Dress Shirt Guide For Professionals
The dress shirt has a crucial role in men’s wardrobe, It is directly in contact with the skin and plays a suspension role between body and jacket movements.
To create high-quality and comfortable dress shirt need the right fabrics, experienced tailor, and specific craftsmanship indifferent it is a bespoke, made to measure or ready to wear.
The shirt is a second element of the professional’s wardrobe, and need particular attention when we purchase the shirt. Many factors we need to take in consideration when we are buying the dress shirt, like our face and body shape, job, the lapels and collar of the jacket, pattern, color, as well as fabrics quality, I am covering in this article most of the essential details, which will help you to choose the right shirt for your wardrobe.
Fabrics are the crucial element of the quality shirts, to identify high-quality material we need to know the following factors:
➢ Fiber and Yarn count (diameter): The first thing to distinguish a prime quality shirt is the Fabric, The thickness, and length of the fiber play an essential role on fabrics quality, yarn measuring within thread count in micron or super”s” like |100×2 |…| 300×2| and even finner. To produce higher thread count yarn need fine fiber and sophisticated and advanced machinery system and techniques. Higher thread count number ( super “s” ) and a low number in “Micron” means excellent quality yarn, and the result is a luxury and high-quality fabrics. For reference, most of the luxury designer shirt in Market likely using the thread count up to 120×2 even lower.
➢ Cotton Fiber quality: The quality of the fiber is another aspect of this sophisticated process which depends on the provenience, location, climate, fiber length and when was cultivated.
➢ Weaving and finishing techniques: Today we have very advanced techniques for weaving and finishing the fabrics with a silky touch and smooth shell finishing. There are many variations of fabrics processing techniques which together with fiber quality determine the quality and value of the material. Unfortunately, none of the shirt manufacturer and brands do not share the tread information of the shirt fabrics on they label and tags.
Here are some of the verification techniques for prime quality fabrics.
A) Weaving density: Prime quality fabrics have high-density weaving, to understand well you can think like tv pixel density (DPI), high-density of pixel mean clear quality image and high-density of the thread means high-quality fabrics.
B) Touch and feel: when you touch the quality shirt fabrics will feel exceptionally silky and smooth and soft touch; It is always colder than room temperature and thin weaving construction.
C) The good-quality fabrics are thin, dense and heavy feeling on hand, but the low-quality materials are thick and light feeling and low-density weaving.
2. Stitching density
Stitch density is another element to verify the prime-quality shirt. The number of the stitches in one inch is the one of crucial detail to appreciate the quality of the shirt. It is important because this way we can determine if shirtmaker used high- quality fabrics. High-density stitch can use in higher thread count (tightly woven) fabrics, like 20 to 27 steps stitches per inch which this is not possible in low-density weaving fabrics. Using the same number of stitches in low thread count fabrics will cut the material at the sewing line.
20 to 27 stitches per inch considered a good quality shirt with an elegant look and durability. Low-density shirts fabrics require slightly larger stitches in order not to destroy the material generally up to 14 steps stitches per inch. To understand the quality of the shirt, we need to count the number of stitch in one inch; good quality shirt must have between 20 to 27 stitches per inch.
3) Stitch distance from the edge ( Hemming line)
Another detail to verify the prime quality shirts is hemming stitch line from the bottom, you can check the stitch distance from the margin. The smaller feature is better, under 3 mm considered very good, because to sew 1 to 3 mm need Higley experience tailoring skills. Also, check the consistency of these stitches in all over the shirt, should be the same on the cuff, collar, and body part of the shirt. Another detail for hemming stitching is wrinkling and weave, especially on the bottom part of the shirt need to pay particular attention because of the curvy shape.
4) Handmade Pick stitching ( Decorative hand stitching )
This future is still part of the excellent quality shirt before was exclusively used in high-quality shirts, but these days many shirt makers have this details on they shirts even most of the machine made shirts. It is another element of high-end shirt often feature decorative hand pick stitching along the seams. It indeed is a look, but it is an excellent indicator to understand manufacturer attention to the small detail.
5. Side Seams
To obtain the cleaner look and dressier appearance on side seams need to use single-needle stitching in 3 mm or less, high-end shirtmakers always use a single-needle stitch. It is another future for the prime quality shirt. Low-end shirt future is with twin-needles, this stitching future mostly used on casual shirts.
The major problem in twin-needle stitching is wrinkling, look, and functionality, the seams with double- needle stitches will get heavily wrinkle after washing, of course, the composition of the thread and fabrics should be taking in consideration for the intensity of wrinkling. Twin needle stitch usually is sawing together sleeves and body together in continuous line which reducing the movement on arm and shoulder.
