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The OneShirt: A Phoenix from the Ashes [4/24/13 UPDATE: A SHIRTMAKER, AN ENGLISHMAN, CHAMBRAY,...

post #1 of 1166
Thread Starter 
My Matuozzo shirts are truly on their last legs. I can no longer wear them into a work environment without feeling conspicuously sprezzed out. The fraying has reached catastrophic levels. The collar and cuff edges are fully worn through to the interlining and some shirts are even fully worn through where the collar folds over.

So, I'm taking the opportunity to embark on a new project. Since I'm changing shirtmakers (largely because I can't justify Matuozzo-level prices to myself anymore), I figure now is a good time to re-think my entire approach to shirting. Sacred cows will be slaughtered.

Like the OneShoe, there will be a OneShirt. Similarly, it will not be absolutely monolithic, but will certainly play a dominant, foundational role in my wardrobe.

My present state of thinking on the concept:

1. Light blue chambray cloth
2. Spread collar
3. Single cuffs (yes, you read that right)
4. No front placket
5. No gauntlet buttons
6. No back pleats
7. Back darts

The second and third elements are somewhat up for debate, though more the latter than the former. The only other collar I'd consider is a buttondown, but I'm not all that confident in cajoling Geneva to make me one that is just right. Also, it's less versatile to me, as the OneShirt would be worn with a tie and jacket ninety percent of the time. As for the cuffs: I am partial to links as I generally find well-fitting barrel cuffs too constricting, yet interested in something lighter than a double (French) cuff. I understand the single cuff is associated with formal wear, but I'm not sure it can't be adapted to daily business dress. I'm probably convinced one way or another on the matter, but please feel free to opine.

Here's the real lynchpin: if someone can convince me that Geneva is capable of making an ideal buttondown collar with a bell-shaped roll, and can instruct me on how to instruct them, I will be very, very tempted to go that route. In that event, the linked cuffs will have to go altogether, and I'll switch to rounded barrel cuffs. Incidentally, such a shirt would replace my somewhat-but-not-entirely-successful modified OCBD from Brooks Brothers MTM. An added benefit.

In any event, a spread-collared shirt (with linked cuffs) will be essential at one point. I will probably add a blue-and-white bengal stripe and a large gingham to the foundational chambray. If I wind up doing the chambray in a buttondown collar, I may add a light blue end-on-end to the spread-collared assortment. No more small checks or graph paper for me.

There it is. Thoughts?
post #2 of 1166
Do you have a particular chambray in mind already?

I understand the reasoning behind the single cuff, but for me it's just a bridge too far with a blue chambray shirt. You wouldn't rather just make your BCs a little looser if you find them uncomfortable?

On Geneva BDs, I will try and post mine later and you can see what you think. My instructions to them entailed just showing them a picture of ET's buttondown and asking for a copy:

post #3 of 1166
Thread Starter 
The chambray is in the mail already.

I can't stand loose barrel cuffs. They look terrible.

ET's collar looks fine in that photo (the points might be a tad long), but I'd need to see it with a tie. That's the true test.
post #4 of 1166

I'm with you except on points 4 and 5. For me at least, the sleeve placket button is helpful for keeping stray armhair from showing. If you don't have that problem, then I guess it isn't necessary. I find the lack of a front blacket to be odd looking, but that could just be because I am not used to seeing them.

post #5 of 1166
There I can't really help you. I like the way mine look no-tie (which is almost always how I wear BDs) but don't think they're really ideal for wearing with a tie. You can decide for yourself though, here's mine:

http://ivorytowerstyle.tumblr.com/image/36826257031
post #6 of 1166
Geneva discourages the front placket. I think the reason is mostly so that cleaners won't screw it up.. I went along with this for my original orders, but I think I will get a placket in the future. If you are confident in your cleaner or do your own and trust yourself with it, I think the placket suits a more textured shirt well.
post #7 of 1166
Thread Starter 
Eh. That roll doesn't do it for me. I'm looking for a distinctly bell-shaped roll, that is neither too tall nor too squat.

