Picking a dress shirt is first about size and fit. These elements need to work right or the shirt won’t do its job. It will look wrong and you won’t feel comfortable in it. But one of the forgotten elements of a dress shirt is the material. They are all cotton, right? The answer is often, yes, they are most always cotton. But there is a lot more to cotton than just one single material. In the many categories of cotton are weaves but also a definition that speaks about the quality of the materials. One of the definitions used in this is 2-Ply so what is it?
Generally, dress shirts come in either 100% pure cotton material or a blend. Common materials for blends include natural materials like linen or wool. They can also include manmade materials such as polyester or nylon. Some types of cotton are considered ‘better’ than others. If you are talking towels and bedding, Egyptian cotton is a high standard. Sea Island and Pima cottons are others known for their longer length yarn. But whatever the type of cotton, there are definitions used to describe how it is put together. If you take a single length of cotton and spin it into a yarn, it can be woven straight into material. The cloth that would result is known as a single ply material. It is okay and will make a piece of clothing but isn’t the best quality. However if two yarns and spun at the same time, this increases the quality of the fabric. This fabric is 2-ply.
A cotton dress shirt is made from one of a number of weaves. Some of the best known as Oxford, poplin, twill and herringbone. These are made by weaving the threads in two directions. These are top to bottom and left to right and are also known as warp and weft. If you use two threads per warp and weft, you will be making a 2-Ply cotton. The other number you will see used alongside the 2-Ply is often referred to as a fabric yarn count. This number indicates the fineness of a yarn. For example, a 100m yarn of a supper 100’s cloth weight is 1 gram. Therefore, the higher the number, the thinner and finer the yarn produced.
Dres Shirt Quality
The combination of ply and fabric yarn count also tells a lot about a shirt. A shirt that is 2-ply and has a 100 fabric count will be strong, durable and wash well. This and higher numbers will make ideal dress shirts. They will wear well, look professional and stylish and are easily dyed. A combination of 2-ply and a lower number results in a hardier shirt. This is your casual shirt that looks smart but isn’t as silky. They are still durable and long lasting. They also dye well and take patterns. Some shirts come in a ‘no iron’ option but be careful of these as sometimes they add a chemical to the cotton to achieve this. Besides, isn’t it worth a little ironing to get that perfect dress shirt?