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different levels of acquiring shirts

gregory

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Different people get their shirts in different ways. Some get them from thrift stores. Some get them from the Gap. Then there are those who can spend more and have more of a fashioin sense, and these people will buy from Banana Republic, Polo RL, and the like. Going further up, you have individuals buying RTW Brioni, Charvet, and MTM/bespoke Borrelli. This board is full of very stylish and wealthy individuals. I am just wondering if everyone is still too caught up in the namebrand game (Borrelli, Kiton, etc), albeit at a higher level, rather than seek out the best goods that exist in the world? Arguably, would the pinnacle of this all be to cultivate a lifelong and close relationship with a talented but obscure shirtmaker, travelling to Rome semiannually to see someone like Mimmo Siviglia? And for those who have had the pleasure of doing so, please share your experience.
 

johnnynorman3

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I've had chances to get Fray, Kiton, Borrelli, Brioni, and Oxxford at various times for $150 and under -- with several opportunities to buy at under $75 (bricks and mortar). I've passed each time -- I find that fit is most important, and Jantzen and Chan give me that. Sometimes I wish Borrelli fit me like MTM, because they have the best collars IMO.
 

AlanC

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I think it likely you overestimate the number of 'wealthy' people on the board, although it depends on how you want to define that. We do have a lot of people who focus their disposable income toward buying clothes, particularly at deep discounts. That will inflate their (our) relative buying power dramatically. Patience and knowledge is key to that.

And agreeing with Mack, my tailoring expenses always outweight my costs of acquiring a suit.

AlanC
one of the ragpickers
 

Manton

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Arguably, would the pinnacle of this all be to cultivate a lifelong and close relationship with a talented but obscure shirtmaker, travelling to Rome semiannually to see someone like Mimmo Siviglia?
Hmmmm.  I wonder if Kabbaz will agree with this.  Oh, well, here goes.  I think once you have found a good shirtmaker, and worked with him to get your pattern right, you don't need to see him for fittings so often.  Unless of course your body shape changes dramatically.

The reason is that shirt cloth -- cotton, especially -- is much more predictable in the way it tailors than wool.  For one thing, woolens range from 6 ounce frescos all the way up to 28 ounce tweeds.  Those will tailor dramatically differently, and fittings for each garment are a necessity.  Cotton is different.  The range of weights and thicknesses is much less dramatic.

Also: all but a handful of bespoke tailors outsource the sewing of their garments to other tailors.  And it's rare for them to always use the same tailor.  Different human beings, with different hands, will make garments cut from the same pattern a little differently.  The proprietor/cutter -- if he is good and contientious -- knows that, and will insist on fittings to make sure everything is going well.  Shirtmakers, other than the really big firms, outsource a whole lot less.

So, the bottom line is, if you've found someone good, and your pattern is set, you can probably order by phone or mail and be confident of getting good shirts.  Still, you may like they guy, and just enjoy dropping in on him, but that is not, strictly speaking, part of the fitting process.
 

T4phage

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(gregory @ Feb. 14 2005,20:19) Arguably, would the pinnacle of this all be to cultivate a lifelong and close relationship with a talented but obscure shirtmaker, travelling to Rome semiannually to see someone like Mimmo Siviglia?
Hmmmm. Â I wonder if Kabbaz will agree with this. Â Oh, well, here goes. Â I think once you have found a good shirtmaker, and worked with him to get your pattern right, you don't need to see him for fittings so often. Â Unless of course your body shape changes dramatically. The reason is that shirt cloth -- cotton, especially -- is much more predictable in the way it tailors than wool. Â For one thing, woolens range from 6 ounce frescos all the way up to 28 ounce tweeds. Â Those will tailor dramatically differently, and fittings for each garment are a necessity. Â Cotton is different. Â The range of weights and thicknesses is much less dramatic. Also: all but a handful of bespoke tailors outsource the sewing of their garments to other tailors. Â And it's rare for them to always use the same tailor. Â Different human beings, with different hands, will make garments cut from the same pattern a little differently. Â The proprietor/cutter -- if he is good and contientious -- knows that, and will insist on fittings to make sure everything is going well. Â Shirtmakers, other than the really big firms, outsource a whole lot less. So, the bottom line is, if you've found someone good, and your pattern is set, you can probably order by phone or mail and be confident of getting good shirts. Â Still, you may like they guy, and just enjoy dropping in on him, but that is not, strictly speaking, part of the fitting process.
I agree with Manton 100%. I've done this several times.
 

STYLESTUDENT

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I find that fit is most important, and Jantzen and Chan give me that.  Sometimes I wish Borrelli fit me like MTM, because they have the best collars IMO.
I used to buy name brand dress shirts (Charvet) but find that fit outweighs the detailing. I use Individualized Shirts for MTM through Bergdorf for this reason.
 

MCA

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Arguably, would the pinnacle of this all be to cultivate a lifelong and close relationship with a talented but obscure shirtmaker, travelling to Rome semiannually to see someone like Mimmo Siviglia? And for those who have had the pleasure of doing so, please share your experience.
Definitely.

Some shirtmakers in Italy may be "obscure" to the brand-conscious, and geographically distant, American consumer. The long-established shirtmakers, however, are very well known in Italy and thereabouts.
 

Alexander Kabbaz

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Manton
I wonder if Kabbaz will agree with this.
Absolutely. I see my clients an average of once every 4-5 years. In-between, they just call and say, "Use your unparalleled taste to select me a few dozen more".

T4Phage
I agree with Manton 100%. I've done this several times.
If this means that you've done this several times with the same shirtmaker, Hail ... Hail. If you've done it with several different shirtmakers ... what about the "pinnacle" thing?
 

T4phage

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Originally posted by Alexander Kabbaz:
If this means that you've done this several times with the same shirtmaker, Hail ... Hail. If you've done it with several different shirtmakers ... what about the "pinnacle" thing?
80% of the time I have placed an order over the phone it is with one shirtmaker... the other 20% is with a different maker... I prefer his cut for casual shirts. And I only do this if there is a really beautiful fabric which I see in the swatches that they send me.
 

uriahheep

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From old threads I see that you use Battistoni for most of your shirts. Who is it you use for casual shirts, if you don't mind my asking?
 

T4phage

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From old threads I see that you use Battistoni for most of your shirts.  Who is it you use for casual shirts, if you don't mind my asking?
A small two person (actually husband and wife) atelier in Napoli.
 

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