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Brioni dress shirts sleeve length. What.....

hundolots

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What is with the fixed sleeve size on Brioni dress shirts? Is the expectation that I’m supposed to get the sleeves tailored? I’m a 16.5 collar, 33 sleeve in Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece shirts. A pretty popular size.

However, as I understand it, Brioni 16.5 has a 34/35 sleeve. One thing I’ve heard is that the sleeves shrink when washed... which sounds odd to me. It’s going shrink 2 full sizes? Unlikely. And what about the rest of the shirt which would fit perfectly—Does that shrink too??

So somebody PLEASE tell me what’s with the long sleeves and what I’m supposed to do about it. Thanks.
 

madhat

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What is with the fixed sleeve size on Brioni dress shirts? Is the expectation that I’m supposed to get the sleeves tailored? I’m a 16.5 collar, 33 sleeve in Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece shirts. A pretty popular size.

However, as I understand it, Brioni 16.5 has a 34/35 sleeve. One thing I’ve heard is that the sleeves shrink when washed... which sounds odd to me. It’s going shrink 2 full sizes? Unlikely. And what about the rest of the shirt which would fit perfectly—Does that shrink too??

So somebody PLEASE tell me what’s with the long sleeves and what I’m supposed to do about it. Thanks.
33 sleeve is pretty short on a 16.5" neck for off the rack sizing. I would recommend you purchase shirts that let you pick both neck and sleeve dimensions.
Just because someone wears a brand doesn't mean it's the right one for you; find a brand that gives you the best fit. Consider an MTM brand like Proper Cloth, so that you can pick all the dimensions for your best fit.
 

hundolots

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Right. I’m interested in the large Italian collars though, and the extra rise on the collar that allows the tie knot to nestle more comfortably. Proper Cloth doesn’t offer a shirt in that style. Brooks Brothers recently started offering the “Franklin Spread” collar, which is similar, but still not quite right.

It’s hard to believe that only people with an exact 16.5/34-35 match can wear Brioni, Zegna, Ricci, etc shirts.
 

madhat

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Right. I’m interested in the large Italian collars though, and the extra rise on the collar that allows the tie knot to nestle more comfortably. Proper Cloth doesn’t offer a shirt in that style. Brooks Brothers recently started offering the “Franklin Spread” collar, which is similar, but still not quite right.

It’s hard to believe that only people with an exact 16.5/34-35 match can wear Brioni, Zegna, Ricci, etc shirts.
It's hard to believe that I have only a handful of options if I don't wear a D width shoe, but it's economics at work.
 

Shirtmaven

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Having a local tailor shorten slleves is not that difficult. you shoul allow 1/2 for shrinkage allowance. Make sure the tailor moves the sleeve placket.
 

compuccesory

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The EU sizing convention just doesn't include sleeve lengths. It's curious but that's the way it goes I suppose. My solutions:

1) Get it tailored obviously. This actually isn't as big a deal as it might seem, you just remove the cuffs, cut the sleeve and re-attach. Probably equivalent to hemming pants in terms of work.

2) Adjust the location of the sleeve button so that the cuff falls to where you want in your hand and then just live with a slightly baggier sleeve. I generally do this as I like a little more room in the sleeves to move around, and usually I wear a jacket anyway so it makes little difference.

On Point #2, I have a somewhat curious observation that a lot of people who buy Brooks Brothers or other similar level shirts complain about "blowing out elbows" on their shirts. This is a really odd thing to me and suggests that these people are buying shirts that are both too tight and with sleeves too short, so that when they move their arms even a little, they are stretching the material of their sleeves. Some reading here, especially from forum poster breakway01, also suggests that a lot of people wear shirts with sleeves that fall down to their wrists when standing at rest, which seems to be a little too short for me.

I myself have unusually short arms, and would wear a 17.5/33/34 on most America shirts like Nordstrom or JCrew, going by where the cuff rests with my arms by my sides, which is what I usually did before switching to all Italian-made shirts. However once I adjust the sleeve buttons of my Italian shirts, which usually have sleeves that would seem at least 1.5-2" too long when unbuttoned, I actually find the shirts quite comfortable and more comfortable than my American shirts. SO now I just wear the shirts as is and don't mind having slightly baggy sleeves.
 

