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Travel Clothing Fabric Guide
Adapters & Converters 101

Ever wondered what sets TravelSmith clothing apart from regular clothing? In addition to travel-savvy modifications like security pockets and innovative styles, TravelSmith clothing utilizes advanced fabric technology to create products that are:


Even though the fabrics in this section all fall under the umbrella of 100% polyester, they can appear very different from one another. Even fabrics under subheadings, like CoolMax® knits, can be very different from each other.

In general, however, all polyester fabrics are:

  • Crease-resistant
  • Quick-drying
  • Shape-retaining
  • Strong Abrasion-resistant
  • Easy-car


  • Moisture wicking—pulls moisture (i.e., sweat) away from your bod
  • Helps keep you cool in hot, humid climate
  • Keeps you warm in winter, when used for layering
  • Feels like cotton
  • Quick-drying Wrinkle-resistant
  • Both knit and woven versions feel like cotton (knits tend to pill)
  • Made by Dupont®
  • Men’s CoolMax® Clothes >
    Women’s CoolMax® Clothes >

Microfiber (many types)


  • Higher warmth to weight ratio than wool
  • Keeps you warm, even when wet
  • Super comfortable
  • Non-itching
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Quick-drying
  • Excellent mid-layer
  • Pill-resistant
  • Breathable, but not windproof


  • Hollow core insulation
  • Fibers trap air for greater insulation, providing the most warmth at the lightest weight, even when wet
  • Quick-drying—50% faster than cotton
  • Made by Dupont®

Other Synthetic (man-made) Fabrics


  • Manufactured fiber that uses cellulose refined from cotton and/or wood pulp
  • Typically used as a lining
  • Quick-drying
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Shrink-resistant
  • Crisp or soft, depending on finish
  • Luxurious in appearance


  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Low moisture absorbency
  • Quick-drying
  • Provides lightweight warmth
  • Soft and resilient


  • Generic term for man-made fibers composed of polyamides derived from coal and petroleum
  • Strong
  • Highly elastic
  • Low water absorption
  • Quick-drying
  • Windproof


  • Fiber made from the celluose of a wood pulp
  • Lightweight
  • Drapes well
  • Appealing feel/hand
  • Can be dyed in brilliant colors, while retaining superior strength
  • Used in our Bali Batiks and Aloha Shirts

Supplex® Nylon

  • Lightweight
  • Made by Dupont®
  • Woven and knit versions are very different in feel, appearance and use

Supplex® Nylon — Woven

  • Fabric has slightly crinkled texture
  • Very quick-drying Ideal for hot and tropical climates
  • Sometimes treated with
  • QuickWick™ for moisture management
  • Used in our Explorer Pants and Anywhere Pants

Supplex® Nylon — Knit

  • Feels like cotton
  • Ideal for temperate climates such as Northern Europe
  • Very wrinkle-resistant
  • Quick drying
  • Often blended with spandex for stretch
  • Used in our Indispensable Black Travel Dress® and Go-Anywhere Separates™

Natural Fibers

Bush Poplin

  • Made of a 100% high-twist, combed cotton
  • Woven with a nearly impenetrable 340 threads to the square inch
  • Super durable
  • Near puncture-proof
  • Tight weave provides superior water-repellency
  • Possesses the comfort and breathability of cotto
  • Also known as 340 cloth


  • Natural fiber that makes for strong, versatile, cool-wearing and comfortable clothing
  • Soft to the touch
  • Very breathable
  • Often blended with polyester for wrinkle-resistance

Leather — Waterproof

  • Drum-treated with silicone, which makes the waterproofing agent penetrate deep into the fabric
  • Rain will not damage suede and smooth leather treated in this manner


  • Natural fiber derived from the flax plant
  • Noted for its inherent cooling properties
  • Drapes away from the skin rather than clinging to it
  • Often blended with rayon or Tencel® for wrinkle-resistance and improved strength and resiliency
  • Women’s Linen Clothing >


  • Natural fiber derived from the filaments of the silk worm
  • Luxurious in texture
  • Can be knit or woven
  • Breathable
  • Warm in winter, cool in summer
  • Provides excellent insulation when used as a layering piece
  • Women’s Silk Clothing >
    Men’s Silk Clothing >


  • Branded name for lyocell, a natural fiber derived from the cellulose of wood pulp
  • Appealing feel/hand
  • Lighter weight and faster drying than 100% cotton denim
  • Drapes well
  • Ability to be dyed in brilliant colors
  • Superior strength
  • Easy-care
  • Often blended with cotton to make lightweight denim
  • Women’s Tencel Clothing >


