Collars and cuffs are obviously key components of your custom shirt, but it would be unwise to discount the importance of the fabric itself while making your selection. Most men have a basic idea as to what they’re looking for -plain whites and blue, pink oxford cloth, lavender gingham, crazy multi-colored stripes- but understandably have questions about long-term wear, wrinkling, etc. Knowledge is power, so we’ve decided to arm you with the know-how to select your custom shirt fabrics with confidence (with guidance from our image consultants if you need it, of course).
You can’t have a discussion about cotton without talking about thread count. Wikipedia’s page on thread count offers a very in-depth explanation (and some information on other textile-related terms), but what you need to know is that thread count for shirts is the same as it is for sheets: a scale of fineness measured in threads per square inch. As thread counts get higher, cotton becomes finer, smoother, more wrinkle-resistant, and -you guessed it- more expensive. At Henry A. Davidsen, we start our shirtings at 50’s and go up to 200’s, covering everything in between.
CUSTOM SHIRT FABRICS AND WEAVES
In addition to thread count, there are many fabrics and weaves commonly used in shirts. A comprehensive list is beyond the scope of this article, but here are a few basics you should be familiar with:
- Oxford cloth: A relatively thick basketweave that’s primarily used in more casual, button-down collar shirts. It’s cousins are the pinpoint oxford and the royal oxford, each of which are progressively lighter in weight and finer than the traditional oxford.
- End-on-end: A weave of alternating white and colored yarns that create a heathered look. Looks similar to chambray, which uses only white cotton in the warp (vertical) threads and colored cotton in the weft (horizontal) ones.
- Broadcloth: A dressy, closely woven fabric with twice as many threads in the warp as the weft.
- Sea Island Cotton: The finest long-staple cotton on the market, this is grown on the islands off the Georgia coast, in South Carolina, and in the West Indies. It’s only used in the highest thread count shirts and is not cheap.
We’re getting new fabrics with regularity, so come by and see us soon.