Yarn Spinning, Andrea Pisano, 1334, Florence
Cotton is one of the most used material in shirts. Cotton blouses feel good on the skin and are naturally cool.
The use of cotton for fabric is known to date to prehistoric times; fragments of cotton fabric dated from 5000 BC have been excavated in Mexico and the Indus Valley Civilization (Pakistan).
Cotton is made of 95% of cellulose which makes it resitant. It's soft, breathable and anallergic.
It is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll.
The fiber is most often spun into a yarn using up to 6 cm long fibers (the longer the fiber the better the quality).
The most important fase is yarning: the fibers must result fine, resistant, evenly coloured and elastic to be considered high quality. These characteristics are determined, not only by finishing processes, but also by the origins of the fiber. Egyptian Cottons are the most appreciated as they are fine, smooth and shiny. Indian cottons, instead, are rough and have large and thick fibers, therefore, they are the cheapest on the market. China and USA are the biggest producer, and Italy has the finest (centuries old) cotton mills in the world.
The most common cottons in shirtry are Popeline, Oxford, Piquet, Fil a Fil, Twill, Linen... In women's shirts though the best choice are the stretch cottons. In Italy most of women's blouses are made with a silky-feel cotton blend (70% cotton, 5% elastan, 25% polyamide) or with a fine mix made of 96% cotton & 4% elastan. That's because these cotton blends feel smooth, they are easy to iron and they are so comfortable. Pure cotton is always an option for those in love with traditions.
Absolute NO to polyester shirts!