Saturday, 11 February 2012

Why Get True Tailored Shirts? part 1

A properly tailored shirt is probably the finest feeling part of a bespoke wardrobe. This is the one item that will go with either business or casual and be on your back for the whole day as opposed to a jacket which invariably sits on a hanger in your office when your not meeting clients. So to have a well fitted and wonderful feeling shirt is a must day to day.

For the true luxury a bespoke tailored shirt is the best. There are far more suit tailors in every city with only a handful providing shirts so finding a good shirt maker can be difficult at best. Most men make do with terrible fitting but cheap shirts from those high street shops that do deals of 4 for a £100 or something similar and accept that the shirt will die a sad death within 6 months where upon they will get a new batch. It has become such a state in the UK that most gents think this is good value. I actually measured a man who buys £3000 suits and was wearing a £25 shirt that looked awful. He is now getting some shirts that at least are of a reasonable luxury to the suits he buys.

Cheap is not best in this arena. Off pegs fit badly, look terrible and last no time at all with the average life expectancy to be 25 washes which if you had 5 shirts would only last a little under 6 months. I can understand the price and length of life point if they fitted reasonably but have rarely seen a good one so the value is nothing. You just have a coloured cloth covering your back.

Good off the peg shirts start at about £50 and go up to £100 on average with some branded or very luxurious cloths hitting well past £150 but these are rare. Off the high street shops Charles Tyrwhitts are the ones I have heard best reports for block patterns and quality as they seem to do reasonable quality and heir fitted shirts seem decent.

For tailored I would only look for help and advice from a shirt specialist. Do NOT do these measure yourself jobs online in my opinion. Have had these made for myself and being an expert at measuring I still find it tough to measure myself or trust a friend with no experience to do it. Best to find a great tailors or Clothier that visits your office and make this very difficult process and easy one. 

A hint:
A shirt maker should be taking no less than 9 measurements to create you a fantastic pattern. If its less that this then be on guard. 

Chest, waist, neck, Yoke (length across shoulders), both arms, both wrists taking into account a watch of you wear one, shirt length, left and right shoulder incline, collar height at front and back and bicep are the full possibilities with the first being a must. Also a range of styles in collars, cuffs, shirt fronts and monograms should be an option. If not look elsewhere. Also, please try to not have a pocket. It is rarely needed and detracts from the appearance.

Collars should frame your shape of neck and head rather than follow fashion too much. At the moment we have had an elegant fashion spread or wide spread style be in vogue for the last year of so but supposedly more narrow and longer collars are creeping back in. But for the best frame your face. 

For instance; large and round faced men should not have narrow short collars but instead go for something medium to long in length and medium to wide in spread.

For long slim faces a longer narrow collar is best. For me a medium to wide suits on average most if you are unsure as long as the point length is about 3". 

The Cuff
There are manynoptions but the main ones are below with the double fold for those who wish to show off their cufflink collection and button ones for those who don't or for a casual look. I personally suggest and wear the corner cuff style so that my cufflinks, which I have a rather alarming number, can be seen a little easier from the suit sleeve.

The Monogram
Monograms are coming back in as a trend and have been around for for many decades and were used as a way of distinguishing the owner of the shirt when laundered by the house staff or professional service. Nowadays that need is defunct so it is entirely an image thing. Usually they are the 2/3 initials that make p your name or a simple word or nickname. Some shirt companies can do your signature but avoid this as it looks awful and is a poinless expense.

The usual places are on the left cuff faing out or on the left front panel just above the trouser line. I would suggest either is good but be subtle in our style. Over flowery styles are very in your face and ones with edge details seem to messy and untidy. 

Look at the styles below and see which ones catch our eye with their elegance and subtlety rather than their brashness or over embroidery.

When settled for a style then pick out your colour. An off white is the most simple choice as it will work with all colours and be very subtle in appearance on the cuff or shirt front. Otherwise my suggestion is to go with a semi-matching colour but have a slight shade contrast. For instance, with a lavender shirt I would pick a medium purple thread. A blue shirt requires a navy thread, and so on. Anything goes with white, witin reason.

Hope helps

Tailor dan

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