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Tops: the fabrics to choose and how to keep tops in their best condition

Womes tops

Being a fashion enthusiast, you likely have a variety of tops in your wardrobe, and want each to stay in good condition for as long as possible. The right care for your tops is essential. Each fabric type will offer its own unique features and require unique care. 

Read on to find out more about the common fabrics you’ll come across in Femme Connection’s range of tops, and read our tips on how to care for your tops so that they’re your friends for a long time!

Favourite fabrics in women’s tops

We’ve come a long way when it comes to the fabrics you find in women’s tops. Let’s have a look at some of the popular fabric options you’ll see in our Tops collection.

Natural fibres:

In the past, linen, silk, cotton and wool were staple fabrics, and they’re still going strong. Made from 100% natural fibres, wearers enjoy the breathability of these fabrics, and manufacturers appreciate the reliability of using fabrics that are tried and tested. In addition, these fibres are durable if cared for correctly, so investing in tops in these fabrics can be a wise decision for the buyer. 

Another factor in the decision to invest in natural fibres is the reduced impact on the environment. Whilst natural fibres can degrade over time, it will take much longer for them to break down, and they won’t leave synthetic micro-fibres in the environment when it happens.

Synthetic fibres: 

Elastane (also known as Spandex or lycra), polyester, rayon and nylon, are very popular now. Some of the benefits of synthetic fibres are that they are less likely to fade or shrink in the wash, are quick to dry, moth resistant, and are usually cheaper to purchase. 

Synthetic fibres are able to offer a little more stretch than natural fibres, and hence you’ll often encounter fabric blends, such as a linen/elastane or cotton/elastane blend, which gives the linen and cotton additional stretch.

Synthetic fabrics tend not to crease as easily as natural fabrics, so they can be a good option if you dislike ironing. On the other hand, as they aren’t as breathable as natural fibres, you may need to wash them more often to prevent odours holding in the fabric.

Semi-synthetic fibres

Viscose, modal and lyocell are all examples of man-made fibres made from natural products, like cellulose. These fibres are considered ‘semi-synthetic’, as a number of chemical processes are involved in their creation, so they’re not 100% natural. They are, however, biodegradable.

A benefit of these semi-synthetic fibres is that they are lightweight and breathable. They can give the feel of silk or cotton fabric, and are very light to wear.

Which type of fabric is easiest to maintain?

There are clear rules when it comes to washing 100% natural fibres like cotton and linen, and if you follow the rules, you shouldn’t run into problems. If you don’t, it’s easy for these tops to shrink or for their colours to run. On the other hand, at the ironing stage, these fabrics are sturdy and less likely to burn than their synthetic counterparts.

Synthetic fabrics tend to be more sturdy at the washing end of things, so if you prefer to throw a bunch of things in the wash and don’t want to spend time following instructions, there’s less risk of damage. When ironing though, you’re more likely to burn a synthetic fabric if you’re not careful.

Care instructions for different top fabrics

Caring for Viscose

Washing

Whilst viscose can be washed in the machine on a gentle cycle, it's preferable to hand wash your viscose tops. Turn your top inside out, use a mild detergent, and wash in cold water as the cold temperature will preserve the strength and colour of the fabric for longer.

Drying

Avoid using a tumble dryer to dry viscose tops. It’s better to air dry viscose.

It’s also a good idea to turn your viscose top inside out before drying on the clothesline, as this will help preserve the colour of the top. Also hang your top on a hanger rather than using pegs, as the pegs can leave an indent in your top.

Ironing

You can use an iron or a clothes steamer to rid yourself of wrinkles in a viscose top. If using an iron, make sure to use the correct setting, which is usually a low temperature. Be mindful that often viscose tops might be a mix of viscose and elastane, so be sure to keep those temperatures low. 

Caring for Synthetics

Washing

A major advantage of synthetic tops, like polyester, is that you can throw them in the washing machine and there’s no hand washing required. As with any fabric, be mindful of the colours you wash together, and don’t wash bright colours with whites. Also take care when washing different types of fabric together. Heavy denim may wear away at your polyester items, for example, so it’s best to wash similar fabrics together.

Wash your polyester tops in warm or cold water only. Hot cycles may damage the polyester fibres, reducing the life of your top. Whilst it’s preferable to use a gentle detergent, detergents with whitening agents are generally ok to use on polyester.

