Materials Matter


Have you ever stopped and looked at your clothing tags to see exactly what materials you’re wearing? Not much thought (or tag-viewing) ever went into my clothing purchasing either. My shopping mainly consisted of needing to check a few necessities off my short list. Cute? Flattering? Comfortable? Reasonably priced? Sold!

One day, it dawned on me that maybe I should be more conscious about the materials I’m putting on our skin. I mean, here I am trying so hard to be considerate about everything else I’m putting in and on our bodies, I guess it only makes sense to try to put more natural fabrics on all of us as well.

Sadly, synthetic fabrics like polyester, rayon, acrylic, and acetate seem to be sneaking onto many of the clothing tags we wear every single day! On top of that, these unnatural fabrics are being further treated (meaning even more chemicals are being added to them) so they will appeal to the masses by be marketed as “wrinkle-free”, “iron-free”, “stain-resistant”, etc. Unfortunately, all of these seemingly harmless phrases really mean more chemicals and toxins that can be detrimental to our health.

So, what do you do? Pitch all of your non-natural fabric wardrobe? Not likely.  Personally, I’m now trying to buy 100% natural fabrics like; cotton, silk, wool, linen, hemp, as much as possible. And avoiding synthetic materials with all new clothing purchases. Additionally, I try to steer clear of garments labeled “no-iron”, “wrinkle-free” and “preshrunk” items. I’m not going to lie, it’s not that easy! First of all, I’m an extremely persnickety shopper as it is. So, now even when I find something that catches my eye, I have to first check the tags before falling any more in love with a particular garment to ensure its safety. Kind of a bummer, but I think it may be worth it.

Unfortunately, 100% cotton may not always be enough. When cotton is being grown, it is likely treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Ahhh! Luckily, some of the chemicals typically wash off in your washer. Unfortunately, others chemicals are likely to stick around awhile (i.e., Benzidine-based “azo dyes”, formaldehyde, Perfluorochemicals (PFCs), Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), Phthalates.

Since it’s unlikely – no, make that completely unrealistic, to buy only organic cotton clothing for you and your entire family (let alone just one child), I started with my daughter’s jammies, and have continued with baby boy’s. My thinking is that my little ones’ spend a lot of time sleeping in their pajama, and I figure organic cotton jammies are the perfect complement to their organic bedding. As they grow and need new clothes, I try to incorporate organic cotton clothing wherever I can  (well, when I can find a great deal!) and pretty much only buy 100% cotton clothing for my little ones.

Obviously, buying only organic and natural fabric clothing is difficult to adopt completely. However, I think just being more mindful and conscious about the fabrics we choose, will help make a difference.


  • Buy organic cotton items that you wear all the time (and that lay snug on your skin like tank tops, underwear, bras, etc.)
  • Consider buying second-hand organic children’s clothing – Facebook has some great local Mom-to-Mom swap pages
  • Subscribe to your favorite organic clothing lines’ newsletter to get updates on their sales, and save!!
  • Make sure you wash your laundry with Free & Clear laundry detergent – my favorite is Green Shield Organic (for the love of goodness, please avoid detergents like Tide and Dreft! – they’re so toxic!)
  • Start looking at clothing tags and try to buy only natural fabrics like cotton, silk, wool, linen, hemp, etc. – and avoid synthetic materials like polyester, rayon, nylon, acrylic, acetate and triacetate as much as possible

If enough people start demanding safe, natural clothing, maybe, just maybe, the fashion world will take the hint and stop making clothing that’s detrimental to our health! Gosh, wouldn’t that be nice?!



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