Friday, March 29, 2013

Fabric of the Season - Chambray

At some point I’d love to have an ‘expert’ help us write a post about all the different fabric choices that are out there, from twill to poplin to oxford cloth, but for now I’m going to focus on one fabric that I’ve been addicted to lately and is definitely my go-to this spring; chambray.

Chambray is a relatively lightweight fabric woven with a white weft and colored warp (weft refers to the horizontal threads that are woven through the vertical warp), which results in a texture very similar to denim.


Traditionally, chambray is a blue color, once again much like denim, but these days you can find it in a variety of colors (I have blue, dark grey, and red). Personally, I love this fabric in the spring because I think it’s a great way to incorporate lighter spring colors like a dusty red or faded blue without sacrificing any manly ruggedness or falling into Easter bunny territory. Like linen and other more textured fabrics, it even looks good slightly rumpled.

I also love chambray because of how well it works in both formal and casual wear. Originally, denim and, likewise, chambray, were reserved for casual clothing and work-wear, but recently with the so-called ‘rules’ of men’s fashion being challenged and the boundaries stretched, it is more and more acceptable to wear chambray formally. If you want to dress up a chambray shirt, look for something with a narrower collar and no chest pockets. In addition to now being used for dress shirts and even blazers, there are a lot of chambray ties and pocket squares that look great paired with other cross-genre fabrics and patterns like gingham shirts or tweed jackets.

On top of all that, the stuff is damn comfortable! Think the ruggedness of denim with a more lightweight, soft cotton feel. Perfect for those spring days that aren’t too cold or too hot. My favorite chambray shirts both come from Frank and Oak and go for a mere $45 (sign up for Frank and Oak with my referral link for $5 off), but I’ve seen some strong offerings from J. Crew, like the red shirt shown below, among others, and I’d expect to see chambray options popping up at most menswear brands this spring.


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