  • Primarily the fleece of a sheep or lamb, but can also refer to fleece of the alpaca, angora, Cashmere goat, camel and vicuna
  • Strong and resilient
  • Soft and warm
  • Wicks away moisture
  • Dyes well for rich coloration
  • Keeps you warm when wet, but can have an odor
  • Dries slowly
  • Can be bulky to pack
  • Can be itchy
  • Women’s Wool Clothing >
    Men’s Wool Clothing >

Alpaca Wool

  • Fleece from an alpaca, cousin of the llama
  • Long, hollow fibers
  • Warmer and lighter weight than wool
  • Softer, silkier and more lustrous than wool


  • Fleece from a cashmere goat, which roams at high elevations (10,000–15,000 feet)
  • Very warm and soft
  • Typically more expensive than other wools because of limited yield (one goat produces only 4 oz. of fleece per year) and unpleasant disposition of the animal

Merino Wool

Synthetic/Natural Fiber Blends

Pima Blend

Fine-grade Egyptian pima cotton wrapped around a polyester core Feels like cotton next to the skin Strong and wrinkle-resistant Used in our Travelers Twill

Men’s Twill Clothing >


Women’s Cotton Clothing >
Men’s Cotton Clothing >


A fine, closely woven, lustrous cotton or cotton-poly blend made in plain weave with a fine rib in the direction of the filling (horizontal). The filling yarn is heavier and has less twist than the warp yarn (vertical). The cloth is usually mercerized, and has a soft, firm finish.


A classification of strong, firm, closely woven fabrics typically made with cotton. A heavier, open weave comprised of plied yarns (a number of single yarns, usually three, twisted together). Very hard-wearing, generally water-resistant.


A class of plain weave, usually cotton, made with a colored warp (vertical) and white filling (horizontal). Most often made using blue and white, but also available in stripes, checks and figured patterns.


A strong, durable fabric with cotton ground and vertical cut-pile stripes (wales) formed by an extra system of filling yarns. The foundation of the fabric can be either a plain or twill weave. Of all cotton fabrics, corduroy is the warmest because its wales form an insulated cushion of air.


A classification of fabric characterized by a broad range of crinkled or gained surface effects. Methods of making crepe include the use of hard twisted yarns, special chemical treatment, special weaves and embossing.


A well-known basic cotton or blended fabric in right or left-hand woven twill. Generally, the warp (vertical) is dyed blue with a white filling (horizontal). Also called a “dungaree."

Men’s Denim Clothing >


A system of weaving that produces very ornate, complex woven designs, thanks to a pattern-making mechanism of great versatility. Used for tapestry, figured necktie and dress fabric, and figured patterns on knit goods (sweaters).


A generic term for a plain knitted fabric; its principal characteristic is that it is not a fabric with a distinct rib (e.g., T-shirt fabric).


Typically silk, consisting of horizontal ribbing of rounded cords. Very wrinkle-resistant.


Small diamond shape, knit or woven, that creates a waffle effect, allowing for generous air circulation, which helps keep you cooler.

Ponte Di Roma

Interlock-based double jersey structure. The name means “Roman bridge," which is suggested by the arrangements of loops. The fabric looks the same on both sides.

Rib Knit

A double-knit fabric in which the rib wales or vertical rows of stitches intermesh alternatively on the face and the back of the fabric. Rib knit fabrics have good elasticity and shape retention, especially in the width. Ribs can be horizontal or vertical.

Tape Yarn

A yarn that is comprised of a tape with a large width-to-thickness ratio.


A soft, flexible, unfinished, shaggy woolen cloth, often times blending different-colored slubbed yarns. Used in sport coats and other sportswear.


A diagonal weave fabric, originally developed by the British military. Known for its durability and wrinkle-resistance.

Voyager Knit Fabric

A proprietary blend of polyester and spandex. Voyager knit fabric is:



A method of resist dyeing which employs wax as the resist. The pattern is covered with wax, and the fabric is then dyed: the wax patterns will not take the dye. The wax is removed after dyeing by boiling the fabric or applying solvent. The fabric is often streaked where the dye has gone through cracks in the wax. Batik dyeing originated in Indonesia.

EPIC (Encapsulated Protecion Inside Clothing) by Nextec

A treatment applied to cotton fabrics, in which the fibers are encapsulated with silicone, making it windproof and water-repellent, without compromising the natural cotton feel. It is:

  • Spill-resistant
  • Stain-resistant
  • Impenetrable to water; fabrics stay dry inside and out
  • Water-resistant; keeps out moderate rain and heavy snow
  • Durably repellent; repellency lasts for the life of the garment
  • Breathable; perspiration vapor escapes, increasing comfort


A finishing process for woven or knit fabrics in which brushes or other abrading elements are used to raise a nap (a fuzzy or downy surface). Brushed fabrics have a soft, slightly weathered, broken-in feel.

