Yesterday it was mid 70’s out here and I wore “the dress I wear twice a year” to run errands and meet a friend for lunch. This is one of my all-time favorite dresses, but it is really comfortable only when it is in the 60’s or 70’s out and sunny; it’s a fairly heavyweight fleece with a long slit up the back, so warm, but with air conditioning LOL.
Which also got me thinking more about the discussion over “plastic” (polyester, nylon, etc.) in our clothing and the argument that it makes items more durable over time (in response to my assertion that Everlane did not NEED to add so much nylon to their new chunky cotton sweater). As much as I try to avoid synthetics in my clothing now, I haven’t always, and if I look back at some of my oldest and longest lasting pieces, indeed they are my James Perse dresses and leggings in which the fabrics are cotton blended with a very small percentage of some sort of synthetic to provide stretch – usually lycra spandex.
I have JP dresses that are older than this one and they still look good as new and hold up extremely well to washing and wearing a lot. I did have a 100% cotton JP dress that was fitted and developed a small hole on the side where it should have been able to stretch a little, but couldn’t because of the 100% cotton.
Now, I don’t just buy clothing with synthetics mindlessly – I take into account the actual item, how much it will need to be laundered, whether I think the synthetic is warranted/necessary, and how long I expect it to last. More often than not, I choose 100% natural fabrics over anything synthetic now; I prefer how they feel. It will be interesting for me to go back in 5-10 years and see how many of my “newer” items have held up over time without any synthetics at all.
Items with synthetics won’t biodegrade when they’ve reached the end of their lifespan. Everytime they’re washed they release microplastics into the water supply. And depending on the type of synthetic, the fabric can bunch out, stretch too much over time, and ultimately in my experience, render the garment unwearable (super-stretchy jeans anyone??), so not durable at all to a certain extent.
Obviously we should all use our judgement, preferences, and experience to determine what to buy, synthetic or not. James Perse items, mostly dresses, are incredible investments for me because I wear them over and over again for 5-10 years or more. I sell JP items I’m finished with, and wear at home or use others as rags that are too stained to sell. I’ve never once had to “discard” an item of clothing.
Anyway, food for thought. If you look at some of your longest wearing/longest lasting items of clothing, do they contain synthetics? Or are they natural fabrics?