Has that ever happened to you? You shop for that gorgeous outfit for a special summer party and it looks and feels fabulous on you in the dressing room. Until the day of the celebration when that same dress clings to you like a wet suit making it totally unbearable to wear!
Now, to be fair, fit has a lot to do with it. But good fit and a great design put aside, the one thing that will make you love wearing a garment is what it is made of. So for starters, let’s do a mini bio about cotton and see what makes it so special.
A little history
Cotton has been cultivated for over 7000 years making it one of the world’s oldest fibers. It’s a natural fiber that comes from the seedpod of the cotton plant. To this day, cotton is still one of the widely used fiber ever known to man. Better quality cottons don’t have a lot of sizing (a finish that makes the fabric appear firmer) so try to look out for that. Cotton is used not just for clothing but for thousands of things, including space suits for astronauts and even ingredients in the food we eat (yes, cotton is edible!)
When it comes to sustainability, compared to synthetic fibers cotton goes through a fairly simple process before it reaches the consumer: after being plucked from the field, the plant is separated from the seed, and purified to whiten it, making it absorbent. As far as the supply chain, cotton is mostly harvested and converted right here in the USA. Water, soil loss and energy used for production has steadily declined over the past 20 years. And for every pound of cotton fiber, about 1.6 pounds of other useful products are being created, such as cottonseed oil, dairy feed, and mulch.
On the other hand, according to the Organicfacts.com “conventional cotton accounts for nearly 25% of the insecticides and 10% of the pesticides used throughout the world, although is it grown on only 3% of the total cultivated area. It also ranks fourth in the list of most heavily fertilized crops.” Compare that to organic cotton, which is grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides, therefore helping to improve the quality of the land, prevent water contamination, and conserve biodiversity.
Organic cotton clothing
So, whenever you can find and afford organic cotton, it is the best choice for your health and the health of farmers and the land. There are still limited sources of organic cotton clothing but here are some sites you might like to check out:
And now let’s take a look at the three main reasons why you should consider wearing cotton in the summer.
1. Wear Cotton for breath-ability and moisture control
In hot and sweaty seasons, as the body perspires, cotton fibers absorb the moisture and release it on the fabric, so it evaporates. This makes cotton breathable. It also allows for better air circulation while drawing heat away from the skin and keeping the body cool and dry. Because it is absorbent it removes liquid from the skin, like a towel, according to Cotton Incorporated.
Cotton helps you to remain comfortable as you exercise, keeping moisture from building up between your skin and clothing. Cotton clothing protects against heat in the summer by providing thermal insulation as the cotton fabric traps air between the fabric fibers. The cotton fibers in clothing hold the fabric away from the skin, further allowing for more air to be trapped between the skin and fabric which again helps with insulation and comfort.
And listen to this: The International Forum for Cotton Promotion states that cotton can take up to one-fifth of its weight in water before feeling damp. In fact, cotton absorbs up to 27 times its own weight in water!
2. Wear Cotton for comfort especially for sensitive skin
Cotton fibers (especially organic) are one of the only natural fibers that cause almost no allergic reactions and don’t irritate human skin. Cotton’s hypoallergenic nature and moisture-wicking properties won’t aggravate dry skin or cause allergic reactions, even in people prone to skin problems like rashes or eczema.
Synthetic fibers like polyester or acrylic on the other hand can worsen dry skin by trapping sweat and robbing the skin of its natural essential oils. Synthetic fabrics can also cause rashes, skin allergies and body odor as they tend to trap moisture.
As a result, cotton may be the best choice for people who suffer from asthma or allergies, or people with sensitive skin. Keep in mind though that while cotton fibers have these wonderful properties, the goodness is compromised when harmful chemical dyes and sizing are added to them.
3. Wear cotton to prevent fungi breeding
Many people develop skin rashes and fungi during the hot summer weather due to exposure to heat.
This is because heat and moisture is what leads to the development of fungi. This especially applies to underwear. Wearing Cotton panties reduces the chance of itching, infection and odor. Since the cotton breathes, it successfully absorbs moisture from the vagina, keeping it dry.
On the other hand, nylon and other synthetic fabrics do just the opposite. Yeast infection is very common in women who do not wear cotton underwear. Synthetic materials do not breathe, which means they retain heat, which may lead to accumulation of bacteria in the vagina and eventually a yeast infection. You can avoid the risk of developing vaginal yeast infection by wearing cotton undies – or at least those that have a cotton crotch which is the most important part to keep dry!
Now, with so many benefits of wearing cotton fibers you may be wondering if there are any drawbacks. And yes, admitting – there are a couple. Cotton is prone to wrinkling and it loses its shape after many washings. But in my humble opinion, the benefits by far outweighs this little downside.
So as you get ready to shop for new outfits to add to your summer wardrobe, don’t forget to read the fiber content labels. And remember, cotton is not only the best choice for t-shirts, PJs and jeans! You can find beautifully made and stylish cotton outfits from top designers these days. Great looking garments that will not only make you look good but also make you feel good while wearing them no matter how hot it gets!
We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.
To your wellness