A guide to men’s dress shirt weaves

Shirt fabric weaves

What makes the perfect dress shirt? A careful combination of premium materials, high quality construction, cool design and perfect fit. The fabric, we think, is what a shirt is actually made out of after all, that’s why its weave is one of the most important feature. But what exactly is it? The weave is the way in which the threads of cotton called warp and weft are actually put together to make a fabric. Different techniques create different properties in the fabric.

What are the most common men’s dress shirt weaves and when to choose them? This is our quick guide.

POPELINE1.POPLIN

The term poplin originates from papelino, a fabric made at Avignon, France, in the 15th century, named for the papal (pope’s) residence there, and from the French papelaine a fabric, normally made with silk, of the same period. Modern poplin is a plain weave,  which means the threads alternately cross over and then under each other, with a vague striped appearance. A strong, very smooth and durable fabric that has an almost silky hand feel. 

That’s the right fabric if you’re looking for a shirt:

  • Formal 
  • For everyday business looks
  • For ceremonies

ZEPHYR2.ZEPHYR

The term may refer to a light wind called Zeffiro. The Zephyr is an extremely lightweight and breathable fabric with a square construction, made with an almost equal number of threads per centimeter in warp and weft. Its special weave allows an extraordinary breathability and works perfectly with square patterns.

That’s the right fabric if you’re looking for a shirt:

  • For a casual business look
  • For free time

OXFORD3.OXFORD

Oxford is a basket weave where multiple weft threads are crossed over an equal number of warp threads. The threads are usually of a single color crossed with a white to give oxford its unique, checkerboard appearance. It has a slightly rougher texture but is more durable than most fabrics. Originally developed for sportswear, so it’s the least dressy, and (in some circles) not considered appropriate for office or formal wear. Overall, a tailored oxford cloth shirt is a wardrobe essential for its durability and versatility.

That’s the right fabric if you’re looking for a shirt:

  • For free time (E)
  • For everyday business looks (US)

PINPOINT4.PIN POINT

Pin Point is an Oxford spin-off fabric. The effect is a fairly grainy fabric with a weft that appears to be made by an infinite number pinpoints. 

That’s the right fabric if you’re looking for a shirt:

  • Formal

 

TWILL5.TWILL

Twill fabric is easily recognizable because it will show diagonal weave or texture. It has a weft thread that runs over and under multiple warp threads. Because of the diagonal texture twill is really soft and will drape more easily. It won’t give you the same “crisp” look that some others can, but it’s relatively easy to iron and resistant to wrinkles.

That’s the right fabric if you’re looking for a shirt:

  • Formal
  • For business travels

PIQUET6.PIQUET

A dandy weave: warp threads, thanks to a higher tension, lower weft threads, creating the typical wavy effect of Piquet. For a soft and higly detailed shirt.

That’s the right fabric if you’re looking for a shirt:

  • Formal
  • For everyday business looks

FIL A FIL7.FIL A FIL

Called Fil-a-fil from the French for “thread-to-thread” it is essentially a poplin fabric but with one colored and one white (or other color) thread. This gives the fabric a micro striped or micro checked appearance.

That’s the right fabric if you’re looking for a shirt:

  • For everyday business looks
  • For free time

DOBBY8.DOBBY

Dobby weave has unique geometric patterns into the fabric. The solid colors tend to have a faint stripe or dotted patterns woven in the same color as the base cloth. This is accomplished using a special loom that raises and lowers the warp threads individually. Extra patterns, extra charm.

That’s the right fabric if you’re looking for a shirt:

  • For everyday business looks
  • For ceremonies

JACQUARD9.JACQUARD

Jacquard wave is created using a specific loom designed to produce higly patterned fabrics. A touch of spontaneity for a chic casual look.

That’s the right fabric if you’re looking for a shirt:

  • For free time

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