The Occasional Woman — Summer Fabrics

| Jul 10, 2017

A floral print cotton dress.

Ah, Summer . . . Dear Readers, let us think about Summer! My favorite season, but one of the hardest for which to dress comfortably, tastefully, and not be a walking bucket of sweat. As my Grandmother used to say — “Horses sweat, men perspire, but ladies just glow.” Let’s see what we can do to remain cool, classy and GLOWING  while living in a festering swamp!

For me, the first priority is NATURAL FIBERS! Not wool, of course. Cotton, linen, rayon, silk and hemp are all excellent choices; natural fabrics let your skin breathe, and do not trap perspiration like polyester does. Think of it this way; if you were given a choice of  two things to wear on a 99 degree day, and one was a Hefty Bag and the other, a toga made of sheets? I think we all know the answer — TOGA! TOGA!

And that toga is made of cotton sheets. Cotton is an incredibly comfortable fabric, and lets your skin’s glowiness escape out into the atmosphere; it is porous and breezy. Cotton also holds a pressing well, and stays cute and crisp. Picture yourself in a cute cotton sundress, some adorable espadrilles and what do you see? A fresh and happy lady. Same girl in a Hefty Bag? Miserable, drenched and cranky.

A white linen dress.

Linen has many of the same advantages. It is also porous and cool, and it always looks classy as HELL. Until you sit down . . . and therein lies the rub! Linen wrinkles. However, if the linen garment is lined, it will hold up very nicely! Garments made of linen are best when crafted of simple lines, like a princess-seamed dress, an a-line dress, loose jacket or shirt, and straight skirts and pants. Such a classy fabric — I would always have linen dry-cleaned, as the cleaner’s pressing will hold much longer than an at-home ironing.

Aaah, rayon. Such a lovable fabric! It “drapes” along the body effortlessly, is very soft and breathable, moves beautifully, and takes colors well. It is a wood-based fiber, often used in Hawaiian shirts and dresses. It can wrinkle a little but not so that it looks like you slept in it. At times, wearing rayon clothing can make one feel like they are wearing nothing at all! A dress, skirt or blouse will be great in rayon. [Editor’s Note: Rayon is not actually a natural fiber. it mimics many of the properties of natural fibers but it is made by processing natural cellulose. Learn more about rayon here.]

Silk — well, silk is just bitchin’. Raw silk is indescribably beautiful; it holds its shape well, it wicked classy and sexy, and there is nothing really like it. Silk has fabulous properties with color; it holds dyes and reflects them awesomely. It is very soft, hardly wrinkles, and will make YOU feel like a million bucks.

A breezy summer dress made of hemp.

Hemp — the new girl on the block. It is kind of like a blend of silk and rayon, and is particularly good as a knit fabric. A simple hemp t-shirt, blouse, or loose skirt or pant skims the body, and has enough texture to be interesting and comfy. It breathes, and is fun to wear!

Most of these fabrics can be blended with Spandex®, to give them stretch and elasticity, so check for that on the label.

Do I hate polyesters? NO! They are great for bathing suits, club wear, exercise wear, and cute little skanky t-shirts. But in summer — think NATURAL, not HEFTY!

Have a fashion question? Need a garment altered or want a costume for Halloween? Contact Lorraine Anderson.

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Category: Fashion, Style

Lorraine Anderson

About Lorraine Anderson: I am a native Californian who has been based in the Philadelphia area since 1984. My first CD fashion creation was a gold lamé dress for the now esteemed editor of this publication. Since then I have made tons of fabulous frocks and other fashion apparel for the crossdressing and transgender community. Visit my website, The Occasional Woman or my Facebook page.

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