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Alexander Kabbaz shirts

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Steve B., May 31, 2004.

  1. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    In a word: Yes. Many of you remember Alex, who posted frequently back around the New Year, and educated us all (along with Shirtmaven) about the finer points of dress and custom dress shirts. I was fortunate enough to acquire a couple of fitting samples from Alex a month or so ago and wanted to report on my experience. I've owned a lot of great quality shirts from most of the big names: Zegna (including Napoli Couture), Borrelli, Kiton, Fray, Charvet, Borrelli, Brioni, Lorenzini, Turnbull and Asser, Canali, Armani, Ike Behar, Robert Talbott. I've purchased them mostly RTW, but have had MTM and custom as well. They all pale in comparison to these Kabbaz shirts. The shirts IMO are demonstrably superior to any others I've owned. Pretty remarkable given that they're fitting samples, which Alex chose after I sent him my measurements, and I didn't get the yoke measurement right. The shirts are solid white and solid black. The fabric on both is an outstandingly soft broadcloth- the white (according to Alex) "nothing special" and the black "a nice 140s". The stitching is perfect; incredibly small and precise done on a machine. Sturdy, too- no way this shirt is ever coming unstitched. No gussets- with such precise stitching they aren't needed. Firmly anchored, cross stitched buttons, medium width, same color throughout the button. Extra button with hole at the bottom to help keep shirt tail together. The cuffs are made for cuff links, but with a single rather than double cuff. The positioning of the aperture is 2/3 toward the bottom of the shirt (sort of the reverse of Borrelli) to showcase the cuff links. Also much better IMO for fitting under a suit or sport coat. Fit, and Alex's house style, is closer to the body, but it's not constricting, even for a big guy like me. You notice that the shirts fits tighter than other shirts, but in a reassuring, not restricting way. The finest feature for me is the collar. Finely fused, substantial- but still soft and comfortable. Medium spread, longer points, stays are long and thin. I REALLY like the double, slightly staggered collar buttons, which make it fit PERFECTLY, especially with a tie. No more fidgeting all day and readjusting the tie and collar. It's locked down exactly the way I want it as soon as I pull the knot tight. Obviously, I highly recommend Kabbaz shirts to those of you who are interested. I hope to see his shop the next time I'm on Long Island, and look forward to being fitted by Alex personally (if I don't spend my cookie jar funds on shoes first) [​IMG]
     
  2. bigbadbuff

    bigbadbuff Senior member

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    how about an idea of pricing?
     
  3. pchong

    pchong Member

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    thanks...how about some pictures?
     
  4. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Senior member

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  5. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    How would they compare to Anna Matouzzo?
     
  6. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Senior member

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    Two different schools - Matuozzo = Neapolitan style, Kabbaz = purely custom house. One thing in common - both use excellent fabrics.
     
  7. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Sheepish admission: I don't have a digital camera. But I will try to arrange something. [​IMG]
     
  8. Alias

    Alias Senior member

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    Thanks for the review. The price is still a bit steep in my opinion, but then again, he's not the only one charging that much for a shirt.

    In other news, my arms seem to have mysteriously shrunk in length. I wonder if this has anything to do with my weightlifting.
     
  9. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Senior member

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    I recently met the owner of an old tailoring firm.  He said that the fewer clients a firm has, the greater the cost to each customer.  This may be especially true for those based in large cities, where overhead costs are high.  However, true custom houses may have difficulty serving a very large number of clients because of the amount of work that goes into outfitting each client.  Yet they must have enough clients such that their prices fit somewhere within the range of "market" prices so they can remain competitive.  Some Savile Row firms have added RTW offerings for this reason - RTW supports their custom offerings.
    True artisans must charge whatever they must to make enough to justify spending their time doing what they are.  If they are dedicated to the craft and passionate about what they are doing then money should not be an issue.  Concerns(worries) about money should not be on their minds.  Otherwise how can they properly do the task at hand? A shirtmaker must charge enough to recoup material costs and employees' labor costs and to make a "profit" which is equal to what he thinks his time spent making shirts instead of doing something else is worth.
     
