Types Of Shirt Fabrics
Poplin is a soft and comfortable weave, and it is therefore commonly used in casual style shirts, such as sport shirts. If you are looking for a particularly colorful shirt, you will fare best shopping for a poplin, because this type of fabric holds color and pattern exceptionally well. One kind of poplin that is great for warm climates is called a ‘fil-a-fil’. This type of poplin weave is particularly airy and soft, which makes it good for summer shirts.
Twill fabric is made using a diagonal weave, and is great for business casual outfits. It is slightly different from a plain oxford shirt in that rather than a one under/one over weave, it is made using a two under/two over weave. This is what gives it its diagonal or staircase-like appearance. Twill weaves are sturdy, durable fabrics that are great if you need to frequently wash and dry your shirts. Heavy twills are sometimes associated with vintage work wear, such as mechanic’s shirts.
I am not one to recommend a 100% polyester shirt, because they tend to be itchy and uncomfortable. However, a little bit of polyester can be a good thing when blended in. You can find all 4 of the types of fabric listed above in a cotton/polyester blend. It is this fabric combination that you will usually see in shirts that are labeled as “wrinkle resistant” or “no iron.” It is worth noting that to get a truly crisp, clean look, you will still need to iron your shirt. No shirt containing cotton is completely wrinkle free. Polyester helps to keep a shirt from looking very wrinkly once you have it on, but it still takes a bit of ironing to get it to look pressed. My preference is a blend of 98% cotton to 2% polyester.
Plain oxford shirt fabric (“plain” meaning that it is woven using a basic one under/one over thread weaving technique) is the coarsest shirt fabric. Although this is really just by comparison, as it still quite soft to the touch. Oxford fabric is most frequently seen in more casual style button down shirts, such as those that you would wear without a tie, and those with button down collars. In oxford shirts that are colored or patterned, only the threads that run in one direction are dyed. Therefore, the fabric itself has a sort of light basket weave appearance when you look at it closely, because running through the colored thread is another set of thread that is white.Pinpoint oxford shirts are woven in the same manner, however a finer thread is used, so the fabric is smoother and the basket weave appearance is less obvious. Aroyal oxford shirt is made with the finest thread, and therefore considered to be the most formal type of oxford shirt. Royal oxford fabric usually features small, diamond shaped wedges.
Broadcloth fabric is the most formal type of fabric for day-to-day wear. This makes it a great choice to wear to an interview, or in any other situation when you need to look particularly polished, but it is not a very formal (black tie) affair. Broadcloth fabric has a tight weave, which allows it to appear luxurious and also allows it to display pattern exceptionally well. In fact, the fabric is woven so tightly that it almost has a little bit of a gleam to it.