The band of linen between coat sleeve and hand is another one of those stylistic gestures associated with the better-dressed man. It has been so ever since the first aristocrat wore his lace ruffles spilled out from beneath his jacket cuffs. Some fashion historian mark the decline in modern men's style from the point at which ready-made buttoned cuffs replaced cuff-linked ones and men found their wrists swathed in excess fabric, which either fell down their wrists or pulled up too short.
Whether you choose a button cuff or a French cuff, the shirt cuff should fit snugly around the wrist so that the additional length required to keep it from moving as the arm stretches does not fall down over the hand. If you can slide your hand though the cuff opening without first unfastening it, it is too large. If the sleeve is long enough and the cuff fits correctly, you should be able to move your arm in any direction without influencing how the cuff sits on top of your hand. The shirt cuff and hand should be able to move as a unit.
During the 1960s peacock era, when dress shirts had the fit of a second skin and were worn to flaunt the chest and arm muscles, the wearer had to pay particular attention to gaping shirtfronts if he inhaled too deeply or Sat down. Today, with comfort driving the fit of men's clothes, issues such as these are no longer of much concern.
The shirt should certainly be full enough to allow its wearer to sit without concern. Normal shrinkage or a slight weight gain should not render it uncomfortable across the chest or waist. Since shirts with blousier fits tend to have lower arm holes, one should pay attention that the jacket's armhole does not pull up the shirtsleeve, making it too short to rest on the top of the hand. A shirt's armhole should fit comfortably up into the armpit for easier movement and consistent length. The shirt's overall length should be such that you can raise your arms without pulling the garment out of the trouser top.
IN CONSIDERATION OF QUALITY
The most expensive component of any dress shirt is its fabric. As the layer in closest contact with the wearer's skin, the most comfortable and luxurious fiber to wear is unquestionably 100 percent cotton. Anyone doubting this need only examine the fiber content of almost all men's undergarments.
Better dress shirts are made in two-ply cotton or two-fold yarns, less expensive ones in single-ply. Cotton-poly blends are never two-ply, therefore these fabric tend to be found only in cheaper shirts. In a true two-ply fabric, the yarns used in the vertical warp and horizontal weft are made from two fibers long enough to twist around each other to produce the incremental strength, silk ness, and luster associated with the two-fold luxury fabric. The finer the yarn, the higher its threads per-inch count. Two-ply fabrics start at 80/2 (the 2 representing two-ply) and progress to as fine as 220/2 (which feels more like silk than cotton and is so expensive it is use only in custom-made shirts). Since two-ply dress shirt are costlier, most manufacturers will include this designation on the label. If it is not so designated, it usually means the shirt is of a single-ply fabric and its cost should reflect this.
Most two-ply dress shirts begin retailing at $75 for those privately labeled in large department stores and go to well over $200 for those more highly crafted with finer-count two-ply fabrics. This is not to suggest that single-ply dress shirts are necessarily inferior to or automatically less desirable than two-ply versions. Since we know how a poorly designed collar can scuttle the most expensive dress shirt, the two-ply designation reflects a garment's intrinsic quality and not its relative value.
The better dress shirt is one of the few products whose craft has been relatively uncompromised by modern manufacturing technology. Due to the many pieces that must be put together and the exacting sewing procedures required, there is no substitute for the skilled, highly trained labor needed to produce a fine dress shirt. As it is not covered over by linings and such, a dress shirt's construction, with the exception of collar and cuff, can be more easily evaluated than that of tailored clothing or neckties. All of its stitching, seams, and finishing are plainly exposed to the inquiring eye, especially if one knows what to look for and why.
There can be some details of workmanship that, should even one be found present, signal your investigation is at an end and the shirt's dearer price has been confirmed. Most of these benchmarks are holdovers from a less mechanized age when the standards for deluxe quality were set by bespoke shirt makers. No manufacturer would willingly invest in the labor required to make such a shirt without ensuring the fabric was of a quality that justified the product's retail price. He would be hard-pressed to recoup the cost of such craftsmanship if it was wasted on a shirt composed of inferior cloth.
The handmade buttonhole is a detail rarely found in shirt made outside of France or Italy. If you have a shirt with handmade buttonholes it represents a piece of workmanship that literally comes from the old country. Now, some custom shirt makers will argue in favor of a fine machine-made buttonhole over a handmade one, but handmade buttonholes are a mark of top-drawer threads. Ironically, their imperfect and visible portion can only identify them. As with legitimate custom tailored clothes, buttonholes are to be handmade, nothing less.
