No matter what time of year it is, you’ll be enjoying a cotton staple piece in your wardrobe. But as a natural fiber, it comes with its downfalls. The properties that make cotton can make it a slightly inconvenient material to wear as an option to throw on, without taking too much time to care for it. Let’s take a look at these factors that potentially cause issues when you’re wearing cotton pieces.
If you’re looking for a fabric that requires little to no maintenance, then cotton is not the one for you. With it’s moisture absorbing abilities, this gives cotton to hold on to any creases, folds or wrinkles that you apply to it whether it’s intentional or not.
This can be a real pain if you are wearing a nice cotton button up shirt to a nice event, because if you’re not careful, it can look pretty scruffy.
This is the nature of the material though, so if you’re willing to put even a little bit of effort into lightly ironing or steaming it, you can definitely have yourself a lovely garment for years.
Sorry, it does have to be said! If you wear a cotton shirt in a muscle fit style, it will be a very tight fit. When the weather is a little cooler, this is fine, but when the weather is hot and sticky, this will be bad. I’ll want to stress that sweat patches aren’t necessarily a bad thing, as it is a natural way to cool down. But this is usually off putting to other people and there is an assumption of poor hygiene and/or smell associated with it.
This is because cotton is so good at soaking up water, as it contains many pores in its fibers that hold the water very well. So this can be good for many reasons, but when you’re sweating, it will be very obvious from the outside of your clothes.
So don’t go running or exercise in cotton clothes if you want to stay dry during your workout sessions.
Falls Apart Quickly
With daily or very frequent use, cotton clothes can actually be prone to breaking quickly. You’ll find this happens more with inexpensive options from fast fashion retailers, or old and worn out clothes. This is because cotton is made from all natural origins, so with more use, the material starts to thin out and break.
Its biodegradable property also means that it will naturally decline in quality over time. If you don’t look after it, it will be susceptible to being eaten by moths, with will leave small holes in your clothes which will be difficult to fix.
Check the care label next time you put on your cotton tee shirt. Some of them might be 98% cotton, and 2% elastane. This is to ensure that the tee shirt still has some stretch to it, as cotton doesn’t stretch a lot on it’s own.
The same goes for denim jeans. Jeans with a special stretch fit are usually hybrids of cotton, polyester and elastane, so that when you wear them, you have a little bit of flexibility. This is the disadvantage of pure cotton jeans, because if you vary between sizes, you would have some difficulty finding comfort in those pants.
Shrinking & Losing Shape
Pure cotton garments have the ability to decrease in size and shrink in the right conditions. Putting them in on a hot wash or drying set in the washing machine can sometimes cause them to become smaller, because the heat makes the cotton dry quicker, and so it loses some of its mass quickly as a result.
On the flip side, with a lot of wear and soaking it in water, you can encourage the fabric to stretch, even to the point of over-stretching it. Sometimes, you’ll find that really old cotton t shirts that have had so much wear tend to be so big and baggy, due to it losing all it’s shape. This is just a natural part of time passing and it being used so much.
So these are the few disadvantages that cotton possesses. For me personally, they are pretty minor inconveniences if you weight out the positives of owning them, because they feel pretty comfortable when I wear them, and they let my skin breathe too.