Second only to “fit” in importance is the selection of a quality fabric. The selection of a shirts fabric has a huge impact on comfort and style but also longer term implications including durability. It may be obvious that not all shirts are created equal, but how can you use an indicator other then price to help select a quality shirt?
Let’s Talk Textiles
It is not necessary to delve too deeply into this side of the fashion industry, after all, we are consumers not manufacturers. However, the selection of a quality business shirt can be made much easier through a rudimentary knowledge, so it’s worth learning the following:
What Is Egyptian Cotton? Is It The Best?
Taking away the marketing spin is essential here. Which do you choose, 100% Cotton, or 100% Egyptian Cotton?
In simple, terms Egyptian cotton is better quality, and known for being softer than other cotton. Therefore it is also more expensive. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the shirt will be more comfortable because factors such as the weave also make a difference.
The slightly more detailed explanation is that regular cotton and Egyptian cotton actually come from different plants. Egyptian cotton comes from plants growing is the moist soil along the Nile River. This moist atmosphere is ideal for plants that produce long cotton strands, referred to as “staples”. These staples are much longer than those from regular cotton. So when creating threads and yarns there are significantly fewer splices, or joins. This means the end fabrics created are also much stronger. Because Egyptian cottons extra long fibers can create finer yarn, it is softer and more lustrous than regular cotton. It is also worth noting that Egyptian cotton is a lot more porous, helping it soak up moisture a more than regular cotton.
What Does Oxford, Twill or Poplin Mean?
A very good question. Thankfully, there is a nice simple answer. There are not fabric types at all. the terms “twill”, “poplin” and “Oxford” are all actually referring to the fabric weave.
Although you may not be familiar with the term, you’re almost surely familiar with poplin weave shirts because they are the most common. Simply, the weave could be described as “one over, one under”. Many people find business shirts with a poplin weave feel a little cooler, and better suited for warmer weather. Poplin shirts can also look a little more formal, but they do tend to wrinkle easier as well.
Twill, sometimes referred to as “luxury twill” is another fabric weave that could be described at “two over, two under”. It also has an offset between rows that creates a very distinctive diagonal pattern. Twill shirts definitely feel softer and somewhat “warmer” to the touch, so can be preferable on cooler days, although they are still suitable for wearing all year round. Twill shirts resist wrinkling well and make for some of the best non-shirts available. Of particular attraction to some is the lustrous sheen that comes from using “two fold” cotton in the manufacturing of these shirts.
Oxford weave shirts are commonly made using the “two over, two under” style but with the threads in pairs. This is sometimes called a “Royal Oxford”, or “Imperial Oxford”, due to the fact that there is a variation using only one vertical thread and this is often referred to as “Standard Oxford”. Oxford are often said to be warmer than Poplins but cooler than Twill shirts. They have the same lustrous finish as twill shirts and are popular all year round.
Avoid the blends. You’re past the polyester now. Avoid the micro-fibre and leave those decades where they belong. Stick the quality fabrics with quality weaves and you won’t go wrong.
You’ll only need to choose a colour or pattern that you like and you’re on your way to being an expert in the business shirts that make you look good.
Just in case you were wondering; once you know your sizes and the basic that are covered here, buying business shirts online is actually easy and fun because you know what you want and you know that is exactly what you are going to get.
All the best .