bespoke shirts buying guide
Bespoke Shirts by The Sartorial Executive
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If you want a great fitting shirt then a bespoke shirt offers the ultimate in fit and a great opportunity to get a shirt exactly as you want it.
However these days it seems that everybody on the internet wants to sell you a 'bespoke shirt'. Just run the following search http://www.google.com/search?q=bespoke+shirt&rls=com.microsoft:en-gb:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GZEZ and look at the sponsored listings - you will probably see companies from Marks and Spencer's to unknown far eastern operations.
However in many cases the shirts you will buy will not be bespoke (and that certainly includes the Marks and Spencer's offerings!)
This guide intends to set out what you should expect as a minimum from a bespoke shirt supplier if the shirt is indeed going to be bespoke, and not a made to measure shirt or a 'stock special'.
Probably the most important feature of a bespoke shirt is the production by the manufacturer of a personal pattern for each client. This pattern will be drawn up and cut by hand (from paper or card) based on the clients' measurements (which could number over 15 different measurements). The pattern can then be used to cut the chosen fabric for all subsequent shirts and 'tweaked' to improve the fit if required.
Talking of fabrics, you would expect any self respecting bespoke shirt maker to offer high quality cloth - there is little point having a shirt made to order if it only lasts a few washes. The best shirt cottons come from Italian and Swiss mills such as Tessitura Monti, Albini, Alumo and S.I.C Tess.
A quality shirt maker will be able to offer over 1000 different fabric/pattern /quality variations for you to choose from.Many online (and some that are not online) shirt makers require you to select from a menu of collars, cuffs and styles. This is not bespoke. A bespoke shirt maker should be able to offer what is effectively an infinite number of choices - they will be crafting the collars, cuffs etc specifically for you.
This is your chance to be a designer!
Other aspects you should look for (or at least have available to choose), with regards to quality are:
- High density single needle stitching which ensures the seams are as strong and durable as possible. 15 stitches per inch or above is a good figure here.
- Mother of pearl buttons to ensure they will not break and crack with age.
- Removeable collar bones
- Non-fused collars
- Opportunity for different left and right sleeve lengths and cuff diameters to accommodate asymmetric bodies and large wrist watches.
These are some of the main things to consider for a bespoke shirt. There are many UK shirt makers that are able to meet all these requirements and standards with the bulk of these operating out of Mayfair's Jermyn Street and neighbouring area, however with a bit of research you will be able to uncover bespoke shirt makers throughout the country that are able to produce shirts of the same or better quality.
Of course our clients know all this already as they buy such bespoke shirts from us!
Glenn Ludlow - Managing director of bespoke shirt makers The Sartorial Executive Ltd.
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