Drying

You can put polyester tops into the tumble dryer. Use a cool setting to avoid shrinking your garment. Alternatively, you can hang polyester out to dry on the clothesline. Again, hanging on a hanger will help prevent indentation from pegs.

Ironing

The great thing about polyester tops is that they often don’t require ironing. If you do notice wrinkles, you can iron on a low setting, or use a towel in between the iron and the top, to protect the fabric from direct heat. Ensure you follow any instructions on the garment when it comes to ironing.

Caring for Cotton

Washing

Similar to viscose, cotton is best washed by hand in cold water using a mild detergent. If you do want to use the machine, ensure you use a gentle cycle and cold water. Hot water will shrink 100% cotton garments, and it may lead to the dyes in the cotton to bleed out, so be sure to avoid a hot wash.

Drying

Avoid putting your cotton top in the tumble dryer. This can lead to shrinkage, as the delicate fibres within the top contract when heated at an accelerated rate. The best way to dry cotton tops is on the clothesline, or on a clothes rack.

Ironing

You can either dry iron or steam iron your cotton tops. If they are already quite dry, spray with a little water before applying the iron. Be sure to check whether or not your top is 100% cotton, or a cotton/synthetic blend, as the iron temperature may need to be set lower for cotton/synthetic blends.

Caring for Linen

Washing

As linen is prone to shrinking, it’s best to choose a gentle cycle for washing linen tops, and avoid using very hot or very cold water. Aim for a luke-warm temperature instead (below 40 degrees Celsius is essential). 

Again, like other fabrics, try to wash your item with similar colours, and with fabrics of a similar weight and sturdiness. 

Drying

Air drying is the preferred option for drying linen, but you can use a tumble dryer so long as the temperature is kept very low, and you opt for a gentle dry cycle.

If air drying, dry the linen top flat if possible, as this will prevent wrinkles and indents from hangers and pegs.

Ironing

You don’t actually need to iron linen. The crinkles are part of linen’s charm, however if you prefer your linen smooth, then iron it when it is still a little damp, or use a water spray or clothes steamer.

Caring for Silk

Washing

Check that your silk top is colour-fast by dabbing the fabric with a wet cloth. If any colour leaches out, take your top to a dry cleaner rather than washing it yourself.

If it doesn’t lose colour, then soak the top for approximately 5 minutes before washing on a gentle cycle in lukewarm water using a silk wash detergent. Then rinse.

Drying

After washing and rinsing, lay your top out on a clean towel and roll the towel up to draw in the water from the top. Don’t wring or twist the towel as this can damage the silk fibres. 

You can then hang the top up to air dry. Avoid hanging it in direct sunlight.

Ironing

Firstly, turn the top inside out, and then ensure that you iron it while it is damp. You might need to use a spray bottle to moisten the fabric. Then, ensure your iron is set on the silk setting, and start ironing.

General tips on caring for your tops:

  • Treat any stains on your garment prior to washing. This may involve soaking your top for a period of time. Avoid harsh bleaches and opt for the gentlest presoak products you can find, as these are less likely to damage fabric or cause irritation to your skin.
  • Turning your tops inside out before washing and drying is a good idea if you want to retain the top’s colour and prevent damage to the outside of your top. This is particularly important if your top has buttons, zippers or any other embellishments like sequins or graphic prints. Using a loose wash bag can be a good way to protect the top during a wash. 
  • ALWAYS follow the care instructions on the garment. Depending on the particular fabric blend in your top, the care instructions may differ slightly from what we’ve mentioned above, so be sure to read the instructions. Remember that if your top has unique features and detailing (for example sequins applied to a 100% cotton top), then the care for your top may differ to that of a straight cotton top. Read carefully!

  • As a general rule, using cold to luke-warm water is the best option for your top. Hot washes, as mentioned previously, can cause changes to the fibres in your top.

  • In most cases, your top’s fabric will last longer if you air dry it in the shade, rather than in direct sunlight.

We hope the above tips are helpful when it comes to caring for your tops. If you’re still curious about the top fabrics available at Femme Connection, find out more on our care instructions page. 

To discover a range of beautiful women’s tops, see our womens’ tops collection. We stock T-shirts, shirts and blouses, jumpers, knit sweaters, casual tops and evening tops in a range of fabrics to suit your style and preferences. And to nab a bargain, see our range of tops on sale. There are some great styles on offer at discounted prices, so get in quick!

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