Today we’re going to talk about dress shirts. Why? Because we really want you to train your eye on spotting what is real quality and what is not. This can be quite tricky at times, so we don’t blame anyone out there, if they have gotten it wrong before. This article should help you not making the same mistake again in the future.
All too often gents end up buying an off-the-rack dress shirt because it looks good and, of course, because it’s cheap, and it’s right there on the hanger. No hassle, no fittings – no trouble. However, you often end up overlooking the details, and those will drastically affect the experience of you wearing it over time. The sooner you know the difference between real quality and the lesser options you’re presented with out there, the better. Let’s face it, it can be really hard to see them both in the same light. Not only will a quality shirt end up lasting longer, but the way in which it flows and fits your body is also likely to be far better, meaning quality shouldn’t be overlooked.
Here are 3 key things you should look for:
The first factor that you should look out for is the material. Just like with just any type of garments, the fabric is important, as it doesn’t only impact you comfortable the dress shirt is to wear, but it also affects the way it sits on your body, along with the durability of it; how often you can wear it. There are, of course, a number of things to keep an eye out fo, when weighing up the material of a dress shirt. The factors stretch all the way from its ply to its “Super” numbers, all the way down to the weave of the material. If you aren’t too versed in textile terms, then let’s briefly go through them here.
Ply refers to the manner in which the yarn for the fabric is spun. You’ll most commonly see single ply and two-ply yarns used for fabrics, and while three-ply fabrics are available, they are quite rare. The number indicates how much yarn is spun to make each thread. So single-ply is created using 1 yarn while two-ply has 2 yarns spun together to create the thread. Materials that are made from two-ply yarn are thought to be of a higher quality as they are generally longer lasting/have a higher durability.
The thread count (or super number) of the fabric tells you more about the number of vertical and horizontal threads in one square inch of the fabric. The higher this number, the finer the material often is, which creates a softer feel. Materials that are lower are usually longer lasting so this should be something to consider when choosing the fabric. If you’re buying a shirt which you’re likely to wear infrequently (maybe just for special occasions) then you can grant yourself the freedom to opt for a material of a higher thread count. However, if you plan to wear it on a regular basis, then you might rather want to stick to a lower thread count.
You should also always take a moment to see how a material feel in your hand. At the end of the day you’ll have it resting on your body a great length of your day, so you’ll want to ensure you like its feel.
When it comes to the buttons on a dress shirt, always judge carefully when attempting to determine their quality. High end dress shirts will often feature mother of pearl buttons. These not only offer a pleasing finish aesthetically, but they are also far more resistant to discolouring over a prolonged period of time. Dress shirts featuring mother of pearl buttons are likely to be of a good quality, as there’s a good chance of that the Tailor has ensured that the best materials have been used. You’re unlikely to find mother of pearl buttons attached to a dress shirt made out of synthetic materials.
The alternative, and more cost-effective choice of button material, is plastic resin. Keep in mind here that not all dress shirts with plastic resin buttons are going to be of a poor quality, but most poor-quality dress shirts will have plastic resin buttons.
There are some very nice options for plastic resin buttons, however they are susceptible to degradation caused by cleaning and heat over time.
Along with the style of the button, you can also gauge how much time and attention has gone in to creating a dress shirt from the way the buttons have been attached to the dress shirt. The stitching should ideally create a criss-cross X shape as opposed to showing as parallel lines. This created a stronger attachment, and will help the buttons to keep the shirt fastened neatly.
The stitching and the matching of patterns
Loose threads and misaligned stitching make for glaring errors. Factors that show you that you here deal with a dress shirt of poor quality. There are also more intricate nuances of detail which can help differentiate a high-quality dress shirt. For instance, the dress shirt should feature clean, close stitching all over. This will help to give it a sharp and tidy appearance from every angle.
Another area which will show the level of attention to detail, which has gone into creating the dress shirt is the matching of patterns. Pattern matching refers to how accurately different pieces of material (if they feature patterns such as stripes or checks) have been aligned where they meet. To quickly check for this, take a look at the split yoke at the back of the shirt (just below the collar). The patterns should linen up and flow almost seamlessly from one piece of fabric to the other.
While details such as these might be easy to overlook, ensuring your shirt falls in line with the things mentioned above will ensure your shirt is as pleasing to onlookers to look at as it is for you to wear.
Use the small hints that we’ve mentioned above and you should find yourself in a more comfortable position when it comes to differentiating between dress shirts of high quality and the likes of a more inferior quality.
You can start putting each of the pointers into practice and help ensuring that you’re getting good value for your money every time you are out to invest in new dress shirts.
If you want to ensure that your dress shirt is of exemplary quality every single time, get in touch with us at Louis Collections in Bangkok. We provide made-to-order and bespoke tailored dress shirts for clients of all shapes and sizes. We maintain a high degree of workmanship for each product so if you’re interested in a fine dress shirt or any other tailoring services, allow us to help.