While often overlooked, textures is as important to a successful outfit as colour or cut. Different textures play together to form different looks, playing off the light or evoking deep-seated emotional responses to a piece. It’s another way to message the world around you via fashion choices. And it’s not just the look – the feel of a garment on your body is also reflected onto the outside world in the way you move with it.
Like us, you’re probably navigating your spring fashion choices with care as the weather can be unpredictable – from rainy and cold one day to sunny and humid the next. Let’s look at how we can mix fabrics and textures to send the right message in these unpredictable times: comfortable, confident, and ready for anything.
Studies* have shown a strong connection between the sense of touch and emotion, and the strong emotional associations we have with specific textures. Like scents, textures are complex packages of different feelings, and those who interact with it do so often on a subconscious level.
Textures like satin, silk and lace evoke feelings of familiarity and closeness. Rich textures such as fleece and tweed exude relaxation and warmth. Stretchy lycra and durable denim are associated with vibrancy and energy. Corduroy and leather are often tied to masculinity. And lush velvet and linen are frequently associated with opulence and poise.
Emphasise The Right You
Textures can also be used to emphasise particular parts of your outfit – and therefore your body. Shiny, glossy items such as satin or silk will tend to make the areas they cover appear larger, and more three-dimensional. Monotone, flat surfaces that appear to absorb light will make areas slighter and less noticeable.
Knowing how to mix textures can be tricky at first, especially to those of us who rarely think beyond colour or pattern, but we assure you the end result is worth it. Understanding textures is like adding another dimension to your outfit, meaning more versatility, and more opportunity to express yourself.
A change in texture can be as good as a change in colour – and so the same colour in different textures can say completely different things. You can see this in this Star Street Sequin dress by Sass and Bide. Solid black from the waist down is contrasted with a pop of shiny sequin at the top for a classic look with a bit of flare.
The solid look of leather with the weightless sheen of silk can combine to create some powerful combinations. Take this Make Me Yours leather mini by Alice McCall or With the larks skirt by Sass and Bide and combine it with Animal Print Wild Cami or Girl Talk Cami from Bec and Bridge - who said sophisticated can't be fun too?
For the brave, the high-end of textures is the realm of stark metallics and rich velvet. The Too Much Is Not Enough jacket by Sass & Bide is warm without being heavy, as well as being festive and plenty attention-grabbing, It would set off even a relatively simple white textured tee underneath with jeans.
By combining the right textures you can dress up or down as the occasion calls for it. As @dashbody_ shows us, an over-the-top bold look like the Can't Break My Stride blazer and pants by Mossman can be combined with humble joggers to show us luxury can still be ready for action.
The firm durable presence of denim contrasts nicely with sheer fabrics or simple cottons. Any of our jeans such as the Strawberry Fields Forever jeans, On The Rocks Sequin Boyfriend jeans, or a Thousand Faces Embellished jeans can do wonders for a humble Tee. Or to make tough exterior seem positively warm and inviting, pair them with a lush It's Not Over Knit.
Remember, the textures you choose are as much a reflection of you as colour or pattern. Be creative, and mix with confidence!
*For those of you interested, just one example is: Francis McGlone, Johan Wessberg, and Håkan Olausson with Discriminative and Affective Touch: Sensing and Feeling in Neuron, 2014; 82 (4): 737 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.05.001