What Is Rayon? Here's What You Should Know


Rayon is one of the most versatile fabrics around, yet it remains somewhat of a mystery. That’s partly because of its remarkable ability to shape-shift—not just literally, but also in terms of imitating other fabrics. Rayon has been known to take on the properties of silk, cotton, wool, and others, and can be used in nearly any type of clothing. This can make it challenging to pin down exactly what it is, how to launder it, and what type of weather it’s best suited for. To help boost your familiarity with this ubiquitous fabric, keep reading to see everything you need to know about rayon.

In a nutshell, rayon is a fabric made from purified cellulose fibers, which are typically created from wood pulp. Though rayon is derived from natural materials, it requires certain chemicals, so it’s considered to be a semi-synthetic fabric.

One of the most common types of rayon is viscose rayon, which has a lot in common with cotton. It’s breathable, moisture-absorbent, and a popular choice for casual and athletic wear. It also shows up in dresses, blouses, and outerwear. Secondary types of rayon include modal rayon (typically made from beech trees) and lyocell (seen in everything from denim to dress shirts).

Laundering rayon takes a little extra consideration. Rayon is often blended with other fabrics (such as polyester and cotton), so washing instructions can vary significantly. While its texture and versatility make it an ideal choice for a range of apparel, rayon isn’t a durable fabric, and standard machine washing can cause it to stretch, shrink, or bleed onto other articles of clothing. As a result, most experts recommend hand-washing rayon, but always be sure to check the care label instructions beforehand.

Reformation is a great place to shop for gorgeous pieces made of rayon.

The perfect shirt for the office (and everything else).

This maxi skirt is a dream.

We can’t get over how good this looks on.

A lightweight cardi for your summer-to-fall looks.

A minimalist’s dream.

A versatile button-down is always a win.

The perfect early-fall skirt, found.

Love this tube top maxi with sandals.

Zoom in to see how good this print is.

You’re going to want to wear this a lot.

Pro tip: Pair it with a chunky sweater for fall.

What’s not to love about this dress?

Swap your basic blazer out for a little something different.

This top is surprisingly versatile.

The fit and color are excellent.

This should please all the lovers of maxi hemlines out there.

Perfect for all of your baggy jeans.

These shorts come in tan and baby blue too.

And suddenly we need a tropical print dress.

One of Reformation’s best tops at the moment, in our opinion.

You’ll probably wear this for years.

This looks so buttery soft.

Chicer than sweatpants but just as comfortable.

This is begging to be taken on vacation.

Next: What Exactly Is a Sustainable Fabric? 8 Experts Spill the Tea

This story was published at an earlier date and has been recently updated.



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