Supposedly, Mercer buttondowns are closest to the ideal these days, but they seem inconsistent from person to person. I often see people raving about the rolls on their Mercers (and other buttondown collars) when there is no roll to speak of. My own example from Mercer has essentially zero roll, so I can't really show it to Geneva as a reference.
post #8 of 1166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

Geneva discourages the front placket. I think the reason is mostly so that cleaners won't screw it up.. I went along with this for my original orders, but I think I will get a placket in the future. If you are confident in your cleaner or do your own and trust yourself with it, I think the placket suits a more textured shirt well.

Nah. I don't see it as a question of fabric choice--I just hate plackets.
post #9 of 1166
I think the extra design "clutter" of the placket makes it somewhat more informal. So I like to have no placket on my white dress shirts and light blue broadcloth, but oxford cloth and the like make more sense to me with plackets. But I don't think there's necessarily a right or wrong to it, it's a minor detail, often covered by the tie anyway, that can just be left to personal preference.
post #10 of 1166
One other consideration - do you have single cuff shirts already? If you're planning to wear the links you use for French cuffs, they may be too spread and not close the cuff enough. I have single cuffs on my evening shirt and use snap links on it to avoid this problem. At the least, if you haven't tried this style yet, maybe start out with one and see how it works before ordering a whole batch.
post #11 of 1166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

One other consideration - do you have single cuff shirts already? If you're planning to wear the links you use for French cuffs, they may be too spread and not close the cuff enough. I have single cuffs on my evening shirt and use snap links on it to avoid this problem. At the least, if you haven't tried this style yet, maybe start out with one and see how it works before ordering a whole batch.

My dinner shirt has single cuffs and I wear it with my regular chained links. Granted, the pique facing thickens them quite a bit, so that makes a difference.
post #12 of 1166
How were the Matuozzo shirts handled, dry cleaning, commercial laundering or home washed? What was the shirting and how many cycles did they endure before visible fraying?
post #13 of 1166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenon View Post

How were the Matuozzo shirts handled, dry cleaning, commercial laundering or home washed? What was the shirting and how many cycles did they endure before visible fraying?

Always machine-washed at home, in lingerie bags, on the gentle cycle. Hung dry and hand ironed.

Early signs of fraying could be seen by the fifth or sixth cycle. By the twentieth wearing, the collars and cuffs were badly enough frayed that most people would have considered the shirts unwearable and in need of repair. I soldiered on in denial. Clearly, Riva shirting is not made to withstand being worn more than once a month.

That said, it's worth noting that the hand-stitching has all held up perfectly. I'm really astonished by the quality of the workmanship. If I could do it all over again, I would just make sure to supply my own non-Italian shirting.
post #14 of 1166
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Always machine-washed at home, in lingerie bags, on the gentle cycle. Hung dry and hand ironed.

Early signs of fraying could be seen by the fifth or sixth cycle. By the twentieth wearing, the collars and cuffs were badly enough frayed that most people would have considered the shirts unwearable and in need of repair. I soldiered on in denial. Clearly, Riva shirting is not made to withstand being worn more than once a month.

That said, it's worth noting that the hand-stitching has all held up perfectly. I'm really astonished by the quality of the workmanship. If I could do it all over again, I would just make sure to supply my own non-Italian shirting.

I would expect €300+ shirts last longer than that. Or maybe their clothes stay better with dry-cleaning?
post #15 of 1166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onix View Post

I would expect €300+ shirts last longer than that. Or maybe their clothes stay better with dry-cleaning?

Why would you expect more expensive stuff to last longer? Especially in shirting, you pay more for finer, softer cloth that is also more delicate. I knew there would be a trade-off, I just didn't know how big it would be. In fact, back when I first visited Matuozzo, I also saw Battistoni in Rome. The former told me Riva shirting would last ten years of regular use. Battistoni told me two years, at most. I went with the longer estimate to make myself feel better. Sadly, it turns out Battistoni was right on the mark.

Dry-cleaning would be far worse. You should never dry-clean your shirts.
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Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › The OneShirt: A Phoenix from the Ashes [4/24/13 UPDATE: A SHIRTMAKER, AN ENGLISHMAN, CHAMBRAY, AND FIRE]