What is poplin?

What is poplin? Poplin is a fabric weave, so a cotton poplin shirt is a shirt with the cotton in a poplin weave. When people refer to poplin shirts, they usually aren’t referring to a type of material. Instead they are talking about the kind of weave in the shirt. Typically, poplin shirts are made from cotton or a cotton and polyester. The word tabinet is another word used for poplin. Many of the major shirt retailers like Brooks Brothers, Charles Tyrwhitt, Thomas Pink and TM Lewin sell poplin shirts. Just head to their websites in the links above and type poplin into the search boxes at the top of their home pages.

What is poplin weave? The typical style for a poplin weave is one where the weft and warp fibres go over and then one under, as shown in the black and white pattern image below.


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What is poplin

Confusion over the term poplin often occurs because the meaning of the word poplin has changed over time. Today, the word generally refers to the weave, as described above. However, in the past the word poplin was used to describe a type of material which where the warp weave was silk and the weft weave was wool. In the Jane Austen book Little Women there are references to the term poplin. In the book the term is used to denote a type of fabric, rather than a weave: “When the evening for the small party came, she found that the poplin wouldn’t do at all, for the other girls were putting on thin dresses and making themselves very fine indeed.”

Going further back, the term poplin comes from the French word papelaine, which was a fabric made out of silk in the 15th century. The term papelain comes from the word papelino, which was the fabric made in Avignon in France in the 15th century, when a pope was based there.

Poplin weaves tend to be lighter than other weaves and therefore more appropriate for warmer weather. However, I find that they crease more easily than twill shirts, so twill shirts are probably better for travelling.

At the moment the shirt search engine on this website does not allow you specify whether you would like a poplin shirt, but if there is enough demand for this then I could add additional search criteria to the database.  You can get in touch through the contact form.

What is a poplin shirt with a broadcloth weave?

A poplin broadcloth weave uses finer yarns, typically in the range of 100-200 threads per inch and the yarn is woven very tightly, giving the shirt a slight sheen.

I hope this page has answered your question: what is a poplin shirt? If you want to understand the differences between a poplin weave shirt and a Oxford weave shirt then click here. If you want to understand the differences between a poplin weave shirt and a twill weave shirt then click here.

If you have further questions which are not answered on the website please get in touch through the contact form here.

Sources. The image above is taken from here.

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What is poplin?
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The article explains what a poplin shirt and where poplin shirts can be bought.
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