Which are the best business shirt fabrics for summer?
The importance of dressing appropriately for work is drummed into us from a particularly early age here in Britain. Our school uniforms represent a classic example of these values – a tradition which isn’t shared by every country!
As adults we gain a little more freedom for our workplace style, especially in summer. However, as we’re always saying at Acorn, it’s still important to dress properly for the occasion. If you’re looking at cotton shirting fabrics for a business environment, in this week’s blog we’ve provided you with a few handy jumping-off points for your business summer style.
The weight and weave structure of the fabric
Traditionally, poplins like those in our summer weights selection have always been the best choice for workplaces. They’re crisp, smart, and look smooth without being too shiny. They’re also reasonably hard-wearing – an essential quality for any business shirt! Recently though, plain fabrics like Zephyr have also seen an uptick in popularity, thanks to their aspects of being lightweight and breathable, but again with a respectable amount of durability too. Both these types of fabrics are noted for being exceptionally light and breathable – always a bonus on hot summer afternoons!
In terms of yarn counts, most people tend to opt with shirts of around 2/100 for the workplace, such as our Zephyr ZT Blue Striped Fabric. These fabrics tend to be ideal for the workplace, as they wrinkle less and last for much longer. If you’re looking for something a little silkier on the skin, you might want to try a fabric around 2/120. However, there’s definitely a balance to be struck here. You won’t want a fabric that sacrifices too much durability for a silky feel. Everyday wear and tear will quickly start to take its toll, and you’ll probably notice that your shirt tends to crease a lot faster.
Obviously, twill fabrics will wrinkle less than poplin, but since they tend to be on the heavier side, they’re not often a first choice for summer work-wear. Over in the US, Oxfords are another viable alternative choice. However, they’re often seen as less professional on this side of the pond, so that’s worth being aware of. If you’re particularly keen on Oxfords though, an Oxford pinpoint fabric is generally your best bet.
The best colours and patterns for the workplace
You probably don’t need us to tell you that muted tones of white, blue and pink typically go down best in most workplaces. Again, you might be interested to know that some of the reasons for this are cultural once again. The French, for example, tend towards solid white, as do most Americans, but UK businessmen are seen as amongst the most adventurous with colours and patterns. Our penchant for bold shirts in particular stems from the tradition of only being able to wear a club or regimental tie, which naturally lead us to be a bit more experimental with the colours and patterns of the fabric.
Now, it’s true that plain white and plain blue (such as our Lagoon Plain Linen Fabric) are always going to be more popular for businesses, but that’s not to say you can’t do some experimenting of your own. Exactly how much will probably depend on your workplace’s attitude to sartorial matters. To start with though, you could try and put a more vibrant spin on traditional blue with something like our Mint Plain Linen Fabric.
As for patterns, plains and hairline stripes are the safest options. You might be able to try out some checked fabrics for your summer workwear, but be aware that these are often seen as far more casual than stripes, so they may not be suitable. In accordance with British tradition, you could even keep your shirt colour a modest, solid shade, and instead choose to experiment a bit with differently coloured club ties, or even pocket squares. Again, it all depends on your workplace culture!
However you decide to express yourself at work, you’ll find plenty of options here in our range at Acorn Fabrics. Our summer weights range is particularly popular at this time of year, and of course it’s worth taking a quick look at what we’ve got for wearing in the office! If you have any questions or you’d like to make an order, don’t hesitate to get in touch by giving us a call on 01282 698662.