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Hilditch & Key shirts - quality?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I don't know much about Hilditch & Key shirts. What is their level of quality? What can they be compared to, and where do they fit on the totem pole of shirtings?
post #2 of 37
Hilditch & Key (H&K) shirts are very good. I've got four in my wardrobe at present and they are amongst my favourite shirts. Unfused collars and cuffs, precise pattern matching at the shoulders and very good construction quality. As they don't have a lot of handwork, I suppose that people might place them below a lot of the Italian shirtmakers (Borrelli, Finamore etc) but for the money I think that they're very nice. H&K do a nice English cutaway style collar that I particularly like, too.
post #3 of 37
I own them and like them. They're a well-made, machine-stitched shirt. They aren't aiming for ostentatious detailing like some of the Italians, but that suits me fine. I dig the classic collar, and it turns up in quite a few of my WAYW.

With the pound so weak, they're a much better value than they were.
post #4 of 37
Hilditch & key are very good shirts. Well worth the price. What alternatives have you considered?
post #5 of 37
You don't wear around a size 17 do you?

-spence
post #6 of 37
Thread resurrection in order not to start a new one.

Has the quality of Hilditch & Key shirts stayed high as of late?
post #7 of 37
Quality has dipped a bit in recent years, IMO. I'd rank their work a bit below that of Harvie & Hudson, and well below that of Turnbull & Asser and others in that tier.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Carlos View Post
Quality has dipped a bit in recent years, IMO. I'd rank their work a bit below that of Harvie & Hudson, and well below that of Turnbull & Asser and others in that tier.


Seriously??

If so, that is very disappointing.

Harvie and Hudson (H&H) make nice shirts for the price that they charge. I have a few and quite like them, although their "standard" fit shirts are generous to the point of bagginess.

However, comparing my H&H and H&K shirts from a few years back, H&K win hands down. Fabric is nicer, collars and cuffs are unfused (whereas H&H has light fusing in the collar) and the collars and cuffs have a soft but springy feel to them. Buttons are decent MoP, too, whereas H&H's buttons are smaller, lower-quality slivers.
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
Seriously??

If so, that is very disappointing.

Harvie and Hudson (H&H) make nice shirts for the price that they charge. I have a few and quite like them, although their "standard" fit shirts are generous to the point of bagginess.

However, comparing my H&H and H&K shirts from a few years back, H&K win hands down. Fabric is nicer, collars and cuffs are unfused (whereas H&H has light fusing in the collar) and the collars and cuffs have a soft but springy feel to them. Buttons are decent MoP, too, whereas H&H's buttons are smaller, lower-quality slivers.

For the record, H&H buttons are also MOP, though they are admittedly quite thin. That's always bugged me about their shirts, but it's a stylistic choice on their part and not a construction choice. I wouldn't describe their buttons as "lower quality." I'd just describe them as thinner.

Furthermore, a lot of the criteria you're laying out are highly subjective. Collar and cuff fusing? That's a personal preference, and not a tried-and-true indicator of quality one way or the other. Plenty of extremely nice shirts have collar and/or cuff fusing. Charvet, for example. And I don't think anyone in his right mind would claim Charvet doesn't make a top-quality shirt.

As for "the fabric feels nicer," well, again, we find ourselves in the realm of your subjective opinion. Who am I to say what does or does not feel nice to you?

At any rate, I wouldn't disagree that H&K circa 2005 or so is superior to H&H of the same timeframe. These days, I think H&H has surpassed H&K in construction quality. AFAIK, both source fabrics from the same mills, but admittedly, that's just conjecture on my part. Maybe someone out there knows for sure, one way or the other.
post #10 of 37
Thanks for the input; I've been satisfied with H&H shirts so far, but now I want to 'branch out' into higher-end English RTW shirts (thinking of Budd, H&K, N&L, T&A...) Perhaps I ought to cross H&K off my list.
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Carlos View Post
Quality has dipped a bit in recent years, IMO. I'd rank their work a bit below that of Harvie & Hudson, and well below that of Turnbull & Asser and others in that tier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
Seriously??

If so, that is very disappointing.

