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Shirt Fabrics 101

 

Dress shirts are undoubtedly one of the most common types of attire worn by men. Whether you have to go for an official meeting, a musical concert, dinner or simply for a night out with friends, dress shirts are an ideal choice. There’s a wide diversity of dress shirts available in the market, varying in terms of quality, style and fabric. Since every individual has a unique fashion sense what may appeal to you may not necessarily appeal to others.

However, regardless of personal taste, one must pay high attention to quality when buying a dress shirt. No matter how stylish the shirt is, if it’s made from mediocre quality fabric, chances are it will soon begin to wear out and this brings us to the gist of this article: what type of fabrics are used in dress shirts?

When it comes to dress shirts, there are number of fabrics used for making them. Here are some of the most common materials used for making shirts:

Oxford

The first one is the oxford fabric. As the name implies, it’s basically a coarser (in comparisons to others) clothing material and exhibits a more causal style. That being said, it is still quite soft and comfortable to wear. Dress shirts made from this type of fabric are recognized by their “button down” style. So this may not be an ideal option if you are more into formal (business) attires. On the contrary, if you prefer a casual style, Oxford may very well be the material you’re looking for!

Furthermore, Oxford dress shirts generally have white color threads running in a single direction, whereas the other ones are in varied color schemes. This creates a “basket weave” type look.

 

Twill

Another common, yet great fabric used for making dress shirts is Twill. To put it in simple words, it’s a fabric that has sloping parallel linings on it and therefore, makes it quite distinctive. These lines are also called “wales”. One of the standout features of this fabric is its durability. Twill dress shirts tend to last for a comparatively longer time than other fabrics.

 

Moreover, twill generally comes in a couple of types, namely cotton and herringbone. The cotton one has a shimmery sloping weave and it suitable for formal wear. The latter one has more mixed (twisted type) diagonal switches in an alternate manner, thus giving it more depth.

 

Polyester

This is probably one of the most popular fabrics for dress shirts. Some of the standout qualities of this fabric are its durability and tenacity (fabric strength) as well as for the fact that it doesn’t shrink, resists wrinkles, dries quickly and retains its shape. However, it’s not ideal to opt for a dress shirt that’s made of 100% polyester as it may cause skin irritation, thus resulting in an unpleasant experience.

 

Cotton

It’s there one material can be called the “all-time best”, it has to cotton. Despite its drawbacks (such as shrinking, prone to wrinkles) it maintains a pretty high preference level. Top designer brands such as Robert Graham, Verzari and others, use it for their frontline dress shirts. Whether you’re looking for a formal dress shirt or a casual one, cotton is by far your best choice in terms of materials. It’s a finely woven fabric personifying class and elegance. Moreover, it’s a pretty good option for wearing in muggy climates.

 

Silk

This is essentially for those people who prefer luxurious clothing styles. When it comes to sheer grace and sophistication, silk tops the list courtesy its scintillating luster and elegant drape. However, it is not a recommended fabric, as its entails an exorbitant price, plus it’s not too good in terms of durability.

 

Broadcloth

If you’re looking for a dress shirt that exhibits formality, then Broadcloth is an ideal option. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the most common day-to-day wear (formal) dress shirt material. It is a thin and light fabric with a slight shimmer. In addition, it’s “over-under weave” makes this fabric all the more appealing.

 

Ideal Dress Shirt Blend

There’s much debate as to whether dress shirts should be 100% cotton or should they be blended with other fabrics. So to cut it short, it all depends on what you prefer to wear based on your taste and comfort level.

Generally speaking, an 80% cotton and 20% fabric blend has its pros and cons. For example, blended fabrics are slightly warmer, wrinkle-resistant, of reasonable value and have a distinct look. That being said, blended fabrics may lead to excess of man-made fibers, which will further limit the amount of airflow. Now this may get a bit uneasy, particularly in muggy climates.

So, if you do decide to buy a blended dress shirt, keep in mind that the ideal blended ratio is 80:20. This is the perfect balance, so as to maintain an overall cotton feel to the shirt, while adding a bit of diversity to it.

 

 

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