What I am tossing up between is:
- CT shirts at $45 a pop.
- MJ Bale shirts $48 a pop.
- Luxire shirts $60-$120 a pop.
- Rhodes and Beckett shirts $125 a pop.
- O&J $160 a pop.
- Herringbone shirts $180 a pop.
I am having real difficult tossing up between the first 4.
This white shirt from Luxire just seems too good to beat.
http://custom.luxire.com/collections/whites/products/lusterous-fine-white Whether it is MTM or just the standard OTR size. 2x140, Zambiata (what ever the fuck that means) and MOP buttons.
Ultimately, the best shirt for you will be whichever you feel fits you best, in the style that you prefer, at a price that you are willing to pay.
As an example, a colleague of mine only wears Rhodes & Beckett shirts as they fit his body shape very well and he likes the collar style and the colours. Therefore, even though it's possible to get other shirts more cheaply, he has no interest in trying as he's found his sweet spot - a shirt that fits well in a style that he likes, at a price that he's willing to pay.
Of course, deciding just what style you do actually like can take a bit of refining, and can also change over time. I used to like cutaway collars and French cuffs, but now I gravitate more towards either wide spread, or button-down collars and button cuffs.
I've had shirts from both Charles Tyrwhitt and Rhodes and Beckett in the past, and I find that the collars are a bit too hard or stiff for my tastes - I prefer a softer, unfused collar. However, that's purely a personal preference and some people like stiffer collars, particularly as they tend to stand up more when unbuttoned.
Just to throw another RTW name into the mix, you could have a look at TM Lewin, too. They're often viewed as being very similar to Charles Tyrwhitt, although some people say that their shirts are slightly better. I've never had a TM Lewin shirt, so I can't comment personally. I think that they now have a store in Sydney as well as shirts in DJs, so you could actually head along and have a look at the TM Lewin store, as well as looking at their website.
As has been noted above, there are several different factors that influence the way a fabric feels, but in general, the higher the thread count (2 x 100s, 2 x 120s etc), the finer and softer the fabric will feel, particularly in a poplin.
If you want a fabric that feels denser and more rigid, you might prefer a different weave, such as an oxford or a twill. Don't forget that, in addition to the classic oxford weave, there are also variants such as pinpoint oxford and royal oxford which can look dressier than a standard oxford cloth shirt. A white, or a light blue pinpoint oxford shirt can make an excellent dress shirt. I think that the best thing to do is to probably go and try on as many shirts as possible in lots of different types of fabric so as to see what you like most!