What is Lamé?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Just about everyone has heard of some sort of lamé for eveningwear or costuming for theater and variety show productions. However, there are other applications for this fabric that incorporates metallic fibers that may not be as well known.

Metallic fibers are added to knit fabric to create lamé.
Metallic fibers are added to knit fabric to create lamé.

Lamé is a shimmering material that is created by combining metallic fibers and natural or synthetic fibers into a woven or knit fabric. The high gloss finish makes it a very striking material that catches the smallest lights and seems to give a sense of movement to any garment created with the material. Gold and silver lamé are often the most common types of the fabric in use, although in recent years, copper fibers have been used in the metallic cloth to good effect.

As the basis for striking clothing, lamé finds its most common uses for theatrical costumes. Often used for such applications as stage variety shows, movies, television and musical concerts, this metallic fabric is associated in the minds of many as being a sign of glamor. It is certainly true that gold or silver material adds a touch of fun to just about any occasion. From evening dresses to wraps for the ladies to cummerbunds and tuxedo scarves for the men, it can make even a dressy outfit seem a little dressier.

These days, several other applications for lamé have gained ground. One of the more creative uses today has to do with wrapping gifts. Gift bags made with it are a great way to wrap a present such as a bottle of wine or gifts of food and other types of drink. Applications of the material to the exterior of gift boxes create the ideal container for everything from shirts and socks to books to jewelry. In fact, giving a gift that is wrapped in lamé is like giving two gifts. If the actual present does not impress the receiver, the container will often be much appreciated.

Lamé has gained a lot of ground as a material for use around the home as well. For instance, it can add some visual interest to a bedroom. Along with simple window panels that catch every bit of light, it can also be employed as material for bed curtains. Pearl colors in particular can be used in the bedroom to soften the hard lines of the furnishings and make the room seem more inviting. Elsewhere in the home, the fabric can be a great choice for holiday linens such as pillow covers, table cloths, and as draping material for piano tops and fireplace mantels.

In fact, lamé can go a lot of places and do a lot of things. From an evening out to appearing on the stage and moving on to enhancing the look of the home, it is a versatile material. Available in most fabric stores, lamé comes in several metallic finishes, so there is something for just about any application.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


what does lame feel like? does it feel like a smooth vinyl? or Pvc? or like a fabric like a t-shirt?


I wonder where you can buy the material? does anybody know?


Thanks for the info.


It does get damaged by swimming in salt or chlorine, any lame garment needs to be treated carefully and worn as little as possible. Seriously, I've gone through a few lame garments because they barely last if they're a favorite.


You would need to consult the manufacturer of the garment to be sure. Lame, like all material, will only stand up to so much wear under certain conditions. Depending on how the lame was treated during the manufacturing process, it may work fine to allow the garment to double as a swimsuit. But I would make sure to have the word of the manufacturer before I invested money in purchasing the garment.


does lamé get damaged after multiple exposures to salt water? a store is selling a body suit that looks like a beautiful swimming suit and I was wondering if I could use it as a swimming suit for the summer.

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