or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Custom shirts
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Custom shirts - Page 2

post #16 of 58
I thought banksmiranda's post was right on the money. I've included his post below because somehow all of banksmiranda's posts have disappeared. I'm currently on a quest for wonderfully crafted and fitting shirts. After shopping at both the Kiton and Borrelli stores, I am baffled that Robb Report gives Kiton and Borrelli the Best of RR awards for shirts. Both shirtmakers simply do not make bespoke shirts, which I define as requiring at least one fitting (in addition to the first visit in which measurements are taken). Made-to-measure shirts only involve the first visit for measurement-taking, and based on those first measurements, final shirts are made and delivered. While Borrelli and Kiton shirts are very well-crafted, because no fittings are done, they are not optimally cut to a unique individual's body, in my opinion. Here are synapses of my quest: Borrelli on 60th and Madison in NYC: You cannot get bespoke shirts here. You can get made-to-measure with a minimum 6-shirt order. A salesperson (not a tailor) took about 10 measurements of me. She then sent a sales slip with my measurements and fabric selections to Italy, and the shirts were made by seamstresses there. The ten shirts came back finished about eight weeks later. They fit decently around the chest but were too baggy at the waist. The stiching, particularly of the beautiful, thick mother of pearl buttons, was very well done. In one case, the lines of the sleeve did not meet up with those of the yoke. While the saleswoman was condescendingly explaining how I can't expect the lines to perfectly match, the store manager took over the situation and had the shirt redone. Overall, for $350 per shirt, the fit of the shirts should have been better. Kiton on Rue Marbeuf in Paris: Having bought "custom-made" Kiton shirts at Louis Boston, I knew that you could not get true bespoke Kiton shirts from there (nor at Barney's, Wilkes Bashford, etc.), only made-to-measure. However, I thought that at the only Kiton store in the world (though I believe one just opened up in NYC), I was sure that I could get bespoke. No dice. Even at the Kiton store, you can only get made-to-measure. I asked them if they could do a split yoke. No, they cannot. I asked them if they could place the button hole horizontally on the sleeve placket. No, they cannot. Robb Report, this is bespoke?. Ultimately, the salesman did say that they had less than 10 customers for whom they did do bespoke shirts involving fittings, but that it costs over Eur 1,000 per shirt. I decided not to order any shirts from the Kiton store. Charvet on Place Vendome in Paris: My best experience so far. You can get bespoke shirts here. On my first visit, a tailor (not a salesperson) took at least thirty measurements of me. About two weeks later, a muslin try-on shirt was made for me (no charge for this shirt.) It fit almost perfectly, but the tailor made several adjustments, and now they are making my first real shirt. I am currently waiting for this first shirt to arrive. They want me to wear it and wash it several times, and then if I'm happy, they'll continue with the order. I'm going to order 20 shirts from Charvet. Turnbull & Asser on 57th St in NYC: You can get bespoke shirts here with a minimum order of six. On my first visit, Simon, a salesperson who only deals with bespoke shirts, took about 10-15 measurements of me and then had me pick a fabric. T&A then sent the order to England, and my first shirt was made. T&A would not make a preliminary muslin shirt. Rather, I was required to buy the first shirt (about $350) and hope for the best. I received it about three weeks later, and it is amazingly ill-fitting. The fabric severely bunches up in the back of my neck, and overall the shirt is too loose. I still reserve judgment though. I'll go back to the store and be refitted, and ultimately the remaining five shirts in my order may be perfect. T&A also said that it would alter my first shirt. I would love to hear other members' experiences. Here is bankmiranda's original post: It seems that high-end stores try to sell "handmade" shirts using hand-detailing as a selling point. Kiton's