  10. ken

    ken Senior member

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    Doubt it. Probably your shoulders are a bit broader and your arms stick out a bit more, which will cause more of the sleeve length to be used up in the shoulder/tricep area and therefore seem shorter.

    Oh yeah, and any shirt that costs $400 American is overpriced unless it gets you chicks EVERY time you wear it.
     
  11. FCS

    FCS Senior member

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    Steve, did you pay full regular prices / discounted prices /  get them as free samples?
     
  12. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    Steve - I am truly blushing. Thank you very much.
    Alex

    P.S. FCS - That's an awfully gosh inquiry. How unlike you. Nonetheless, Steve and I bartered. There really aren't that many of us in the upscale end of the men's clothing business and it is just easier that way.
     
  13. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Senior member

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    Great to "hear" your voice back on StyleForum, Mr. Kabbaz.
     
  14. FIHTies

    FIHTies Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Of course you dont have a digital camera... How can you afford one, paying close to 500 bucks on a shirt... Pardon me if my typing is off, I am still a little dizzy and my nose keeps bleeds periodically from Andrews post of his trip to NY and something about 10K for a pair of shoes...
     
  15. regularjoe

    regularjoe Senior member

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    What the user, ken, said.

    Also, don't forget, you're probably broadening your back and chest area in addition to your shoulder. I hope your suits have room to let out....
     
  16. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    $475 for a shirt is way too much. MTM / bespoke T&A shirts (from the NYC store) start at about $290. I find that a bit more reasonable, but it is still way too high.

    The best way to purchase shirts in my opinion (without diving into the trial and error territory of Jantzen) is to buy shirts from H&K's sale by mail (they fit me quite well, but your mileage may vary), for around $125 each (depending on the Euro to Dollar ratio, of course), and have your tailor alter the sides of the shirt and length of the sleeves, which should run another $35.

    Will it be bespoke? No. Will it be MTM? No, but close. Plus, all the patterns match; the shirts have single-needle stitching, and real shell buttons (and unlike T&A, the buttons don't fall off), plus the standard H&K fabric is nicer and silkier than what T&A uses in their MTM shirts.

    So for a total of around $160, I can have a shirt that would cost about twice as much with T&A. Yes, I understand it is not bespoke (does anyone know how much H&K charges for a MTM / bespoke shirt?), but I rather have 3 shirts for $480 than one shirt for $475. Of course, that's just me.

    Jon.
     
  17. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    I've purchased several of those T&A shirts, and my buttons have never fallen off. I've had the most problem in that regard with Zegna. In fact T&A were my favorite shirts until I ran into these. Good, sturdy construction. Laundered well even at my old dry cleaners who could really be hard on a shirt. And Simon Hobbs is an absolute delight to deal with.

    Shirts used to be "my thing" before you guys got me into shoes. Lest you guys think I have unlimited funds, this was in the old days of bigger money in the dot com era here in the Bay Area, and the health care field, which is where I used to work. Still, I rarely pay retail for anything unless I REALLY like it- 2-3 items a year. My clothing budget is miniscule compared to what it used to be. Had Alex and I not agreed on a trade I'd have never got my hands on these beauties. I greatly appreciate his willingness to do so.

    And as much as I like T&A, these shirts really are worth that much more IMO.
     
  18. Alias

    Alias Senior member

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    Well, at least now I'll be able to wear a standard 36. As it is now, I get most of my clothes custom-made because there's virtually nothing in my size... Also, I hate department stores. I used to love them, but now I don't. Too much money for too little. My arms seem to be back to normal. I don't know what caused this. Am I going crazy? If I got a shirt from Mr. Kabbaz, it had better fit perfectly despite whatever strange and weird fluctuations my body goes through. [​IMG]
     
  19. andreyb

    andreyb Active Member

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    Moscow, Russia
    Steve B.: Do I understand you correctly? Are you've ordered your bespoke shirts from the distance? Just like one would order from Jantzen?

    Mr. Kabbaz's shining image as an uncompromising craftsmen has just sligtly dampened in my eyes...
     
  20. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Nope- He asked for measurements which I sent. These are some of his fitting samples, which he uses on a trial basis
    for new clients. That's why I was surprised they fit so well. Mr. Kabbaz IMO is someone who truly knows his craft.
     

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