What Is Spandex Skinny Wear?: Exploring the Trend in Fashion

The spandex skinny wear, a fashion trend that’s gained immense popularity in recent years, captures the essence of sleekness, comfort, and style all rolled into one. This form-fitting garment, crafted from a blend of stretchy materials such as spandex and polyester, accentuates the curves and contours of the body while providing maximum flexibility and ease of movement. Whether it's for a workout session at the gym, a casual day out, or a night on the town, this versatile clothing item offers a seamless fusion of fashion and functionality.

What Is Spandex Fabric?

Spandex fabric is known for it’s incredible stretchability and ability to retain it’s shape. The key to this fabrics exceptional elasticity lies in it’s unique molecular structure. Spandex is made up of long polymer chains that are tightly coiled together. When stretched, these chains uncoil and then spring back to their original shape when released.

One of the advantages of spandex fabric is it’s ability to provide comfort and freedom of movement. It’s commonly used in athletic wear, swimwear, and activewear because it allows for unrestricted mobility during physical activities. The fabric also offers a snug fit, enhancing the bodys shape and providing support. In addition, spandex is highly resistant to wrinkles and abrasions, making it a durable choice for clothing that needs to withstand regular use and washing.

Spandex fabric is produced using various manufacturing methods, such as melt spinning and solution spinning. In melt spinning, the raw material is heated and then forced through fine holes to create long, continuous fibers. Solution spinning involves dissolving the raw material in a solvent to create a solution, which is then extruded through a spinneret to form fibers. Both methods result in fibers that can be woven or knitted into a stretchy fabric.

It’s commonly combined with natural fibers like cotton or synthetic fibers like polyester to create fabrics with improved stretch and comfort. Blending spandex with other fabrics can also enhance the fabrics durability and resistance to wear and tear.

It’s unique molecular structure allows it to stretch and recover it’s shape, providing comfort and freedom of movement. Furthermore, it blends well with other fibers, making it a popular choice for a wide range of clothing items.

History and Origins of Spandex Fabric

Spandex fabric, also known as elastane, is a synthetic material widely used in the fashion and textile industries. It was first developed in the late 1950s by chemist Joseph Shivers and his team at the American chemical company, DuPont. The aim was to create a fabric that had exceptional elasticity and strength, while also being lightweight and breathable.

To achieve this, Shivers and his team incorporated polyurethane into the fabric’s composition, which gave it the desired stretchiness. The name “spandex” was coined in 1959, as a combination of the words “expand” and “elastane”.

Spandex quickly gained popularity for it’s unique qualities and was initially used in niche applications such as foundation garments, swimwear, and athletic wear. However, it’s versatility soon became evident, and it found it’s way into various other types of clothing, including leggings, bodysuits, and even denim.

Today, spandex is a ubiquitous fabric in the fashion industry. It’s ability to stretch up to 500% of it’s original length, along with it’s durability and comfort, makes it an ideal choice for form-fitting garments and performance wear. It’s also made it’s way into other fields like medical textiles, bandages, and even upholstery.

Despite it’s widespread use and popularity, the history and origins of spandex fabric often go unnoticed. It’s development represents a significant milestone in textile innovation and continues to revolutionize the way we approach clothing design and functionality.

Spandex, a popular synthetic fiber, is predominantly made up of polyurethane, usually comprising at least 85 percent of it’s weight. The main allure of this material lies in it’s exceptional elasticity, making it ideal for various applications.

Does Spandex Contain Polyurethane?

Spandex, a popular synthetic fiber, indeed contains polyurethane. In fact, spandex is primarily composed of at least 85 percent polyurethane by weight. This unique material is widely recognized and utilized for it’s exceptional elasticity, making it a preferred choice in various applications.

The combination of spandexs polyurethane content and it’s elasticity renders it a versatile choice for numerous applications. Moreover, it’s also utilized in underwear, dancewear, and even medical garments where it’s ability to conform to body contours is particularly useful.

It can withstand repeated stretching and extensive use without losing it’s shape or compromising it’s original form. This reliability, in conjunction with it’s unique properties, makes spandex an ideal choice for applications where elasticity and longevity are crucial factors.

This highly elastic synthetic fiber finds extensive use in various industries, particularly in sportswear, dancewear, and medical garments, where it’s exceptional stretch, durability, and comfort are highly valued.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Spandex in Clothing

  • Advantages:
  • Stretchiness and flexibility: Spandex allows for comfortable movement and a snug fit.
  • Comfort: It’s breathability and moisture-wicking properties make it ideal for activewear.
  • Durability: Spandex is resistant to wear and tear, resulting in longer-lasting clothing.
  • Shape retention: Garments with spandex tend to hold their shape better after repeated use and washing.
  • Improved fit: Spandex contributes to a better fit by contouring to the body’s curves.
  • Disadvantages:
  • Heat sensitivity: Due to it’s synthetic nature, spandex can become uncomfortable in hot and humid conditions.
  • Discoloration: Prolonged exposure to sunlight or certain chemicals can lead to color fading or yellowing.
  • Potential allergies: Some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions to spandex.
  • Difficulty in laundering: Spandex clothing often requires special care, such as delicate machine washing or air drying.
  • Environmental impact: The production and disposal of spandex can have negative effects on the environment.

