When I just came back from Peru, I was super excited about going shopping again and finally catching up with the latest fashion trends. But every time I bought something, I caught myself wearing it twice and then hiding it in a corner of my wardrobe.
Quickly I realized there were several reasons for me not wearing those recently bought items:
- They were uncomfortable
- They didn’t look good (on me)
- They looked worn quickly and would tear easily
Instead, I slowly but surely started to replace everything in my wardrobe for clothes that were more emotionally durable and would last me more than just one season.
I discovered that I wear some items more than others (read: some always, others never), and I realized that this had to do with the comfort level of most of my outfits, mostly because of their material.
I have some woolen sweaters that I brought home from South America, and while they are probably the most unflattering designs you can imagine, I wear them all the time. Wearing them makes me feel so comfortable and happy and snug that I end up preferring them over other garments I have.
Now, I might not be your #1 Insta Fashionista, and honestly, I don’t want to be. BUT, while I don’t care about wearing the latest fashion trends, I do care about wearing clothes that look good on me.
And this is where “emotionally durable fashion” comes in handy.
What Is Emotionally Durable Fashion?
Emotionally durable fashion means that something is designed not only to last long, but to be emotionally lasting as well. This means three things:
- Emotionally durable fabrics DON’T show wear and tear quickly.
- Emotionally durable fabrics ALWAYS make you feel happy when you see them.
- Emotionally durable fabrics are COMFORTABLE to wear.
So, think about it this way: your favorite pair of pyjamas – you’ve owned them for years, every night you’re excited to wear them again and basically as soon as it gets dark you put them on. You feel intensely sad to wash them every now and then, but you’re extremely happy when they’re clean and ready for you the next day.
That’s the emotional commitment we’re looking for when something is emotionally durable.
Think about why you love your pyjamas without wanting to buy new ones every week. Because there’s no pyjama fashion! (is there?) Pyjamas are timeless and they’re all about the comfort 🙂
On the other hand, you probably don’t care if there’s a hole in your pyjamas, or if some parts of the fabric start to fade. But, for your “normal” clothes, you probably do care about those things.
And that’s the second part of something being emotionally durable: it means we don’t get that negative reaction when we see a garment pill, or lose its shape, or its color fade, because the quality is so good – or easily fixable – that it will take years for a garment to actually lose its quality.
That also means that when we see the garment, we know we’re going to be comfortable wearing it. In fact, we see the garment and the fact that we know that it’s going to be comfortable gives us so much joy and happiness that we don’t even need to think about what we’re going to wear!
Additional benefit: save yourself time in the morning not thinking about what to wear!
Steve Jobs actually had a great way of doing this: he always wore the same black turtleneck and jeans, not the actual same same every day, but same material, same brand.
And figuring out what works for you will bring you sooo much happiness wearing it every day!
You could almost see it the way Marie Kondo looks at clothes: only keep the ones that spark joy. And those are obviously not the tight, itchy, clammy fabrics you own. Look for an eternal flame when you’re out shopping again (not just a spark!).
Or… Keep reading and look for these fabrics for your emotionally durable wardrobe!
Cotton is a great example of an emotionally durable fabric. Cotton garments will last a long time because they are strong. Cotton is also simple and classic, making garments everlasting and timeless. Cotton is also comfortable to wear.
Clothes made of cotton are maybe the most timeless and versatile pieces you can ever own. There is really nothing that can go out of fashion when it comes to cotton.
Cotton is a strong and simple fabric that you can find in many different ways (as we’ll see more cotton fabrics in this list), but the first example of an emotionally durable fabric is cotton as it is: plain and easy to wear.
Think of cotton T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, thin or thick sweaters. Cotton takes dye really well, so you will find it in every color of the rainbow.
Cotton is actually still one of the most used natural fibers for clothing. According to Common Objective, about 21% of our clothing is made of cotton. however it has been cultivated so excessively that its quality has gone bad plus its negative effects have increased. Therefore, opt for organic cotton.
Also, keep in mind that not all cotton shirts are cotton shirts. I have some simple, cheap ($10) T-shirts made with organic cotton and I have a few more expensive ones ($35) and the difference is significant!
