With a wide range of options comes many responsibilities for menswear and shirt fabrics.
For the first time, men can find a shirt in any fabric they want, from poplin to Oxford to herringbone, end-to-end, both in traditional brick-and-mortar stores and online.
However, the ability to distinguish between these fabrics separates the professionals from the amateurs. We break down what it all means to grant men the power to make their best sartorial statement yet.
Different Shirt Fabrics
Cotton, linen, and wool are three of the most common materials used in men’s clothing. Lower-end brands may use a polyester-cotton or wool blend to save money, while higher-end brands may use nylon or spandex-based synthetics. We’ll focus on cotton-based fabrics because most men’s shirts are cotton.
A certain thickness of cotton is spun into yarn in the same way that a piece of cotton thread is spun into a spool. When two yarns are woven together to create fabric, they become one thread. A fabric could have different weave patterns and thicknesses of yarns, resulting in differences in its appearance and feel, depending on the weaving patterns and yarn thicknesses woven together.
You may find yarn numbers on shirts when shopping in high-end stores like Brooks Brothers or Banana Republic. A lower yarn number means the fabric will be thicker, while a higher yarn number means it will be thinner. The quality of shirts has nothing to do with yarn numbers.
What’s a Twill Shirt?
You can easily recognize twill fabrics by their diagonal weave or texture. A diagonal twill can be subtle or subdued, or at times it can be large like an Imperial or Cavalry twill. The degree of shine in twills can vary depending on the weave, color, and cotton used.
The twill weave is extremely tight, and some of the thread counts might be mistaken for silk. Due to its diagonal texture, twill is softer and drapes more easily than broadcloth. Although it doesn’t give you the same “crisp” look as freshly pressed broadcloth, twill is relatively easy to iron and wrinkle-resistant.
What is Oxford Cloth?
It is similar to pinpoint Oxford, except that the thread is heavier and the weave is looser. Despite having a slightly rougher surface than most fabrics, it is more durable and resistant to wear and tear. One yarn may cross two other yarns in a symmetrical basketweave pattern.
Due to its origins as a sportswear garment, it is considered inappropriate for formal or office wear. Traditional American button-down polo shirts are almost always made of oxford cloth. It still looks great when worn slightly wrinkled right out of the dryer.
What’s the difference between twill and Oxford shirts:
The main difference between twill and Oxford shirts is Oxford shirts are better suited for hot weather, and twill shirts are better for cold weather, but both are good for dress shirt fabrics. Both can withstand regular use, and both are appropriate for the workplace or formal attire.
Basketweave construction creates Oxford’s distinctive texture, which uses hardwearing, substantial yarns. The Oxford is known for its durability because of this weave. The heavier Oxford weave is also warmer than a Poplin Shirt because of its denser construction.
Oxfords can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, thanks to their thicker appearance and textured surface. A variety of ways and purposes can be served by Oxford shirts, as can jeans.
A twill dress shirt is the ideal base layer because it is durable and warm. Twill is heavier and less breathable than poplin. Twill dress shirts can be worn under warm wool suits in the winter, making them ideal for cold morning commutes and walks to the car.
Twill, which is heavy and warm, is incredibly comfortable to wear. In addition to herringbone and houndstooth, twill fabrics can be woven into diamonds, checks, and plaids, making it an excellent choice for dress shirts with an understated pattern.