Another aspect of twin-needle stitches is sawing time, which is three times less than single stitches. The most critical element in tween stitch is the shirts body, side seams, stitching together with the shirt sleeve seams in continue line, this way creating an uncomfortable feeling in body movement, by little body movement your shirt come out from your pant and you never have free arms movement.
6. Collar and cuff
The shirt collar is the most visible and crucial part of the shirt, which we need to pay high attention to the following details.
A) The interlining used inside the shirt collar maybe woven and none-woven paper base fused, and none-fused depends on construction. Collar made of the three-layer materials. Upper, middle and lower, the middle side is interlining, and other two are shirt fabrics. Interlining depend on the assembly can be fused on front side only as well as backside or on both sides. Un-fused collars are the best and need a skilled tailor and cost more time, That is not mean fused collar is not the right option, many high-quality fused collars provide a crisp collar, the quality of interlining, construction and craftsmanship is highly essential to make a good quality shirt. Men’s wardrobe should contain both versions of the shirts with fused and non-fused collars to choose the right one for the specific occasion.
B) The purpose and function of the interlining
The purpose of the interlining is to create a support for multiple laundries, crisp look, shape, and stable base for jacket collar, Using different thicknesses and softness interlining forming the different look and functionality for a specific event, like a dressy, evening, casual shirts.
C) Collar buttonhole shape and button size; Buttonhole on the collar should make in 45 degrees. The button size is better to be slim and small for functionality reason.
D) Stitch density of the collar should be between 20 to 27 stitches per inch in the prime quality shirt.
7) Matching pattern
Matching pattern is another detail which all high-end quality shirt manufacturer should pay attention to it; you can check on the top shoulder on the joint part between sleeves and shoulder, on back yoke in joint part and on sleeves vents. The yoke is the back side of the shirt which connects neck to shoulder, this part of the shirts are two layers and make sure this part cut split in diagonal shape (45 degrees) and matching pattern line perfectly.
Mother of pearl (MOP), shell or Stone buttons are the best choices for the quality dress shirt, any dress shirt without MOP button considered cheap and low-quality. You can identify the MOP buttons from polyester and plastic with the following methods:
A) The temperature, all shell buttons always are colder than room temperature. You can use your tongue or face to feel the temperature differences.
B) By sound, hitting two buttons together will hear the stone or glass sounds)
C) Burning test by lighter, by heating the button will change the color to black or grey instate polyester buttons will burn entirely like a plastic.
D) Braking the Button, If you have an extra button, by breaking will observe like smashing the glasses.
There are some other options available for shirt buttons like horn, wooden, metal, plastics and others but now way to use any of these buttons in high-end dress shirts, the shell button becomes the symbol of luxury in the fashion industry because of look, characteristics, and quality. Mother of pearl buttons are in different thicknesses and shapes, shell buttons available from 1.5 mm to 6 mm, thicker buttons are beautiful, but it is hard to cut in 6 mm and hard to find the shell in that thicknesses in significant quantity for a specific color. Some quality shell buttons need to cut individually with a hand drilling.
9) Collar stays.
Most of the shirt maker in different the designer and brand positioning level using plastic collar stay except just a few sartorial luxury brands; I prefer MOP collar stays with metal support.
10) Sewing the buttons
The ideal way to sew the buttons on prime quality shirts is sewing by hand with forming the shank, this way we create extra space by creating the leg between the button and shirt fabric, this way we eliminate tensions in buttoning aria, otherwise may you will see wrinkles around the buttons. The excessive use of detergent, wear and tear can weaken the thread and sooner or later some of your buttons will fall off. There are few more options like gum and elastic thread, which locking end part of the thread by melting and forming nice looking shank, most used in high-end shirts only with strict washing and drying conditions. Shirt must be washed by hand and dried hanging on, using a dryer machine with hot temperature, will destroy the resistance of the thread and will fall off.
11) Attaching the sleeves to the body
Before to show how to check the quality shirts sleeves attachment, I need to explain construction and techniques how sewing the sleeves into the body.
A) Sewing body of the shirts entirely and then attaching the sleeves on end part of this manufacturing process, the reason they do that because body part of the shirts taking it’s best stable position, connecting the sleeves after this stabilization shirt forming body anatomic and natural shape. Keeping the sleeves to end of the shirt manufacturing process is the best way to build high-quality shirt and can be found mostly in high-end shirts. This construction will allow wearers more free arm movement which will not affect body part of the shirt.
How to check? Look at the area of the armpit shirts will not match the side seam with the sleeve seam.
