Double TWO Shirts
How to Spot the Differences in Shirt Fabrics

How to Spot the Differences in Shirt Fabrics

Men’s shirts can be made from many different weaves of material these days. The different styles can be a little confusing. Subtle differences in the way the fabric is weaved can achieve a world of difference in appearance and properties!

This guide aims to give you the knowledge to confidently know your poplin shirts from your oxford shirts!


Poplin is a strong, tightly woven fabric. The threads are very closely woven in a simple criss-cross pattern. The resulting fabric gives a smooth texture with very little sheen. The poplin shirt is a very popular choice as an everyday business shirt as it’s generally a much more lightweight, thinner fabric that is very breathable, so can be worn comfortably under a suit or on a warm day. Despite been fine and light, poplin is a very durable fabric that looks wonderfully sharp and crisp and retains its smoothness.



Herringbone is a diagonal weave that creates a chevron type ‘v’ shaped pattern. The name herringbone actually comes from the resemblance to a fish skeleton! The herringbone shirt is more water resistant than plain weaves, so herringbone shirts dry quickly and are easy to iron. Herringbone fabric has a textured feel with a slight sheen to it.



The dobby weave is considered quite fancy as it generally has unique geometric patterns in the fabric. It is crafted in a special loom that raises and lowers the threads individually allowing the weaver to create distinctive patterns. These patterns are usually faint stripes or dotted patterns woven in in the same colour as the base cloth. The difference in effects that can be created in the weave mean the thickness can vary. Dobby shirts are admired for their textured appearance and distinctive patterning.



The Oxford weave is a type of basket weave, in the same style you might you see used on a hamper or luxury basket. In an Oxford Shirt the threads running in one direction are often coloured, while the threads running in the other direction are white. This results in a two-tone textured appearance. The oxford weave was originally developed for sportswear, so it is often viewed as a more casual, less dressy fabric. Oxford Shirts tend to more popular in casual shirts and most often feature a button-down collar. Despite this, Oxford Shirts can certainly be worn in the office with the addition of a tie an optional extra for a business casual look.



Twill fabrics are easily recognizable because they show a diagonal weave or texture. Twill shirts almost always have a bit of shine, though it can vary depending on the weave, colour and cotton used. Twill is an extremely tight weave that uses a high volume of thread. Our very own Micro-twill that appears in our Paradigm Shirts, combines the closest weave of premium, fine 100% cotton thread with the ultimate silky smooth finish.

The fabric itself is more durable than poplin and gives a more elegant look due to its silky texture and lustrous sheen. Twill drapes, or hangs much more softly compared with poplin which has a sharp, crisp look.

Being so soft and tightly woven, twill shirts are much more resistant to wrinkling and are very quick drying. This is especially true of our Paradigm micro-twill shirts which have superb non-iron properties and stay crease resistant all day long.


We’ve been crafting shirts for almost 78 years. We could talk about the different weaves, patterns and textures all day long. But this guide is not meant to bore you rigid – but to make your shirt-buying experience easier!

We hope the information proves useful. And if you’d like to know more, we hope you’ll let us know. Just give us a call or leave a comment and we’ll do all we can to help.

by Richard Hopwood
Double TWO