We all know that cotton comes from plants and polyester was cooked up in a lab somewhere (and sent directly to Charlotte Russe?). But what about less common materials? Check out these lists of natural vs. synthetic fabrics, and see how your wardrobe stacks up.

Natural fabrics:

  • Angora
  • Camel
  • Alpaca
  • Cashmere
  • Cotton
  • Hemp
  • Linen
  • Mohair
  • Misc. Plant fibers (Abaca, Banana, Pineapple)
  • Ramie
  • Silk
  • Wool


Synthetic fabrics:

  • Acetate
  • Acrylic
  • Elastane
  • Lyocell
  • Nylon
  • PLA Fiber (corn polymer)
  • Polyester
  • Rayon
  • Spandex

Natural fabrics are made from fibers that either come from an animal (hair, fur, and feathers), a vegetable (such as cotton or hemp), or a mineral (i.e. fiberglass).
Synthetics were invented by scientists, and the first truely synthetic textile was nylon, which was widely used in World War II.

What's the big deal about synthetics? They require chemicals in their manufacturing processes, which can cause a variety of health problems. Yuck! Visit this link for more details on why you should avoid these chemicals. Also, natural fibers breathe better, which is important when it's a hot summer day (as anyone stuck on an un-air-conditioned subway car in July rush hour can tell you).

So, do you pay attention to the fabrics you wear, Lovelies? Which is your favorite and which do you avoid?