The Measure

Exploring what it means to be a better man.

What is Cotton Poplin?

Cotton Poplin Defined

When poplin cloth was first introduced, it was a fabric that crossed silk vertical (“warp”) yarns with wool horizontal (“weft”) yarns in a tight weave. In modern times, however, the materials used in the weave are not as important to poplin’s definition as the weave itself and most poplin shirts are made with cotton.

Poplin fabric is crafted with the same plain-weave found in the lighter “end-to-end” fabrics like chambray except poplin is much more dense in threads per inch. A plain-weave is a simple basket weave where threads cross over and under each other one after the other. The difference in poplin and end-to-end fabrics occurs after the initial weaving, when the threads are pushed together to be very compact, creating a denser fabric.

Poplin is also near-synonymous with broadcloth. The difference in broadcloth and poplin is that while Broadcloth uses all yarns of the same size, poplin cloths may use a different yarn size in the weft and warp.

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Typical Poplin Fabric Characteristics

Poplin is a beautiful dress-shirt material and may be the most polished looking fabric for your formal attire when properly ironed and pressed. Due to its less-complex weave compared to Oxfords or Twills however, it is slightly more apt to wrinkle than these fabrics. That’s the tradeoff for its smooth, silky texture.

Poplins may also have a subtle ribbed feel along the warp depending on the yarn sizes used in their knitting.

How to Wear Poplin

Poplin has a lot of potential uses. While the fabric looks fantastic ironed and pressed, it’s also used in sports wear, relaxed button downs, and even pajamas. The great thing about Poplin is that it’s highly durable but very smooth in texture – making it unique amongst other sturdy weaves. This makes Poplin a favorite of ours for both formal attire and polished business casual.

The Right Look 1: The Correspondents’ Dinner

White Poplin dark grey suit

For those special nights where you need a super spotless and unquestionable style, the white Poplin button down is a sure shot. Just don’t forget to wear an undershirt – otherwise your tattoo may show through.

The Right Look 2: The Intellectual

Plaid poplin under vneck-02

Rock a tight plaid poplin with a complimentary v-neck sweater and tuck it into your favorite khakis – pleated or chino. We like this style for its classic look with undeniable personality.


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