Thanks to a tip from the Shop Tart, I went to check out the big sale at Van Jean this week. I found two tunic sweaters on their clearance rack that I really liked. (Yes, I was shopping for winter sweaters on the hottest day of the year so far. They were 90% off!) The first one was royal blue and looked fuzzy. I picked it up to get a closer look and immediately knew that I probably shouldn’t buy it, as cute as it was: it didn’t feel soft and fuzzy at all, it actually felt kind of rough. I checked the tag and confirmed my suspicions: 50% mohair, 40% nylon, 10% silk. The gray sweater, while less spectacular-looking, had the weight of cotton and felt soft to the touch. Its tag said 100% Merino wool.
Even though I knew better, I tried on both sweaters. The blue one was horribly itchy and I couldn’t wait to take it off. The gray one was light, warm, and comfortable, and I ended up buying it.
My husband likes to make fun of me when I feel compelled to touch interesting-looking fabrics as we walk through a store, but I think it’s important to cultivate a good sense of touch when it comes to clothes. Just like it’s important to know what colors and styles look good on you, it helps to know which fabrics you prefer. It can help you sort through the racks at large discount and thrift stores more efficiently and find gems you might otherwise have overlooked. Knowing the names of the yarns and fabrics you like is also helpful when you’re shopping online and can’t touch the clothes in person.
Take a look at the tags of your favorite clothes and see what they’re made of. Next time you’re out shopping, go ahead and feel fabrics before you try anything on – look at the tags if you find anything you particularly like or dislike. I know that I’m so much happier when I’m wearing clothes that both look good and feel good.