I have noticed in my recent shopping adventures a new fabric description-- Lycra. It's name is popping up more and more on clothing tags. Ever the curious one, I researched and noticed that Lycra has almost phased out spandex. I realized why. In my experience spandex was often presented as this thin stretchy material. Clothes with spandex usually were cheaper, trendy pieces that had a short shelf life. My Lycra, on the other hand, seemed to be paired with cotton and scuba , so a more durable piece would be the result. So what's the difference?
Long story short-- not much at all. Lycra is simply a brand name of spandex--Like Levi's , Band-Aids and Kleenex. Manufactured by the DuPont company, Lycra was originally used for thicker, snug fit swimwear and fitness wear. It has been slowly introduced into " street clothes" for a taut fit with a stretch that holds you in place So all Lycra is Spandex, but all Spandex is not Lycra. . The importance aspect of Lycra is how much of it comprises the piece in question. For denim, the best percentage is around 35%; for outerwear, around 20%; skirts and shirts, 25-40% depending on the cut. Now you should go in the store with confidence the next time you shop.
Ciao for now,