Harvie and Hudson (H&H) make nice shirts for the price that they charge. I have a few and quite like them, although their "standard" fit shirts are generous to the point of bagginess.

However, comparing my H&H and H&K shirts from a few years back, H&K win hands down. Fabric is nicer, collars and cuffs are unfused (whereas H&H has light fusing in the collar) and the collars and cuffs have a soft but springy feel to them. Buttons are decent MoP, too, whereas H&H's buttons are smaller, lower-quality slivers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Carlos View Post
For the record, H&H buttons are also MOP, though they are admittedly quite thin. That's always bugged me about their shirts, but it's a stylistic choice on their part and not a construction choice. I wouldn't describe their buttons as "lower quality." I'd just describe them as thinner.

Furthermore, a lot of the criteria you're laying out are highly subjective. Collar and cuff fusing? That's a personal preference, and not a tried-and-true indicator of quality one way or the other. Plenty of extremely nice shirts have collar and/or cuff fusing. Charvet, for example. And I don't think anyone in his right mind would claim Charvet doesn't make a top-quality shirt.

As for "the fabric feels nicer," well, again, we find ourselves in the realm of your subjective opinion. Who am I to say what does or does not feel nice to you?

At any rate, I wouldn't disagree that H&K circa 2005 or so is superior to H&H of the same timeframe. These days, I think H&H has surpassed H&K in construction quality. AFAIK, both source fabrics from the same mills, but admittedly, that's just conjecture on my part. Maybe someone out there knows for sure, one way or the other.


Perhaps my statement was open to misinterpretation, but I am well aware that H&H also uses MoP/troca but they use very thin buttons, hence my description of them as "slivers".

I have three H&H shirts from around 2005, and I have six H&K shirts bought over about ten years, the last being purchased three to four years ago.

I also have quite a few Charvet and Borrelli shirts, so I'm well aware that high-quality shirts can have fused collars. In my experience, however, the collars on my (unfused) H&K shirts and my (fused) Charvet and Borrelli shirts are lighter and "springier" (yes, a subjective judgement!) than the collars on my H&H shirts.

Ultimately, pretty much everything that we talk about on these fora is subjective, and personal opinion. One man's meat is another man's poison, de gustibus non est disputandem and all that. If we stopped talking about things because they are subjective, there wouldn't be very much discussion going on at all.

Anyway, if H&H have lifted their game, then that is great news and I applaud them for it.
If H&K have lowered their standards, then I am sad to hear it and that is very unfortunate. I'll have to check some of their recent shirts out when I'm in Tokyo in a couple of months' time.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izhitsa View Post
Thanks for the input; I've been satisfied with H&H shirts so far, but now I want to 'branch out' into higher-end English RTW shirts (thinking of Budd, H&K, N&L, T&A...) Perhaps I ought to cross H&K off my list.

Of the above, only Budd do I not own. I think that my H&K shirts are the best value of the lot; I agree that some others can be of a higher quality but this comes, of course, at a higher price. It's that whole law of diminishing returns thing that we see on threads about shoes...often small jumps up in quailty come at large jumps in price.

Recently I have purchased H&K shirts for everyday work wear and Emma Willis for smart casual wear. The Emma Willis are, IMO, superior but are they twice as good as the H&K? No, but I buy them because I like them and think they compare well to others at their price point.

I would advise you to try H&K as I am certain you will find them good value for money.
post #13 of 37
I find that the more recent the Hilditch & Key shirt, the least they last. The necks are wearing out really fast in the washing machine.

The older ones are still in very good shape, so my impression is that their quality is going down.

They are much better made than, for example Charles Tyrwhitt (in terms of buttons, matching patterns...), but those lately are lasting more. It is incredible but true...

It is sad for me, as I always wear them.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Carlos View Post
For the record, H&H buttons are also MOP, though they are admittedly quite thin. That's always bugged me about their shirts, but it's a stylistic choice on their part and not a construction choice. I wouldn't describe their buttons as "lower quality." I'd just describe them as thinner.

Sorry, but buttons with clearly visible defects on the backsides are indeed of lower quality... and of lower cost -- I suppose that's why H&H chose them.

Stylistic choice it is not.

Andrey
post #15 of 37
What is the level of quality today with H&K?
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