Wardrobe detox: a few reasons why investing in natural fabric is worth it

When I sweat, I smell bad.

I used to think this was the norm, until I met my husband, who can play back to back tennis matches and come home smelling like roses. I searched for years for his secret deodorant, but apparently he doesn’t wear any. Hopefully our kids will get his body odor genetics and not mine.

When I was in middle school, I used money from my piggy bank to illicitly buy anti-persperant deoderant (my Mom claims it’s bad for you – it probably is) which I kept in my school backpack. It was the spray-on kind – which made it shareable – and it soon became a popular post-recess routine for me and my 10 closest girlfriends to sneak off to the bathroom for a little spray sesh. It made us feel like big girls.

So, you’re thinking, what does this have to do with fashion? I’m getting to that.


Featured image (above title): blue floral 100% silk skirt from Ganni, 100% cashmere sweater from H&M premium, italian leather boots by Dear Frances

above: 100% linen suit from Massimo Dutti, bag by Staud, sandals by Puma

One of the luxuries that has come with growing older and earning more money is my ability to afford clothing made with natural fibers – silk, wool, cashmere, quality cotton, linen – instead of the synthetic junk they sell at Zara and Mango. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my fare share of Zara in my closet. But while it might look almost as good as the designer stuff that comes for 10x the price in an instagram photo, what I’ve come to realize is that it never feels as good. There is just something so luxurious about putting on a silk dress and feeling the light softness on your skin.

And here’s where we get back to the stuff about BO (I know, you were waiting with baited breath) when I wear natural fabrics, I don’t smell bad! It’s amazing – I can bike 30 minutes to work in a silk blouse, and when I come home and give it the sniff test, it doesn’t even need to go in the hamper! Am I the only one who has noticed this? On the other hand, don’t we all have one of those synthetic tops that no matter what we do, it smells like sh*t by the end of the day?


100% cashmere sweater by H&M premium, 100% suede skirt by H&M premium, Dear Frances leather boots, wool-cashmere blend Marella coat (purchased on Vestiaire Collective for 150 euros)

But if you weren’t already convinced by the BO argument (which I find very compelling, but maybe you are like my husband and have no sweat glands) then here are another few reasons to invest in quality fabrics:

  • They have less environmental impact. A polyester shirt has more than double the impact of a cotton shirt in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, and if you tend to buy a lot to follow trends (like me) this could be significant.
  • It might be hard to tell on instagram, but in real, up-close, in-person life, they really are much nicer looking.
  • They last longer. Ever noticed how your Zara synthetics lose their shape and texture after 10 washings? Natural fiber clothing will hold up over time if properly cared for.
  • Natural fiber is less toxic. 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream, and the manufacture of synthetic clothing uses a lot of chemicals.
  • They just feel great to wear (I know I already made this point, but it’s important).
  • They make your significant other want to pet you.

Ok that last point is maybe a little less convincing, but you get what I am trying to say here!

NOW, I can read your thoughts, and this is what they say: that’s all fine and dandy if you work in tech and make enough money to afford designer clothes, but I will continue to satisfy myself with Zara!

To which I say, Brown Sugar! There are many ways to buy quality fabrics on a Zara budget. Here are a few of my tricks:

  • Buy second-hand. There are a million great platforms out there where you can buy second-hand luxury clothing (which is almost always high-quality natural fibers) for a reasonable price. I love Vestiaire Collective and Material World (which sends you a monthly box of used designer duds based on your personal style). If you are motivated by the environmental impact reason above, this is an even better way to reduce your footprint.
  • Shop the premium lines of low-cost brands. H&M has a premium line that makes amazingly soft cashmere and mohair sweaters, as well as silk dresses, suede skirts, you name it. Expect to pay more than H&M’s normal line, but still highly affordable.
  • Buy fewer, better clothes! I know this one is hard, ladies, but wouldn’t you rather have a closet full of pieces you love, that stand the test of time, than the cheap imitation of some trend you wanted to try, wore once, and threw out?


My favorite, lightest, most breathable silk blouse from Charvet (purchased on Vestiaire Collective for 100 euros)

So, are you convinced? If so, by which argument? Do you already buy natural fibers? Do you completely disagree? Thoughts and comments welcome (link at the top of the article).




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