T is for Texture
Decidedly casual yet most certainly smart, the merits of our tailored brushed cotton shirts are bountiful. Similarly, as a cloth, brushed cotton possesses many characteristics that render it ideal for this time of year; evenings are shorter, a nip can be detected in the air and the central heating has been turned on for the first time since Spring.
We have what is called the ‘nap’ to thank for brushed cotton’s richly textured, inherently warm and impossibly soft virtues. The clue to its meaning is in this cloth’s name.
Nap is the fuzzy raised surface synonymous with fabrics such as velvet, tweed, flannel and moleskin. The word derives from the 14th century when it referred to the rough surface of a woollen fabric before it was sheared. Look to the following century and a nap or ‘pile’ was being intentionally woven into cloth to give it a raised surface, as was the desired aesthetic at the time.
In the case of brushed cotton, the nap is lifted from the cloth’s surface in a process called ‘raising the nap’. This affect is often now achieved by using a wire brush. However originally, a plant similar to a thistle, knows as a ‘teasel’ completed this work. The resulting surface of raised fibres in various shades means this cloth’s surface changes ever-so-subtly with touch while also trapping and retaining body heat. Pair these insulating qualities with light absorbing colours such as ash grey and midnight blue and you have a shirt that is soft as silk and as warm as a fireside.
Brushed cotton’s distinctive dashed, tonal and ever-changing texture reminds us fondly of our sailing days; of blustery winds and stormy seas.