Know Your Terms: Broadcloth

Because dropping the lingo is half the fun of dressing well.

The classic Ralph Lauren broadcloth button-down.

Traditionally made from carded staple wool (but now as common in cotton, silk, and polyester), broadcloth is a woolen (as opposed to worsted) fabric with a hard, flat, smooth hand. Its plain weave construction is almost identical to poplin (which is typically distinguished by a slightly larger warp) and distinct from oxford cloth, which is made of a basket weave of (usually) two differently colored yarns. Named for the wide loom on which it is woven, broadcloth was perfected as a garment fabric during the Renaissance in Western England (from Welsh wool), but, because of its lustrous, felted finish, has become as popular today for use in upholstery as it is in dress shirts and pajamas.

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