At one time, chamois was made from the skins of chamois antelopes, which is where it gets its name. The material is now made using cotton, synthetics, or sheepskin, because the chamois antelopes are considered an endangered species. The softness and flexibility of chamois makes it suitable for a variety of different types of shirts and other garments. A chamois shirt could theoretically offer the same type of styling and design found in any other type of shirt, with the exception of shirts meant to stretch to accommodate the chest. A chamois shirt could be long-sleeved, short-sleeved, or sleeveless.
One type of shirt that may be especially suitable for chamois would be a shirt intended to be worn under a suit. Shirts worn under suits should ideally be soft and comfortable, and a chamois shirt usually meets these requirements. Chamois is sometimes a heat insulator, so for summer suits, a short-sleeved chamois shirt would probably be more comfortable than a long-sleeved one.
Many shirts intended for winter wear can be found in chamois. For this type of chamois shirt, heavyweight blends of cotton and synthetics are typically used. This type of shirt might be ideal for people who must spend a great deal of time outdoors. This might include construction workers, landscapers, and people who work in forestry, Often, a chamois shirt designed for winter wear is constructed using multiple layers of chamois and, for added warmth, they may be lined with pile or fleece.
Chamois shirts and pants are often found in commercial and industrial clothing. Many companies use uniforms that have their company name or logo embroidered on the shirt pocket. Chamois is considered to be especially good for shirts that may require top stitching or embroidery. For this reason, a chamois shirt is often a part of a company uniform.
In terms of design and style, it is usually not difficult to find a chamois shirt in most any design. The fabric is considered suitable for button-up closure, but is also strong enough for grommets or snaps. In weaker fabrics, application of snaps or other metal closures can tear the fabric, or in some cases, the fabric can wear thin and small holes can form above the metal inserts. Chamois is usually so tightly woven that this problem rarely occurs. In addition, chamois fabric usually works well in shirts that require collars, because it is considered easy to sew and adapts well to interfacings and fusible bonding sometimes used in collars.