Shirt Fabric Weaves For Business and Casual Dress Shirts
There are so many different dress shirt fabric weaves available that come in a variety of textures, strengths, and weights, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the options available so you know what is going to work best for your wardrobe and lifestyle. The following is a list of the most common weaves, with a little historical background and/or style tips per item.
Poplin is a cotton broadcloth – broadcloth is a shirting term used in the U.S. meaning the same as poplin in Great Britain – that uses a simple crisscross weave of warp yarns that are finer than filling yarns, but consist of more twists/turns per square inch, making it durable, yet light-weight with a smooth crisp texture. A high thread count poplin is ideal and takes on a silky feel with optimal color saturation; making the stripes or print very attractive and distinct. Poplin is one of the most common of dress shirt fabric weaves, and is an excellent choice worn with suits during the warm weather months. It’s also important to point out, that poplin typically will not stretch out during wear, unlike say a twill tends to do slightly. So if you have mainly worn twill, and you get used to that stretched out fit, a poplin may seem constrictive, but really it’s simply staying true to its original fit and form and it most likely looks great!
Named after the university by the Scottish mill where it originated in the late 19th century, Oxford has interlinking warp and weft threads creating a type of basket weave. Additionally, they are two different colors, with the secondary being white, which creates a two-tone textured appearance. Oxfords start out rough to the touch, but soften when washed and usually wear very well with a long life. Most men have a collection of oxfords in the wardrobe dating back to their college years as favorites that still look great – albeit slightly faded color, they simply seem to get better with time. Traditionally oxfords are made with a button-down collar and considered the most casual out of most shirt fabric weaves, but they can also be made with a classic style unfused collar and still typically they are worn for more casual wear.
Royal Oxford has an elegant distinct basket weave with a diamond effect and a handsome luster that is very appealing and eye catching. It’s definitely a more formal cloth and does not translate as a casual shirt like a regular oxford. Royal Oxford is a great variant to the dressier side of your wardrobe and is designed with a more sophisticated collar, not a button-down, where it takes on a cool elegance and perfect for a social evening out.
End-on-End is an arrangement of warp yarns of one end of color and one end of white alternating. This gives it a chambray effect with a cool texture without actual ridges or a heavy weight. It’s becoming more popular as a dress shirt worn with suits for business because of its light weight and interesting appeal; it’s one of the more unique dress shirt fabric weaves.
Resembling a fish backbone, Herringbone weave has vertical sections that alternate right hand and left hand in direction giving it that uniform zigzag look. Herringbone is a very popular twill with a hearty appeal for warmth which drapes nicely. Like most twill weaves, it has a natural luster, making it perfect to wear with suits or sport coats and trousers. Because herringbone is from the “twill” family, it will stretch slightly with ironing and wear, but not to the point where it creates any sort of sloppy appeal, it simply will have a bit more room in certain areas that most men find welcoming.
Pinpoint is a weave made up of a two-over, one-under thread pattern that creates a sturdy medium weight fabric with an interesting pin (or micro-dotted) effect. Technically it is a micro oxford that doesn’t wrinkle easily, has a matte finish, and slight body. It looks great with a button down collar, but will translate well with most other collar styles as well; some men have their favorite collar style they tend to stick with regardless of the fabric, and a pinpoint is universal in that aspect. Pinpoint also translates well in color, with the dots really making a stand out, so to speak. A bright, or rich color, adds to the cool dot effect and complements a conservative suit taking it to a new level of style.
One of the main characteristics of twill is the distinct diagonal lines or pattern referred to as wale that creates actual ridges in the fabric. Twill is an ancient weaving technique that creates a strong and relatively thick fabric that is also quite soft; therefore it drapes well and is less prone to wrinkling. This weave also gives a subtle, but appealing luster to the fabric.
Royal twill is essentially a traditional twill weave using satin threading or woven with a higher thread count to create a luxurious soft fabric with a lustrous sheen that gives it that “royal” appeal.
The ridges of fine twill are less obvious because of the tighter weave, and only upon close inspection can you distinguish the pattern. The fabric remains equally as strong and soft with slight body and nice draping. It also has an appealing subtle lustrous appeal.
Cavalry Twill is definitely a heavier weight than all others dress shirt fabric weaves in the “twill family.” It has a pronounced texture made of a double twill line with a soft hand and handsome appeal, and is an excellent cloth for someone who prefers thicker shirting fabric with a dressy appeal. The added attractive luster gives it an elegant aspect and enhances its wonderful draping.
Named after the dobby loom on which it was traditionally woven, this particular weave, that is much different from other dress shirt fabric weaves, has a unique geometric pattern with slightly raised texture that can be made with a variety of fibers. It creates an attractive dress shirt in stripes, checks, or other pattern, due to the 3 dimensional appearance, and is less susceptible to wrinkles. It is also popular for its durability and overall good quality.
Typically lightweight in nature, although not uncommon in a slightly heavier weight, chambray fabric is woven with white yarns on the weft and colored yarns lining the warp; this creates a cool “denim” appeal and is mostly meant for casual wear. However, some gentleman might pair it with a suit and tie for a modern style appeal.
Houndstooth is essentially a check pattern with pointy uneven shaped checks; like a hound’s tooth from where it derives its name. Traditionally it was produced in black and white check, but now it can be found in several color choices and patterns. The distinguishable pattern makes it a popular choice with stylish gentlemen.
This popular summer weave is woven into a puckered texture giving it an airy nature and makes it virtually wrinkle-resistent due to the nature of the already uneven wrinkly texture that is part of its charm. Stripes are common with seersucker, but it also looks great as a solid.
A nailhead is woven with a solid color along with small white nailheads (or pinheads) spaced at tight intervals. This creates the appearance of a solid color with a cool interesting texture, due to the tiny nature of the nailheads. This weave has wonderful drape and is less prone to wrinkling.
Named after the French inventor, Joseph Marie Jacquard – who invented this Jacquard loom attachment, which ultimately diminished the need for laborious hand weaving on a drawloom to create a decorative pattern with a slightly raised surface. Jacquard is a fabric that designers utilize to explore their creativity and personality. Cotton is the most commonly used fiber for producing Jacquard and the possibilities for elaborate designs are endless.