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Men’s Style 101: Understanding Different Types Of Shirts Fabrics and Their Benefits

Men’s Style 101: Understanding Different Types Of Shirts Fabrics and Their Benefits

When it comes to outfits, the choice of fabric plays a significant role in the overall look and feel of a shirt. Different fabrics offer unique benefits and characteristics that can enhance or detract from a man’s style. The fabric affects the comfort and breathability as well which directly impacts the confidence. Additionally, the fabric choice can influence the drape and fit of a shirt. Some fabrics have a stiffer structure, while others have a more flexible form. This can affect how the shirt looks on the body and how it moves with the wearer. 

To help you understand better, we have covered different types of shirt fabrics and their benefits in the comprehensive guide.

A] Explore The Different Types Of Shirt Fabric And Their Benefits

1. Linen

To make linen, the flax plant is harvested and the fibres are extracted. The fibres are then spun into yarn and woven into fabric. The fabric is highly absorbent, gaining up to 20% of its dry weight in moisture without feeling damp to the touch. You can opt for a neutral-coloured linen shirt for formal events and a bold-coloured or patterned linen for casual gatherings.

2. Broadcloth   

Popular for its smooth texture, versatility and fabric, broadcloth is a tightly woven fabric. This cloth can be made from various materials, including natural fibres like cotton, silk, or wool, as well as synthetic fibres like polyester. People often misunderstand Broadcloth and Poplin for the same, but they’re not. They are both plain weave fabrics, having different yarn weights and densities.  

3. Cotton

To make cotton fabric for shirts, the cotton plant is harvested and the fibres are extracted. The fibres are transformed into yarn before being used to weave cloth.  The fabric is breathable and absorbent, making it great for everyday wear. It is stretchy and soft, making it a great choice for sensitive skin as well.

4. Silk

Silk is the best shirt fabric and is characterised by its lustre, shine, strength, and durability, and it has a long trading history across the world. Silk fabric is created by taking threads from silkworm cocoons and weaving them together. Wearing a silk shirt offers benefits such as comfort, breathability, moisture absorption and luxurious appearance.

5. Flannel

Flannel fabric can be made from materials like wool, cotton, or synthetic fibres. What makes it stand out from other fabrics is its texture, which can be either brushed or unbrushed. In the 20th century it was once made of wool, keeping the individual warm and comfortable all winter long.

6. Wool

Wool is a natural fibre that is made from the fleece of sheep. The fleece is sheared from the sheep and then the fibers are cleaned and spun into yarn. The yarn is then woven into fabric. Wool fibres trap air, which acts as insulation to help you stay warm in cold weather. 

7. Pinpoint Oxford

Pinpoint Oxford fabric has a bit of a matte, crisp finish, not transparent but slightly heavier and thicker than poplin. This fabric is durable and blends the characteristics of poplin and Oxford fabric, hence it’s named pinpoint Oxford. The shirt of this fabric can be worn on both formal and casual occasions.

8. Oxford Cloth

Oxford cloth is made with a basket weave where the warp yarns are interlaced over and under each other, creating a pattern of small squares. The cloth is typically made from cotton, but it can also be made from other fibres such as linen, wool, or polyester. The cloth is durable and breathable in nature and can be dressed up or down making it versatile for various occasions. 

9. Royal Oxford

As the name suggests, royal Oxford fabric is made with a finer yarn than regular Oxford cloth. This results in a fabric with a smoother, shinier finish and a more noticeable texture. The fabric is wrinkle-resistant, so you can look sharp all day long without having to worry about your shirt getting wrinkled.

10. Chambray

Chambray is a cotton plain weave type fabric made with a dyed warp yarn and a white filling yarn. It originated in Cambrai, France, during the 16th century. Generally, it is available in blue colour but can be found in other colours as well. On first look, the fabric may look like denim but it has a softer texture and is light in weight and woven with different techniques.

11. Denim

Denim, also known as Serge de Nimes, is a high-quality cotton material made from warp-faced cotton thread. Indigo is applied to the warp fibres, while the weft yarns remain white. This results in the distinctive blue and white checkered pattern of denim fabric. If you favour a bold, strong, and masculine style, denim will help you achieve a remarkable and captivating look.

12. Twill

Twill fabric can be easily characterised due to its diagonal weave pattern. By weaving warp and weft threads in a specific way, which gives the fabric a distinctive and durable texture this fabric is created. This fabric is highly durable, opaque, and resistant to stains and wrinkles, making it ideal for creating shirts that maintain a crisp, clean appearance throughout wear.

