Clothing comfort is one of the principle criteria of smart textile. There is some difference between conventional garments and special garments or technical garments. Now a days we are producing technical garments very carefully such as water and wind resistant cloth, breathable cloth. It is not easy to explain about comfort since it is a complex and interdependent combination of physical, psychological and sensorial perceptions and highly depends of subjective evaluation of the individuals. But there are some key factors to become clothing comfort. In this article I will discuss about it.
- Figure: Clothing comfort in technical textile
Necessity of Clothing:
Clothing is one of the basic necessities of human being. It serves various and diverse purposes. Selection of cloth is dependent on desires and requirements of an individual. Principle necessities of clothing are:
- To protect the adverse situation
- To lead the civilized life
- To look attractive
- To protect body from unusual situation
- To feel comfort
Constant Body Core Temperature:
The main purpose of technical textile or clothing is to maintain constant body temperature. Generally skin temperature 33 Celsius and core temperature 37 Celsius.
Process of Losing Temperature From Human Body:
- Perspiration and respiration
Key Parameters or Factors of Clothing Comfort:
Clothing comfort is a complex and multifaceted concept that can be influenced by various factors. It’s important to note that what’s comfortable can vary greatly from person to person, depending on individual preferences, body types, and environmental conditions. Some key factors that contribute to clothing comfort. Depending parameter on which clothing comfort depend on:
- Fiber type
- Fabric construction
- Fabric Selection
- Moisture Management
- Temperature Regulation
- Allergies and Skin Sensitivity
- Stretch and Flexibility
- Design and Style
- Environment and Activity Level
- Care and Maintenance
1. Fiber type:
This is important parameter for clothing comfort. More compact area between skin and fiber in case of cotton fiber remains straight in fabric. Experimentally shows that heat transfer through fiber is more than air. That’s why more heat passes through cotton from body. So cotton fabrics feel cool in warm season. But in case of wool and blended of wool fiber, there is crimp so it cannot be straight in fabric. As a result contact area between fiber and body skin is less. Due to less heat conductivity of air less amount of heat is lost from body so we feel warm in cool weather example: wool made fabric. In case of VILOFT (Blended of viscose & polyester) fiber, fabric is hairy. Due to this hairiness there is more air space. So heat loss through clothing is poor here. So it is also felt warm when worn.
2. Fabric construction:
Normally we consider two types of fabrics such as woven and knit. In case of woven fabrics there is less still air & more fiber so heat transfer is more than knit fabric because in case of knit there is more still air.
3. Fabric Selection:
- Fabric type: The choice of fabric is crucial. Natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk are breathable and comfortable, while synthetic fibers like polyester may trap heat and moisture.
- Fabric weight: Heavier fabrics are warmer, while lighter ones are cooler. The weight should match the season and activity level.
Thickness is important parameter for heat loss. For more thickness fabric heat loss is less and vice versa.
- Size and cut: Clothing should be the right size and cut for your body shape. Ill-fitting garments can cause discomfort due to chafing, restriction of movement, or excessive fabric.
- Seam placement: Seams should be strategically placed to minimize friction and pressure points, especially in areas like shoulders, underarms, and waist.
For high density fabric, heat loss through fabric is more and for low density heat loss is less.
7. Moisture Management:
- Wicking properties: Fabrics with moisture-wicking properties draw sweat away from the skin, keeping you dry and comfortable. This is particularly important in active wear and hot climates.
- Breathability: Breathable fabrics allow air to circulate, which helps regulate body temperature and prevent overheating.
8. Temperature Regulation:
- Layering: The ability to layer clothing is essential for temperature control. Layering allows you to add or remove garments as needed to adapt to changing conditions.
- Insulation: For cold weather, clothing with proper insulation (such as thermal layers) is important to retain body heat.
9. Allergies and Skin Sensitivity:
- Allergens: Some people may have allergies to certain fabrics, dyes, or chemicals used in clothing production. Hypoallergenic materials can minimize skin irritation.
- Seams and tags: Clothing with flat seams and tagless designs can reduce skin irritation and discomfort.
10. Stretch and Flexibility:
- Stretchability: Clothing with stretch or elasticity allows for freedom of movement, making it more comfortable, especially in active or athletic settings.
- Recovery: Fabrics that retain their shape and elasticity over time maintain comfort and appearance.
- Heavy vs. Lightweight: The weight of clothing affects comfort. Heavy clothing can be burdensome and restrict movement, while lightweight clothing is often preferred for its ease and comfort.
12. Design and Style:
- Style preferences: Personal style plays a role in comfort. People are more comfortable when they feel good about how they look and when their clothing suits their personal style.
- Design elements: The placement of garments accessories zippers, buttons, and other fasteners can impact comfort. Well-designed clothing minimizes discomfort from these elements.
13. Environment and Activity Level:
- Activity type: The comfort requirements vary depending on the activity. Activewear should support freedom of movement, while formal wear should prioritize aesthetics.
- Climate: Environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, and wind, influence clothing comfort. Appropriate clothing for the climate is essential.
14. Care and Maintenance:
- Cleanliness: Dirty or soiled clothing can be uncomfortable. Regular washing and proper care are essential to maintain comfort.
- Fabric condition: Over time, fabrics may wear out, lose elasticity, or develop pilling, which can affect comfort.
Clothing comfort is a highly individualized experience influenced by a wide range of factors. The ideal comfort level can differ from person to person and can change depending on the circumstances. Selecting clothing that aligns with these factors can help ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable wearing experience.
Editor of Fashion2Apparel. She is a fashion designer and ex-lecturer in Fashion Designing. She wants to spread fashion knowledge throughout the world.