breathable.
Downside to linen is that it is not suitable for all occasions due to the coarse texture. Every day washing and ironing can be time consuming.
5. Nylon or any synthetic fabrics are not moisture absorbent and quick drying. The quick drying properties has earned polyester the fifth position. If you are super sweaty, just stand in a well ventilated place for 10 mins and you will find that the sweat has evaporated.
Downside is that they are not breathable, so be prepared to sweat more than usual. . The manufacturing process also involves lots of chemicals, but comparatively less than viscose, rayon or bamboo fabrics.
6. Pure cotton is soft, highly breathable and super absorbent. Cotton fabrics are sustainable, easy to manufacture and eco friendly. There are varieties of cotton that are grown around the world and the raw material itself has different textures .Cotton yarn can be woven in different ways to bring out different characteristics in the fabrics, making it the most popular choice for any type of clothing.
Downside is that it absorbs sweat and they don’t dry fast. Cotton clothing can retain the odor if not washed well.
Tailoring industry is based on classic and timeless styles, where each garment is made to last. You get a uniquely personalized garment with near perfect fit that fast fashion cannot provide. Secondly it creates less waste, optimal consumption and hence reduced carbon footprint.
Today, synthetic and man made fibers are not a popular choice in the tailoring industry as they do not match the ideology of tailoring. But it might change over the years and I might have to revise this article.
This article is based upon my knowledge of the fabrics and the sole purpose is to give insight into the various options available for shirting fabrics.
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