Why It Matters (for some) What Their Clothes Feel Like


why it matters what clothes feel like if you are kinaesthetic

  • Are you annoyed by tags on your clothing?  Do you end up removing them?
  • Do you hate wearing wool as it’s scratchy?
  • Do you like to feel like your clothes are not constricting you and that you can move freely in them?
  • Can you not think if your shoes aren’t comfortable?
  • Do you hate stiff fabrics?

If you answered yes to most of these questions you are kinaesthetic  in a way that relates to the Relaxed/Natural/Casual personal style category.

  • Do you love to feel soft fabrics like velvet or cashmere?
  • Do you love buttery soft leather?
  • Do you like the way silk feels on your skin?
  • Do you pat every fur (faux or not) that you pass by?

If you answered yes to these questions you are also kinasetheitc, but in a way that relates to the Feminine/Romantic personal style category.

Both types of kinaesthetic people have a high sensory value and need their clothes to feel good and comfortable on their skin.

The relaxed/natural people will be more inclined to wear comfortable stretchy or loose and baggy clothing (and often past their used-by-date).  The feminine/romantic will choose fabrics that have a sensually appealing touch.

When my son was 2 I knitted him a jumper (sweater for you Americans) and he refused to wear it as it was “too scratchy”.  I bought him some jeans and he refused to wear them as they weren’t “Soft pants, only wear soft pants” and to this day he refuses to wear jeans . I realised when he was very young that he’s very kinaesthetic and comfort is a really important factor in his clothing choices.

Now, for all you sensory people you assume that everyone else is the same, but in fact those people that wear all those clothes and shoes that you look at and think “uncomfortable” they are not kinaesthetic and so they don’t have the same drive for comfort in their clothing and accessories.

What is important if you are kinaesthetic is that you make sure you feel clothes before you try on, if you don’t like how the fabric feels, avoid it.  When you try it on, if it binds or constricts or isn’t comfortable, you’ll never wear it, so again don’t waste your money.  For you, how it feels is just as important as how it looks (and sometimes even more important).

But if you are very sensory, be aware that you may keep your clothes longer than they should “because they’re comfortable”.  Remember that clothes go out of fashion and also get worn out make you look dated or worn out, which doesn’t communicate a positive message.


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  • Great, thank you. This is totally me, toward natural and relaxed. As I get older i struggle with the choosing clothes that have enough polish and structure to suit my career, age and current body type. Anyone else struggle with meshing structure and comfort?

  • Jenni

    Absolutely! I am looking for princess seams with softer (but not too soft) material. Difficult when you are also petite and fluffy. I have found a few Simply Vera tops that have this seaming. Only bought one because the colors aren’t ideal but I’m on the lookout.


    • Hi Robyn G,
      do you know this Italian brand, that makes nothing but shirts and tees? http://www.naracamicie.com.au/default/womens-aw15.html
      they definitely have some princess seams styles on offer.
      I found their Sydney shop by accident, and was drawn in by the colours, the sheer variety of styles, and the fabric quality – which is evident even at a distance. So much 100% fine cotton and classic construction! such a rare sight these days – I hardly knew where to start :).
      The range is priced as you would expect for traditional Italian quality – and their Aussie website is very basic – but they seem to produce fresh versions of their classic styles each season; so if you get the chance, these garments are well worth a look. Good luck with your princess seam hunt!

  • This is why online shopping is very difficult for me. I like to feel the fabric and try it on for comfort before I purchase it.

  • This is exactly what’s been on my mind today. More and more I shop by how something feels. I also have a habit of running my hands down my clothes for the sensation of the softness. I really like a kind of slight suededness or velvetiness. So I really have both kinds of situation you describe. When I neglect to wear something I own, I often find I am thinking that it must be because it is too constricting in some way. When I try it on again, though, I often find I have remembered it wrong. While I could think if my shoes hurt – though I make a point of eliminating shoes that hurt – I absolutely can’t think if I’m feeling hot and sweaty or chilled. I just got rid of my last pair of regular jeans because I realized they were too thick and stiff for me – though they weren’t *very* thick nor stiff at all. I love the look of crisp clothing but it’s not me. I realized recently that all of the pants I like to wear have some degree of fluidity. It might be slight but it’s definitely not anything crisp nor stiff and structured. On the other hand, I can’t stand too much fabric getting in my way, especially if it tends to droopiness or sagginess. I couldn’t wear the kind of avant garde clothing that only looks good if you make extravagant gestures to show off its odd shapes. The other way the feel of clothing is important to me is the fit. I really appreciate having a jacket/blazer that fits so exactly (especially as my shoulders move) that it feels like I’m being closely held. I like knit tops for this reason but I also like ultra-thin woven tops that feel like I’m wearing air. When I was a girl, we wore high waisted pants and even though they were stretch pants, I had the habit of completely unzipping the side zipper when I sat down to eat. My mother was shocked and wanted to know who unzips their pants to eat? What if I was in a restaurant? Yeah, I unzipped them there, too. And just tonight I removed yet another label from a top I was wearing. I start almost uncontrollably scratching at the back of my neck where the label scrapes. As for wearing clothes out and looking dowdy, I’m always well-dressed and I don’t think anyone ever guesses I have so much sensitivity to how clothing feels.

  • This is so me! I wander round shops touching fabrics before I look at clothing shape (which sometimes gets me into trouble). One of my best shopping days was when I found a bra (Calvin Klein brand) that had a cushioned pad underneath where the hooks do up, as that bit of the bra with all the tags and seams always annoys me with other brands.

  • This is me too, except with itchy wool. I love wearing wool because it keeps me warm when I am always cold, so I find types that feel soft or have a slightly rough, but not scratchy or itchy feel that comforts me. Soft, comfortable, and breathable with full or 90% range of motion works best for me for all of my clothing.

    Robin G., I am looking for shirts and jackets like that too.

  • I’m the queen of how something feels. When shopping, I actually now try on all clothes with my back to the mirror. If it doesn’t feel good, I don’t even turn around to see how it looks. I also spent an hour trying on all my t-shirts at home in the dark. If it didn’t feel good, I tossed it, and only kept what felt super comfy. It has really helped refine what I have in my closet!

    • Amy – that’s a fabulous idea. I have found so many clothes that once I’ve purchased them, re-try them on at home, that I don’t like them so much. But it may be that I just don’t like the way they feel. Don’t even get me started on undergarments though!

  • Imogen, you are brilliant. I didn’t know there was a name for this. No wonder I am keeping some of my clothes too long. My husband and son are kinaesthetic too – my son also will not wear jeans unless forced by society for some event – and my husband still has clothes that are far far far past their prime (he’s much worse than I am). I have learned so much from you and appreciate that you share your knowledge!

  • I’m a creative but I hate tags, especially on tops, two reasons, they scratch so I’m constantly wiping the back of my neck, and two, I have way too many moles to have to worry about tags, or me, scratching them.

  • This is me, I cut labels out of clothes as I cant stand them rubbing on my skin and itching, always buy according to feel, love the soft touch, if a garment is stiff or does not feel nice to touch I wont try it on. I love the feel of wool and cashmere and have always wondered how other people can wear shoes that when I try them on feel stiff and uncomfortable. it is interesting that some people feel the same as me and yet others not.

  • Thank you for writing this. I thought I was being picky with my selections. While I envy those who can wear so many fashions that are colorful, I’ve found that many of these fabrics that hold color well have elastic, spandex or some microfibers that, unfortunately, make me sweat profusely.

    The sweating(or flashes) started with menopause at which time I couldn’t wear anything that had more than 3% of microfiber. Yes, it was that bad.

    But after years of wearing natural fibers that breathe my body has become accustomed to it. I did some research on this and found that many of these microfibers have some polyester( referred to by other names today) These fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles in machines in China.

    Many people have terrible reactions to these fabrics since they don’t breathe as well.

    So if you have any information on fabrics that breathe, hold color and are comfortable year round, I’m interested. Thus far, I’ve worn many of Eileen Fisher’s light wool crepe. But their color palette is limited.

    Thank you again for covering this.

  • I have to buy clothes for feel.I love viscose,it flows feels soft,and breathes and washes beautifully.it also keeps its shape for a long time.

  • Thank you for posting this. My 8 year old daughter has been cutting the tags out of her clothes since she was 4. Even tagless tees sometimes have little tags at the waist that bother her. (she collects the tags & uses them for crafts!) No jeans or anything stiff for her. I realized even as a baby she was sensitive, but didn’t know there was a real description of what I see in her. I will pass this info along to her as she grows up and someday starts to shop on her own. Thanks for the helpful info!

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