When dress shirts were worn closely fitted to the torso, their side seams were much in evidence and their width and finishing were considered two of the most important criteria for judging their shirt making craft. I can recall visiting Italy during the sixties and observing the Romans wrapped in their skintight, darted blue voile shirt with side seams that seemed to disappear into minute lines that traced the body. These side seams were of a single-needle construction. If the shirt you are considering has this feather, you are no doubt holding a garment that will command a better price.
Single-needle side seams are sewn twice, once up and once down the shirt's seam, using only one needle and leaving just a single row of stitches visible on the outside. This is time-consuming and requires greater skill on the part of the operator than other seams. Most shirts' side seams are sewn on a double-needle machine, which is much faster and produces two rows of visible stitching. Unfortunately, the double-needle side seam can, depending on the quality of its execution, pucker over time due to the thread and fabric's different reactions to washing. However, since most modern shoppers are not that informed, the single-needle side seam is rarely found on ready-made shirts, and is almost exclusively reserved for those dress shirts found in the world of the bespoke.
Another telltale sign of an expensively made dress shirt can be found in the bottom tail's design and finishing. Charvet, the famed French chemisier, designs its shirts with a square bottom and side slits or vents, which they feel produce less bulk under the trouser. They also believe their deeper sides keep the shirt better anchored. Turnbull and Asser, the Jermyn Street shirt maker, prefers the rounded bottom but reinforces its side seam at the bottom with a small triangular gusset. Either of these designs demands greater labor and expertise than the typical hemmed bottom. Prior to World War II, the gusset was a common feature on better shirts, but production costs forced many manufacturers to abandon this old-fashioned finishing technique.
The next nuance of detail that signals a dress shirt's loftier pedigree is the direction of its sleeve placket's buttonhole. All better shirts come with a small placket button and buttonhole to close the opening running up the inside sleeve from its cuff. However, a horizontally sewn buttonhole is evidence of meticulous crafting, since the button must be lined up perfectly with the buttonhole, unlike a vertical placement, which allows a greater margin for error. Since this detail is easily detectable, it can make any examination a short one.
The last sure giveaway of rarefied shirt making can only be detected in a shirt made of a striped fabric. Should the stripe of its sleeve line up exactly with the horizontal line of the yoke's stripe when they meet at the shoulder seams, you are in the presence of shirt making art. Generally, this kind of work is reserved for the custom-made dress shirt, but should you find it in one ready-made, be prepared to pay at least $150.
The next passel of workmanship details should be present on all deluxe-priced ($125 and up) dress shirts whether they are representing themselves as better ready-to-wear, made-to-measure, or even custom-made. While it is more difficult for the beginner to identify these details once learned, less well-made dress shirts become much easier to spot.
The stitching on a shirt's collar and cuffs should be so fine as to be nearly invisible. If you can clearly see each individual stitch sitting on top pf the fabric, its manufacturer is less costly. All better dress shirt collars have removable stays. The shape or pattern on either side of a shirt's collar parts or cuffs should match exactly. Pockets should be lined up so that they virtually vanish from sight. Buttonholes should be finished so that it is difficult to see their individual stitches. Buttons should be cross-stitched for extra strength, an operation that cannot be performed by machine.
Real pearl buttons are to fine shirt what authentic horn buttons are to expensive sports jackets. If a sewing machine needle hits a plastic button, the button shatters; should that same needle strike a pearl button, the needle shatters. Authentic mother-of-pearl buttons, especially thicker ones, are incredibly sensual to the hand and eye, as well as costing ten times the price of the typical plastic button.
We invite you to check out some of our other useful custom tailoring related information:
Men's bespoke shirts are made to your individual requirements and size by a skilled and experienced custom tailor They are created from the best fabrics in an assortment of great styles Made to measure your exact individual measurements men's bespoke shirts are often no more expensive than ready-made store bought shirts which are made according to universal sizing templates Off the peg garments are often an inferior fit and whilst you may be lucky and find something that does fit you well you will never achieve a perfect fit that comes from having clothes made especially for you Custom tailors create each garment with skill care and pride to ensure that every item created is the best that is possibly can be Having clothes that...
Bespoke dress shirts are becoming more and more commonly found in men's wardrobe collections It is usually men who wear custom tailored dress shirts as a woman would typically wear a blouse in place of a shirt The term dress shirt has slightly different meanings between American English and British English In the US a custom tailored dress shirt refers to any full button opening fronted shirt which also has a collar and cuffs They are also known as shirts and button up shirts In the UK the term custom tailored dress shirt refers specifically to a more formal clothing item worn of an evening as part of a black tie or white tie ensemble There are various collar and cuff types to choose from when commissioning bespoke dress...
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