What Are You (Really) Wearing? All About Jacquard

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There’s no denying the luxe look of a jacquard sheath dress – but what exactly gives this fabric its luster?

The first thing to know is that jacquard is a woven pattern, not a print. And that sought-after shine? Multicolored threads – often metallic – are used in most elaborate designs against a contrasting satin background.

Fabrication of this textile began in 1801 with Joseph Marie Jacquard’s invention of the much-improved mechanical loom. He simplified textile design by incorporating punch cards with holes that corresponded to desired patterns, making it possible for the ordinary workman to get in on the action.

For centuries, royals and political dignitaries alike have favored the opulence of this woven wonder. Just take Michelle Obama, for example, who rocked the ultimate jacquard sheath for her speech at the DNC this past year.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

Want the lowdown on fabrics and more? Follow our What Are You (Really) Wearing? column every Tuesday.   

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