Egyptian cotton is a quite vague term today. In the strict sense, it’s a long and extra long staple cotton grown in Egypt – in the relatively small area around the mouth of the Nile. However, some brands use this term to name long or extra long staple cotton grown in other places (for example, India and China). As a result, prices and quality of fabrics made of Egyptian cotton vary greatly. The best fabrics are very soft, comfortable, smooth, silky, strong and durable. Moreover, the fibres of the finest Egyptian cotton are very thin, so it’s possible to get high-number yarns such as 200, 240 and even 300.
Monti shirting made of Egyptian cotton.
The finest Egyptian cotton is Giza 45 (its fibre length is 36-38 mm.), the second place is occupied by Giza 87 (35-36 mm.), the third one – by Giza 88 (about 35 mm). In 2010 Alexander Kabbaz said that Giza 45 was produced in very small volumes because the quality of its seeds had been deteriorating. However, a new extra long staple variety of Egyptian cotton was introduced in 2013 – Giza 93. It has very long fibres (37 mm), so it can become the substitute for Giza 45. By the way, if you want to purchase fabrics made of Giza 45, you can still do it, but prepare to pay a large premium for their rarity.
Bresciani socks. 100% Egyptian cotton.
Giza 86 is much more common variety of Egyptian cotton. It’s grown not only in Egypt, but also in India, China and other countries. In contrast to Giza 45 / 87 / 88, it has long fibres (not extra long ones), their length is about 30-32 mm. Of course, it’s significantly cheaper. Beware of fabrics with high yarn number (for example, 200’s), which were made of this variety.
- Some mills that offer fabrics made of Giza 45 cotton: Alumo, Bonfanti, David & John Anderson, S.I.C. Tess, Thomas Mason.
- Some brands which offer inexpensive shirts made of Egyptian cotton (of course, NOT Giza 45/87/88): Charles Tyrwhitt, T.M.Lewin, Topman.
- Some brands which sell more expensive shirts made of Egyptian cotton (sometimes Giza 45/87/88): Brooks Brothers, Budd, Crombie, Emma Willis, Eton, GANT, Hackett, Sunspel, Thomas Pink, Turnbull & Asser.
- Some brands which offer socks made of Egyptian cotton: Bresciani, Derek Rose, Falke, Mazarin, Pantherella, Sozzi.
- Some brands which sell underwear made of Egyptian cotton: Budd, Emma Willis, Sunspel, Turnbull & Asser, Zimmerli.