Despos

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Offering one sleeve length is a pragmatic solution to reduce inventory. If the majority of buyers fit within the designated sleeve length there is no issue. If you need a shorter length, the sleeves can be shortened. It's not as simple as hemming a trouser as inferred. Moving the placket is a pain unless you have a good amount of experience.
How many sleeve lengths any maker will produce is determined by business model and volume. BB will sell many more shirts than Brioni and their turnover of product much greater. This allows them to offer more sizes.This isn't so unusual.
Every jacket made has a specific sleeve length and almost all makers use the same standard. This is universal.
Cottons shrink. Thought this was common knowledge. Don't expect the shirt sleeve to shrink to the length you need. They are only telling you that shrinkage will happen, not that it will shrink to the length you need.
The amount of shrinkage varies according to the quality of the finishing of the fabrics. Better cottons are more stable. That is reflected in the cost of the fabric. No one knows how much the Brioni shirt will shrink because of unknown variables like how often and how you launder the shirt. If you wash in cold water and do not use a dryer you will minimize shrinkage. Popping the cuff and collars after washing and proper pressing can make a huge difference. Cottons shrink in the warp not the weft so you lose shirt body length and sleeve length.Shouldn't effect the girth.
If you buy a shirt and the sleeves need to be shortened, launder the shirt multiple times before shortening so the shrinkage occurs before the work is done. You should still allow for another bit of shrinkage that may still occur.
If you want to duplicate the style of the Brioni shirt collar, find a shirtmaker that can do so. Not all Shirtmakers will be able to copy it well and their construction method may not make the collar function as the original. Reproduction of cut and make is required to be successful.
 
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hundolots

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I’ve never blown out an elbow, nor have I heard of such a thing. One issue I’ve had with regular BB shirts is eventual fraying at collar tips. But even that only happened years and years after purchase, and only with their standard $70-90 line. On the other hand, the Golden Fleece line has proven durable, attractive and comfortable. I buy my GF shirts at 16.5/33 for $220-350 apiece (less during a sale; a great time to stock up) and I can count on them fitting perfectly and lasting at least a decade each. I still have a shirt in my regular rotation from 2007 and it looks almost as good as the day I bought it!

Anyway, the European collar is intriguing to me and always has been. I also always suspected the limited sizing had more to do with cost than anything else (what doesn’t?) But at the same time I’ve been told the shirts should be tailored, which has never worked for me. Granted it was only needed once, but it destroyed a $320 shirt by going down two sizes rather than one. Terrible tailor though. Never used again for anything after that.
 

breakaway01

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It seems to me that many Italian RTW shirts are sized by neck only and the sleeves are relatively long. After all, they can be shortened but never lengthened. This is of course a very general statement, not a rule.
As @compuccesory suggests, IMO many people wear sleeves shorter than they probably should, especially if you wear a jacket. You ideally want some extra length so that the cuffs don’t keep riding up during the day. At 5’10 with proportionately long arms, I find I prefer a 34-34.5” shirt sleeve. Perhaps a 34-35” sleeve might not be too long for you?
 

hundolots

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I am 5’10” also, but I guess I have slightly short arms, because a 33 sleeve is just right. Incidentally, I would never wear the sleeves too short. It’s a sloppy, unforgivable look. Just the right amount of sleeve is always present at any given arm length interval. Remember the shirt I mentioned before that was tailored incorrectly? That was a 34 sleeve Golden Fleece shirt. Long story how it ended up in my wardrobe, but it did and I tried rectifying it to no avail.
 

papado

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Right. I’m interested in the large Italian collars though, and the extra rise on the collar that allows the tie knot to nestle more comfortably. Proper Cloth doesn’t offer a shirt in that style. Brooks Brothers recently started offering the “Franklin Spread” collar, which is similar, but still not quite right.

It’s hard to believe that only people with an exact 16.5/34-35 match can wear Brioni, Zegna, Ricci, etc shirts.
The Proper Cloth Roma (Spread and Cutaway) and Milano collars are the 'large Italian collars' you speak of. I would give one of those a try if you like that italian collar look.
 

hundolots

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I'm not too familiar with the quality of Proper Cloth. The shirts look alright. I really don't want something subpar. Bear in mind, 9 out of 10 times I tend to go with shirts that start at $220-ish and, as such, I've grown accustomed to a certain level of quality. I don't mean to imply that Golden Fleece is the best shirt out there, but they are undeniably well made relative to a more basic shirt.

