Know Your Shirt
Your fabrics matter!
Style, fit, collars, buttons are aspects we need to consider each time when we are selecting our new dress shirts. But perhaps the most important aspect during consideration, and the one that you cannot afford to ignore, is YOUR CHOICE OF FABRICS.
Spend time to familiarize yourself with a few more popular types of fabrics will save your money and make better educated choices in the future. You need to know more than wool comes from animals, polyester is synthetic and silk is silky …. Start your education today.
One of the most common type of fabric in clothing with good reasons. Cotton is soft and comfortable, and it’s a fabric that works for year-round wear. It can “breathe” by absorbing and releasing perspiration quickly, and extremely easy to care for. It’s also a type of fabric that holds dye very well making it a comfortable choice for dress shirts with their wide range of shades and colours.
However, cotton wrinkles. 100% cotton garments must be ironed regularly in order to maintain its appearance. And do remember that cotton will shrink the first time it is washed, so do check out if your new shirts has been “pre-shrunk” before you get them.
With good care of the clothes, a high quality cotton fabric and withstand high heat and last for years.
Another most breathable fabrics in the markets, linen is common for hot weather climates, such as Singapore. Many people would consider it as a casual fabric, and this is undoubtedly because of the fact that it creases like tissue paper under the slightest bit of stress.
Linen is sheerer than cotton so it may feel cooler on the body. But beside its breathability, pure linen isn’t the ideal choice of fabric for office or any formal (or even semi-formal) occasions. This is why makers usually blend it with cotton.
If you are speaking with old makers 10-20 years ago, you will quickly learn that polyester didn’t have a good reputation. However, current technology has improved the creation process, making current polyester fabrics a reasonably nice feel. It’s strong, crease-free so polyester is able to keep its shape well. You will often find that polyester blended with cotton to help the cotton keep its shape and prevent it from wrinkling. It is also easy to wash.
Silk is made from the fibres of the cocoon of the Chinese silkworm. It is spun into a smooth, shiny and stylish fabric. Silk was reserved for the royalty last time, but now it’s more commonly founded in today’s markets. As it can absorb moisture, making it cool in the summer and warm in the winter – and it’s this high level of absorbency making it can be dyed into many different colours.
It feels luxurious – soft, tender, gentle. Silk can retain its shape, drapes well and caresses the figure.
However, do remember that most silk require dry clean technique – don’t try to wash it using your domestic washing machine.
Now it gets interesting. While cotton, linen, silk are common fabrics, in the world of fabrics, makers are making you to decide on a weave.
There are a variety of weave in shirting fabrics, each has its strengths and weaknesses. If being asked if you prefer Oxford or Royal Oxford means nothing to you, read on. Let’s take a look at each of the most popular weaves one by one.
It is considered as a more casual fabric, you’ll find that many button-down collar shirts are Oxford Weave.
It is the coarsest shirt fabric but nonetheless, is still quite soft and comfortable. When you are choosing a colour other than white, you may notice the shirt has a very textured appearance. This is because threads that are running in one direction are dyed while the other are left white, making it a good trick giving this fabric its characteristic textured appearance.
There are different types of Oxford weave such as Royal Oxford – this is what we call a “pretty fabric”. It is a dressy fabric with a distinctive shine and texture – making it an ideal candidate for dress or formal shirt with visible texture.
Another type is Pinpoint Oxford (also known as Pinpoint) using a finer yarn and tighter weave. It is more formal than Oxford, but less formal than broadcloth or twill. Think of it as a everyday work shirts, but not necessarily be something that we would recommend for a formal or special event.
Sometimes its called broadcloth, it is a plain weave in which the threads alternately cross over and then under each other. This making the fabric very smooth and durable and has an "almost" silky-hand-feel. If it's coupled with a higher thread counts, it will be a perfect material for your shirts. Additionally, it look very crisp when ironed professionally.
It has a rich textured. Its shimmery in appearance and the diagonal direction of the intertwining threads offers a subtle yet significant difference to both Poplin and Oxford. The subtlety of this weave is key as it allows the wearer to use it for both formal and casual events without drawing too much attention to the change in fabric.
It's rather uncommon in a country like Singapore. Herringbone weaves are most often found in wool fabrics and suiting, although they could be found in dress shirting too. Herringbone is a kind of Twill, and has a distinctive V-shaped pattern. These method makes the fabric slightly heavier and it's usually found in colder countries, and not very suitable in a tropical climate.
It's essentially a type of poplins. It is having one colored and one white (could be another color) thread. This gives the fabric texture but looks like a solid color from afar. End-to-End are sometimes known as fil-a-fil or thread-to-thread or Chambray.
So there you have it. The weave is the way in which the threads of cotton are being put together to make a fabric. And now you know that different techniques (different way of putting the threads together) will created different properties in the fabric. Your next step is to discover your own style and FIND YOUR FIT!