shirts have extensive handwork and are very expensive, but are not in my opinion not particularly nice. Hand-attached collars, handrolled and handsewn bottom hem, and handsewn side seams are not necessarily superior to the same machinestitched features on other shirts. The hand insertion of certain shirt parts is probably nothing more than a clever advertsing gimmick. Why stitch the collar and/or sleeves by hand? If the thread is cut or snagged in just one place the entire attachment could come out within a few washings since hand stitches do not lock like a single needle machine stitch. I have a Kiton shirt, and even though I wash my shirt in the delicate cycle a few of the stitches used to attach the sleeve have come out. Some friends of mine seem to have the same problem with their Kiton shirts. Gussets also seem to be a gimmick. If a shirt won't stay in one piece without the help of a fold of fabric at the bottom of each side seam, it may not be worth buying in the first place. A bar tack would do the same job as a gusset. Hopefully the side seams and bottom hem are sewn such that their staying intact would not depend on having a gusset. The look of handsewn buttonholes is quite nice, but a well-sewn machine buttonhole is acceptable on a shirt(not the same, though, on suits). A hand rolled standard size shirt hem, just like the hem of a hand-rolled handkerchief, will be somewhat bulky. A hand folded machine-sewn hem will lay perfectly flat. Does the shirtmaker fit you until the fit is perfect(using muslin try-ons) and then make the shirts, or do you have to absorb the cost of the trial shirt(s)? Realistically, the cost of the fabric is no more than ~$80 per shirt, which is in the case of 200s cotton in 36" width, where a 3-yard length is necessary, but more realistically $25(100s cotton) - $35(170s cotton) per shirt. Buttons do not contribute significantly to the cost of the shirt. There is, of course, the matter of interfacing and thread. Whatever the case, if the materials cost is $35 for fabric, maybe $5 for buttons, $3 for interfacing, and very little for thread. This total is $43. The shirtmaker has to invest in a sewing machine, supplies such as pattern paper and cutting tools, and pay trained seamsters?/seamstresses to assemble the shirt. So why pay $495 for an off-the-rack Kiton shirt? Or $345 for a Borrelli, or when ordered made-to-measure, a minimum of 6 without a trial shirt? Brioni's shirts have no handstitching. Borrelli shirts have hand-attached collars, handsewn buttonholes, buttons sewn on by hand, sleeves closed by hand, and handsewn bartacks on the sleeve plackets. Fray has sleeves closed by hand and, I think, buttons attached by hand. Marol has handsewn buttonholes. Barba is virtually identical to Borrelli. Charvet, Lorenzini and Turnbull and Asser have virtually no handsewn features, but are very nice shirts. It seems that handmade is a term to distinguish an item as cut and sewn by a person as opposed to cutting en masse by a machine. A number of salespeople in high-end stores like Neiman Marcus advocate having shirts laundered. Doing the laundry at home is not a very difficult task, and would ensure that they are being treated properly and therefore last longer. Here is some information from Alex Kabbaz on how shirts should be washed and why they should not be dry-cleaned:
post #17 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
After shopping at both the Kiton and Borrelli stores, I am baffled that Robb Report gives Kiton and Borrelli the Best of RR awards for shirts.  Both shirtmakers simply do not make bespoke shirts, which I define as requiring at least one fitting (in addition to the first visit in which measurements are taken).  Made-to-measure shirts only involve the first visit for measurement-taking, and based on those first measurements, final shirts are made and delivered. While Borrelli and Kiton shirts are very well-crafted, because no fittings are done, they are not optimally cut to a unique individual's body, in my opinion.  Here are synapses of my quest: Borrelli on 60th and Madison in NYC: You cannot get bespoke shirts here.  You can get made-to-measure with a minimum 6-shirt order.  A salesperson (not a tailor) took about 10 measurements of me.  