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Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

How To Style Your Silk Outfits

Silk is a natural protein fiber which can be woven into textiles. The protein fiber of silk is composed mainly of fibrous and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons. The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism like structure of the silk fiber which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors.

The word silk comes from old English “Sioloc”. Silk use in fabric was first developed in ancient China. The earliest evidence for silk is the presence of the silk protein, Fibroin in soil samples from two tombs at the Neolithic site Jiahu in Henan, which date back about 8,509 years. Silk were originally reserved for the emperors of China for their own use and gifts to others.

The texture and lustre of silk rapidly made silk become a popular luxury fabric in the many areas accessible to Chinese merchants. Silk has a smooth, soft texture that is not slippery unlike many synthetic fibers. Silk is one of the strongest natural fibers but it loses up to 20% of its strength when wet. It has a good moisture regain of 11%. Its elasticity is moderate to poor, if elongated even a small amount, it remains stretched. It can be weakened if exposed to too much of sunlight.

Silk is a poor conductor of electricity and thus susceptible to static cling. Silk has a high emissivity for infrared lights, making it feel cool to the touch. Unwashed silk chiffon may shrink up to 8% due to a relaxation of the fiber macro structure, so silk should either be washed prior to garment construction or dry cleaned. It’s comfortable to wear in warm weather while active. Its low conductivity keeps warm air close to the skin during cold weather. It is often used for clothing such as shirts , ties, trousers, blouses, skirts, formal dresses, high fashion clothes, lining, lingerie, pajamas, robes, dress suits, sun dresses and Eastern folk costumes.

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