Thread Count Is Often Meaningless
In theory, a higher thread count results in a denser, more luxurious textile. But this misleading metric doesn't take into account the type or quality of fibers used. Thinner threads need to be woven in higher numbers to achieve the same results as a thicker fiber, and two-ply yarns can be falsely labeled as double their actual count. Basically, thread count is about as accurate a gauge of a fabric's softness as innings pitched is an accurate gauge of a pitcher's ability to yell obscenities in the dugout.
Check The Weave
Believe it or not (but believe it, because otherwise the concept of information is pointless), the weave pattern on your sheets is just as important as the quality of the fiber. For example, a plainly woven sheet will have the same amount of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch, but a sateen weave will provide an extra-soft touch by increasing the number of vertical yarns. Pinpoint weaves are a middle ground between standard and sateen, and twill weaves use a distinctive diagonal line to help reduce wrinkles.
Finish Is The Difference Between A Dream Airbnb Listing And A Wrinkly Nest
Of all the tips and tricks of the bed sheet trade, understanding the finish is what elevates you to Martha Stewartian levels. (That and prison time.) Some textiles go through a singeing process to prevent your sleeping surface from pilling. (That's what it's called when tiny fluff balls appear out of nowhere.) A good finish can also help fibers hold dye better and prevent wrinkling. Unfortunately, there's nothing yet that can prevent your sheets from crusting up, but that one might be on you.