Mixy matchy: choosing the right shirt fabric to match your suit

To celebrate the launch of the new line of limited edition Alexandra Wood shirts, we continue our month of shirt advice and inspiration.

You probably don’t give it much thought. As you get dressed in the morning, you are probably more concerned about avoiding a horrible colour combination and that there are no porridge remnants on your tie.

But, the fabric your shirt is made from does make a difference to your overall look; particularly if deliberately make sure it complements your lovely bespoke suit! This isn’t difficult – you just need to know your shirt fabrics.

While there are hundreds of materials, variations, and colours available for shirt fabrics, below is a guide to those you are most likely to have in your wardrobe today.


Usually made from cotton, poplin is woven tightly for a smoother finish. Poplin is the most comfortable of shirt fabrics and works with almost all suit fabrics. It makes great casual wear shirts for summer when light-weight 100% cotton and funky colours are used. Choose heavier-weight poplins if you’d like easier to iron shirts in whites and blues.

This is a traditional summer fabric that creases easily. It’s best suited for cruises or laid-back summer wear. This fabric is purely for casual use and is never one to make a sharp appearance in. Match with a blazer and chinos and leave your traditional suits in your wardrobe.

This is a more substantial fabric than poplin and is made when only the threads running in one direction are dyed. It is a stiffer fabric that isn’t necessarily soft on the skin, but it always looks structured and smart. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to add a little texture to a blazer or suit with a pattern.

Grey AW shirt

Herringbone fabrics are made with a distinctive v-shaped weave pattern. This type of fabric tends to be weightier as the strong pattern requires more threads in the weave. It can look great but has the potential to be slightly dizzying on the eye. If you’ve chosen a herringbone shirt, match it with a suit in a very simple fabric and choose ties that are plain or have very subtle texture to avoid sensory overload.

Last but not least is twill – my favourite for shirts. This beautiful fabric is soft and made with a little diagonal weave that the eye can see. The heavier weight means it lasts a long time and is easy to wash and iron. You really can’t go wrong matching this fabric with your business suits: you’ll leave the house both stylish and comfortable.

Yes, there are a few decisions to make when choosing a shirt fabric – where you’ll be wearing the shirt, what you’re wearing it with – but Alexandra is always on hand to provide advice.  Or simply shop our new range of shirts and take the effort out of dressing stylishly.

Stay stylish!

Alexandra x