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What is A Poplin Shirt?

The “poplin” in “poplin shirt” refers to the fabric that it’s made of, and it is one of the most popular fabric choices for shirts. There are many reasons for it. It has a trademark crispiness and luster, yet remains highly durable, enabling it to exceed many of its peers in terms of simultaneous elegance and day-to-day wearability. Whether you’re looking for the perfect-fitting sartorial gesture at the office or a wedding, or something that will easily give in to the wavy winds of the beach, the fabric has got you covered.

The Poplin Shirt sleeve detail

The Poplin Fabric

Among all the popular formal shirting weaves available, poplin is the lightest one, even though it has a dense weave structure. To create the poplin weave, two fine threads are woven, evenly crossing over and under each other, creating a checkerboard-like appearance. Such a fabric structure is also called plain weave. The Poplin fabric is not cotton-exclusive, it can be created using a wide variety of fibers, including: Wool, Cotton, Silk, Rayon and Polyester. The poplin fabric is particularly renowned for its softness, durability and breathability. The high thread count gives it a signature crispness to the touch and subtle luster to the eye that remains hard to rival. Moreover, it absorbs moisture well, dries quickly and is easy to wash and take care of.

The Poplin Shirt collar detail

A BRIEF HISTORY OF

The term “poplin” comes from the french word “papelaine”, which in turn derives from the italian “papelino”, which translates into “papal fighter” or “pope’s guard”. The fabric saw its birth in Avignon, France during the fifteenth century. Throughout this period, until the 20th century, the fabric was used to create heavier-weight dresses made from silk, cotton and/or wool intended towards colder temperatures. It wasn’t until the 1920s when cotton poplin was introduced to the US, where it was referred to as “broadcloth”, representing the type of cotton fabric used for shirting. To this day, poplin is still sometimes interchanged for the term broadcloth, despite both fabrics having subtle differences. During WW2, poplin was the main fabric used to make uniforms for both British and US military personnel. The fabric was durable and withstood harsh weathers yet proved able to provide thermo-regulating properties when needed.

The Poplin Shirt formal outfit

THE FORMAL POPLIN SHIRT STYLE

Poplin Shirts can be found in a diversity of styles. They exist in different cuts, from loose and short to precisely tailored and specifically made to be tucked in and worn under a blazer. Despite the variety, the fabric excels in the formal department. For this reason, the majority of Poplin Shirts available feature a tailored cut that sits narrow on the body. The most distinctive component of a shirt is undoubtedly the collar, and they too can be found in many shapes and sizes, each interacting with the neck and face differently, and each giving off a slightly different impression. Two popular collar styles used for the poplin shirt are “cut-away” and “straight”. The “cut-away collar” style is relatively short in height and sits wider on the shoulders with points that are pulled back to the sides. The more traditional “straight” collar features a much narrower angle between the collar points, which point downwards instead of to the sides. The cut-away collar is regarded as a more modern iteration and as a bolder choice compared to its straight counterpart. Regardless, they both go equally well with a tie.

The Poplin Shirt button details

When and how do I wear a Poplin Shirt?

The beauty about a simple poplin shirt is its versatility. It can do a lot. Better yet, it defies trend cycles, representing both the culmination of a long-standing sartorial tradition and the peaks of timeless elegance. Though originally created for formal wear, it can just as easily work as a casual every-day shirt, especially during the warmer months. The Poplin Shirt integrates seamlessly in a wardrobe geared towards office attire. With its tailored cut, it’s bound to become your go-to layer underneath a blazer. But it can work just as well under a crewneck or a clean zip sweater. Or, just let it shine on its own untucked over or tucked into a pair of jeans or chinos.

Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and Tom Hardy wearing a poplin shirt

STYLE ICONS

The Poplin Shirt is here to stay. It’s next to impossible to think it away from a wardrobe that considers itself complete. And proof of its cultural endurance is perhaps best observed in the firm claim it has had on the bodies of the many male cultural icons admired throughout the century. The prime example is undoubtedly James Bond. Although changing in silhouette somewhat over the decades, having adorned Sean Connery all the way to Daniel Craig, the poplin shirt always played a central role in his adventures, whether he orders his vodka martini or when chasing and eventually outmaneuvering the most cunning villains imaginable. And if you are more drawn to those on the other side of the law, take a look at Tom Hardy playing the Kray brothers in Legend as they fight to the top of London’s criminal underworld, wearing their signature suit paired with a poplin shirt. Tom Ford himself is the next one to come to mind, who is — arguably — almost impossible to picture wearing anything else than his trademark suit and white poplin shirt.

These are but a few examples. It's a garment hard to miss. It's omnipresent today as it was 50 years ago. And it's as loved by celebrities keen to make a statement on the red carpet as it is by those merely seeking to blend in at the office.

The Poplin Shirt on a rail

Our Poplin Shirt

We only make one Poplin Shirt. Instead of drowning you in an excess of options, we purposely kept it simple. This is a garment you can always return to, no matter the occasion that awaits. Designing The Poplin Shirt involved a rigorous focus on the fit, fabric and all the finishing touches, from the button choices to how the collar interacts with the neck. It’s made of extra-long staple organic SUPIMA cotton and has been woven by Italian luxury shirting house Albini, resulting in an exceptional density that weighs 120g/sqm. This shirt features a modern cut-away collar that will work with or without a tie. It’s made with a seamless placket to ensure the air of minimalism, versatility and to allow the Mother of Pearl buttons shine through. And finally, it features two buttons on the cuffs to make the sleeve adjustable if necessary. In terms of dress shirts, fit perfection is vital. Rest assured, it’s backed by our signature size-system, providing 3 length options for every conventional size.

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