Types of Dress Shirt Fabric

Choosing which Dress shirt fabric best fits your needs can be confusing, especially with so many available at different price points! Some are more appropriate for dress while others are more for casual wear. Knowing some of the basics will help you make an informed decision.

Cotton Broadcloth

This is the number one fabric used for dress shirts.  Natural fibers make broadcloth smooth, durable, “breathe” easily and low maintenance. It’s suitable all year round with lighter colors and more loosely woven cottons popular in warmer climates.

Pinpoint Oxford

Pinpoint cotton is tightly woven making it slightly heavier than broadcloth and not as transparent. It’s considered more casual with a texture that seems just a bit rough in comparison. Best worn with a button down collar, it’s a great choice for every day dress.


One of the more popular cotton weaves is poplin. Mid-weight yarns woven over and under each other produce a finish that’s able to breathe and is smooth to the touch. End on End At first glance an end on end dress shirt looks like any other solid fabric. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice a texture created by one white thread and at least one colored thread running through it. Typically end on end fabrics are extremely lightweight and best for warm weather.

Sea Island

If you’re looking for luxury, Sea Island is top of the line. Barbados provides this most rare (and therefore most expensive) type of cotton. Longer length fibers can be woven into extremely strong, fine yarns that actually become smoother with each washing. Love the vibrant colors but not the price? Try an Egyptian cotton shirt. It has several of the same characteristics but is considerably less expensive.


A natural fiber, linen’s distinct texture is derived from the flax plant. Although it breathes extremely well, it wrinkles more than cotton. Blending linen with other type fabrics can reduce the amount of wrinkling. Linen comes in an array of colors and is lightweight, making it the perfect casual shirt for warmer weather.


Mulberry silkworms (named for the type of leaves they eat) were originally bred in China to make cocoons from which extremely fine yet unbelievably strong fibers could be spun. The woven fabric absorbs moisture and produces that beautiful “shimmering” effect we like for dressy occasions. Silk does however, have a few negatives. It’s expensive, has static cling, yellows with age and must be dry cleaned or hand washed with care.

Fabric Styles

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