When it comes to selecting the material of your long tail dress shirt, there are plenty of choices available and each has its pros and cons. Understanding how the materials work can help you select the perfect dress shirt to complement your outfit and finish your look.
Dress Shirts Materials
The most traditional materials for dress shirts are either cotton or linen. Wool and silk were used in past times but are less popular now due to the difficulty in cleaning them. Modern man-made or synthetic fibres have also become popular because they are lower in cost than cotton ones. Blended materials such as polyester/cotton can also offer the best benefits of both for a cost effective, good quality dress shirt.
Silk is the luxury option for a shirt but not generally considered suitable for every day wear. It has a distinctive sheen to it that many consider a little dressy for daily wear and also takes more specialist cleaning than other materials.
Man-made fibres such as polyester win in the budget stakes as being the most economic shirts to buy and also can be both stain and wrinkle-resistant. Most professional men recommend wearing a shirt that is no more than half synthetic fibres to keep the feel and look of cotton while reducing the price somewhat.
Linen has lost out in popularity stakes in recent years but was once a common choice. Nowadays it tends to be worn in hotter climates where it keeps the wearer cooler. Linen is notorious for wrinkling and creasing, hence its decline in popularity, though blended materials are less troublesome.
Cotton Dress Shirts
Cotton is still the most popular material for long tail dress shirts and has been for generations. Cotton is known to be great for conducting heat and moisture as well as being very long lasting and also easy to iron. Maintaining a cotton shirt is relatively simple and if done properly, they can last for a number of years. Cotton also comes in a range of different weaves and finishes.
One of the most common weaves used in dress shirts is called poplin and is a plain weave that is given extra strength by crosswise ribs. It is known for its resistance to wrinkling and that the shirts made from this weave are particularly easy to iron.
End-on-end is another type of weave used in shirt that uses an alternating pattern and light and dark threads to achieve what is called a heathered effect. It is often used when white and another colour are used together to give a subtle shaded effect as a variation to plain coloured shirts.
Other weaves including textured ones such as herringbone and twill are favoured at different times of the year due to their difference in thickness. Herringbone, for example, is often worn in the warmer months while pinpoint weave is worn when the weather is cooler as it is a denser weave.
Regardless of what material is used in the dress shirt, it can be white, coloured or patterned, depending on taste. White is still the most popular colour for long tail dress shirts while some patterns are favoured by the more daring and can complement the body shape of the taller or larger sized gentleman. Likewise, some colours work well with different complexions. Always work on the combination of your shirt and the rest of your outfit to achieve harmony and a complete look.