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The Best Shirt Fabrics – Which Are Which & Why?

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Next to sizing, fabric is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a shirt. But why? As long as it fits and looks good, isn’t that enough? 











Not quite. Not only does the fabric of your shirt impact how it looks and feels, it can determine how long it lasts, how easy it is to clean and where it’s appropriate to wear. If you’re serious about being a well-dressed man, it’s vital that you take great care when choosing your shirt fabrics. Fortunately, there are a few clear stand-out fabrics that belong in every wardrobe. Read on and know that you’re making the right choice next time you choose a shirt. 


The most common clothing material in the world, cotton probably already makes up a good portion of your wardrobe – and with good reason. Breathable, easy to shape and dye and simple to clean, it’s a versatile and comfortable choice for shirts of every cut and design. 

While thought of as a single fabric, the fibres of the cotton plant can be made into an enormous range of fabrics. From broadcloth and chambray to sateen and velour, what’s known commonly as cotton could be any of dozens of different fabrics, each with their own properties, constructions and looks. Some of these fabrics – such as oxford – are more suited to casual wear, while twill will look more at home beneath a fine suit or jacket. 

Regardless, good quality cotton is an exceptional choice for both everyday and formal shirts. Additionally, the durability of the fibres ensures that your investment will continue to look beautiful for many years to come with proper care. 


Another natural fibre, linen is an excellent fabric that belongs in every man’s wardrobe. Linen’s greatest – and best known – strength is its breathability. Nothing is more summery than a fine linen shirt, and with good reason – the unique hollow structure of the flax fibre from which linen fabric is made from allow air to circulate freely through the cloth, ensuring you get the full benefit of every breeze. 

While thought of as the choice of fabric for hot weather, smart casual looks and vacation adventures, linen is so much more versatile than that, looking just as beautiful underneath a well-tailored suit as above a pair of chino shorts. Its tendency to wrinkle means that it does take some careful styling, but with a slim fitment and the right choice of suit material, linen shirts can really elevate a suit. 

What to avoid

Whether you’re concerned about skin irritation or keeping cool during the hot weather, avoiding synthetic shirts should be your number one goal. Shirts made from materials like polyester, acrylic, rayon or nylon can let you down in a number of ways. First and foremost, they’re not breathable fabrics. Not only can this make you extremely uncomfortable on a hot day, this means they also tend to trap odours – exactly not what the well-dressed man wants. Additionally, these fabrics are frequently the cause of itchy or irritated skin, which can in turn be exacerbated by the non-breathable nature of these shirts.  

Choosing natural fibres for your shirts not only guarantees a more comfortable fit, but a better looking one. Synthetic shirts are a recent invention – only becoming commercially available at the end of the 19th century. If you’re truly looking to exude a timeless elegance, choose a fabric that’s been in use by tailors for centuries. Cotton, linen and other similar fabrics are mainstays of the fashion world because they feel wonderful, hang beautifully and look exceptional – always have, always will. 

Browse the range of shirts at DÉCLIC and discover your new favourite shirt today. 

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