Dress Shirt Fabric 101: What’s the Difference Between Pinpoint, Poplin, Twill, and the Rest?

When I was a young man, I worked my fair share of restaurant server jobs, in which I was required to wear a 100% cotton, white Oxford cloth, dry-cleaned only, and heavily starched. As anyone who’s actually carried very many plates covered in leftover sauce wearing a white shirt on a double shift, you needed to own at least four to five of these guys for use in an average week.

Needless to say, none of my shirts ever got dry cleaned or starched (save for that spray can of Niagara), and after realized what happened to real Oxford cloth after wearing for fifteen minutes, none of them were a 100% cotton, either.   But, the experience, on the whole, was character building, for sure, and it served as my intro to buying dress shirts, rather than just finding and ironing the ones my mom bought for me in junior high. 

And while I can read a tag pretty well, and know the difference between a cotton and synthetic blend, I still don’t actually know what Oxford cloth really means. Or for that matter, poplin, broadcloth, twill, or pinpoint.

created at: 07/28/2014

Enter this shirt fabric primer from Dappered. They share the proper vocabulary, along with some distinguishing features and some helpful close-up photos of fabric textures, and – most hopefully – some practical use scenarios for each type. 

Check it out here: A Primer On Shirt Fabrics – Poplin vs. Pinpoint vs. Twill & more