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Questions on Quality!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I think it's a fair assessment to make that most people on this forum value quality and fit above all else. I was just wondering: 1) How do you judge the quality of a dress shirt? 2) How do you judge the quality of a tie? I find ties especially hard to judge. For shirts, it's a little difficult before washing them a dozen times. I don't know if there is necessarily a step by step process like choosing melons at the grocery store, but what are some things I should watch out for?
post #2 of 5
For shirts, it's the feel of the fabric--I can always get a tailor to improve the fit.
The tie is solely on the look of it. Unfortunately, the expensive handmade ones always look the best.
post #3 of 5
I think I'm going to commit some major heresies here . . . but what the heck, it's late on a Saturday night.

In my mind, quality can be an aesthetic unto itself, while in other ways quality can add significantly to the general aesthetic to a garment. A perfect example of this can be seen in high-end watches. There is no doubt that a high-end Swiss movement is a mark of quality; however, even an incredible Swiss movement has trouble keeping time as well as a cheap quartz movement. Nevertheless, people will pay a significant premium for the mechanical movement because it is a quality aesthetic unto itself. It doesn't make the watch function better.

For me, ties are all about how they look when combined with my other clothes. The first thing I look at is the fabric as color and pattern are the most important things to me. I don't care how well a tie is made if I think it is ugly. The next most important thing is how it knots. Construction is very important here (as well as the fabric), but one type of construction is not best for all knots. I tie most of my ties in a FIH or a Shelby knot (looks like a Windsor, but at half-Windsor size). Some of my ties make great FIH but not good Shelby Knots.

My suggestion is to find quality that works for you. Go to a shop that has good ties. Try your knot(s) with a 7-fold and some double-four folds with different linings. See how they knot and how they drape. Then simply go with what you think looks best on you.

I will say, that with ties I don't pay much attention to how the quality impacts the longevity of the tie, because I will usually irreparably stain or snag it before it has a chance to wear out or unravel.

I approach shirts in much the same way. First I look at fabric. Do I like the look and feel? How does it drape? Then, the most important thing to me is pattern matching. Does the pattern match on the yoke, pocket, plackets, side seams? Look at the stitching. Does it pucker? I happened to like shell buttons and button shanks which are an indication of quality because of the cost, but I have seen them on poorly made shirts. Again, go to a store with a wide variety of shirts and you'll quickly be able to see the differences in quality among them. Importantly, with regard to shirts, quality definitely impacts function, it's not just for show. Well-built shirts tend to move better and hold up better after washing (with exceptions for some high-end, but delicate fabrics).

I'll part with one last comment and that is quality is not a substitute for fit. A great shirt that doesn't fit is only a great shirt on the hanger. Many a time I've walked down Jermyn Street drooling at the window displays knowing that a purchase would be a waste of money unless I went bespoke because typical English cuts look terrible on me.

Rolo
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by nelly
I think it's a fair assessment to make that most people on this forum value quality and fit above all else. I was just wondering:

1) How do you judge the quality of a dress shirt?

2) How do you judge the quality of a tie?


I find ties especially hard to judge. For shirts, it's a little difficult before washing them a dozen times. I don't know if there is necessarily a step by step process like choosing melons at the grocery store, but what are some things I should watch out for?

As with any garment, knowing the maker and the maker's method of production can sometimes determine whether or not the shirt is of high quality. For instance, anyone who knows anything about fine men's clothing knows that a Kiton or a Brioni produced shirt is going to be arguably the best money can buy.

Personally, I judge the quality of a dress shirt based on several factors:

- Fit; how well does the garment drape?
- Material; what kind of fabric is the shirt made from? How does the fabric feel? Does it if have a texture? If it's Sea Island Cotton, the quality is going to be very good. If the fabric feels soft and untreated chemically, the quality is excellent. If it has a soft texture to it, than I know it's of good quality.
- Handwork; is anything handstitched? If so, this definitely steps the quality up to par.
- Buttons; does it have MoP or plastic? If the latter, I know the quality is going to be sub-par.

For ties, the quality can be somewhat difficult to judge. For me personally, I find most ties feel the same, but the quality depends entirely on:

- Fabric; is it cotton or is it silk? Silk should be 100% and no blends, and the same for cotton. If it's not 100%, it's not worth your money.
- Knot; how easily does the tie form a knot? The best ties will arguably produce an excellent knot.

So to sum it up, quality is defined by the details. The more the better.
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by cme0716
A Quality Tie And I Am Talking Of Ties That Are 75. And Up. The Neck Of The Tie Will Be Made In 3 Sections Not 2. The Lining Will Be The Same As The Tie Or A Complimentary Fabric, Not Solid Black, Blue Etc. Silk Will Be Woven Not Printed And The Same For Polyester. I Have Seen Some Excellent Ties That Are Polyester They Actually Look And Feel Like Silk. A Polyester Tie Will Give You A Fatter Knot, Silk Gives A Narrower Knot. I Understand That On A Very Expensive Tie Like Hermes Or Vuitton Gucci Etc.you Can Reach Up Between The Lining And Fabric And There Should Be Thread That You Can Actually Pull Up To Gather The Tie. I Believe This Is Done To Keep The Shape When You Are Tying It. Also, You Never, Never Wash A Tie, Press Or Dry Clean. If You Are Going To Start A Tie Collection And Buy Expensive Ties That Will Last You For Eons You Must Take Care Of Them Properly. Either Hang Or Roll Them And Put Them In A Tie Box. Find A Cleaners That Know How To Clean Ties Proplerly. My Cleaners Steams And Uses A Mohair Brush To Clean Them. Most Ties Only Need To Be Spot Wiped. I Hope This Helps

This is the longest book title I've ever seen!
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