Men are confronted with a wealth of different shirt fabrics, and knowing more detail about them will ensure that you are able to make the right outfit decision. The right fabric can keep you cooler in the heat or make you look more presentable at work.
The fabric of a shirt can determine the quality, so reading our guide will make men better placed to make the best sartorial choice.
A go-to fabric for those living in hot climates, this fabric is so breathable due to it loose weave. The lightweight fabric is very easy to wrinkle and can be quite sheer. So it might be that some men prefer a linen-cotton mix to combat both these elements.
With a puckered appearance this again is a great fabric for the warmer months. When woven the thread has a tendency to bunch together in places. This culminates that when worn it hangs away from the skin, thus keeping the wearer cooler.
Although this can be a coarse fabric it is still relatively soft to touch. Its texture is due to its heavier thread in a looser, basket-weave effect. A great casual shirt for men, this looks its best with a button down collar. Pinpoint oxford’s are woven in the same way but with a finer yarn. Royal oxford is even finer still with a distinctive shine and visible texture.
This fabric can come in any weave such as twill or poplin, and most versions that men will be familiar with will use multi-coloured yarns. It might use a combination of black and white yarns to create a grey melange fabric for example.
To distinguish twill, look closely and you will see a diagonal weave or texture. Made with a tight weave, this fabric is softer than broadcloth. It has a slight sheen to it and is resistance to wrinkles. But it won’t give men that iron crisp look like a broadcloth or a poplin.
This is sometimes referred to as poplin, a tightly woven fabric that is great for use as a work shirt. The simple over-under weave means it offers little to no texture or pattern so would be great worn with a suit. But it is worth noting that the lack of texture and depth to the weave will mean it wrinkles more easily.
As mentioned this is almost exactly the same as a broadcloth. The only difference being that poplin might use disparate yarns whilst broadcloth will have a symmetrical construction. They are both a plain weave fabric that has little texture and is ideal for a man’s formal shirt.
The contrast colour of this fabric is made by weaving two pieces of lengthwise cotton together. These two pieces are typically dyed and undyed which gives the shirt a textured contrast look. The lightweight fabric is ideal for the summer months or those living in warmer climates.
Made on a dobby loom, this fabric has a tendency to have many versions. It has small geometric patterns within it, similar to a jacquard shirt.
Made with a twill fabric construction, a denim shirt will use a softer twill to those you find in your jeans. Denim warp thread will typically go over two threads before under one in the weft, and is a very sturdy fabric.
This plain weave fabric, although often confused is different to denim. Chambray is created similarly to broadcloth, but will have white thread running through so there is no one true colour. Unlike denim, chambray’s weft and warp threads will alternate one over the other. The heavier yarn used is the point of difference to other formal shirts like a broadcloth and hence why men use this as a casual offering.
This is a staple of a man’s autumn winter wardrobe due to the thicker weave. The flannel fabric has a brushed exterior, and is normally a twill or poplin weave ideal as a casual shirt.
Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.