Flanderian

Connoisseur
Where does this notion of synthetic materials/fibers being relegated to inferior garments come from?
I credit two sources: The first is a massive advertising 30 - 35 years ago sponsored by an organization with a name something like The Cotton Council, that I assume to have been a trade organization. It included large volumes of both TV and print advertising using phrases like "100% pure cotton!" Always pronounced in a soothing but superior tone. The inference being that if you purchased something else, you must be inferior, or at least, not superior. It must have cost a fortune. But when it was begun, blends were and had been the choice of most for many years since cotton garments cost more and lacked the inherent wrinkle resistance of blends. That it was successful in creating a paradigm shift that automatically assumed all 100% natural fabrics were always superior is reflected in the attitude you question.

The second reason is that synthetics could be used to make good or poor cloth, just as cotton or wool can. But because it was inherently less costly than either, it often found its way into poor cloth made into poor garments. So if one does not question further, and looked around, they might conclude that the problem was the synthetic, not how it was used.
 

Natty Beau

Senior Member
I wouldn't let a small synthetic content bother you unless its visible (too stiff or too shiny). My BB summer suit and summer sport coat both have synthetic fibers woven in to prevent wrinkling. Sometimes it's better than a purely natural fabric, IMO.
 
I credit two sources: The first is a massive advertising 30 - 35 years ago sponsored by an organization with a name something like The Cotton Council, that I assume to have been a trade organization. It included large volumes of both TV and print advertising using phrases like "100% pure cotton!" Always pronounced in a soothing but superior tone. The inference being that if you purchased something else, you must be inferior, or at least, not superior. It must have cost a fortune. But when it was begun, blends were and had been the choice of most for many years since cotton garments cost more and lacked the inherent wrinkle resistance of blends. That it was successful in creating a paradigm shift that automatically assumed all 100% natural fabrics were always superior is reflected in the attitude you question.

The second reason is that synthetics could be used to make good or poor cloth, just as cotton or wool can. But because it was inherently less costly than either, it often found its way into poor cloth made into poor garments. So if one does not question further, and looked around, they might conclude that the problem was the synthetic, not how it was used.
This is exactly what I found with my own aforementioned coat. The synthetic fiber was put in there to serve a specific purpose, and in my opinion does exactly that. My experience is that on the low end companies like Gap/Old Navy/Express add poly to reduce cost or for some faux effect; whereas on the opposite (high) end of the spectrum a synthetic fiber is used to enhance some quality, whether it be durability, water/weather-proofing, shape, etc.
 

espressocycle

Senior Member
Poly got a bad name in the 70s, but today's synthetics can be excellent. Besides, natural fibers on the label doesn't mean they weren't treated with some chemical process to make them more like poly. Mercerized cotton, cotton with chemical treatments to make it resist wrinkles, etc. I'll take a poly cotton shirt over most no-iron 100% cottons because it will look better and breathe better.
 
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