Functional Fabrics

 

Style icon JFK beats an East Coast summer in a tailored shirt.

Style icon JFK beats an East Coast summer in a tailored shirt.

With the clouds finally clearing in New York, our team has been looking ahead towards summer shirts for sunny weather. This week we’ll show you how to beat the heat and stay stylish, with the right shirt to take you from office tabletop to hotel rooftop, all without breaking a sweat. Some hot days can make it seem like a t-shirt is the only option for making it out the door, but our next few entries will show how, this summer, a made-to-measure shirt can keep you feeling as cool as you’ll look.


The Real Scoop On Synthetics

There’s a lot more to surviving summer with style than avoiding prints of palm trees, but it does start with choosing the right fabric. When looking for summer ready clothing, we often come across pitches for moisture wicking synthetics of the kind used in hi-tech gymwear, but we tend to steer clear of those. Besides leaving something to be desired aesthetically, they tend to get clingy when not cut skintight, resulting in an itchy, uncomfortable shirt as the day wears on. Synthetic-cotton blends aren’t much better either, having the nasty habit of trapping odors on their surface. Over here, we are firm believers that high quality cotton will have you feeling fresher than anything else when the time comes. Instead of looking to novelty fabrics for the answers to your sun scorched woes, one should pay mind to a cotton’s weight and weave.

A Weave For Every Season

oxford fabric for custom shirts

Cotton has been made into clothing for several thousand years now, and as such there have been more than a few innovations in how it is woven. However, all weaves were not created equal, and some are more suited to certain climates than others. Even among the most common, “everyday” shirt weaves, there can be a surprising difference in how they fare come winter or summer. Twills and oxfords owe their characteristic texture to a dense weave that is typically woven too tightly to allow air to pass through. This helps to keep wind chill out during cooler months, but it will leave you feeling more claustrophobic than free on any getaways you plan this time of year.

Most weaves are offered in single and double ply variants, with 2-ply fabrics generally being touted over their 1-ply brethren for having a smoother, more durable finish that is the result of making each thread out of two yarns instead of one. However, there are quality single plys from reputed mills that can rival many double plys, and breathe superbly thanks to their lighter construction.

The Weight of the Matter

Knowing how a fabric was woven tells a good bit about how it will breathe, but it doesn’t give us the full picture. Most people will agree that there is a difference between wearing a denim jacket and a dress shirt, despite both being made from heavy twills, on a day where the thermometer pushes 90 degrees. To determine whether a weave is really season appropriate, its also necessary to know its weight. Most all-season shirt fabrics have a weight around 120g/m², with anything below 110g/m² being a good summer alternative.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find the weight of the fabrics used in most shirting listed anywhere, though, leaving you to play a guessing game involving many trips to the fitting room in order to figure out how any particular one will feel. A good made-to-measure outfitter should allow you to compare the weight and weave of their entire range, and be able to find something perfectly suited to your needs.

custom shirt fabrics

What It Means For You

We recommend a poplin as the best compromise between classic style to take you anywhere, and all-day comfort to get you there. The evenly spaced weave of poplin encourages airflow, and it comes in a range of weights that will keep you breathing easy. We had one of our style advisors, Julie, choose some of her favorite lightweight poplins that are ready to be designed in time for your next barbecue. Stay tuned for next week’s post, where Julie will show us a shirt designed using one of these fabrics, and give us more tips on how to keep your style working even when you’re not!

Julie’s Picks:

 Blue Stripe Poplin / 110gr. / 1-ply (Click to Begin Designing)

Blue Stripe Dress Shirt

Pink Micro-Gingham Poplin / 110gr. / 2-ply (Click to Begin Designing)
Pink Poplin Gingham Custom Dress Shirt

Purple Checkered Poplin / 106gr. / 2-ply (Click to Begin Designing)
Lightweight Purple Checkered Dress Shirt

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