13. Seersucker

Seersucker,  is a thin fabric that is typically made of cotton and is also known as  “railroad stripe”. It is woven in such a way that the strands bunch together, giving the fabric a wrinkled appearance with its distinctive stripes. The fabric is durable and breathable, allowing air circulation, and keeping you cool and comfortable. 

14. Poplin

Poplin shirts are a popular choice among men since they are versatile fabrics that can be worn for a variety of occasions. The fabric is typically made with a medium-weight yarn and plainly woven. The fabric can be finished with a variety of treatments, such as starching or sizing, to improve its durability and appearance.

15. Dobby

Dobby fabric is woven on a special loom using a technique from the 1840s. A key feature is its tiny geometric patterns, which can be simple or complex varying from small dots or squares to more detailed designs. This fabric is also known for its durability and versatility.

16. Egyptian, Sea Island, and American Pima Cotton

Egyptian, Sea Island, and American Pima cotton are all types of long-staple cotton that are known for their softness, strength, and durability. They are all made from the same plant, but they are grown in different climates and processed differently. The fabric gives a comfortable and luxurious feel since it’s made from high-quality cotton.

17. Melange 

Melange fabric is manufactured by combining different colours, either by using coloured fibres or by dyeing separate fibres before making the fabric. This fabric is typically used to make knitwear, activewear, and denim. This fabric is popular for its two-tone appearance making it appear rich and luxurious. 

18. Herringbone

Broken twill weave is the weaving used to create herringbone fabric. In this case, the warp and weft yarns are interlaced over and under each other to produce a zigzag or herringbone pattern. The fabric’s versatility allows for endless combinations in terms of color, texture, and finish allowing designers to create unique and distinctive looks. 

19. End-on-End

End-on-End is a plain, tightly woven fabric created with alternate threads. This imparts a subtle, textured appearance comparable to that of heathered fabric. The material is suitable for dress shirts since it is typically breathable and lightweight. 

B] Choosing the Right Fabric for the Occasion

  • Formal Events:  When you are attending formal events, such as weddings, receptions or important meetings, wearing a pure silk or silk blend shirt makes a lasting impression. 
  • Business Attire: Cotton poplin portrays a professional, crisp look, while oxford cloth combines formality and casual style. Wearing lightweight wool keeps you comfortable and classy. 
  • Casual Outings: Lightweight Cotton options like Classic Cotton, and Chambray offer breathability and comfort, whereas Linen casual shirts add a laid-back charm that is perfect for a casual outing.
  • Seasonal Considerations: Wool fabrics such as Flannel, Wool-Silk Blends are perfect for colder months, whereas linen and lightweight cotton shirt fabric are suitable for warmer months. 

C] Mixing and Matching Shirt Fabrics: Tips for Stylish Combinations 

  • Contrast Textures: By pairing smooth fabrics with textured ones you can create a stylish contrast which is visually appealing. 
  • Coordinate Patterns: By combining patterns such as plaid, gingham, stripes and others with similar colour palettes of bottoms you can create a harmonious look. 
  • Coordinate Prints: Mixing prints of different scales such as check shirts, printed shirts you can create your own dynamic style.
  • Layer Wisely: To add depth to your outfit you can underlay the lightweight shirts with coats, vests, and trousers to create a more dynamic look.
  • Seasonal Alignment: Be stylish throughout all the seasons by matching fabric choices with the current seasons, such as lightweight cotton shirts during summer for breathability and denim shirts during winter to keep yourself warm.
  • Balance Weights: Strike a balance by combining heavy and light fabrics for a more balanced look. 
  • Limited Colour Palette: Stick to a few complementary or pastel colours to ensure your appearance remains polished and leaves a lasting impression.
  • Accessorise Smartly: Match accessories such as ties with different types of fabrics texture to create a personal style.
  • Play with Textures: Find your own style by experimenting with diverse textures like corduroy and chambray to add depth and character to your attire.
  • Proportional Awareness: Experiment and discover how different fabrics material work together in your outfit to make sure they match well and look good together.
  • Trial and Error: To find what looks best on you and makes you feel confident and at ease, experiment with different combinations of patterns, designs, colors, and styles.
  • Confidence Matters: Confidence is the key to making any outfit look stunning, so wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. 


Understanding the different types of shirt fabrics is essential for building a well-rounded shirt collection and embracing personal style. By considering the fabric when choosing shirts, you can elevate the style and create a wardrobe that is both functional and fashionable. Cotton, linen, flannel, chambray, and oxford are some of the most common types of shirt fabrics, each with its own unique benefits and characteristics. The choice of fabric impacts the comfort, fit, and aesthetic of a shirt, allowing you to express your personal style. 

If you are looking for the latest style and high-quality shirts, shop from Thomas Scott. Explore our collection today for the ultimate in style and comfort.   

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