As a rule of thumb, shirt fabric should be made of 100% natural fibers like cotton, linen, wool, or a blend of these. Pure cotton is probably the most popular material. Sea Island Cotton, as well as Egyptian cotton, are considered to be the best raw cotton material since they have the longest fibers, and so make the best yarns.
Fabrics can be classified according to their ply number. This is the number of yarns twisted together to make a single thread. 2-ply fabrics are generally finer with a tighter weave than 1-ply fabrics.
Another interesting thing to look for in fabric construction is “compact” yarns. Compact yarns have more or less become the standard for premium Italian fabrics now but are less common in inferior fabrics from other mills. A compact yarn is a higher quality yarn that is smoother and finer than the alternative. Fabrics woven from these yarns often feel finer and smoother than you would expect based on their thread count alone. For example. a 100s single-ply compact fabric will feel like a 160s two-ply fabric that is not made from compact yarns.
Dress shirts with high thread count are more expensive to produce and more desirable if you like your shirts silky, soft and thin. Just remember that thread count is not everything. The weave of the fabric, the ply and the mill that it was produced in are also important factors to consider. Contact your design consultant to learn more.