Shirt Fabrics: The Right Stuff

When choosing a shirt there are many things to consider; raw materials (whether it’s made from 100% Egyptian or Sea Island Cotton), the fit, construction, colour and pattern, collar and cuff. But just as important a detail is the type of shirt fabric and the weave. Royal Oxford, Royal Twill, Poplin, Zephir; all these names of classic shirt fabrics refer to different weave effects, some of which are obvious and some more subtle. But what do all these shirt fabric names actually mean? At Philippe Perzi Vienna, we select a variety of different shirt fabrics with different weaves and properties to create what we think, is the ultimate balance of style, comfort and practicality. We thought we’d give you a little bit more information on what all the names of these shirt fabrics actually mean.

Poplin: Shirt fabrics for everyday wear

Shirt fabrics

Poplin is one of the most popular shirt fabrics. It is a plain, tightly woven shirt fabric in very high thread counts (100-200 threads per inch), which produces a thin but relatively opaque fabric with a crisp finish. Another characteristic of this shirt fabric is its slightly pronounced ribs running across it. This effect is created on the shirt fabric by using warp yarns (threads running lengthwise) in a higher proportion to the weft (threads running crosswise that ‘fill’ the design). The ribbing is scarcely noticeable, but makes any stripes very clear and appear solid in colour, it also adds a subtle shine to the fabric. Additionally, this shirt fabric is mercerised (a finishing process that swells the fibres) to give the shirt fabric a higher luster and more durability. This results in a very smooth and durable fabric that also has a silky handle. As an added bonus, especially for those looking for the perfect work or business shirt, poplin shirt fabric is easy to iron and looks extremely crisp. Check out just some of our shirts from the collection made from poplin: But Mostly Me, Gluhwein, Der Chef, Ganz Locker, Herr Kommissar, The Road to Oia and many more!

Zephir: Shirt fabrics ideal for summer

Shirt fabrics

The lightweight nature of Zephir shirt fabric makes it the go-to shirt for the summer months when you want to remain cool and classy.

The Albini Group, where Philippe Perzi Vienna sources our shirt fabrics, can lay claim to coining the term “Zephir” – which was inspired by the same name for a ‘gentle wind.’ David and John Anderson (now owned by the Albini Group) were looking for a term to describe a much finer quality of fabric than what was typically available in the 19th Century; Zephir has now become an internationally recognised description of a lightweight gingham fabric whose number of warp ends are similar to the weft picks, which gives a very even check appearance and precise definition to tiny coloured checks. Especially in the warmer months, our shirts made from Zephir are very popular. Check out some from the collection: A Schilling For Your Thoughts, Harvey Specter, Steel And Stripes, Viola On My Mind, Alpen Blau and many more…

Royal Twill: Shirt fabrics designed to drape

Shirt fabrics

Characterised by a diagonal weave, Royal Twill shirt fabrics have a weft thread that runs over and under multiple warp threads, creating patterns like herringbone, houndstooth or even a diagonal rib. At Philippe Perzi Vienna, we love using Royal Twill shirt fabrics because the ribbed effect gives even solid coloured shirts an interesting accent and subtle luminosity. Additionally, Royal Twill shirt fabric is softer to the touch than poplins and yet, just as durable. The draping effect that comes from using Royal Twill shirt fabric makes it the ideal shirt for more formal or professional settings and certainly will set you apart from any other executive in the office. Some of Philippe Perzi Vienna’s shirts in Royal Twill are Sky Blue Tango, Midnight Tango, Santorini Tango, Catalina Tango, Fira, Victor’s Geheimnis and many more!

Herringbone: elegant and intricate shirt fabrics

Shirt fabrics

Herringbone shirt fabric is a close relative of twill. In both twill and Herringbone shirt fabrics, an equal number of threads slant right and left to form a diagonal, zig-zag structure, similar to a fish skeleton. In order to achieve a typical herringbone effect on shirt fabric, the direction of the diagonals is changed at intervals of half a centimetre, which creates the distinctive zig-zag pattern. The intricate detailing on this shirt fabric is best used on solid coloured shirts, like Nel Blu, where the weave alone creates sufficient individual flair. Philippe Perzi Vienna uses Herringbone shirt fabric in very high thread counts; meaning your shirt will drape beautifully.

Royal Oxford: Shirt fabrics with impeccable pedigree

Shirt fabrics

Oxford shirt fabric owes its name to the English collegiate City of Oxford where it was often worn by students for less formal pursuits and is generally considered to be a bit sportier and less formal. Royal Oxford shirt fabric utilises very fine yarns, giving the shirt fabric a silkier and softer feel than a standard Oxford shirt fabric. Royal Oxford, similar to the standard Oxford shirt fabric is usually a two-colour weave, using a white warp with a coloured weft but it can also be all white. This gives the shirt fabric its checkerboard appearance. Royal Oxford shirt fabric can be described as a basket weave, that is, the warp and weft threads cross each other in pairs, which produces the shirt fabric’s characteristic soft bulkiness. Philippe Perzi Vienna shirts made from Royal Oxford shirt fabric can be worn casually or more formally because of the very high thread count. Check out some from the collection: Rock Me Amadeus, Sommerfrische, Wild Blue Yonder.

At Philippe Perzi Vienna, we’ve blown our trumpet often enough when it comes to using the very best Egyptian Cotton (check out our blog) and only selecting the finest seasonal fabrics from the best Italian fabric mill to make our shirts. If you’ve never handled fine shirt fabric, you may not realise how extraordinary cotton fabric can be. Similarly, if you’ve never experienced the feeling of wearing the finest shirt fabric against your skin, you are missing out. Try one of our shirts today and you’re likely not to go back to wearing anything else again. Shop now!