She then sent a sales slip with my measurements and fabric selections to Italy, and the shirts were made by seamstresses there.  The ten shirts came back finished about eight weeks later.  They fit decently around the chest but were too baggy at the waist.  The stiching, particularly of the beautiful, thick mother of pearl buttons, was very well done.  In one case, the lines of the sleeve did not meet up with those of the yoke.  While the saleswoman was condescendingly explaining how I can't expect the lines to perfectly match, the store manager took over the situation and had the shirt redone.  Overall, for $350 per shirt, the fit of the shirts should have been better. Kiton on Rue Marbeuf in Paris: Having bought "custom-made" Kiton shirts at Louis Boston, I knew that you could not get true bespoke Kiton shirts from there (nor at Barney's, Wilkes Bashford, etc.), only made-to-measure.  However, I thought that at the only Kiton store in the world (though I believe one just opened up in NYC), I was sure that I could get bespoke.  No dice.  Even at the Kiton store, you can only get made-to-measure. I asked them if they could do a split yoke. No, they cannot.  I asked them if they could place the button hole horizontally on the sleeve placket.  No, they cannot.  Robb Report, this is bespoke?. Ultimately, the salesman did say that they had less than 10 customers for whom they did do bespoke shirts involving fittings, but that it costs over Eur 1,000 per shirt.  I decided not to order any shirts from the Kiton store. Charvet on Place Vendome in Paris: My best experience so far.  You can get bespoke shirts here.  On my first visit, a tailor (not a salesperson) took at least thirty measurements of me.  About two weeks later, a muslin try-on shirt was made for me (no charge for this shirt.)  It fit almost perfectly, but the tailor made several adjustments, and now they are making my first real shirt.  I am currently waiting for this first shirt to arrive.  They want me to wear it and wash it several times, and then if I'm happy, they'll continue with the order.  I'm going to order 20 shirts from Charvet. Turnbull & Asser on 57th St in NYC: You can get bespoke shirts here with a minimum order of six.  On my first visit, Simon, a salesperson who only deals with bespoke shirts, took about 10-15 measurements of me and then had me pick a fabric.  T&A then sent the order to England, and my first shirt was made.  T&A would not make a preliminary muslin shirt.  Rather, I was required to buy the first shirt (about $350) and hope for the best.  I received it about three weeks later, and it is amazingly ill-fitting.  The fabric severely bunches up in the back of my neck, and overall the shirt is too loose.  I still reserve judgment though.  I'll go back to the store and be refitted, and ultimately the remaining five shirts in my order may be perfect.  T&A also said that it would alter my first shirt. I would love to hear other members' experiences.
Mr. Cherrytree, it's neat that you are sharing your experiences with us. Yes, I am also baffled RR's worship of Kiton and Borrelli.  Sure, they make nice products, but to constantly use superlatives when talking of Kiton and Borrelli?  They(RR) said in the 2003 Best of the Best issue that Borrelli makes shirts "using the finest cottons with a thread count of 200 or higher."  Well, they're referring to 200s cotton, which is the highest.   Nothing higher exists(yet, at least).  Additionally, it is not thread count by which shirt fabrics are graded.  200s means that 200 meters of the yarn twisted together equals 1 gram. RR also said that "the pioneering Italian shirtmaker applies as many as nine hand-sewn details"”including its widely copied three-point crow's-foot stitch for attaching buttons."  Well, I have an Italian friend in her 60s who said that the three-point crows-foot stitch has been commonly used all over Italy for a long time.  Sometimes Robb Report will write whatever it hears without checking facts.  Many things like hand sewn details and three point crows foot stitches for the buttons are marketing gimmicks which menswear writers, salespeople and even customers will mindlessly repeat.  People ask which companies' garments are of good quality; they neglect to examine the garments themselves.  Quality is whatever you like.  Examine garments carefully.  