Semi Formal Dresses and Formal Dresses What does fabric have to with it?

When you shop for semi formal dresses or formal dresses, what is the first thing you notice? Most likely it is the style or color or a combination of both. Rarely, do I think a woman is drawn to clothing based on its fabric content.  Quite honestly, I think that is why I get so disappointed when I try on clothes; I go from a love to hate relationship in seconds. I know what styles and colors are suited for me.  So what happened?  It usually comes down to the fabric. Fabric can make so many things go wrong with the way you look. It may cling, drape or add too much bulk to your silhouette. Even the fabric luster or sheen may accentuate all the wrong places. 

Online shopping is so convenient and easy, but you lose the ability to feel the fabric and see how it looks on you. This is when you need to pay attention to the fabric content given in the description. Also reading reviews from others who have purchased the item may give you some information about the fabric too.

Throughout this website, I often mention and encourage that you buy quality fabrics. It will really make a difference in how you look and feel especially in semi formal dresses or special occasion dresses. You may spend more upfront, but if you buy classic styles, you will be able to wear them for years to come.

Fabric also plays an important role in creating a distinctive look and feel for the occasion. For instance, you wouldn’t want to wear a taffeta dress to work or a velvet dress to a beach wedding. Fabric plays a significant role in setting the fashion tone for the occasion.

The fabrics mentioned below are the most commonly used in semi formal dresses and other special occasion dresses even in bridal gowns.

Be Fabric Savvy

SATIN: A soft woven fabric with a lustrous smooth surface and back in a wide range of sheen popular for formal dresses and semi formal dresses.  A soft satin can be used to create fluid, flowing styles with empire waistlines which is a very striking look for a plus size bride.

  • Duchesse Satin: A smooth fabric made from a combination of silk and synthetic fibers such as polyester, acetate or rayon which gives it a sheen. It is a popular fabric used for full or A-line skirts.

  • Duchesse Satin: A smooth fabric made from a combination of silk and synthetic fibers such as polyester, acetate or rayon giving it a sheen. It is a popular fabric used for full or A-line skirts.
  • Peau Satin: heavy twill satin with a smooth finish and soft shine.
  • Bridal Satin: A smooth fabric made from synthetic fibers in a tight weave that creates a luxurious shine. This is found in silk, polyester, acetate and rayon fabrics.
  • Crepe back satin: This is alight to mid-weight reversible fabric. One side is smooth with a high luster satin weave and the other side is a dull crepe weave. You can use either side.
  • Crepe de Chine: A softer and shiner and lighter fabric than Crepe Back Satin. This fabric is found in rayon or silk.
  • Peau de soie: A French fabric medium to heavy fabric with a satin weave and dull luster.

JACQUARD: A soft and silky woven fabric with a pattern weave. Brocade and Damask are jacquard woven fabrics.

  • Brocade: A heavy, thick jacquard fabric with an interwoven pattern or floral design that is raised.
  • Damask: A very distinctive fabric with an interwoven floral design. The floral design gives a soft sheen.

SILK: A luxurious natural fiber woven from the fibers of silkworm cocoons that come in a variety of textures with finishes. Also made from polyester. A very soft and elegant fabric.

  • Moiré: stiff fabric with a design woven in, creating a watermark effect usually of silk or polyester.
  • Dupioni Silk: A heavy, thick textured fabric with a highly irregular weave. The small nubs on the surface give it a rich luster.
  • Shantung: medium-weight, plain-weave fabric in silk or polyester with a nub feel and textured effect.
  • Charmeuse: A very popular lightweight fabric made of silk or polyester. It has a soft luster and satin-like appearance. A great fabric used in draped styles.
  • Georgette: A lightweight sheer thin fabric often made from silk or man-made fibers such as polyester. It is more opaque than chiffon and it is often used to create sheer sleeves, bodices and backs.
  • Crepe: This fabric has a grainy surface and is found in synthetics and silk. It tends to crinkle.


  • Chiffon: A lightweight, sheer and transparent fabric with soft feel and delicate look.  Often used to create  fluid styles like the Grecian goddess style gown with empire waistlines. This can be worn in all seasons.
  • Organza: A crisp, sheer, transparent and lightweight fabric made from silk, nylon, or polyester. Heavier and stiffer feel than chiffon works well in wedding gowns for overskirt.
  • Tulle: A light, transparent and fine open weave netting often sewn for wedding veils and layered for ball gown skirts.
  • Lace: A delicate netting with fine embroidery often in such designs as flowers. The best quality lace is handmade.

  • Linen: lightweight natural fabric made from flax fiber used for more casual clothing.


  • Velvet: A luxurious heavyweight fabric woven with a cut pile finish made of silk, velvet or rayon. Finish creates a soft feel with subtle shine.
  • Crushed Velvet:  A thick fabric that has an uneven surface. It has a crushed look which make it shine and glimmer in certain light.  

  • Faille: A stiff fabric with a ribbed texture made from polyester, cotton and silk.
  • Taffeta: A medium to heavy synthetic fabric with body, crispness, and sheen. Smooth surface shines when hit by light. It adds stiffness to full skirts.

So remember next time you shop for semi formal dresses or evening gowns that fabric plays a critical part in how you look.

plus size clothing>fabrics for semi formal dresses and special occasion dresses

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