What Are Smart Fabrics? Really.
Just because we’re seeing the words ‘Smart Fabric’ on a garment, doesn’t mean it’s a smart investment. That Effortless Bitch is here to teach you the difference between smart fabric purchases and no-so-smart fabric purchases.
I don’t know about you, but when I put on active wear I actually feel more productive, even if I’ve just changed into it to make my walk of shame towards the Nutella jar less guilt stricken. While you might not do that, you, like myself and many others might be shopping around at your local sports wear store, looking for some active wear that makes you look more active than you are when you see the words ‘Smart Fabric’ written on the tag.
What is that? What does it actually mean? It kind of makes me think of all these people that buy gluten free products when they have no idea what gluten is (I’m one of those people). So, while I can’t tell you anything about gluten, I can tell you about smart fabrics and what you’re actually buying.
So, as an all-rounder definition; Smart Fabric combines technology with fabric to help the wearer complete tasks in a better, more comfortable way. Whether that’s fighting flu season, stopping sweat from ruining your ‘I’m fit for my age, almost’ image that you radiate, or staying cool while you watch Ryan Gosling take his shirt off in Crazy, Stupid, Love. That’s how I would define it, fabric, made to do better things to make your life easier. But it’s not all as advanced and great as it seems.
Many of us see these labels and don’t know what they mean but we automatically feel like this label justifies the added expense to a product. Just because your crop top is made of a smart fabric, doesn’t mean it’s smart for you to buy one in every colour. So below I’ve decoded the different types of smart fabrics around.
Moisture Wicking – Microfibre: This fabric is made of woven polyester and is one of the most popular smart fabrics available. It’s commonly used in work out wear and raincoats and is designed to wick the moisture away from your body and make your body feel cooler and less sweaty. What you might not realise is that if you decide to wear a moisture-wicking sports bra under your shirt, the microfibres will only wick the sweat off your body and push it through the other side of the fabric, meaning that you may have sweat transfer onto your over shirt.
Micro-Encapsulated: So not only is this a big word, but it’s also a big confusing word, but it’s worth understanding what it actually does because if you come across micro-encapsulated smart fabric and you’re wondering why it’s just a touch more expensive than you were hoping, it’s because this stuff is slightly more high tech than moisture wicking fabric.
It’s designed to let off a certain aroma to disguise body odour (however don’t skip on the Rexona) and some micro-encapsulated fabrics can give you vitamins and can be used for medicinal purposes like stopping nasty rashes. If you suffer from crotch rashes from your bike or rashes between your breasts from all that shimmying you’ve been doing, then a micro-encapsulated item of clothing might be the answer to your questions.
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OTHER SMART FABRICS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT:
Gore-tex: This is the stuff you’ll see all weather jackets made out of, and unless the jacket is lined and made with great care and quality fabrics, it’s not worth more than $120. Gore-tex was one of the earlier smart fabrics to be released to the public.
Thermochromic: Clothing that is thermochronic will change colour when exposed to heat. This type of technology is now being used in sportswear to help wearers see their progress in sport and monitor their exercise levels.
And while we’re on the topic of Smart Fabrics and Activewear, here’s a little something to entertain you for the next few minutes while we all put off going to that spin class.