B) The sleeves are sewn together on in the process of sewing the entire shirt together, Sewing the side seams of the body with sleeves seams at the same time in same continue closing line. In this type of the construction when the wearer moves his arms, the whole shirt will move together, and most of the time shirt will come out from trouser, and sleeves rarely hang perfectly.
A) Quality fine handmade buttonholeButtonholes should be cut it first and then sewn. Traditionally, buttonholes were hand-sewn, most luxury sartorial brands making even they RTW shirts feature hand-sewn buttonholes; this future looks excellent when the shirts made entirely by hand otherwise machine-made buttonholes that cut the fabrics first and then sewn with high-density stitches can be beautiful as well.
How to check? Buttonhole must be free of any residual thread and fiber inside the buttonhole, should be clean and high-density stitching.
B) Using silk thread to make a buttonhole
To create a more pleasant and luxury look for buttonhole using particular silk thread, you can differentiate this by looking to buttonhole color and shin of the yarn.
C) Longevity and resistantMachine-Made buttonholes because of robust weaving techniques will likely last longer.
D) Buttonhole positioning on the collar first buttonhole should be in 45 degrees ( 9-12 o’clock)Front buttonholes position are vertical except the last one is horizontal to create little more room for expansion sleeve vent buttonhole usually made in the same line as a sleeve and a smaller size than others. Hidden button is most favorite on sleeve vent.
E) Cuff buttonholes, always made perpendicular to a sleeve line.
13) Side Gussets
Side gussets are part of quality shirt elements; this future may not help for comfort and functionality but is a part of the luxury shirt look and artisanal detail, gussets are in different size and shaps with the sophisticated artisanal look. The slim fit shirt may not necessarily to have this future.
14) Multi-functionality of cuffs
Multi-functionality of the cuffs is good to be part of the high -end shirt but not necessary to have this future, it helps wearer in any occasions and creates a different look.
15) Collar rest line
This future is creating more comfort on the back side of the shirt-neck when neck forwarding to back, this design and detailed craft forming comfort seat for the neck.
16) Wrinkle-Resistant & Non-Iron Dress Shirts
Wrinkle-free and non-Iron tag in any shirts means low-quality shirts because of treatment of the fabrics, do not associate wrinkle free and non-Iron dress Shirts with high-quality shirts.beware from wrinkle-free labeled shirts, I will cover this subject later.
17) Cotton – Silk mix fabrics
Most of the prime quality shirts made from high-quality cotton fabrics or pure heavy silk fabrics. Last few years become the more popular mix of these two compositions for luxury sartorial brands shirts.
18) Small armhole and high Cut “Armscye”
This future is the most exciting detail of high-end and luxury sartorial shirts. Forming the small armhole and cutting higher create much more room for the arm to have more free movement, this way shirt body and sleeves will work independently and with arm and body excess movement shirt body always will stay inside the pant and will not come out bt arms movement. Cutting high armscye will create much more room for free movement and comfort, Some high-end sartorial shirt makers creating they pattern with small armhole for best possible free arm movement.
How to check?* you can measure the size of the armhole, putting the shirt flat on the table and measure around armhole, for shirt neck size 40 EU, armhole measurement less than 50-51 cm. Of course, this is for a tailored and comfortable fit shirt for the average and symmetric body shape.* Another way to check this particular function is, to wear the shirt and tack it into pant and then move your arm in 90 degrees position with your body, your shirt should stay in your trousers, and your arm movement will not affect body part of the shirt.
19) Yoke free dress shirts
Yoke free shirt is the most simple cut and elegant look shirt I have seen in my life. The simplicity of this type of shirt always fascinated me. Youke free shirt is the best choice shirt for who are looking for something different, clean and elegant, definitely this the best choice for who does not have asymmetry on their shoulder, of course with high-quality fabrics and excellent Italian artistry craft.
20) Right Fit, Cut, and size
We need to differentiate the right fit, cut and size, most of the time people confusing these three terms. It is an essential subject, and I am gone cover this subject in depth soon.
These days because of advanced advertising technology and dominant fashion industry influencers we have under attack 24/7, Is hard to take an objective decision to purchase freely, We need to educate ourselves to build our wardrobe professionally with confidence and by clear plan behind of every single purchase for our closet. Above guidelines should help you to weed out shirts of inferior quality and will help you in your next shirt purchase to get the right shirts for your wardrobe.
You can go to any men’s department store in your convenience time and train yourself, follow this guideline and check the shirts indifferent the brand and let your hand and eye become your expert tools. You do not need to buy, spend some time in the luxury men’s store and check the above details and earn experiences for your next shopping.
Or book your appointment for a FREE consultation with Ferruccio Milanesi’s an expert.