What is the Best Material for Dresses?


Dresses come in a seemingly endless amount of cut and style options that can be worn for every occasion in a woman’s life, from sleeping to getting married. With so many options available, choosing the best material for your next dress can be overwhelming. You want to be comfortable, show off your style, and fit in at the occasion you’re dressing up for.  

The same fabric used to make a flowy summer dress wouldn’t be used to create a heavy, textured winter dress. You would also choose different fabrics for a business-formal dress than a wedding dress. Because of these reasons, there’s no singular best material for dresses. The best material depends on the style of the dress you’re wearing, where and when it will be worn, and the type of event it’s for. 

Before you settle on a dress material, take some time to understand the most important properties that should be considered. Follow the guide below to learn more about the different types of popular dress fabrics and materials and which are the best for various designs.

Types of Fabric

Dress fabrics generally fall into one of two category types: natural and synthetic. Here, we’ll explore each in detail.

Natural Materials

Natural fabrics contain fibers derived from plants and animals. These fibers are either twisted or spun into yarn, which is either twisted even further to create threads for sewing or woven to create various types of natural fabrics. Some of the most common natural materials include:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Wool
  • Denim
  • Flannel
  • Hemp
  • Leather
  • Silk
  • Velvet

Some of these materials are used to manufacture many items beyond clothing, but all of them make suitable dress materials. 

Synthetic Materials

Synthetic fabrics are the opposite of natural fabrics, although they can arguably be more comfortable than some natural materials. Synthetic fibers come from a variety of chemicals or various combinations of natural products and chemicals. Most of these fibers are made into long, thin strands and placed into a large vessel that’s exposed to high levels of pressure and heat. When the fibers have been sufficiently heated and pressurized, they’re pushed through small holes in a tool called a spinneret. After they come through the spinneret, they’re spun, twisted, and processed into fabric. The most popular synthetic fabrics include:

  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Rayon
  • Spandex
  • Polar fleece
  • Acrylic
  • Acetate

The most popular synthetic material for dresses is polyester, though many items are made using a combination of various fabrics in the above list.

Considerations for Choosing a Material

Generally speaking, fabrics with either natural or synthetic fibers or a blend of the two are preferred for making most garments and dresses. While knit fabrics are among the top choices for dresses, activewear, and form-fitting items, woven fabric is the number one choice for putting tailored pieces together. 

Fabric type only brushes the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the things to consider when choosing a dress material. From the type of event to the fit of the dress and many factors in between, weight, comfort, and breathability are three major considerations to keep in mind when choosing a dress material. 

Fabric Weight

Fabric weight is one of the most important things to consider when choosing an ideal dress material. The weight of the fabric significantly impacts the way it drapes and falls. It also plays a significant role in the season or climate you’re dressing for. 


Breathability is another factor that impacts the comfort level of the dress. This is especially important for everyday, casual, and summer dresses.


Whether you’re dressing for an extravagant event or a trip to the grocery store, comfort is always a crucial factor to consider in a dress. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a stiff, itchy ensemble for the day or night. Choose materials that have a good drape and feel soft on the skin. 

Common Dress Materials

Even if you don’t know the first thing about fashion, you will surely have heard of cotton, linen, silk, wool, and polyester. Though many people may not know precisely what they are, they’re some of the most common dress materials in the world. 

While these materials are all popular, they certainly aren’t created equal. Each is ideal for different styles, events, and climates. For example, silk is best for upscale, special occasions, while cotton or polyester combined with spandex or elastane is ideal for form-fitting designs. On the other hand, lightweight fabrics like cotton jersey and linen are the top choices for flowy, drapey dresses. Read on to learn more about each of these common dress materials. 


While cotton is by far the most versatile dress material, it’s known to lose its shape and wear out over time because of its lightweight nature and its ability to stretch. 

Cotton Jersey/Knit

Cotton jersey or knit material differs from cotton in that it’s machine-knitted using fine cotton thread. While it’s comfortable and stretchy, it’s more difficult to sew than woven fabrics. 


Linen is one of the most lightweight fabrics in the world, which is why it’s such a popular choice in warm weather climates. While it’s supremely comfortable, it’s highly susceptible to wrinkling and creasing. 


Silk is known for its smooth texture. While it’s incredibly lightweight, making it ideal for lining and draping, it’s also challenging to sew, which is one of the reasons it’s used mainly for luxury brand dresses. 


Wool is one of the heaviest, warmest fabrics in the world, making it a popular choice in cold weather climates. However, it can be itchy and difficult to clean. 

Polyester and Polycotton

Polyester and polycotton are synthetic materials that often feel more comfortable than cotton. They’re more inexpensive, durable, and fade-resistant. However, polyester isn’t as breathable as cotton. 

Picking the Perfect Material for Your Dress

Although it’s impossible to pinpoint the singular best material for all dresses, understanding which factors and characteristics to look for makes the process of finding the perfect one for your style and occasion a little less cumbersome.

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious evening gown, matching dresses for a bridal party, or your next cute cocktail dress, you can find it all and much more at NewYorkDress. NewYorkDress is your premier online marketplace for high-end designer dresses. Browse collections from more than 45 of the leading names in fashion to find the perfect dress for your next event.  

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