You will develop a taste of what is a nice, high-quality garment in your own eyes.  I have come to like certain features of many different garments.  I would definitely prefer bespoke, but in ready-to-wear shirts I prefer the construction of Charvet and Marol.  Styling is secondary, in my eyes, when it comes to overall quality of a garment since styling can be changed, but the method of assembling a garment varies by manufacturer. On the Borrelli stripe/pattern matching, I noticed that on many of their ready-to-wear shirts they neglect to even match the stripes on the sleeve placket with those on the sleeve.  Most shirtmakers match up the stripes/patterns.  Charvet, Kiton, Fray and Marol all match their patterns very well.   Salespeople really have to sell their merchandise because so much capital is tied up in it.  Where clothiers use to regularly make custom garments for everyone now comparatively few people get custom clothes.  Tailors everywhere used to be very skilled in patternmaking.  Now a salesperson at a menswear store will take a few measurements and send the data to a shirtmaker who makes a few changes to a stock pattern and makes a shirt from that.  Usually it is the store that profits quite a bit from the whole experience, with the shirtmaker making a modest sum.  The customer ends up with something between a ready-to-wear shirt and a bespoke, but definitely a lighter wallet. I must say, the made to measure programs are not nearly as comprehensive as custom/bespoke programs as one has a few options for collar, cuff, center placket, pocket/no pocket, and back pleating/gathering style.  Traditional custom or bespoke allows a customer to request most anything, from the aforementioned choices to a split yoke(I especially perfer split yoke on striped fabrics, where the yoke can be sewn such that the stripes form a chevron pattern), curved or straight bottom hem, horizontal buttonhole on sleeve placket, side slits, horizontal bottom buttonhole on center placket, one wrist/cuff wider to accomodate a watch, etc.  Geneva Custom Shirts in NYC charges $175 and up for a true custom shirt, even allowing the customer to design the collar, from style to collar height.  Geneva has no minimum. I am especially interested in Charvet.  Please be sure to keep us updated on your bespoke shirt experiences.
post #18 of 58
Quote:
Borrelli on 60th and Madison in NYC: You cannot get bespoke shirts here.  You can get made-to-measure with a minimum 6-shirt order.  A salesperson (not a tailor) took about 10 measurements of me.  She then sent a sales slip with my measurements and fabric selections to Italy, and the shirts were made by seamstresses there.  The ten shirts came back finished about eight weeks later.  They fit decently around the chest but were too baggy at the waist.  The stiching, particularly of the beautiful, thick mother of pearl buttons, was very well done.  In one case, the lines of the sleeve did not meet up with those of the yoke.  While the saleswoman was condescendingly explaining how I can't expect the lines to perfectly match, the store manager took over the situation and had the shirt redone.  Overall, for $350 per shirt, the fit of the shirts should have been better. Kiton on Rue Marbeuf in Paris: Having bought "custom-made" Kiton shirts at Louis Boston, I knew that you could not get true bespoke Kiton shirts from there (nor at Barney's, Wilkes Bashford, etc.), only made-to-measure.  However, I thought that at the only Kiton store in the world (though I believe one just opened up in NYC), I was sure that I could get bespoke.  No dice.  Even at the Kiton store, you can only get made-to-measure. I asked them if they could do a split yoke. No, they cannot.  I asked them if they could place the button hole horizontally on the sleeve placket.  No, they cannot.  Robb Report, this is bespoke?. Ultimately, the salesman did say that they had less than 10 customers for whom they did do bespoke shirts involving fittings, but that it costs over Eur 1,000 per shirt.  I decided not to order any shirts from the Kiton store.
If you got measured by Michelle at the Borrelli store, you really shouldn't be complaining about anything. If you want custom Kiton, you'll have to go to the Kiton Custom shop on the 2nd floor of Bergdorf Goodman.
