June 23, 2024
Person checking a shirt's material on a clothing tag.

Why you need to look at a shirt’s material before buying it

I’m sure we all have a select few shirts that we consider our favorite. Maybe it’s the brand, a sentimental memory, the feeling of it, or all the above. Past that, we don’t often think too much about why we like it– or at least I didn’t. 

I keep finding myself wearing the same few shirts and jackets every week because they just felt nice to wear. While I was folding some of my favorite shirts, I noticed they had one thing in common: the material mixture.

Why 100% cotton is trash

There are way too many commercials and advertisements praising 100% cotton shirts like it is the gold standard. Don’t get me wrong, 100% has its uses. It’s pretty thick and if you need a good work shirt, 100% cotton has got you covered. It’s rough, itchy and 10 other words for uncomfortable. In general, I would suggest people to stay away from 100% cotton in most scenarios, with the exception of flannel. 

The poly-cotton blend

The actual gold standard is the polyester-cotton blend. This usually sits somewhere around 60% cotton and 40% polyester. The higher the polyester material, the softer it gets. Anything past 70% polyester just starts to feel like a fuzzy blanket, which for me is a bit too much. 

These shirts have several advantages. They are a touch stretchier than your basic cotton shirt and above all they are soft–not absurdly so, but just enough to where you will feel very comfortable in a poly-cotton blend shirt. It does have a minor downside of being slightly thinner than other materials, but for most scenarios I would say this is your go-to. This blend is common at most clothing stores, so keep an eye out for them. 


There are a few materials that are often coupled with polyester and cotton to create a tri-blend, typically silk or an artificial alternative. 

Silk tends to be a bit pricey, so the material I see more often is rayon. A shirt with approximately 20% rayon honestly makes it feel divine. Another material that serves the same purpose is called viscose, which is similar to rayon but made from plant fiber instead of wool.

If the poly-cotton blend is the gold standard, this is the platinum standard. Although, this combination is tricky to find in stores, so you’ll usually have to go looking for them online. 

Regardless of my own preferences, my strongest recommendation is to go into your closet and find the shirts or jackets that feel really nice to you and take note of the material. Trust me.


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