Choosing the perfect shirt for every occasion is a fine art. There are many things to consider with men’s shirts: colour, style, cut, collar, buttons, but we’re going to start with the fabric. Because if you think that’s less important, well, you’re not right. The cloth, as always, can make a big difference to how a shirt feels and looks when paired with the rest of your suit.
We’ve done the research, and we’ve rounded up five must-have shirts for your wardrobe.
A warning about the names: most shirt fabrics are cotton, so the fabric names often come from the weaving method.
You can’t go past the white Oxford. It can be great for both casual shirts and for a more formal environment. Oxford cloth is soft and comfortable to touch, so it is ideal for button-down collared shirts. A white Oxford shirt works for everyone in most occasions (hence why it’s a must have!) but it’s particularly well suited for a smart casual look. Think a bit like Don Draper in his Madison Avenue skyscraper office – likely his everyday go-to shirt.
When an oxford white shirt is interwoven with a finer yarn, it’s called a pinpoint – great for everyday work shirts but not so much formal events. This fabric is slightly heavier than a standard Oxford, which makes it more durable too. Think business meetings and dinner dates.
A Royal Oxford fabric is similar to an Oxford fabric. It is still a textured shirt fabric but the weave is finer and it has a dressy shine. Pair it with an elegant business suit and tie for a more formal occasion.
The pale blue broadcloth shirt
Broadcloth (aka poplin)is an essential fabric in any man’s shirt collection. Its tightly woven fabric gives the shirt a flat, smooth look, another great option for everyday office wear. Broadcloth is breathable and lightweight, so it’s perfect in warmer weather. Why pale blue, you ask? It goes with every single colour suit you might have, and it says great things about you: business, decisiveness, style.
The twill shirt
Twill has a softer weave, which makes it less crisp then some other fabrics. That difference in texture comes with great benefits though: it drapes well, which makes it perfect for long days. It also makes it a great travelling shirt. It can have a slight shimmer because of the tight diagonal weave. Which leads us to its most enviable feature: it’s easy to iron and does not wrinkle easily. Every man needs a few twill shirts in his wardrobe.
The linen shirt
Linen has made a big comeback in men’s style over the last few years. And rightly so; it is highly breathable, thanks to the loosely woven, flax fibres. While it is soft to touch, linen does have one significant drawback: it wrinkles very easily. However, if you’re not getting ready for a board meeting day, the relaxed linen look might just what you need. In fact, just try it, and our guess is you will learn to love the soft wrinkles.
A linen and cotton blend is also an option, as the cotton weave reduces the wrinkling factor. You can choose dyed linen, but the natural flax colours also look great and summery – think groomsmen in barefoot wedding parties sporting white linen shirts.
The end-on-end fabric shirt
Shirts crafted from end-on-end fabric are excellent for dress and business occasions. The white thread is interwoven with darker colours and what looks like a solid block of colour from a distance, is really a textured weave. End-on-end fabric is lightweight, another good option for the warmer months.
So, you now have an idea of what fabrics you should have in your shirt collection. If you want to know more about which fabric will complement your body shape, style (and your suits) get in touch with Zink and Sons and we can guide you step by step through choosing the best shirts for you.