Wedding gowns are made of two main fibers - silk or polyester. Some gowns will blend other fibers into these fibers, and some gowns will use both silk AND polyester. Most moderately-priced gowns and almost all lower-priced gowns will be made of polyester, a durable synthetic fiber, usually in a satin or taffeta blend. Many higher-end and couture gowns will be made of natural silk, the "Queen of Fibers". Some couture lines will offer their gowns in a choice of silk or polyester.
I have been trained as a professional drycleaner and am a Certified Textile Specialist, so if you REALLY want to understand the difference in fabrics, call me... :) However, here are a few tips that will help you decide which fiber and fabric is right for you:
1. If you are having an outdoor wedding, outdoor reception, or lots of pictures outdoors, polyester is your best choice, because it is much easier to clean than silk, and it can get wet without damage.
2. Nothing looks like silk - it has a natural luster that can't be replicated. However, if you want a silk gown, buy a good silk gown, not a cheap one. Cheap silk will snag, pull, and mar very easily. Good silk has a natural strength and will be able to be cleaned and altered with much better results.
3. If you are on a limited budget, purchase a better-quality polyester gown rather than a poor-quality silk gown. Good designers will use a good-quality polyester fabric and you will be much happier!
4. Ask questions at the bridal salon about the gowns you love. The sales consultants should be able to let you know what fabric options you have and how to care for them.
5. No matter what your gown is made of, have it cleaned right away after your wedding. My company, Great Lakes Wedding Gown Specialists, cleans gowns of all fabrics. All fabrics will last longer when cared for properly!
Silk Charmeuse by Vera Wang - Fall 2007 Collection
September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal.