Browse through the TomboyX website, and you’re likely to find a bunch of products listed as being made from TENCEL ™ Modal fibers. Perhaps you’re already in the loop with this sustainably sourced material. If not, you might be scratching your head and asking –– what is modal, anyway?
We love this material for being as environmentally conscious as it is ultra soft and comfortable. If you’re gripped with modal madness and are looking for some everyday uses for it, look no further –– we’re here to break down all things modal and give you some fit tips on the way.
What Is Modal Fabric?
Modal is a naturally sourced bio-based type of fabric used in a variety of applications in the fashion industry, from sheets to underwear. It is a type of rayon and can be distinguished by its smooth, soft, and durable qualities. While it was first developed in Japan in the 1950s, most modal today comes from Austria.
TENCEL™ Modal fibers are made from sustainably sourced beechwood trees. Created by the Austrian company Lenzing Modal, TENCEL ™ Modal is made with an eco-friendly integrated self-sufficient wood pulp-to-fiber production process. This process minimizes the use of toxic chemicals, as well as the overall environmental impact of the fabric.
The cellulose fibers used in the manufacturing process for TENCEL™ Modal give the fabric extra stretchy qualities, which makes the material perfect for activewear. In addition, Lenzing created several extra-lightweight versions of TENCEL™ Modal, including MicroModal and Modal Air.
That means cellulose is extracted from the pulp of chipped beech trees. This type of cross-stitch modal fabric is as comfortable as it is environmentally responsible.
What Is Special About TENCEL™ Modal Fabric?
We love the TENCEL™ Modal for its eco-friendliness, but there’s more to it than that. Here are some of the qualities that make it such a special material:
High-quality modal is remarkably soft and smooth to the touch. Modal fibers feature a sleek cross-section, which helps maintain a buttery light feel of clothes made of this fabric.
Don’t get us wrong –– we love organic cotton. But TENCEL™ Modal might just be the wave of the future in terms of touch –– many say that it even feels twice as soft as cotton fibers.
Modal fibers are extremely durable. Their softness and strength hold up even after multiple wash and dry cycles. Nowadays, easy access to fast fashion practices has made a lot of clothes flimsy and unsustainable.
Modal fabric results in a longer-lasting product that you can cherish for a long time. It’s also unlikely to shrink when washing or drying.
Modal is a flexible fabric known to be stretchier than regular rayon fabric. The cross-section design on this form of rayon lends itself to a bit of a natural stretch and smooth motion. That means it feels good on your skin without being restricting or heavy. Some modal is combined with cotton or semi-synthetic fabrics like Spandex for more strength and stretch.
We’ve already briefly touched upon the environmentally responsible process through which modal is produced. But it actually goes beyond that –– Modal fibers are biodegradable as well. Because it is sourced from natural material, this fabric can be composted and eventually returned back to nature.
Modal fibers are processed with fewer chemicals than many synthetic materials. Sulfuric acid is used to form the fibers into yarn.
The growth and production of the beech trees themselves also save water. Beech trees generally use less water than cotton plants. In addition, you can wash modal fabric in cold water, saving on your electricity bills and increasing your investment in sustainable fashion.
Absorbency and Breathability
Being breathable and absorbent is another reason why modal is often favored for athletic wear. Tiny micropores within modal fabric actually make it up to 50% more absorbent than cotton. Being sourced from beechwood pulp also encourages airflow and breathable qualities.
Shape and Maintenance
We’ve already covered how modal is resistant to shrinking and being worn down. On an everyday level, it also holds its shape well.
Modal is known for a lovely drape and a smooth finish that doesn’t pill. Ironing is also seldom necessary due to a low risk of creasing and wrinkles. You can bleach the fabric with oxygen-based bleach, which you can also use on most other household items.
One more fun fact: While most viscose rayons require dry cleaning, modal does not.
Is Modal the Same As Lyocell and Viscose?
Modal, lyocell, and viscose have several similarities and are often compared to each other. They are all organic types of rayon. However, they are not the same.
Modal is lighter, stronger, and generally more eco-friendly than viscose. It also holds its shape better and is stronger when wet. Modal and lyocell are both luxury organic fabrics. The main differences between the two are the finishing processes. Lyocell can also be made from a range of trees, not just beech wood.
Modal Outfits To Wear
Now that we’ve reviewed the basic facts and figures on modal, let’s talk about when and where you can wear it. The truth is, this versatile fabric has a place in pretty much every aspect of your wardrobe.
But we want specifics, don’t we? In that case, here they are:
There are a couple of things that you might want to keep in mind when buying the perfect pair of underwear. It’s crucial to get underwear that is breathable just to keep everything fresh down there. You also, of course, want to feel comfy and secure while still allowing for a bit of stretch so that you don’t feel any wedging or pinching.
TENCEL™ Modal underwear, like these boyshorts, provides just the right amount of all these qualities. From boxers to thongs, there’s a great pair of modal underwear for everybody. Who doesn’t want their lowermost layer to be as soft as possible?
Athletic and Leisure Tops
TENCEL™ Modal is a great option for an active –– and more chill and relaxed –– lifestyle. What we stress above all, apart from sustainability, is comfort. When you’re working out, you probably prefer moisture-wicking, absorbent material that never traps heat or sweat. TENCEL™ Modal has these qualities; not just that, it also feels smooth on your skin, meaning that you can easily transition from the treadmill to chilling on your couch.
If you’re looking for specifics, you can never go wrong with a relaxed muscle tank or tank top. We know comfort is important to you, so these looser-fitting garments are ideal for any activity.
Athletic and Leisure Bottoms
You can’t throw on an athletic top without also considering the bottoms. Well, you can –– we just don’t recommend going to the gym like that. And when you’ve got bottoms made of soft modal at your disposal, you probably won’t want to skip out on them anyway.
For the same reasons we love athleisure tops made of TENCEL™ Modal, we also recommend shorts and joggers made of this soft and breathable fabric. Flexible and comfortable, these modal joggers allow for a wide range of motion. Whether you wear them on your morning run or on your evening hang, the relaxed fabric will make for the perfect fit.
There’s a reason why modal fabric is so popular in pajamas. When the sun goes down, and you hit the hay, you want to feel enveloped in the softest material. That’s why modal, which many say is twice as soft as cotton, is perfect for those sleeping hours.
Whether it’s t-shirts, pants, bed sheets, or pajama shorts, modal sleepwear is where it’s at. Combine that with an adorable cloud design, and you’re golden. And, as an added bonus: you can also rest easy knowing that you’re snoozing in a sustainably sourced, biodegradable product.
For too long, many of us have settled for less than stellar bra-type wear. Bras that make you sweat or constantly readjust are the worst –– we can all agree on that. That’s why so many of us flock to bralettes instead –– they’re stretchier, less restrictive, and overall can feel like you’re not wearing a bra at all. TENCEL™ Modal bralettes just add to the comfort.
Super soft and super comfy, bralettes made of modal fabric just hit different. Many of these also come with a touch of Spandex for added flexibility. Whether you like a fun print or prefer a straightforward, nearly invisible nude, you’re sure to find one you like.
There are a ton of things we love about this material. It’s always wonderful to wear something that you know is sustainably sourced and ultimately does a little bit of good for the environment. But it also feels a lot better when that clothing is actually comfortable. With TENCEL™ Modal, you kind of get the best of both worlds.
While athletic gear, leisure wear, and undergarments are currently a big player on the modal field, there are tons of other uses for this fabric as well. Though it is considered a luxury fabric, it is still relatively new –– we have much to design and discover.
For now, we’re happy just snuggling up and keeping a healthy, active lifestyle in our most comfortable gear. Check out some TENCEL™ Modal outfits and decide for yourself!