The Right Fabric for a Quality Dress Shirt

The Best Complement to a Designer Suit is a High Quality Dress Shirt

The best complement to a designer suit is a high-quality dress shirt. Here we discuss a few of the essential dress shirt fabrics.

Two-Ply v. One-Ply

First, we should mention the superiority of dress shirts made with two-ply fabrics. These fabrics are heavier, have a smoother feel, and will hang better than one-ply fabrics because they are woven from two individual threads that have been twisted together, instead of from a single thread.  Dress shirt retailers will specify two-ply fabrics in their product descriptions.

Shirt Fabrics

Listed below are a few of dress shirt fabrics you are likely to encounter. The typical dress shirt weave has 100 threads per inch.

Cotton Batiste: this is a light, un-patterned dress shirt weave made with high quality yarn. If you encounter the term Swiss Batiste, it refers to Batiste made from Egyptian Mako cotton.

Brushed Cotton: This is the fabric used for cotton leisure shirts. Brushed cotton is to be found in plain colors, checks, tartans, and the famous English Tattersall check.

Sea Island Cotton / Egyptian Cotton: Sea Island cotton is the most expensive cotton. With 140 threads per inch, dress shirts made from this fabric result in sharper patterns and deeper colors.  Sea Island cotton was eventually imported to Egypt, but today only a relatively small percentage of Egyptian cotton is of a pure Sea Island cotton strain.

Poplin, Percale, Broadcloth: Popular for dress shirts, Poplin is a tightly woven fabric known for its body and weight. Percale and Broadcloth are similar.

Oxford / Royal Oxford: Looking somewhat less refined than Batiste or Poplin dress shirts, Oxford is a comparatively coarse weave of dyed and undyed threads. Royal Oxford uses a finer thread that results in a dress shirt fabric that is softer to the touch.

Pinpoint: If you are looking for a cross between Poplin and Oxford, Pinpoint is your dress shirt fabric. The weave results in an appearance of light dots.

Twill: Twills are easy-iron, comfortable dress shirt fabrics. Ribbed twill will have a fine diagonal pattern that produces a slight shimmering appearance. Herringbone twill has a pattern that changes direction at 5 mm intervals to produce a pattern that resembles a “chevron,” or the backbone of a herring.

Silk: The standard of excellence for neckties, silk is also an excellent material for dress shirts.

Viyella: This material is used in English Tattersall check dress shirts and is considered a leisurewear classic.

The Buzzwords of High-End Quality Suits

Floating Canvas, Pic Stitching, and More Stylish Terminology of  High Quality Suits

Are you a man who thrives on buzzwords? There is no one better qualified to clarify men’s suit terminology than own style experts. Indulge yourself and improve your appearance while we demystify some of those obscure, yet important, terms that describe the components of a high grade Italian suit.

Canvas: No, you don’t paint on it. Inside the jacket of every Italian suit are materials that give shape to the fabric. These are collectively known as the “canvas,” and business suit coat makers shape it to make the jacket three-dimensional. Common materials used in dress suit jackets include horsehair, cotton, and felt.

Fusing: Nothing explosive here. In high grade Italian suits, the canvas is stitched to the outer fabric.  The alternative method is fusing, used in ready to wear suits to produce a classic style while reducing the cost of production. Chemicals and heat are used at certain points to glue the outer and inner parts together. Be sure to find the best dry cleaning service in your area to avoid damaging a fused business suit.

Floating canvas: No, this won’t lighten your dress suit. In ready-to-wear suits, the designation of a floating canvas usually indicates that while the canvas and the exterior of a suit are fused together in many places, at the collar they are stitched together.

Pic stitching:
In the terminology of Italian suits and dress suits in general, “pic” does not refer to images. The pic of a business suit or dress suit is cosmetic stitching around select sections of the suit to provide a hand-stitched appearance. On the outside of a man’s suit, the stitching will be the same color as the suit fabric. On the inside where the lining meets, it may be white. This results in a suit that has the appearance of hand construction, although the stitching was in fact performed by machine. Your Menswear Resource

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