Most of what you wear today is probably made from cotton. For many thousands of years we have harvested the cotton plant for fibers which are spun into thin yarns and then woven into cloth. Fine shirts require fine cotton, but what should you look for when choosing a fabric?

Cotton comes from the Gossypium family of plants with the hirsutum species being the most common, accounting for over 90% of the worlds production. When a garment is labelled "100% Cotton", this is what you usually get.

The finest cotton comes from the barbadense species (only about 8% of the world production) which produces extra long fibers which in turn produces finer yarns and fantastic fabrics.

You might recognise the barbadense cottons by their more common names, Egyptian (or Giza) cotton, Pima cotton (grown in south america), Sea Island cotton (grown in the carribean) and a few others.

Egyptian cotton, or Giza cotton is the most well known of the barbadense cottons. It is known for its long staples (around 30 mm+) and is woven into fantastically soft and wrinkle resistant shirting fabrics.

Pima is grown mainly in the americas and is not as famous as its egyptian cousin. However, it has similar staple lengths and has very good characteristics for making shirts. Our Savile Row family of fabrics is made from Pima cotton and provides really excellent value.

Sea Island cotton is the king of all cottons. With extreme staple lengths (50-60mm) it is an absolute luxury. This fantastic cotton is only grown in the area around Barbados in the Carribean and the production yield is minuscule on a world scale. This sadly makes Sea Island cotton fabrics prohibitively expensive.

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