The more expensive ones are so much stronger and you can see that they will last much, much longer. They feel stronger, they look stronger and the quality overall is just so much better. The cheaper ones will tear quickly and easily.
2. Organic Sheep Wool
Woolen garments are emotionally durable because they are strong and mostly comfortable to wear. Woolen garments are versatile and look good no matter the fashion trends. With the right care, woolen garments can last very long.
Who doesn’t have a chunky sweater that always brings you comfort and warmth on dark winter days? Wool is incredibly emotionally durable and sparks a great lot of joy to many hearts and bodies!
Woolen garments aren’t only warm and fluffy, they are also super timeless and classic! And available in sooo many variations and styles and sizes and prices and colors and types and patterns and thickness and and and!
One potential downside of sheep wool is that it might feel itchy or prickly. But, in order to not let that take away your happiness, you can always wear a layer underneath.
Wool is strong and durable, although it does have a tendency to pill! When pilling occurs tiny little balls of fuzz appear on a garment, especially on places where there is friction. When this happens, a woolen garment may look old and worn quickly, but luckily it is quite easy to remove them!
It might take a bit of caretaking to make a woolen garment look as good as new for a long period of time, but when you treat wool carefully, you can really make a garment last.
3. Alpaca Wool
Woolen garments in general are emotionally durable, but alpaca wool is emotionally durable in many more ways.
Alpaca woolen products are classic and timeless. They maintain their newness over a long period of time and are easy to care for. Alpaca woolen products are very comfortable to wear and can be worn in many different occasions and environments.
Alpaca wool has a silky texture and doesn’t only look fluffy and chunky, but also very sophisticated. The shiny fiber drapes perfectly, which means that an alpaca woolen sweater will look flattering on (almost) everyone.
Alpaca woolen products will have very little tendencies of pilling or stretching and an alpaca woolen garment will therefore look as good as new for a very long time. In fact, if you take care of your alpaca woolen garment, it can last a lifetime!
Alpaca wool is also soft and itch-free for most people. While not everyone will experience the fiber as prickle-free, many will enjoy the high level of comfort when wearing an alpaca woolen garment!
Alpaca wool comes in many natural colors that are not only timeless but also match every skin type and color. If you do want to opt for a brighter color, alpaca wool takes dye really well and can be found in many different colors! And thanks to the fiber structure, they will remain looking bright over time.
Don’t you want an alpaca woolen garment that looks good on you for a lifetime? Check out my products here!
Silk is a fabric that is emotionally durable because of its beautiful appearance. Silken garments are strong and will last a long time. They are also comfortable to wear for everyone and will make for a versatile addition to your wardrobe.
Silken garments are classic, sophisticated and very comfortable to wear: it’s all you need for an emotionally durable fabric. Silk, too, comes in many different shapes and styles, but the most common form of silk is woven.
Silk drapes well, which means that it will look good on you and your body. Silken garments are known to be glossy and shiny and this is one of the most important reasons that it looks so beautiful.
In fact, one of the main reasons that polyester became so popular is because it looks a lot like silk (which it doesn’t, but they are both shiny).
Silk is perfect for tops and shirts that you can wear for everyday use, but it is also the super perfect fabric for dresses and gowns.
And of course, silk isn’t only for pretty princesses, it’s also perfect for men! Many ties, shirts and tops for men are made of silk, and they are incredibly comfortable to wear. Silk is breathable and will maintain your body temperature, so no fear of sweating, itching or smelling bad!
And the best thing? Underwear, pyjamas, robes and sheets made of silk are incredibly comfortable, too!
Mohair is an emotionally durable garment that is perfect for a playful look. Timeless and classy, mohair garments will last to keep you warm for many winters. While mohair does shed slightly, it doesn’t pill and won’t lose its shape.
Mohair is the fluffy wool that comes from the angora goat. It is a unique fiber known for its “halo” (the fluffy-effect). Mohair garments can look playful and cute when they use bright colors and a nonchy design, but mohair garments can also look very sophisticated!