Nano-Tex® Spill-Resistance

Spill-resistance is one of the most popular features in travel clothing. Fabrics treated with nanotechnology have the same look and feel as traditional fabrics, but are designed to repel dirt and cause liquids to bead up and roll off. Spill-resistance can also be combined with a special stain-release feature, so even when it appears a tough stain such as motor oil, wine, dirt or grime has embedded itself into the fabric, the substance will be lifted out in the wash. Many fabrics can be infused with these features, including cotton, rayon, synthetics, wool, polypropylene and silk.


  • Silver-coated threads
  • The most effective antimicrobial agent known to man
  • Anti-odor; kills bacteria that causes feet to smell
  • Static-free
  • Therapeutic; many people claim to experience acupuncture-like effects when wearing X-Static socks
  • Reduces swelling (edema) which sometimes occurs in feet, especially when flying
  • Prevents foot fatigue
  • Used in our CoolMax® Dress Socks

UPF (Ultra Violet Protection Factor) Treatment

  • Most of TravelSmith’s sun-protective clothing has an UVP rating of 40, meaning you can stay out in the sun 30 times longer than if you were unprotected. A cotton T-shirt, on the other hand, has an SPF factor of 8.
  • UVP40 = SPF30
  • SPF = Sun Protection Factor

    Women’s Sun Protection Clothing >



A close series of stitches crossing a piece of cloth in order to reinforce it at a point of concentrated strain (e.g., the belt loop or patch pocket corner).

Box Pleat

Two small, back-to-back, outward-facing pleats that have a box- like appearance. On shirts, box pleats are positioned in the center back at the bottom of the yoke to allow ease of movement in the shoulders and arms.

Button-down Collar

Button holes on the collar points that fasten to the shirt.

Camp Collar

A one-piece collar that lays flat; part of the shirt also lays flat to create a notch. Also called a convertible collar or notched collar.


A sewn tuck in the fabric. Used to define the shape of a garment, making a two-dimensional piece of fabric into a three-dimensional garment. Darts are usually seen where the body curves (e.g., the bust, waist, hip).


Vertical panels in a skirt or dress that enhance the fit of a garment.


Small holes reinforced with metal rings. Usually found on jackets, hats or shoes to allow ventilation.


A triangular or diamond-shaped piece of fabric inserted into a garment to improve the fit or used for reinforcement (e.g., on the sleeve of a jacket, under the arm to allow for extra layering).

Hollywood Waistband

A waistband made of the same piece of fabric as the rest of the garment. This offers a smooth silhouette, making the transition from hip to waist more gradual.

Locker Loop

A small fabric loop located on the back of a garment, at the center of the shoulder blades, used for hanging.


An opening with fabric piecing and buttons or snaps that facilitates dressing. Plackets can be at the neck of a shirt, the cuff of a sleeve, or the waist of a skirt or pair of pants.


Small tucks in clothing that allow for extra room and ease of movement. Pleats can be seen at the waist of pants or skirts, the cuff of a sleeve, or the waist or bust area of a blouse or dress.

Raglan Sleeve

A raglan sleeve is stitched under the arm and in two parallel lines leading from the armpit to the neck, providing plenty of room for arm movement.


The measurement on pants that goes from the front waist between the legs to the back waist, typically comprised of two measurements, front rise and back rise. This refers to how high or low a pant will ride (i.e., short-waisted or long-waisted).

Straight Hem

Refers to the straight cut at the bottom of a shirt or blouse, allowing the garment to be worn with the shirttail tucked in untucked.

Shirttail Hem

The curved bottom hem of a shirt—higher on the side (for ease of movement), dipping low in the front and back, so the shirt will stay tucked into pants.


A lump or thick part of yarn caused by the adherence of small lengths of yarn during the spinning process. This adds a random texture to the fabric when the yarn is woven or knit into a garment.

Spread Collar

An open collar with no buttons to hold the collar points to the shirt. Spread collars have two pieces: the fold-over collar and the stand that keeps the collar close to the neck.

Standard Waistband

An extra piece of fabric that is sewn to the body of the pants, shorts or skirts.


An added section of fabric in a shirt or pants that enhances the fit. On a shirt, the yoke is usually on the back across the top shoulder area, but can also be on the front shoulder to chest area. On pants, it is generally on the back of jeans-style pants located below the waistband.

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