Cold Weather Wardrobe : SWEATERS Identify Quality Fabric & Proper Laundering
This is an acrylic sweater that I purchased on Amazon around $40! This is one of my favorite cozy and put together looks for cold weather. A beautiful cable knit sweater, long enough to wear with fleece lined leggings, fitted enough to move with me as I work and not bag off getting caught on things or dipping into dish water or poo!
We wear our clothes for real life ladies so they need to work with us and for us! It is helpful to know about fabrics to choose the ones that work the best and also to know how to care for them. Everything needs the proper care but fashion longevity is so different based on the quality of fabric. I love the style of this sweater and I struggle to find the exact styles I need in the fabrics I prefer them in so sometimes I buy a less quality fabric to get the style I need. It is actually difficult to find sweaters long enough to wear with leggings! Sweater dresses are essentially a long enough sweater for leggings but even those are a rare find sometimes, especially in a cashmere or a specific fabric that would have a quality factor. Cheap fashion has its place because I can find the look I want sometimes in the cheaper items but I don’t get the quality of fabric. Shopping is always that balance of getting the item you need and finding the quality you need. Those two don’t always match up.
After one wash it was terribly pilled. I wore and washed it a second time before needing to fix it. The Before side is still pilled and the After side was the result of shaving the fabric smooth. Zoom in to see the difference and see the up close photos below.
I own better quality sweaters that are years, sometimes decades old and still look nice. Like this one here by Ralph Lauren. But of course this is a short sweater and I needed a long one!
The good quality old sweaters that I own are ones from higher end brands that I thrifted or that were passed on to me. They probably retail at $100 or more. They are made from quality materials that still look new, even after laundering them over and over not to mention the owner before me. Kind of amazing to see the difference in a cheap vs well made garment. The cheap ones can barely take two wears and two washes!!
This Ralph Lauren knit sweater is 100% cotton, whereas cheap fast fashion sweaters like my Amazon one, are often acrylic. Cheap acrylic sweaters are often loosely woven and delicate in nature. They look fuzzy easily.
The cotton material of my quality sweater is sturdier and does not show wear easily like the cheap acrylic one.
Look at how smooth and tight the cotton knit appears. It does not pill easily or at all. After years of wear and washing, cotton knit can look worn but it does not look nearly as worn as an acrylic item treated the same. Acrylic pills easily and while very soft, is not durable.
Sweaters should must be washed very gently inside out without many other items, and only light weight soft items. Anything agitating the fabric will cause pilling. But acrylic seems to pill easily even when being careful.
It took me over an hour to shave my sweater clean of the pills that were caused by a mere two washings. It was still not back to mint condition. If you have the patience and time you can shave them (yes with a razor) or with a de-pilling electric device.
The cuffs were especially bad with pilling on the edges of the garment.
The winter white color was badly tinged light brown along the edges of the cuffs. This acrylic material did not stand up to even light wear as all I did was light housework in it.
I started to wonder if winter white sweaters were ever a good idea but the cuffs on the cotton sweater are not worn or tinged brown. It washes up well without dirty residue and without wear on the fabric.
Anything washed improperly can wear out and look bad. But cheap fabrics look bad much sooner even with proper care! So invest carefully with that knowledge.
People tend to be rough on clothes, washing in bulk and using hot dryers. I have had to admit to myself just how careless I have been in the past with clothing.
The resulting pilled fabric is a huge factor in looking well dressed or not. If your sweaters look pilled, examine your laundry practices and admit where you are contributing to that wear and tear and launder more carefully! You can even enjoy the more meticulous process of doing laundry well.
Even good quality fabrics require proper washing but will serve you by staying new looking for years even decades longer than the cheap ones. Not to mention that natural fibers like cashmere and merino wool are the superior insulators and also breathe, as does cotton.
Take care of the good quality sweaters and they will last for years, maybe decades! They will also keep you warmer. Take care of cheap quality sweaters and they will look better but may only last one or two seasons with that care. They may not offer the superior warmth but they may offer a particular style that your wardrobe needs so treat them with the same dignity as the expensive sweaters! You will get more wear out of them and look better wearing them.
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