Mohair garments will come in many different styles and sizes, but all of them will look beautifully fluffy without itching. Mohair is soft enough to not be itchy for most people and is generally considered prickle-free.
Mohair is not only used for fluffy sweaters, but also for sophisticated suits! When mohair is used in suits, it gives a beautiful sheen that makes its color change when it moves.
One downside of mohair is its tendency to shed. This can cause a garment to lose a bit of its fluff over time, but should be easily avoided by giving mohair proper care (mostly when washing it!).
Be mindful of the mohair that you’re buying: not all mohair is obtained ethically! Due to its popularity, its production became much more large-scale and goat farms in South Africa (and Texas, US) exploded.
Unfortunately, this impacted the living circumstances for the goats significantly in a highly negative and unethical way. Look for mohair that is responsibly sourced, ideally from small farms that comply with environmental and animal-friendly standards.
Garments made of linen are perfect for summer wear, making them an excellent option for emotionally durable summer clothes. Linen is strong and soft, yet breathable and antibacterial (means it doesn’t get smelly). Linen clothing looks timeless and evergreen.
Linen is made from the flax plant, and is actually one of the oldest fabrics ever known to man. Speaking of timeless fashion, right!?
Linen became popular because it was incredibly strong and durable, and they still are! Wear and tear don’t stand a chance, no matter how often or when you wear a linen garment.
On top of that, linen is incredibly comfortable to wear, especially on warm summer days (but also in spring and for late-summer nights). Linen fabric is breathable and doesn’t get clammy, sticky or itchy when it gets hot.
In fact, linen garments are also antibacterial, so not only is it very unlikely that you’ll sweat wearing a linen shirt (or dress, or skirt, or blouse, or dungaree) but the garment will not get smelly thanks to it being able to resist bacteria!
Wearing linen on your body feels incredibly good. Not only is it soft, it will also become softer over time. Linen garments are timeless and thanks to their strength and high level of comfort a keeper for a timeless wardrobe.
The only reason for linen to be not so emotionally durable is because it gets wrinkly, which means that it should be ironed often. However, you could just own the creases and wear it all naturally (and save yourself the trouble).
I’m often tempted to say that hemp is one of those new fabrics, but it is actually really old – in fact, hemp was used for the ropes on big sailboats back when the world was still flat!
Clothes made with hemp are durable and strong. Hemp fabric is antibacterial, breathable and odor-resistant. Garments made with hemp are also perfect for wicking away moisture, keeping your body dry and fresh in hot environments.
Hemp is actually very similar to linen and cotton, so it is no surprise that hemp fabrics are very durable and emotionally durable.
While hemp is really old, it is making some sort of a comeback as the new sustainable fiber. And for a reason! Hemp garments are strong and comfortable to wear (like cotton), breathable and moisture wicking when it is hot (like linen).
Hemp garments will not lose their shape or their strength, in fact, hemp garments also get softer over time.
One downside of hemp is that it can be a little plain in color. However, those neutral colors are perfect for combining your hemp garment with other more colorful items!
Plus, many hemp brands are all into sustainability, so you will find a timeless piece that is not designed to match the latest fashion trends, but to actually be functional, to look good on you, to feel good wearing it, and to wear it for a long period of time.
Just like linen, hemp is prone to wrinkling and is best maintained by handwashing it. But, hey! If that means you can wear your item for more years to come, that is probably worth it, right!?
8. Flannel (Made from Wool or Cotton)
Flannel made from wool or cotton is another timeless, durable fabric. Warm when it is made of wool, strong when it is made of cotton (and still the other way around, too), garments made of flannel are timeless and versatile.
OK, I have to admit, this is not very emotionally durable if flannel just isn’t your thing. But if it is your thing, then flannel is awesome! Vintage stores are FULL of flannel clothes, although you want to be careful to look for the high quality ones though – 100% cotton or a wool (blend).
Flannel is super soft and warm and incredibly comfortable to wear. Even when you’re active – like gathering wood in the woods!
Flannel will make a fashionable come back every once in a while, but don’t let that stop you from wearing those comfy clothes endlessly!
