Since the underwear sits right next to the skin, the choice of the correct fabric matters the most. Fibre is a building block of fabric. There are essentially two kinds of fabrics: woven and knitted. The very first undergarments were made from the natural woven fabrics like linen, silk and cotton. Later on, synthetic and knitted fabrics were introduced and became quite popular. As more independent fabrics and their combinations were tried, the more ideas on their individual properties came into limelight.
Linen has been used since the fabrics were first conceived, and also has a great potential especially when blended with other fabrics like polyester. The blend gives a better control over wrinkling than pure linen. Individually, it may get softer with use and wash.
Among the most popular fibre till date is nylon. It enjoyed a long period of popularity for its excellent strength, elastic fibre, easy to care, durability, comfort, and stain resistant properties. However, the only downfall with nylon is that it is not very absorbent material.
Cotton is perhaps the most widely used fabric for daily use underwear. It is known for its high fibre strength, effective sweat absorption and cool feel. This fabric will always be a popular and perhaps never fade.
Sometimes, underwear is bought for special occasions and for short term use or display. At such occasion the look of the undergarment is more important hence the fabric should be such that it looks lustrous, rich in colour, has a soft feel and defines the curves. One such fabric is silk. Silk is especially loved by women as it looks delicate and yet has a strong fibre. The fact that it is available in various outstandingly shiny colours due it its high dye absorption capacity makes it a desirable choice.
As master key is to all keys, so is Rayon to all fabrics. This semi-synthetic material is made from cellulose and appears similar to many other fabrics like wool, cotton, silk and others. It has attractive properties like being smooth, cool and highly absorbent too. Therefore, many designers prefer to employ rayon to get the desired qualities from underwear.
The ideal underwear fabric is a combination of fabrics that give the right stretch, comfort, durability, and finish. Many times nets or meshes are employed to stitch underwear, however, these may be rough on the skin and therefore are complimented with other softer materials that lines the underbust or bodily curves and junctions so that friction doesn’t cause irritation and pain.