What Is a Pique Polo Shirt? Polo Shirt Fabric Explained

by jacky chou
Updated on

All men should own at least one polo shirt. This is because they are fashionable in the workplace, social gatherings, everyday life, and on the tennis court. But, on the other hand, you may have heard the term "pique polo shirt" while shopping for a new polo shirt. So, what is a pique polo?

A pique polo shirt is a type of polo shirt characterized by a geometric knit in the form of a waffle pattern. Pique knits are durable and breathable, making them ideal for polo shirts.

Despite being a great outfit for men and women, pique polos have not received the same level of media attention as other fabrics. For this reason, I will discuss this fabric in-depth and address any concerns you may have about it.

What Is Pique Polo?

Pique polo shirts are knitted versions of the classic polo that feature a waffle pattern for increased durability and breathability.

The use of cotton and cotton-polyester mixes in the production of pique fabric makes your shirts far more durable, and the fabric's great absorbency makes it far more effective at handling sweat and moisture.

Benefits of Pique Fabric

1. Breathable

You'll hardly notice that you're wearing anything at all because of the pique fabric's open weave and textured pattern. This is why pique cotton and fabric are so commonly used in summer shirts, polo shirts, and golf shirts. Comfort and breathability are guaranteed if you wear one.

2. Less Sweat is Visible

Moreover, the texture and weave do a better job of concealing sweat, which is especially important for those who wear their polo shirt to games where they could otherwise overheat.

You should pick a shirt made from Pique cotton if you sweat heavily and wish to hide this reality outside in the heat. You'll quickly come to appreciate how wicking the fabric is.

3. Pique Is a Highly Durable Fabric

Once more, the appearance of the weave contributes to the cotton's longevity. All the strands are intertwined and reinforce one another, giving the weave a net-like quality that makes it difficult to break. If you were to multiply each strand by a few hundred thousand, you'd have enough material to make a sturdy, well-woven shirt.

The pique cotton ensures durability and a refined appearance for the fabric. In other words, this is the best shirt you can buy if you need to wear it to sporting activities and business functions.

4. It Has a Wide Range of Applications in the Home

If you're already wearing a pique cotton shirt and adoring it, you might want to incorporate more pique into your wardrobe. In addition to being used in clothing, pique is a common material in many everyday products due to its exceptional absorbency and longevity.

Pique cotton is available in household goods like towels, bathrobes, and sheets. Towels and bathrobes are made to soak up moisture, and you probably want your sheets to last as long as possible, so these things can be really useful.

5. It Can Be Worn Both Formally and Casually

Numerous objects suitable for various celebrations have been crafted from pique fabric. For example, pique pajamas, polo, golf shirts, and even pique dress shirts and ties can be worn to formal events requiring black tie attire.

If you prefer the dry comfort and airy feel of pique cotton, you'll have no trouble finding all the pique clothes you could want. A word of caution, though: too much pique can make you look less like you're dressed formally and more like you're just lounging about.

Pique Knit Vs. Pique Woven Polo

The pique fabric can be knit or woven. Cloth still piques regardless of the production process because there is always a smooth reverse side and a textured side to the fabric. Both approaches share a waffle-like texture.

The first method of making pique polo shirts was the woven technique. However, the machine knit version is more well recognized today because most polo shirts made of pique fabric on the market are made using this technique.

Woven pique fabric is created on a dobby loom. Since the dobby loom can be used to create a wider variety of textures than other looms, it is frequently used to create such fabrics. In addition, the weaver on a dobby loom has greater control over multiple threads at once than on a treadle loom.

Woven pique fabric has stuffer yarn in the weave to create a textured surface. The stuffer yarn functions similarly to the extra threads on the top layer of a pique knit fabric, adding depth to the clothing.

Pique knit fabrics are limited in their design options compared to woven pique. A double-knit fabric can only have cords in the vertical and horizontal axes. Pique fabric woven on a dobby loom allows for the creation of complex designs.

Pique Polo Vs. Jersey Polo

The same yarns that give the jersey its flat, smooth face are also used to make the fabric for T-shirts. Pique knitting results in a textured surface that looks and feels much like a waffle weave. A pique polo is more formal, whereas a jersey polo is more casual and affordable.

Pique is a thicker, more long-lasting, and less sweat-revealing fabric, making it an ideal choice for a pique polo. On the downside, it wrinkles more easily than other materials.

A jersey polo has a lighter feel, making it suitable for hot climates or people who want lighter materials. Jersey polos have more elasticity and are therefore preferable for physically active people.

Pique Polos vs Cotton Polos

Most pique fabrics are made of cotton. The pique fabrics used in more budget-friendly items are likely to be cotton/polyester blends, but the ones used in more expensive items are always 100% cotton. As the fabric's name, design, and production history are all tied to cotton mills, it makes sense that cotton is the material of choice for its durability.

Pique knit ties and dress shirts made from silk are not as prevalent as those made from other materials, but some still use them. The properties of cotton are shared by silk, which is a natural, breathable material. But it adds a sense of elegance.

Pique can also be created with a cotton/silk combination. However, unlike pique cotton tea towels, which are impossible to find, the best shirts for men can combine cotton and silk to balance luxury and affordability.

Additionally, 100% polyester pique textiles come at very low prices. Fabrics made of polyester, however, are less breathable and robust than those made of natural materials.

Since the term "pique" relates more to the fabric's texture and manufacturing process than the fiber itself, it is theoretically possible to create pique from any material. However, cotton and silk fibers work exceptionally well with this texture. Therefore, most man-made pique fabrics strive to mimic the hand and drape of natural fibers like cotton and silk.

Cotton polo shirts can have a distinct texture while still feeling soft against the skin. However, the sustainability of blended fabrics isn't as high as that of 100% cotton. Although pique knit fabric can be made from various fibers, cotton pique knit is by far the most common.

Tips for Sewing with Piqué Knit

Due to its pique knit construction, this fabric should be cared for like a ribbed knit. Given that it is a medium-weight fabric, it is more rigid than other cotton fabrics. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind while working with pique knit.

    • Avoid pinning more than necessary.
    • Snags should be avoided because they can easily turn into tears.
    • No matter the fiber content, it's crucial to hem pique cloth properly or surge the edges to prevent unraveling or tearing at a tattered edge.
    • Consider the longevity of the pique knit fabric while choosing the thread for your sewing project.

Tips for Caring for Piqué Knit

Fabrics made of the pique knit, especially those made of 100% cotton, are simple to maintain. Cotton doesn't easily deteriorate under heat and can handle considerable amounts of it. In addition, pique knit is machine washable, dryer-friendly, and steam-press-friendly.

This fabric tends to wrinkle easily, making it more high-maintenance than other cotton knits and weaves. However, wrinkles can be ironed out as effortlessly as they were created.


Pique knit fabric gained popularity in sportswear due to its ability to withstand sweat, activity, and frequent washing while remaining next-to-skin soft. However, it also has a long history of use in formal clothing and household fabrics.

This multipurpose fabric may be used for everything from bathrobes to formal shirts, making it a great option for your next sewing project.

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jacky chou


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