This unique fabric is often used in athletic wear, swimwear, and form-fitting garments due to it’s ability to stretch and recover. It’s commonly referred to as spandex, but it’s also known by other names such as Lycra or elastane.

What Is Another Name for Spandex Fabric?

It’s the ability to stretch and recover it’s shape after being stretched, making it ideal for various applications in the textile industry. Spandex fabric offers excellent comfort, flexibility, and resistance to deformation, allowing it to be used in a wide range of products such as sports apparel, swimwear, lingerie, and activewear.

Another commonly used term for spandex fabric is Lycra. Lycra is actually a brand name that’s often used interchangeably with spandex or elastane. The term Lycra was trademarked by the multinational company Invista, which originally developed and marketed this stretchy material.

Elastane is the generic name for the polymers that make up spandex fibers. It’s derived from the words “elastic” and “thane,” reflecting the materials high elasticity.

It’s exceptional elasticity enables it to stretch up to seven times it’s original length without losing it’s shape. This makes it highly desirable in sports and athletic apparel, as it allows for unrestricted movement and maximum comfort.

Overall, whether you refer to it as spandex, Lycra, or elastane, this synthetic fiber remains a vital component in the textile industry. It’s versatile nature, durability, and stretchability make it an indispensable choice for a variety of applications.

The History and Development of Spandex Fabric

  • Spandex fabric, also known as elastane or Lycra, was first developed in the late 1950s by chemist Joseph Shivers at DuPont.
  • The original purpose of spandex was to create a more durable and flexible alternative to rubber in garments such as corsets and girdles.
  • In the 1960s, spandex started to gain popularity in the sportswear industry due to it’s stretchability and ability to retain it’s shape.
  • Throughout the years, advancements in production techniques and blending spandex with other fibers allowed for it’s use in various applications, including swimwear, activewear, and lingerie.
  • Spandex became especially popular in the 1980s and 1990s due to the rise of aerobics and fitness fashion trends.
  • Today, spandex is used in a wide range of clothing due to it’s ability to provide comfort, flexibility, and shape retention.
  • The fabric’s stretch properties are achieved through the inherent molecular structure of the polymer, which allows it to elongate up to 500% of it’s original size.
  • Spandex is often blended with other fibers such as cotton or polyester to enhance it’s properties and make it more suitable for specific applications.
  • While spandex fabric has numerous benefits, including improved fit and ease of movement, it also poses environmental challenges due to it’s synthetic nature and limited recyclability.
  • Efforts are being made to develop more sustainable alternatives to traditional spandex, such as bio-based elastane and recycled spandex made from post-consumer waste.

Source: Spandex – Wikipedia

Spandex and nylon are two distinct materials, although they’re often used together in the production of fabrics. Spandex, also known as elastane, is a synthetic fiber that provides elasticity and stretch to the material. On the other hand, nylon 66 is a type of polyamide used in textiles and plastics. While spandex can be made with nylon as one of it’s components, it isn’t accurate to consider spandex itself as nylon. The combination of nylon 66 and spandex creates a durable and stretchy fabric that can withstand various conditions, such as sweat, body oils, and washing.

Is Spandex Considered Nylon?

Spandex is a widely used material known for it’s exceptional elasticity and stretchiness. While many people may associate spandex with fabrics like nylon, it’s important to note that spandex and nylon are two distinct materials, although they can sometimes be blended together.

Nylon 66, on the other hand, is a specific type of polyamide that’s commonly used in both textile and plastic industries. It’s known for it’s durability, strength, and resistance to abrasion. Nylon 66 gets it’s name from the two monomers it’s made of—hexamethylenediamine and adipic acid—each containing six carbon atoms.

The combination of these materials in spandex fabric allows for a flexible, resistant, and long-lasting clothing option.

How to Care for Spandex Garments to Prolong Their Lifespan

  • Wash spandex garments in cold water
  • Use a gentle detergent
  • Avoid using fabric softeners
  • Hand wash or use a delicate cycle in the washing machine
  • Avoid using bleach
  • Avoid excessive wringing or twisting
  • Air dry the garments
  • Avoid using a dryer or direct heat
  • Store spandex garments flat or folded
  • Avoid hanging them to prevent stretching
  • Avoid ironing spandex garments
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents on spandex


This form-fitting fabric has revolutionized the world of activewear, allowing for maximum mobility and flexibility during physical activities. It’s seamless design and stretchy nature ensure a flattering fit for individuals of all shapes and sizes.