Different fabrics and materials work well for different situations, climates, or what you are wearing it for, but if you had to choose only one fabric that you had to wear year-round regardless of climate or temperature, the best choice would be drum roll, please … cotton.
Cotton is without a doubt the most popular fabric for clothing. You can find it in everything from underwear to sweaters to pants to coats. The quality can range from inexpensive mass-produced options to high-end super-soft Egyptian cotton. There are more than 90 different types of cotton, so there is a lot of variety as far as having different types for different purposes.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it is probably a good idea to point out cotton isn’t the best choice for all types of clothes. For example, if you are working out, there are excellent, modern high-tech fabric blends wick sweat away and help keep you from overheating, and for the most part, are a better choice than cotton when you are working up a sweat. Or, if you are hiking in cold, wet temperatures, it would be best to avoid cotton and stick to some type of wool with excellent insulation properties.
But if you are looking for soft, comfortable all-purpose fabric that can be versatile in different situations (like traveling), cotton is a great choice as an all-purpose material. From lightweight, almost see-through slub cotton perfect for a stylish t-shirt to cozy thick flannels to keep you warm in the winter, you can pretty much find anything you need to be made from cotton.
Why is cotton is one of the best fabrics for clothing all year round? Read on to find out.
Perfect for all Climates
Cotton is perfect for pretty much any climate. When you are in hot and humid locales, cotton can be worn on its own, or if you find yourself in cold and dry conditions, it can be worn as a layer. Because the fabric is great for heat and cold, its versatility is unmatched in other fabrics.
You can find incredibly comfortable cotton sundresses or cotton suits in addition to a t-shirt, shorts, and pants. Or a thick cotton fisherman sweater or flannel shirt will keep you nice and warm on cold days. One of the most most loved and worn fabrics, denim, is cotton. Traditionally denim was 100% cotton, but over the last 15 years or so, many ‘jeans’ are now made out of cotton stretch blends, and it is a bit harder to find all-cotton denim.
Cotton can range from dirt-cheap to exorbitantly expensive, depending on the quality of the cotton used, where it is grown, and the type of knit or weave can also factor into the cost. Generally though, cotton is one of the cheapest and most affordable fabrics going that you can find pretty much everywhere.
Nowadays, some of the softest, most comfy clothes are made from 100% cotton material. Even the most budget cotton can be far softer and more pleasant to wear than other types of fabrics like polyester or certain types of wool. It also softens with age and wear, making it one of the most comfortable things in your closet.
If you are looking for an ultra-soft fabric, you can look for extra-long-staple cotton (such as Pima or Supima) or cotton with a higher thread count. Egyptian cotton is also renowned for its luxuriously soft feel.
Not only does cotton feel great against the skin, but it is also breathable. This just means that it allows heat to pass through the fibers away from the body, allowing you to stay cooler than other types of fabrics that trap heat. It also soaks up moisture from the skin, which is another reason it is a popular choice for warmer weather.
Since cotton is a natural fiber, it is a good choice for people who are sensitive to human-made or synthetic fibers. If you are sensitive to what touches your skin, cotton is a good choice to avoid itching or overheating.
It is also vegan since it isn’t animal-derived, and if you find ethical, sustainable cotton companies, it can also be made with causing harm to animals or the environment. There is a growing movement toward organic and more sustainable production for cotton that even big brands like Gap are embracing.
Cotton is also one of the most functional fabrics. In addition to keeping you stay dry, it is also flexible and moves with you. You have to make sure you are buying the right type of cotton for the right situation, such as wearing flannel pajamas on a humid summer night or a light cotton dress in a snowstorm. However, if you get the right cotton for the right situation, it will not let you down.
Disadvantages of Cotton
As much as I love to espouse the benefits of cotton, there are a few downsides to this wonderful fiber.
- It can get pretty wrinkled.
- Cotton tends to shrink, so you need to take extra care when laundering.
- It isn’t the most durable fabric.
- The growing, processing and manufacturing of cotton can be pretty damaging to the environment.
Despite these small issues with cotton, it is still one of the best all-around fabrics that you can get for clothing. When you consider the affordability, comfort, and functionality of cotton, it is easy to see why it is so popular.