100% cotton formal shirts should be a preference. However, checking the label on most standard dress shirts you’ll find that many of them are not 100% cotton. Much of the time that blend can vary, but a popular manufacturing combination is 50-60% cotton. Normally cotton, a natural fabric, paired with a synthetic one like polyester.
Here, we’ll detail the differences, benefits and drawbacks of wearing 100% cotton shirts, and cotton x polyester blends.
Why Are Cotton & Polyester So Popular?
There are a few reasons why the cotton x polyester blend is so popular, particularly on the high street. The addition of polyester can strengthen the fabric in the short term. It is claimed to be more wrinkle proof, but the bottom line is this: it’s cheaper to produce.
The drawbacks of this method of shirt making are that it detracts from the comfort and aggravates the skin more easily. Think of that itching feeling you can sometimes get when wearing the shirt that has a full or higher percentage of polyester as opposed to cotton. It also doesn’t perform very well under heat, and while it’s just fine for a utilitarian, mid-quality shirt, it’s not going to cut the mustard as a formal or dress shirt. The polyester can give the shirt an unnatural sheen and stiffness, and ultimately, look cheaper.
The verdict? It’s good, but it’s not great.
Are 100% Cotton Shirts Better?
In a word, yes.
First and foremost, cotton is a very soft fabric which gives it a much more luxurious look and comfortable feel than a cotton x polyester blend. It’s light, yet carries enough weight to drape nicely over the wearer, complimenting their form.
Despite its softness, it’s also resilient, especially when wet. It can therefore withstand hot wash after hot wash without losing its best qualities.
Indeed, after washing, cotton’s well-ventilated fibres allow it to air-dry quickly. Cotton, relative to other fabrics, can also be tailored to iron extremely quickly and easily when produced in the right way. We’ve written in detail about this here.
Breathability of 100% Cotton Formal Shirts
Secondly, cotton is both cooling and warming. It’s superior breathability allows it to keep you cool, dry, and fresh throughout the day. Those super breathable fibres create a small layer of air between your skin and the shirt, which invites insulation on colder days, and ventilation on hot days. If the shirt has polyester blended into the fabric however, it’ll slowly but surely begin to cling to the skin as the day wears on, causing you discomfort.
Finally, 100% cotton is hypoallergenic, which means it’s unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. If your skin is prone to irritation and abrasion, 100% cotton is undoubtedly the way to go. That softness and breathability we mentioned guarantees that your skin, no matter how sensitive, is extremely unlikely to be aggravated.
On that note, even if you’re someone who perspires a lot, cotton is able to easily absorb a great deal of moisture from the skin while remaining crisp and dry itself. As a result, your skin will stay dryer, cooler and much less susceptible to aggravation.
At Nickson, all of our shirts are made from 100% cotton. No shortcuts, and no compromise on quality. We hope you now know more about the benefits of going with cotton over a blended fabric. Check out our related articles and guides below, and stop by the Nickson Online Store when you’re ready to purchase your next shirt.
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