Now, if Proper Cloth is one of those modern disruptive brands who makes superior quality for a fraction of the cost by way of some unprecedented internet business model, then I stand corrected. But from what I can see these look like mid-level dress shirts with mid-level prices to match. I'd love to learn that I'm wrong!

In the meantime, I ended up just buying the Brioni (https://www.saksfifthavenue.com/brioni-stripe-dress-shirt/product/0400011838678) because I really do love the design and I'd be sad if they all sold out. So I guess I'll update you guys when it comes in the mail in a few days. According to the Saks website the shoulder to the hem is 28 inches, which seems short to me and implies that the sleeves might be the right length after all.

I'm looking forward to the surprise actually.

Last, but not least, I did some research and learned that the most universal sleeve length for men is 32/33 which was my assumption initially. I didn't think my arms were all that short. They hang pretty much like everyone else's arms!
 

dauster

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I'm not too familiar with the quality of Proper Cloth. The shirts look alright. I really don't want something subpar. Bear in mind, 9 out of 10 times I tend to go with shirts that start at $220-ish and, as such, I've grown accustomed to a certain level of quality. I don't mean to imply that Golden Fleece is the best shirt out there, but they are undeniably well made relative to a more basic shirt.

Now, if Proper Cloth is one of those modern disruptive brands who makes superior quality for a fraction of the cost by way of some unprecedented internet business model, then I stand corrected. But from what I can see these look like mid-level dress shirts with mid-level prices to match. I'd love to learn that I'm wrong!

In the meantime, I ended up just buying the Brioni (https://www.saksfifthavenue.com/brioni-stripe-dress-shirt/product/0400011838678) because I really do love the design and I'd be sad if they all sold out. So I guess I'll update you guys when it comes in the mail in a few days. According to the Saks website the shoulder to the hem is 28 inches, which seems short to me and implies that the sleeves might be the right length after all.

I'm looking forward to the surprise actually.

Last, but not least, I did some research and learned that the most universal sleeve length for men is 32/33 which was my assumption initially. I didn't think my arms were all that short. They hang pretty much like everyone else's arms!
For $550 you should easily find a good bespoke maker that can make great fitting shirt for you... that being said the ease and convenience of just ordering online cannot be understated... that being said any bespoke shirtmaker should easily be able to get a shirt with a collar that brioni has. Also I'm sure brioni has a MTM program as well... probably priced insanely though
 

compuccesory

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I'm not too familiar with the quality of Proper Cloth. The shirts look alright. I really don't want something subpar. Bear in mind, 9 out of 10 times I tend to go with shirts that start at $220-ish and, as such, I've grown accustomed to a certain level of quality. I don't mean to imply that Golden Fleece is the best shirt out there, but they are undeniably well made relative to a more basic shirt.

Now, if Proper Cloth is one of those modern disruptive brands who makes superior quality for a fraction of the cost by way of some unprecedented internet business model, then I stand corrected. But from what I can see these look like mid-level dress shirts with mid-level prices to match. I'd love to learn that I'm wrong!

In the meantime, I ended up just buying the Brioni (https://www.saksfifthavenue.com/brioni-stripe-dress-shirt/product/0400011838678) because I really do love the design and I'd be sad if they all sold out. So I guess I'll update you guys when it comes in the mail in a few days. According to the Saks website the shoulder to the hem is 28 inches, which seems short to me and implies that the sleeves might be the right length after all.

I'm looking forward to the surprise actually.

Last, but not least, I did some research and learned that the most universal sleeve length for men is 32/33 which was my assumption initially. I didn't think my arms were all that short. They hang pretty much like everyone else's arms!
The key feature for me when it comes to shirts is whether the sleeves are separately attached instead of sewn on the same seam as the body of the shirt. Once you've had one you will never go back and hence why I only buy Italian shirts now. I find it makes a significant difference in comfort. Brioni shirts have hand sewn sleeves, I don't think any BB shirts do.
 

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