Before the recent re-emergence of different denim styles amongst consumers, denim shirts, jackets, vests, and accessories disappeared from retail. But denim styles stayed widely available at wholesale during this time due to the increasing popularity of chambray.
The comfort, style, and flexibility of Chambray is a huge key to its success. Chambray is lightweight and soft which makes it an excellent choice for corporate wear, employee uniforms, and even work wear. Retail has also shown the promotional products market how to wear denim as well as chambray. Examples of darker color chambrays are seen as a more modern look for business meetings, everyday wear, or even a night on the town. Lighter color chambrays are seen as more traditional; many men wear them with a sport coat for an office look or the shirt by itself with just with a tie.
There is a huge retail trend of men’s and women’s chambray shirts in both light and dark colors. The trend grew mainstream after Chambrays were seen on the runways and at traditional retailers like Old Navy, Gap, and J. Crew. Both denim and chambray are cotton fabrics but what makes denim different than chambray is the weave. Denim has a diagonal pattern created from the weave, typically in a 3-to-1 (which means for every 3 strands of cotton there is 1 strand that crosses it forming the diagonal pattern). Chambray on the other hand is a more traditional 1-to-1 weave giving a square weave appearance.
An important note for those who are looking for Chambray shirts to sell to their customers: Beware of manufacturers who offer a plain shirt in a chambray blue ‘color’ ! A real chambray shirt is always indigo-dyed with either a light or dark indigo. This indigo dye creates a unique appearance where no two shirts are alike. Consumers are typically knowledgeable about this and look for a ‘real’ chambray shirt. If a consumer doesn’t know the difference, distributors should make sure they are educating their customers as a real chambray has more value to it and typically costs more.
President & Owner,
Charles River Apparel