The Measure

Exploring what it means to be a better man.

What is Twill?

An Introduction to Your Favorite Fabric

Twill Defined

Twilled fabrics are those made with a specific weave during their construction that results in a characteristic “diagonal ribbing” in the material. This twill ribbing is extremely sturdy, heavier than many other fabrics, and oftentimes somewhat water-resistant.

In American men’s fashion, cotton twill fabrics are worn almost daily. Jeans denim, chinos, tweed jackets, and more are constructed with a standard twill weave. To identify the ‘twillness’ in your denim, look at the visible diagonal ribs making up the fabric. This ribbing is what gives jeans and other twills their legendary strength and lasting durability.

Twills are generally created using cottons (for denim and shirts) or wool (jackets and tweeds). While Tweeds do have a characteristic diagonal ribbing, there is actually nothing physically ‘diagonal’ about the weave itself.

The diagonal appearance of twill ribbing is achieved by using a “step” in the weaving process that has a thread crossing over one or more threads and then going under two or more threads before repeating this pattern. The next thread to be woven follows the same pattern but “steps” up one thread in it’s weave, starting its over-under pattern a thread before its predecessor and creating a staircase effect in the weave. When viewed as a complete fabric this creates the diagonal ribbing effect that is iconic for twill.

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How to Wear Twill Shirts

While denim is usually the first thing to come to mind when thinking about twill, the fabric is also common in men’s dress shirts and other high-end garments. Twills are highly durable, drape well on the body, and are inherently wrinkle-resistant.

These qualities make twill dress shirts perfect as a work-to-weekend part of a man’s wardrobe. A good twill shirt will look as perfect with an Italian suit as it will with nice denim and will stand up to frequent wear as well.

The Right Look 1: Twill and a Suit

White twill with navy suit-02

Twill shirts are staples in dress-wear and are regularly seen in shirting all the way up to the tux. With visible quality and a naturally polished, no-wrinkle look, they work well in a suit.

The Right Look 2: Twill on a Date

Twill shirt date look-03

If you’re going for the well-kempt look when out on the town, a twill shirt can also look great with nice denim and your favorite sports coat.


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