The ‘90s favourite dress was surely the slip dress. We think one of the reasons might have been the oh-so soft, oh-so sumptuous weave that was generally chosen for this dress. That weave was, of course, sensual satin. But satin doesn’t only belong to the realm of the slip dress. In this guide, we'll discuss some of the other options when it comes to satin dresses, and how to style it. If you are wary about the delicate nature of this weave, we are going to walk you through, step by step, so you will be confident dressing up in satin this summer. Your life is about to get a whole lot softer.
Before we go any further, we need to clear up a few things. Satin is not actually a fabric at all. This might surprise many people as we often say satin the same way we would say silk or cotton. But satin actually refers to the weave of the textile itself, not the raw material. The details can get technical but the important thing to know is there are three main textile weaves: twill, plain and satin.
Satin can be woven from many types of fabric including silk and polyester. Regardless of the fabric used, the weave will produce a host of benefits like a lustrous sheen, soft texture and drapable fabric. The ability of a satin dress to drape and fall makes for a dramatic and gorgeous look.
While satin can be woven from many fabrics, the most common are silk and polyester. Both fabrics can make the best summer dresses. The choice of material really comes down to your lifestyle. Silk is a natural product, made from — yes, it’s true — worms. Silk satin is great for warm weather thanks to its breathability. It’s an incredibly strong and soft fabric. It’s also hypoallergenic so it’s great for anyone with sensitive skin.
Polyester satin is much more common than silk since it is synthetic. Since it is less labor-intensive to produce than silk it is also more affordable. Polyester is the second most popular fabric in the world after cotton because it has tons of great benefits. The drawback of polyester is that it is derived from plastic so it’s a good idea for Fashion Activists to look for recycled polyester clothing, or to shop second-hand through Vestiaire Collective to lower the carbon footprint of your wardrobe.
So now you know that a silk dress is not necessarily satin and a satin dress is not necessarily made out of silk. Satin dresses can come in all sorts of different fabrics with different properties. They will all have a characteristic softness and shine due to the unique weave.
For Fashion Activists who want to make a positive impact on the environment choosing organic fabrics is the way to go. Organic raw materials reduce the amount of pesticides that eventually end up in the ground and water. The production of fashion impacts so much. Choosing organic clothing protects farmers who grow the raw materials and it also supports biodiversity. Satin dresses can be made from organic materials like organic silk and organic cotton. Satin woven from cotton is called sateen.
Organic silk is made from the cocoons of silkworms on mulberry trees. Over three-quarters of silk production happens in China. The cultivation of mulberry trees requires heavy use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Choosing organic silk can help prevent tons of pesticides from leaking into the soil and water. Not to mention, it is better for the health of the farmers. A vegan-friendly alternative called peace silk exists that causes no harm to the silkworms but some challenges exist with the quality. Stella McCartney, ever the sustainable fashion pioneer, is working to pioneer a new kind of synthetic silk called Microsilk.
Regardless if you choose an organic satin dress or not you can still make an environmentally sustainable consumer choice by shopping second-hand on Vestiaire Collective. Buying pre-loved dresses is the best way to lower your carbon footprint when shopping and reduce waste in the fashion industry as a whole. A satin dress can last for years, so it is a good investment and, when purchased on Vestiaire, a step away from fast fashion.
Satin dresses are beautiful, soft and special but they do require a bit of extra care. None of it is difficult though, and as long as you follow a few key rules you will be able to wear your satin dress for years. Since satin comes in many fabrics like polyester, silk or cotton much of the care of your particular dress will come down to what fabric it is made from. Always check the instructions on your individual piece.
Silk is more delicate than other fibres so with this fabric dress you’ll want to let the professionals handle it. Dry-cleaning is best for these pieces, but it is a harmful process for the environment and best done sparingly. Satin dresses made of other materials can be washed by hand, or in a machine with a delicate cycle. Always turn your dress inside-out before washing and opt for cool or warm water. Air drying this dress is a must.
