Texture and pattern should function as a surprise.
Robert Denning

Texture draws our eyes and invites our fingers to touch. Texture is so seductive that upon seeing a shiny, newly painted park bench or door with a sign stating, “Do Not Touch. Wet Paint,” few can resist testing the tactile experience! So it is with the fabrics we wear; touch and feel entice us.

Without fail, every time I work with a client one of us exclaims, “Ohhh, feel this!” Sometimes it’s the softness of cotton or fleece or the sensuous slide of satin through one’s fingers, or the reassuring warmth of wool, the pebble-like interest of Bouclé or the nubs and slubs of raw silk. Whatever the fabric, the texture delightfully surprises.

Purely Personal for Me

The sensation of how a particular fabric feels on the skin is referred to as “hand’” and is determined by many factors (textile manufacturers conduct many complex tests for characteristics to create a specific hand). Among the variables is the type of thread or yarn used, the kind of fabric construction — weave, knit, crochet, lace etc. — the finish applied to the fabric for softness or stiffness and much more.

I find that most clients respond favorably to fabrics first used for clothing (or realistic synthetics of them) like animal skins such as leather and suede, furs and plant based fabrics. Perhaps these speak to our distant past when our ancestors first began to dress their bodies — a uniquely human endeavor. However, modern synthetics provide extraordinary suppleness, stretch, strength and resilience along with advantages such as water, stain and wrinkle resistance, wicking abilities and much more specialized properties to create a wide variety of uses. Inevitably this also produces all kinds of surprising textures.

Purely Personal for Me

New techniques applied to classic fabrics also produce surprises. For example, I just found what I thought was a really fine, extremely lightweight cashmere sweater. To my utter astonishment it was actually brushed silk! The hand is as light and soft as a dandelion puff.  “Paired with a a pair of Boucle’ pants with sequins woven in or an even more roughly, textured sequined skirt, gives an unexpected and pleasing textural contrast. As a plus, there’s also a subtle pattern contrast between the different fabrics.

Texture is an important element in defining your Style. There are so many options to help you express yourself it all comes down to my favorite question: “How does it feel — to YOU on YOUR body?” After all, a garment’s hand should not only feel good to your touch, it should also make you feel good while meeting the needs for which it is intended.

Tune in to texture and you will be surprised in the many ways it can extend and express your Purely Personal Style.

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