A Men’s Shirt Fabric Primer

We’re slightly obsessive about our shirts — after all, we’ve had more than 200 years to think about what goes into making the perfect shirt. In many ways, we consider it our calling to innovate the beloved button-down. Why do we take it so seriously, you ask? Simply said, they are one of the most essential elements of a man’s wardrobe.

But we know that your perfect shirt is different from that of the guy at the next desk. With that in mind, we’ve put together a primer on the fabrics and fibers we love best to make it easy for you to find your ideal shirt for workdays, weekends and special occasions.

Poplin / Broadcloth

This tightly woven, plain-weave fabric is smooth and virtually without texture—perfect for dress shirts. It’s the classic choice for a sleek, crisp look.


A true classic of American style, this sturdy (yet soft) fabric features a basketweave and is exceptionally versatile for casual and dress occasions. We love it for dress shirts and sport shirts alike.

Lighter and finer than oxford, but with a similar basket weave, it has a crisp feel that lends it to dress shirts. Pinpoint is a great choice if you love the polished appeal of poplin but prefer just a touch of texture.

Royal Oxford
A dressier fabric with a visible texture to the weave and a distinctive luster that makes it ideal for formal occasions, royal oxford pairs perfectly with a tuxedo and takes a sharp suit to the next level.

The name of this weave comes from its alternating V-shaped pattern that resembles the backbone of a fish. It’s typically used in dressier shirts due to the texture and depth of the pattern.


A summertime staple, linen is a natural fiber derived from the flax plant, used to create lightweight, loosely woven fabric that is exceptionally breathable in the heat. Its relaxed look and feel make it perfect for casual settings. It is sometimes blended with cotton for a breezy feel with a more wrinkle-resistant look.

Supima Cotton
A Brooks Brothers favorite, Supima® cotton is grown in the USA. Its extra-long staple fiber length means Supima is softer, stronger and brighter, making it perfect for everything from dress shirts to polos.

Sea Island Cotton
An ultra-rare, ultra-fine type of long-staple cotton. We use this luxury fiber exclusively in our Golden Fleece® Collection to create an elegant dress shirt that is lightweight, lustrous and exceptionally soft with a gentle drape.

BrooksTech™ Wool
Woven exclusively for Brooks Brothers by Italy’s famed Reda Mills, this innovative pure wool fabric is machine washable, highly breathable and quick-drying. Used exclusively in our Golden Fleece Collection, it retains the antimicrobial properties inherent in this natural fiber, as well as its mechanical stretch.