It’s one of those fabrics that refuses to go out of style, an with good reason. Chambray [sham´-bray] was developed during the 1500s in the Northern France city of Cambrai from a similar fabric made of linen. It has since evolved into the fabric you know and love today, available in an array of colors and patterns. Chambray will take you to the beach during summer and pair up nicely with your favorite wool sports coat for winter–its the perfect all-season closet staple. This fabric has become popular due to its unique texture reminiscent of denim. It’s not to be confused with denim, however. Denim is a heavier fabric made in a completely different weave.
What is Chambray?
To understand what chambray is, it’s important to understand basic weaving. The most basic weave, known as broadcloth (most shirts use this), consists of a simple over-and-under weave that results in equally intersecting yarns of the same color. Chambray is essentially this, except one of the yarns is a different color, giving it its unique look. Although fibers and colors can vary, more often than not, chambray is made of cotton and dyed in indigo blue (which is why people confuse it for a lighter denim).
How to Wear It
Although chambray surges in popularity every summer because of its lightweight nature, it’s not mutually exclusive to the season. It’s also not simply for casual wear. Below, you’ll find range of options and inspiration to get the most out of your garment.
Don’t let the blue on blue fool you, it’s not a Canadian suit! Chambray and denim is a fairly easy look to pull off. Throw on your favorite pair of desert boots and you’re good to go.
Let the occasion dictate how much you dress it up, but chambray shirts definitely have the potential to do so. Consider a blazer for formal situations, a knit sweater for a night out with friends, or ditch the top layer all together—a shirt and tie combo will not steer you wrong.
If the sun’s out, let the calves out. Roll up the sleeves on your favorite long sleeve chambray, or find yourself one with short sleeves. Lose the socks for this look. We recommend boat shoes or nice sneakers to take on summer’s heat in style.
Chambray is as versatile as they come. The fabric will work with practically everything. It’s ultimately up to you to experiment and find your favorite looks. Good luck, gentlemen!