You can also wear flannel when it is slightly cold or rainy. The fabric can be quite thick, and especially when it is wool, it will protect you from cold, wind, and rain!
Flannel is also unisex, which means that you and your boyfriend can share one garment! (Save that closet space!).
When flannel is made of wool, it will have the same characteristics as any other woolen garment: it will be warm, soft and protect you from the elements. It will be strong and antibacterial, which means that it won’t get smelly or tear easily. You might need to remove some fuzz balls from time to time, though.
When flannel is made of cotton, it will share those characteristics: breathable and moisture absorbent, warm and soft. You can move freely in a cotton flannel garment and be active outside and inside.
Tweed is a woolen fabric with a woven pattern that is often used for suits, skirts, blazers, coats, overcoats and fancy bags. High quality tweed is timeless and durable. Made of wool, tweed is moisture-resistant and warm: it is designed to protect the wearer against harsh climates.
If you want to invest in a classic, timeless overcoat, that is warm and comfortable to wear, one that looks informal but is not a sports jacket either, look for a coat made of tweed.
Tweed is made of wool and wool is warm, water-resistant and wind-resistant. It is perfect to protect you against the elements.
Tweed often comes in a herringbone design, although you will easily find more creative colors and patterns (especially when there’s a new fashion trend including tweed!).
However, given that tweed has been around for centuries, you will also find many plain and neutral designs, that will match your everyday mood and outfit. (Which would be my recommendation if you want to get yourself a timeless wardrobe!)
High quality denim, made of (organic) cotton is incredibly durable and strong. Denim is mostly used for jeans and jackets, and has the durability to resist wear and tear. Denim clothing is sturdy and (originally) made for the workers class. Now, denim is probably the most timeless piece of clothing everyone owns.
Denim was designed to be durable and uses two or more warp threads to make a thick and strong garment. With nails and a special weaving texture (called twill), denim fabrics were made to endure rough conditions.
Denim can resist a lot of friction without breaking apart or losing its quality. At the same time, denim is breathable, which makes it perfect for clothing that you can wear in many different occasions and circumstances.
I probably don’t need to convince you of the fact that there is no fabric more timeless and classic than a denim jean, right?
If leather isn’t your thing, skip this section. If leather is your thing, you know that a leather garment will last you a lifetime.
Leather is made of cattle hide and is generally durable and strong. At the same time, leather is supple and breathable, making it comfortable to wear. While some may question whether or not leather is the most sustainable option available, it is definitely emotionally durable.
A leather garment is one of those luxury possessions that you invest in once and then have it pay off the rest of your life. Leather becomes more comfortable over time as it loosens up and becomes more and more supple.
Leather garments can be used for luxury bags or jackets, but you can also find leather pants, skirts, and even tops. Whatever leather garment you want to use, note that many leather garments are black(ish) and will therefore match everything else you own.
A leather jacket or bag is one of those items that you cherish the rest of your life and with proper care, it will look good for that long, too!
For those who think that leather is for biker boys and girls, think twice! Many high quality bags and shoes are made of leather, too. And besides, a leather jacket can match so many different styles!
One way or another, leather garments are timeless, versatile and durable.
Suede is a durable fabric that has a classic, timeless look and is often used (and associated with) suits or other types of formal clothing. Suede is resistant to friction and
Suede is similar to leather: it is made of cattle skin, but has a napped finish, which gives it a softer look and touch.
Garments or accessories made of suede can give your outfit a sophisticated look. It is also plain and quite neutral, which is perfect for combining it with other pieces of clothing.
HOWEVER; suede is less durable and strong compared to leather and this is one of its downsides. If you want a suede garment to last, you will need to treat it with some type of protectant.
So, while suede is emotionally durable because it is timeless, classic and neutral, it is not necessarily the most durable material in the world!
13. Corduroy (Made from Cotton)
Corduroy is an old fabric that is made with a “cord” pattern. The durable fabric is warm and sturdy, which is why it has been a staple fabric for clothing since the 19th century. Good quality corduroy is made of cotton.
