Dress Shirt Fabrics: The Hidden Secret to Looking Sharp and Sophisticated

Unlock effortless style and learn about the dress shirt fabrics that elevate your outfits to another level. Whether you're off to the boardroom or the ballroom, these fabrics make you the most polished man in the room.
Image CreditAklasu Black & White Glen Plaid Six-Fold Tie

Dress shirts have been the epitome of style and elegance for centuries. In the 16th century, shirts were mainly worn as undergarments. Only in the 18th century did men's shirts really find their place and become symbols of sophistication and refinement. Collars, especially detachable collars, became all the rage in the 19th century. Technological advancements and mass production made the dress shirt accessible to the public.

The dress shirt is now a versatile garment suitable for a variety of occasions, from a boardroom presentation to your first date. Most people look at the right design, fit, and collar when choosing a dress shirt, but the dress shirt fabric truly makes or breaks the outfit. This article will look at dress shirt fabrics that will elevate your wardrobe.

What to Look for in Dress Shirt Fabrics?

When selecting a dress shirt fabric, consider the following factors to ensure comfort and style.

  1. Thread Count: The thread count is the number of threads woven per square inch of the fabric. Smoother and softer fabrics generally have a higher thread count.
  1. Weave: The weave refers to how the dress shirt is constructed. It determines the appearance of the fabric, as well as its texture and breathability. The weave also determines how the fabric drapes around your body.
  1. Weight: The weight of the fabric determines its suitability for any occasion. Lightweight fabrics like cotton are fantastic for the summers while Oxford shirts keep you cozy during the chilly months.
  1. Colour and Pattern: Choose the fabric's colour and pattern to complement your personal style. Solid colours suit all occasions, but patterns such as checks or stripes add personality and style.

Now, let's look at various dress shirt fabrics that will keep you comfortable and stylish all day.

5 Dress Shirt Fabrics You Must Know About

You don't want to fall into common style pitfalls when selecting a dress shirt. Here are some of the most popular dress shirt fabrics you need to know.

1. Cotton

Cotton is the most popular choice when it comes to dress shirt fabrics. It’s lightweight, breathable, easy to care for, and suitable for all occasions and seasons. The fabric is also easy to print and dye, making it a hot favourite among designers.

If you’re looking for something more high-end, go for Egyptian cotton.

Styling: Cotton dress shirts can be styled in numerous ways. For formal events, you could pair it with formal pants. You could also choose different collars, such as cutaways or button-downs, to create more attractive looks.


  • Soft and comfortable
  • Great for warmer weather
  • Breathable and attractive


  • Wrinkles easily

2. Oxford Shirt Fabric

Another trendy fabric for men's shirts is the Oxford shirt fabric. It is a bit thick, making it more durable than other fabrics. The thickness of the fabric and the basket weave also makes it resistant to wrinkles. So, if you are looking for something you can wear all day without worrying about it getting crumpled, this is the fabric for you.

Styling: The button-down collar looks great on dress shirts made of Oxford fabric. Team it up with jeans or chinos for a casual outing. These shirts are also suitable for semi-formal events.


  • Thick and warm
  • Durable
  • Wrinkle-resistant


  • Has a slightly rough texture (but makes it unique)
  • May not be suitable for warmer weather

3. Broadcloth

If you are looking for formal office wear, broadcloth is an ideal choice. It's a lightweight, smooth fabric with no visible patterns in its weave. The tight weave makes it look solid from a distance. Because broadcloth uses light threads and a simple weave, the resulting fabric is smooth with minimal shine, making it great for formal occasions like work or presentations.

Styling: Wear your broadcloth dress shirt under a blazer or suit, and you have a perfect piece for business meetings in the office.


  • Comfortable and classy
  • Durable
  • Perfect for formal attire


  • The tight weave does not make it very breathable
  • Limited stretch

4. Twill

Twill is a great fabric for your dress shirts. The diagonal weave gives it a distinctive look and feel. The fabric may also have a subtle shine, but it depends on the type of cotton used. Twill is heavier compared to other fabrics, such as broadcloth and poplin, but it's soft to the touch. It's wrinkle-resistant and drapes well.

Styling: Twill dress shirts are versatile and look great with trousers and jeans. Tuck your long-sleeved twill shirt into plain trousers for a formal look. Pair it with chinos or jeans if you want a casual vibe.


  • Resistant to wrinkles and creases
  • Soft and comfy
  • Drapes well


  • Heavier than other fabrics

5. Linen

Linen is a strong and durable fabric made from the fibres of the flax plant. It's comfortable, soft, and dries much quicker than cotton. So, if you live in a warm place or sweat a lot, consider this fabric. It's lightweight and moisture-wicking, keeping you cool and dry in warm weather.

Styling: From weddings to vacations, linen shirts can be styled for all occasions. They look equally great with jeans, trousers, or even shorts. Linen fabric is an excellent choice for semi-formal or casual events. However, it may not be ideal as formal attire.


  • Comfortable, lightweight, and soft
  • Dries quickly


  • Wrinkles and creases easily
  • Not suitable for formal events

When selecting a dress shirt fabric, always consider the season, occasion, and your style. Each fabric has its own unique features and can be styled in many different ways. So, experiment with different fabrics and let your wardrobe reflect your unique personality. After all, when it comes to style, the sky's the limit!

An exquisite dress shirt needs an exquisite tie.