It’s time you stopped giving brushed cotton the brush-off. Even if you’ve never warmed to the warming fabric, 2020 has seen our wardrobes take a hit — and our styles have been forced to shift and adapt to the new normal. Starched, stiff formalwear is out. Comfortable and relaxed tailoring is in. And there’s no better shirt for the job than a brushed cotton button-down.
These soft-touch shirts span dress codes, are mightily durable and will keep you cosy through the many chills of winter. So let’s brush up on your knowledge of the brushed cotton shirt. Below, we’ve pulled together five reasons that these garments are the ideal all-weather, all-occasion uniform for family lunches, business meetings and winter weddings alike…
They’re as versatile as clothing comes (Just ask your jeans…)
It’s true; you’ll be hard-pushed to find any other item of clothing as flexible and adaptable as the brushed cotton shirt. Want to tuck one into chinos? Go ahead. Fancy pairing one with your woollen winter suit? Be our guest. Going to grab one to wear open over jeans and a T-shirt? That’ll work.
There’s also no better material than brushed cotton for patterned shirts. If you’re printing onto the fabric, the raised texture will take any design or decoration like a dream. And if, like Emma Willis’ Sky Blue Houndstooth offering, the pattern is woven into the fabric, the material will add yet another dimension to an already versatile, single-stitched shirt.
Emma Willis Sky Blue Houndstooth Shirt
They’re a soft touch — literally
So what is brushed cotton? It’s really rather self-explanatory. Rather than applying a flame to the finished fabric — this is how most cottons singe away strays and are rendered smooth — brushed cotton encourages the fuzz, and brushes it up to give the appearance of ultra-fine cashmere.
That’s what New & Lingwood’s casual-fit shirt shows. With a classic cut and button-down collar, it may look ready for the office — but the warming texture of the material will ensure you remain as snug as you would in even the softest, most relaxed casualwear.
New & Lingwood Brushed Cotton Shirt
They will add interest and texture to even the most boring outfit
Of course, ‘the office’ is swiftly becoming an alien concept. With working-from-home, the majority of us office workers haven’t fully suited up for months. Thankfully, while we wait, the tailoring world has enjoyed a quiet revolution. Unstructured, relaxed suiting is having a moment — and brushed cotton shirts are right at the centre of it.
With designs such as Drake’s tailored navy flannel shirt, you’ve got a tonal-patterned button-down for weekdays — and an off-duty option for weekends. And, with a texture more interesting than a smooth cotton shirt, it’ll elevate any layering you experiment with this winter.
Drake's Button-Down Shirt
They’re both breathable *and* incredibly insulating
But it’s not all about cold weather. Of course, given the fuzzed-up fibres of this insulating fabric, brushed cotton can keep heat in — trapping the warmth until spring rolls around. But it’s also, rather confusingly, very good at letting heat out; and has amazing breathable properties.
Just ask Luca Faloni. The Italian designer uses brushed cotton as a key weapon in his menswear arsenal, and this subtly coloured ‘Nocciola’ shirt is a paragon of understated luxury. With cotton brushed on the face side — creating a light, soft and silky texture — it’s a year-round staple.
Luca Faloni Nocciola Cotton Shirt
They will last forever (or at least a very, very long time)
And then we come to the durability. On top of the insulation, breathability and versatility, this wonder fabric is also incredibly hard-wearing. Due to the ‘double twist yarn’ used to create most brushed cotton, the material is considerably less likely to pill (form small balls of fluff on its surface) than other options.
Sunspel’s brushed cotton button-down stands testament to that. Created by the British brand to be as robust as it is stylish, this style of textured flannel shirt will be ideal to pull on this winter. And next winter. And the winter after that…
Sunspel Men’s Brushed Button-Down