post #19 of 58
banksmiranda, great point on the thread count. A 200 thread count cotton is your basic bed sheet. RR should know better than that. Like you noted, what RR should have said is 200s. Another problem still exists even when one says 200s. Typically, 200s means an English Count of 200 [200 hanks (1 hank = 840 yards) of yarn in one pound]. But you can also mean metric count, which was your definition (200 meters of yarn in one gram). It's unnecessarily confusing. The problem is that a marketer can say that the cotton is 200s (metric) when in fact under the more common English count system it is a 170s. (1 Ne = 1.181 Nm, 1 Nm = 0.847 Ne). Of course, a 170 English count is still a great cotton. I noticed in the November 2002 Robb Report that the writer makes the same thread-count mistake, "Kiton's basic shirt is made of a 200-thread-count cotton fabric..." There's also another quote in reference to Borrelli that suggests a lack of understanding by RR. The author writes "...Borrelli, which offers the finest Egyptian, Swiss, and Italian cottons, as well as a rare Sakellaridis cotton with a thread count of 200." Not only is there again the "thread count" definitional mistake, but Sakellaridis cotton is rare because it is a poor quality cotton compared to today's Gizas. Egyptian farmers don't grow Sakellaridis because it's worth much less than Giza. Around 50 years ago, Sakellaridis was the best variety of Egyptian cotton, but it's been replaced by the much better Giza (and to a less degree, Maarad) strains.
post #20 of 58
My God, I'm even confusing myself on the different yarn count measures. There are three cotton count types: English count: (# of 840 yds in one pound) Metric count: (# of meters in a 1/2 gram) French metric count: (# of meters in one gram) English counts are higher than metric counts. My prior example should have been an English Count 200s equals a metric count 170s. 100 English count = 84.7 metric count = 169.4 French metric count
post #21 of 58
Thread Starter 
Cherrytree is right.  I thought the exact thing when I read the RR articles - don't they know that a basic bedsteet is 200 thread count, and why don't they then make shirts from bedsheets ?  The thread count across the warp and weft will be different.  The warp may be 190 threads per inch and weft may be 95 threads per inch.  I wonder how they weave bedsheets at such high thread counts.  Are bed sheets made from 2-ply yarns?  I know that with voile they weave a lower thread count, hence the sheer effect.  If they weave shirt fabric with a very high thread count of 2-ply yarns then it would tend to "bulk up," a reputed custom shirtmaker has told me. Yes, sadly yarn numbers(though the salespeople call it thread count) for shirt fabric and micron numbers for woolens have become the main basis by which fabrics are judged.
post #22 of 58
While yarn numbers, or cotton counts, are not everything, I wish it were easier to get this information for shirting fabrics. One can always get the microns, or the Super-XXX equivalent #, for suit wools, but it's difficult to get yarn sizes for cotton. I've looked through many cotton shirting swatches, and this information never seems available. I thought it may be helpful to give what I believe are the important considerations for cotton quality. Yarn size, yarn count, yarn number, cotton count They all mean the same thing and are a measure of the fineness (thinness) of cotton. Typically, it is measured using the English count method, which measures the number of hanks (840 yards) in a pound of the cotton. The higher the number, the finer the cotton. For instance, with 150s, a very high quality cotton, 150 means that a pound of the thread would measure 126,000 yards (150 x 840). 200s are the finest cottons I've seen. Blue jeans are made with 13s and 20s. The grading system for cottons (e.g., 80s, 150s, etc.) is completely different from that used for for wools (e.g., Super 100s, Super 150s) even though the numeric values are close. Single ply or two ply. Yarn made by twisting two cotton strands is called two ply cotton. Yarn that is simply a single strand of cotton is single-ply, or singles. Two-ply is generally better as it is smoother, stronger, and more uniform than singles. It is important to be sure that it is two-ply in both directions (weft and warp). Typically, singles will be marked with the letter s, such as 100s. A two-ply yarn will be designated with a 2 after the yarn size, e.g., 100/2 means that a 50-weight yarn is being made with two 100s. Often though, one will say the cotton is two-ply 100s, which is the same as 100/2. Length of cotton Egyptian, Sea Island and Pima are ELS (extra-long staple) cottons that range from 1 3/8 inches to 2 1/2 inches. They are all derived from the seed gossypium barbadense. The greater the length of the cotton, the smoother and more comfortable the fabric feels. Egyptian Giza and Sea Island cottons are considered the best, but in most cases Sea Island does not truly come from the West Indies, but rather is a generic name used for the g. barbadense seed. An Egyptian extra-long staple 60s cotton will feel better than a long-staple 80s. Thread count (don't use this measure) This is the most bogus of all characteristics assigned to cotton. Thread count refers to the number of single yarns stuffed in a square inch of the cotton fabric, including both the warp (lengthwise) yarns and the weft (crosswise) yarns. This is a function of both the yarn size and the sewing technique. Thread count is typically used in classifying bed sheets. It really never is used when classifying shirting fabrics, although the term is frequently misapplied to shirting fabrics (e.g., Robb Report). To give a sense of how thread count relates to yarn size, a 200 thread count sheet uses single-ply 40s cotton.