Corduroy is the material of those ribbed pants or jackets that have such significant look, touch and style about them.
Originally designed for workers who needed a strong fabric for their working clothes that were both warm and durable at the same time.
Corduroy will never go out of style – just remember that they’ve been part of fashion for more than a century! And no, I’m not referring to those flared jegging legging pantsy flantsy things that they call corduroy these days.
I’m talking about the strong and soft corduroy that’s made of cotton. Those are everlasting pieces that match an everlasting wadrobe.
14. Rayon (Tencel / Refibra / Closed Loop)
Before you start objecting… The main reason to list rayon in this list is because you might need something to exercise in. And what better way to exercise than wearing sustainable, (emotionally) durable work out clothes?
Special types of rayon (like Tencel, Refibra and others that use a closed loop production process) can be emotionally durable as they can be part of durable workout gear. Be careful to opt for fabrics that are actually of high quality – as the low quality ones will quickly stretch, pill or lose their support over time.
When it comes to fitness gear and workout clothes (active wear), you’re going to want something that is comfortable, breathable, stretchy, resilient, durable and that feels and looks good no matter the exercise you’re doing.
Many workout clothes are not that. They are clammy and sweaty, get smelly easily, and after two wears they’ll either have a hole, they start to pill, or you can see right through them. I own a pair of leggings that literally fall down my bumbum as soon as I start running.
On top of that, activewear has hopped on the fashion train. Now, you have active wear with flashy colors, mesh, deliberate holes, glitter, gloss and scales. All the kind of stuff that is hot for one season, then you realize it’s way too uncomfortable to use for your workout and it ends up in tha trash.
That’s not what emotionally durable fashion is about.
Instead, opt for strong, lasting garments that provide support and protection where needed. Stick to simple patterns and designs as those will do what sports clothes need to do: help you perform better.
15. Satin (Made from Silk)
Satin is an emotionally durable fabric that is also made from silk. Different from silk, though, it uses a special weave that makes a satin garment look glossy on one side, but dull on the other.
Garments made of satin are beautiful because of their gloss and shine. They are the type of garments that remind you of princesses’ dresses and medieval balls.
But they can also be perfect for gowns and shirts, dresses and skirts. Satin – because it is silk – drapes beautifully and will look flattering on your body. It will feel comfortable, too, as it is soft and smooth.
Satin has a very sensual allure to it. In many cases, satin is considered sexy, even!
Satin is durable and strong, thanks to its long fibers that are interwoven in the special “satin” way. Satin doesn’t wrinkle as easily and therefore doesn’t require much care.
Be careful to opt for satin made from silk, though, as many satin garments these days are made of nylon and polyester. Nylon and polyester are not as soft and have a different shine (more plastic-y than silky). They also pill much quicker, taking away from its emotional durability.
16. Velvet (Made from Silk) or Velours (Made from Cotton)
Velvet refers to a fabric that is soft, thanks to the way it is produced. Velvet garments, made from silk, have a special woven pattern that is tufted. In the case of velvet, the cut threads are short and evenly distributed, creating a soft and smooth fabric.
Velours is very similar, although generally much less expensive. It is a little less shiny and a little less luxurious, but it still has that fluffy
Velvet can be combined with many styles. From a gothic-kinda look to a playful outfit. Or from a king’s mantle to a 50s swing dress. I also think velvet is fluffy and would use it for my pyjamas.
Velvet became very popular in the 70s, when it was used to rebel against the dull and well-tailored clothing people were wearing back then. Velvet is therefore often very colorful and bright.
While velours has similar benefits when it comes to comfort and style, it is more prone to pilling, curling and shrinking.
Be careful to avoid velvet and velours made of polyester and nylon – as they are far from being as beautiful and strong as their real counterparts.
Emotionally durable fashion means that something is designed not only to last long, but to be emotionally lasting as well. This means three things:
– Emotionally durable fabrics DON’T show wear and tear quickly.
– Emotionally durable fabrics ALWAYS make you feel happy when you see them.
– Emotionally durable fabrics are COMFORTABLE to wear.