We grew up on cotton shirts. Cotton Ts, polos, oxfords, and dress shirts. My mom always said, “Look for 100% cotton, and you’ll always be comfortable.” She wasn’t completely wrong, largely because the other options back then were polyester. And those were no bueno. Even cotton/poly blends seemed to lack that all-important breathability factor. We didn’t even consider wearing wool shirts, mostly because those were relegated to men who did rugged field work or spent most of their time in the woods. But times have changed for wool shirting, and apparel companies are now brilliantly exploiting wool’s excellent properties across a wide range of styles.
Why Wool Shirts?
What’s so great about wool, then? Aren’t wool shirts still itchy and uncomfortable? Well, not all wool fabrics are created equal. Merino wool and wool blends have changed the game for wool shirting. And they’re no longer restricted to rugged outdoor tasks. Longer, narrower Merino wool fiber actually contributes to a softer feel, virtually eliminating the itch that’s kept most shoppers from making the switch. Wool blended versions capitalize on improved next-to-skin feel, as well, and add to the durability and comfort of non-wool fabric. Having a few wool shirts in your wardrobe is a game-changer because they easily take the place of two or three times as many cotton shirts that have to be washed or dry cleaned more often.
Moreover, wool stays warm when it’s wet and wicks moisture well, making it actually quite comfortable in warmer weather. Wool shirting also fights odor and wrinkling much better than pure cotton. Even chemically treated wrinkle-free cotton can’t match wool’s anti-wrinkle properties. We’ve worn wool shirts for years, and they almost completely eschew the dreaded wrinkling that cotton exhibits before you even make it to the office. Any minor wrinkles that occur seem to magically disappear in a couple of hours. Furthermore, you can easily wear a wool shirt multiple times without washing, and it will both look and smell clean for longer. They’re ideal for traveling, as a result. Wool shirts are definitely more expensive than their cotton counterparts, but you’ll actually save money in the long run due to their durability and quality. You’ll find yourself gravitating toward your wool shirts over cotton, time and again. We’ve selected a handful of the best wool shirts that will change the way you think about wool forever.
The Best Wool Shirts to Buy Right Now
Libertad Single Pocket Dress Shirt
Libertad’s wool dress shirt is a truly refined one. Not only does the Merino fabric look better than cotton, the 130 gsm material is lightweight enough for warm weather but insulating enough for cold days. The beautiful drape and wrinkle-resistance make it perfect for work travel, and the cuffs convert from two-button barrel to cufflink capable, so you can dress up or down, as needed. The single pocket is subtle but practical, and the classic collar looks just as good unbuttoned as it does with a necktie.
Proper Cloth Reda Grey Melange Merino Wool Shirt
Although you can customize almost anything on this shirt, including the sizing, buttons, placket, yoke, and collar, the impressive 100% Reda Active Italian Merino wool melange fabric is the core. The 120gsm 2-layer fabric is light, but it remains highly opaque for a rich appearance. The tremendous wrinkle and odor resistance will ensure repeated wear, and the medium grey adapts well to a blazer and slacks as much as it does to simply a great pair of jeans and boots.
Wool & Prince Denim Shirt
Wool & Prince is, by far, the most prolific maker of wool shirting you can find, and their quality is impeccable. Their wool dress and casual shirts, as well as their pants, jackets, and basics are unparalleled. Who knew they made one of the best denim shirts on earth? The material is a brilliant blend of cotton and merino wool, for great wrinkle/odor resistance and flawless drape. The 315gsm weight makes it ideal for colder weather, and the richly dyed fabric is just the right amount of darkness. It’s easily one of our favorite shirts.
Smartwool Merino Sport 150 Long Sleeve Button-Up
Less dressy than the previous selections, the Sport 150 is a collared, casual button-up that’s meant to be worn untucked but can still tackle casual office duties or evenings out. The Merino wool and polyester blended fabric provides great moisture management, as well as fighting odor and wrinkles. It also dries quickly, has UPF 20+ protection, and is machine washable. It’s easily a casual shirt that you’ll turn to over and over thanks to its clean looks and versatile fabric that also happens to be machine washable.
Pendleton Fitted Evergreen Merino Shirt
Plaid flannel has more than met its match in the Evergreen Merino shirt. The casual pattern is made from AirLoom Merino Twill fabric that’s light, soft, and breathable. The 100% virgin Merino wool comes in two plaid patterns, but the fitted cut is anything but lumberjack-y. The buttons on the collar help retain its shape, and the single pocket sits flat against the body for more refined look.
Eton Green Brushed Merino Wool Shirt
The most expensive member of this group warrants the price because of its gorgeous coloring and extra-fine weave. Made from 100% Merino wool, the shirt is treated with Eton’s Signature Finish for added wrinkle resistance and flawless drape. You’ll find the same kind of quality in wool suiting, but this shirt is just as good with casual fare as it is with a tie. The soft medium spread collar has excellent roll at the top edge, and there’s no need for collar stays thanks to its construction.