While menswear is not as prone to the natural evolution and cyclical nature of the fashion industry as women’s fashion, men’s fashion still evolves, and there are some sartorial classics that stand the test of time.
Shirts, for one, have never attained such popularity and importance in a man’s wardrobe as at present; if suits, jackets, overcoats, and shoes have traditionally taken centre ground, , shirts were often relegated to the background – no more. We’re going to present you with our guide to the well-made shirt.
Fabrics are the core element of a high-quality shirt, and are immediately appreciated by the wearer. An easy method to check the quality of a shirt is how well the pattern of a checked shirts is lined up at a few critical seams. If it is well done, then you will probably find all the other hallmarks of a good shirt. The following areas should be matched perfectly:
- shoulder to sleeve
- pocket (if is has any)
- split yoke
- sleeve to sleeve placket
- shirt fronts and front placket
- Of course you can match the pattern on the side seams as well, though this is not seen very often
Matching the fabric pattern in all these areas demands great skill from the manufacturer.
Once you have a shirt that fits you perfectly, you come to expect the same fit and workmanship for all future shirts. However, as you may have experienced yourself, consistency is not always a priority of lower end labels. Even for experienced tailors, it can be difficult to produce the exact same fit time and time again, since high end shirt manufacturing requires so many manual steps, and humans do things ever so slightly differently each time.
To deliver the best of both worlds, most shirt manufacturers rely on carefully developed patterns that are used every time that particular model is produced. Body patterns are cut from thick paper, whereas collars and cuffs may be made out of metal to ensure absolute accuracy.
Stitch density, as well as consistency, is a reliable way to judge the workmanship of a shirt. Tightly woven fabric should have a very high density of stitches, which results in an elegant look and durability.
The collar is the most striking feature on a shirt, since it is usually visible at all times. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right collar for your face and wardrobe. One thing to aim for is perfect symmetry between collar points: both ends should sit exactly at the same distance from the centre of the collar — this is easily perceived on a striped shirt, for instance, where the two points should sit exactly over the same stripe.
Shirts have certainly come a long way since their evolution from undergarment to fashion statement, If you’re seeking a quality shirt to impress, follow the tips above and you can’t go wrong.