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.

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