by Stacey Kole
When it comes to the fashion we choose to stock our closets with, it’s easy to focus on what the pieces look like before we think about how they feel. But, if you’re anything like us (read: fashion obsessed), you’re likely going one step further and thinking about the fabrics you choose to come in contact with. We’re also willing to bet that you’ve been on the hunt for something as soft as silk, affordable as polyester and eco-friendly to boot. Enter: bamboo fabric. It’s so luxurious and smooth, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.
Ridiculously Soft, Incredibly Strong
When a fabric is likened to the softness of cashmere (and when the women modeling it for you don’t want to take it off), you know you’ve got something special on your hands. Bamboo — technically a type of grass rather than a tree — is soft and silky to the touch, but it’s also extremely durable (no trips to the dry cleaner needed!). That strength comes from its long fibers, meaning it can withstand more wear and tear than fabrics with shorter fibers like cotton. And while it easily rivals Egyptian cotton and silk in softness, bamboo isn’t nearly as expensive — meaning you can have that luxury look and feel, without the sticker shock that so often comes with it.
Absorbent, Breathable and Fresh
Bamboo is 40 percent more absorbent than organic cotton, meaning it wicks moisture away from your skin. It’s also extremely light and breathable and can help with your body’s temperature regulation. The fabric’s antimicrobial properties mean your bamboo clothing will stay fresh longer — so there’s no need to throw it in the wash after just one wear! Because hey, let’s face it: Odds are you’re not always washing your clothes after every use, and with bamboo fabric, there’s no need to. You can indulge in that habit guilt-free without worries that you’ll discover your shirt wasn’t all that fresh midway through the day. All of these attributes combined make this fabric ideal for the basics in your closet that are always on heavy-rotation like white tees, tanks and more.
Looks New Longer
Nothing’s worse than washing a cute new T-shirt all of two times and having it fade or stretch or lose its shape. Thankfully, clothing made from bamboo won’t betray you like that, as the fabric doesn’t shrink or stretch. In fact, that’s a common bit of praise we hear: that the drape of our Common Assembly bamboo clothing fits like a dream. Want more good news? Bamboo doesn’t pill and won’t easily unravel. Bamboo fabric also requires less dye than cotton and retains the color it does use for far longer, causing colors to stay looking vibrant — meaning you can keep it in your wardrobe for seasons to come.
Good for Your Skin
No one wants itchy clothing, and if you have sensitive skin, you know even cotton can be irritating. Bamboo’s hypoallergenic properties and silky smooth texture means it won’t ever rub you the wrong way, making it ideal for layers that will sit closest to your body. An added bonus? The fabric also offers an ultraviolet protection factor of 50+, which is considered excellent protection, blocking 98 percent of harmful UV rays.
Bamboo grows in a variety of environments and geographic locations, including Southeast Asia, northern Australia, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the United States, to name a few. It needs 30 percent less water than most plants used for fabric, and takes up far less land than other plants, like cotton, use. Furthermore, bamboo crops do not require the use of pesticides or fertilizers, and even sustain and restore the strength of the soil they’re grown in. Finally, bamboo is 100 percent biodegradable — making it as kind to the planet as it is to your closet.
Rarely does something come along that has so many benefits with so few (if any) drawbacks. So the next time you’re looking to add something cute, comfortable and eco-savvy to your closet, look no further than bamboo clothing. Talk about a win-win!
Stacey Kole was managing editor of the national beauty and style magazine Savvy and is currently a freelance writer and editor based out of Phoenix, Arizona.