With satin, you’ll want to treat stains immediately so they don’t become permanent. Never use bleach on stains or you will end up with a polka-dotted satin dress. While satin is generally wrinkle-resistant, you’ll still have moments when you need to iron it. Use a protective cover so that you aren’t heating the satin directly and opt for a steam iron. When in doubt, do a spot test first, and again, always send silk to an eco-friendly dry-cleaner.
Its softness might fool you into thinking satin is going to wear out quickly. On the contrary, because satin is made from long fibres, it is super durable. If you take care of your items, a satin dress can last a long time. Choosing quality materials, and paying attention to the care instructions will extend your clothing’s lifespan. It’s a simple step as a Fashion Activist to ensure that your piece doesn’t end up in the landfill.
If you want to feel sleek and glamorous, there is no better dress than satin to make you the centre of attention. Satin looks so luxurious that any outfit with this weave will be elevated. You’ll look amazing, and you’ll feel even better if you got a great deal on a pre-loved piece through Vestiaire Collective.
Satin is up there with velvet for the best material to wear to holiday parties. But satin has a leg up on velvet in that you can wear it year-round. With its shine factor, it is a statement look that will turn heads at any major event, be it a wedding, music festival, or a night out with friends. Satin lends itself well to being printed, so if you want a statement dress this is one for you. With vibrant colours and patterns, you’ll really shine. It’s also an incredibly photogenic material because it reflects light so well. So if you are looking for an Instagram-worthy dress for your next big event, this is it.
Silk satin is the number one material for wedding dresses. Sewing with silk requires exceptional skill so you should buy from brands known for its high level of craftsmanship, like Hermes. Finding a vintage dress for your wedding is one of the coolest ways to have a unique and meaningful look for your big event. Vintage wedding dresses are more affordable, and you know they will be gently used since they (probably!) have only been worn one time. Wearing a pre-loved satin dress for your wedding will score you super Fashion Activist points.
If you think satin is the domain of red-carpet and formal events, you wouldn’t be wrong. Satin has long been favoured by celebs and brides. But everyone deserves a little glamour in their lives, and we don’t need to wait for a special event to dress our best. These days, there are more casual options in satin dresses so you can go about your daily activities in silky smoothness. After all, the original little black dress that Coco Chanel designed in 1926 was made of silk. And we all know how perfectly suited the LBD is for any occasion.
In order to take satin from party gown genre to daily wear, consider the length of the dress. Choosing a shorter hemline is the easiest way to make satin a bit more casual. A satin midi dress is a transitional piece that works in many different situations, adding value to the piece. Because satin will always add a sophisticated touch, this is a dress that can work for both daytime wear and a night out look. You can also make a satin dress part of a casual ensemble by pairing it with sneakers and fun accessories. Just be mindful that satin can snag, so beware of brushing against rough edges.
Satins in black and a white can have more of an eveningwear feel. If you want your satin dress to shine in the summer, explore other colour options like greens and pinks. Printed satin gives plenty of opportunities to express yourself through your clothing. And the much-loved animal prints are popular options sure to make a statement.
It is easy to fall in love with the seductive feeling of satin fabrics and a satin dress is where the weave can really fulfill its potential. Thanks to its softness, durability, breathability and a gorgeous, moveable drape, the satin dress is an evergreen favourite for those who want to be seen. From little black dresses to slip dresses, from wedding gowns to red carpet looks, satin is a versatile weave that always gives a bit of extra glamour.
Whatever fabric you choose for your satin dress this summer, you can find a pre-loved option on Vestiaire Collective. Shopping on Vestiaire allows you to dig through the closet of over nine million global members and find the perfect pre-loved look for you to step out in. It’s a great way to close the loop on the wasteful overproduction practices of the fashion industry and lower your consumer carbon footprint. Why shop for new clothing when there are over 3 million items just waiting to be discovered and given a second life on Vestiaire? These are gently used pieces from top brand-name designers that will make you look and feel spectacular while making a positive choice for the environment. Everytime you slip into your satin dress you can feel happy, knowing that your pre-loved dress is fashion that looks good, feels good and does good for the planet. That’s Fashion Activism at its finest.