post #23 of 58
I had an absolutely wonderful experience at Hamilton in Houston. Fun little trivia, Hamilton has been making shirts longer than T&A. Anyways, I went in the store and was immediately well received and picked out my favorite swatches from over 600. The helpful saleswoman was keen to my tastes and helped make suggestions. Then the tailor came out and put on a trial shirt, took plenty of measurements, although the trial shirt fit me pretty darn well. He noted what the shirts purposes were for (14 hour workdays ) and we both decided it would be best to err on the side of comfort for the collar. The minimum order is 4, I ended up ordering five. You have to pay for the first trial shirt, but it is 100% guaranteed, if you are unhappy at the first fitting you can cancel your order at no cost. So after three weeks of my first visit I came in for the first trial fitting. They had prewashed the shirt and it fit immaculately. No alterations were necessary. I came back in three weeks to pick up my final order. All in all I could not be happier. All the different swatches were priced differently but I did order a couple of their higher end "Kent" cloths, a sea island fabric, and some more durable (read: inexpensive ) fabrics. The average shirt price came out to just over $250/shirt. I wore one of these the other day and I have never experienced such comfort all over, in the neck it was if I could not feel my tie. I highly suggest Hamilton to everyone. See this months Men's Vogue for a good article.
post #24 of 58
Heh, at least the spammer pulled up a gem of a thread. Since it's back, I might as well raise my question here instead of starting a new thread. Is CMT as common in shirtmaking as in suitmaking? I am going to visit a shirtmaker here tomorrow and wonder if it's even worth bringing up as a question. I'll need to look into it, but there's a good chance that fabric quality that I'll get here won't really be up to snuff. Tom
post #25 of 58
Good question, Id like to buy enough fabric to make 10-15 white comfortable "workhorse" shirts. I simply don't want to pay 200/shirt. Any thoughts?
post #26 of 58
Every NY shirtmaker that I have used accepts COM (customer's own material). I can't say how widespread the practice is, but if I were you I certainly wouldn't hesitate to ask.
post #27 of 58
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbjones View Post
Good question, Id like to buy enough fabric to make 10-15 white comfortable "workhorse" shirts. I simply don't want to pay 200/shirt. Any thoughts?


I've never done it, and would hesitate for the following reason: unlike wool suitings, cotton shirtings have to be washed a lot. Part of your maker's expertise (if he really has any) will therefore involve making the correct allowance for shrinkage. Harder to do if it's cloth you've never seen before.
post #29 of 58
Jesus Christ! How old is this thread?

Jon.
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concordia View Post
I've never done it, and would hesitate for the following reason: unlike wool suitings, cotton shirtings have to be washed a lot. Part of your maker's expertise (if he really has any) will therefore involve making the correct allowance for shrinkage. Harder to do if it's cloth you've never seen before.

If you don't know how the cloth responds to shrinkage, get an additional 1/4 yard or so. The shirtmaker will then wash the cloth a couple of times before cutting. That will suck most of the shrinkage out.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Custom shirts