Different Shirts: fits, cuts & fabrics

Written by Eleanor | 16/08/2016

Shirts are seen at first as very simple items of clothing. A shirt can be worn to dress up a pair of jeans for a smarter look, or naturally to complete a suit. They are an ideal wardrobe staple for any occasion. However, shirts can actually be very complicated. There are countless different fabrics, different cuts and fits, and then different styles and colours of shirts.

Therefore, to make things a bit simpler for everyone, Mainline Menswear has put together this handy guide. Telling you all about the most common shirt fabrics, and how to find a shirt that fits properly. Then it’s just up to you to find a colour you like and complete the rest of your outfit.


There are lots of shirt fabrics, however some are naturally more common than others. The five most worn fabrics for shirts are: twill, pinpoint oxford, poplin/broadcloth, herringbone and seersucker.

Twill is recognisable due to its diagonal weave or texture. Twill shirts will have a bit of shine, the degree of which depending on the weave, colour of the shirt and type of cotton used. Shirts made with twill will often have a very high thread count, due to the extremely tight weave. They are a soft shirt, which will drape easily, making them easy to iron and fairly wrinkle resistant.

Pinpoint Oxford shirts are made with a fine yarn and a tight weave. They are generally less formal shirts, ideal for wearing to work any day of the week. The fabric is durable, which means it is slightly heavy – however definitely a staple shirt for everyday wear.

Poplin/Broadcloth shirts are made with tightly woven fabric, with a simple over-under weave. They have a professional style due to very little texture visible in the fabric, making them thinner and lighter than most shirts. The only downside to these shirts is that they can be prone to wrinkling, and white shirts may be slightly transparent.

Herringbone shirts get their name because the look resembles the bones of a herring fish. They are very popular shirts, which can be worn for formal or casual occasions. Herringbone is essentially twill that is mirrored when woven to create a chevron, ‘v-shaped’ pattern.

Seersucker shirts are your general, every day, warm weather shirt. Perfect for casual occasions with a distinctive, puckered appearance – seersucker fabric is lightweight, but durable. The ideal shirt for a trip to the beach or a summer barbeque.

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Fits of shirts are generally very self-explanatory. Shirt fits range from slim, regular, or athletic, to fitted or individually tailored. You can find out how to measure your shirt to get the correct fit for you by reading this earlier blog post: how to measure menswear.

There are also different styles of shirts; like button up and button down shirts. However, choosing between these two isn’t as important as making sure your shirt fits correctly.

Quite often you will find that if a shirt fits around the collar, the sleeves are too long. Or if the sleeves are the perfect length, the shirt billows around the stomach. Unfortunately, the only way to truly ensure your shirt fits perfectly is to have it tailor made.

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Mainline Menswear stocks an extensive collection of shirts, ranging from casual wear, to formal dress shirts. You can find a shirt with us that’s suitable for whatever your occasion is; with various fabrics also available. Visit our website here to browse our large range of stock.

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