Hilditch & Key shirts - quality?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by rathebaindc, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. thepiman

    thepiman Member

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    Does anyone have recent (say in the last year) experience of Hilditch & Key versus Harvey & Hudson versus Charles Tyrwhitt? My focus is on quality and whether a shirt will last 100 washes and still look great. I used to be a big fan of Charles Tyrwhitt but I have noticed that whilst their old shirts (from 2002/2003) still look great with no discernible wear on the collar or cuffs, my more recently purchased (2011/2012) shirts are already dying. To me, it's clear that in trying to go mass market, Charles Tyrwhitt has diminished in quality significantly. Note that I have never bought their "Sea Island" range, so if these are significantly better I'd be interested to know.

    I've owned one Hilditch & Key shirt and it was also very good quality, but it is from 2004, so no idea how their shirts fare these days?

    I've never owned Harvey & Hudson, mainly because price looks a bit too expensive, but maybe the extra cost is worth it?
     


  2. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    Hilditch and Key are very good everyday shirts, at an attractive £:value. Wait for the bi-yearly sales for significant discounts (the Summer one should start in June), taking prices down to c.£60-70 depending on quantity ordered.

    Classic collar is very attractive (one of the narrowest semi-spreads in the UK).

    They are traditionally cut (unless you buy the more limited slim-fit range), which is fine by me but may not appeal to SF preferences.

    Vastly superior in quality to CT; not as good as Turnbull and Asser.

    No experience with Harvie and Hudson (don't fit me).

    This is based on recent experience (last batch purchased 2013).

    EDIT: P.S. Harvie and Hudson are cheaper than Hilditch (£70 with discounts for bulk purchase), unless you're looking at MTO. Hilditch bespoke would be more attractive than Harvie MTO at a marginal increase in price (I think they are around £210-220 against Harvie MTO at £195).

    Have you considered Budd?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014


  3. thepiman

    thepiman Member

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    Thanks for this very helpful information. To be honest, I'm trying to limiting my shirt spend to £30 to £45 a shirt, although perhaps I need to rethink this. What shirts would you recommend in that price bracket? I've heard of Budd before, but at £125 a shirt this is way out of my price range. Given Charles Tyrwhitt do four shirts for a £100, are the higher cost shirts so much better quality? i.e. will a £100 shirt last three to four times longer than a £25 one?
     


  4. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    Harvie and Hudson bulk purchase may be a good option at that price. I used to like Coles shirts in my youth, but the company disappeared from Jermyn Street years ago - continued by these people, but no experience with their product: http://www.whtshirtmakers.com
    Yes, much better.
    No. There is not a linear increase in durability. A better made shirt may last longer, but you are primarily paying for something that is better quality not more durable.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014


  5. Putonghua73

    Putonghua73 Senior member

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    I have recent experience with the following shirt makers:

    • Charles Tyrwhitt (1 shirt)
    • Stephen Haroutunian (5 shirts)
    • Harvie & Hudson (2 shirts)

    Charles Tyrwhitt & Stephen Haroutunian are very similar price when bought in bulk e.g. £100 for 4 and £80 for 3 respectively. The latter use Thomas Mason fabrics. Both are good quality for the paltry amount that you can buy shirts.

    I would say that Stephen Haroutunian are better in terms of the basic business patterns than Charles Tyrwhitt and better buttons, but not by much. In terms of fit, marginal - RTW shirts generally are roomy and require tailoring. The latter offer MTM at £89.00 which is exceptional value.

    Note: I have not used Stephen Haroutunian's MTM service.

    Harvie & Hudson are more expensive at £49.50 each for 3 or more, however even with my relative inexperience, the difference in fabric in terms of richness, thickness, depth of colour and button thickness is noticeably better than either Charles Tyrwhitt & Stephen Haroutunian. So much so, that I'm considering sticking with Harvie & Hudson for dress shirts - even if the fit is much more roomy than the other offerings. For casual shirts, I'll try Stephen Haroutunian's MTM service since at present, I'm interested in ginghams and tattersalls.

    In terms of durability, I have not yet noticed any difference and I treat them all equally e.g. washing machine at 40c.
     


  6. thepiman

    thepiman Member

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    Thanks for your contribution - i'm definitely going to try H & H. Not heard of Haroutunian. I agree that CT is very cheap. I'm on their mailing list and once a year at least they send me a £10 voucher which brings their four shirt multi buy down to £90. It is just so disappointing that their durability has diminished since they started mass producing. I have a CT shirt from around 2003 which is actually in better shape than a CT shirt I bought in 2012. But perhaps the older one was a more expensive model. Has anyone tried the CT ranges which are excluded from their multibuy offer? I think one is called black label and the other might be called Sea Island. They cost £45 to £60 a shirt, so should be better quality but I'm just guessing.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014


  7. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Senior member

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    During the July and December sales H&K are usually £55 or so IIRC. Maybe that's if you order several though.


    No. The thing I like best about my H&K shirts (I probably have 12-15) is that they pattern match the shoulder to the sleeve, which is basically unheard of in the $100 range that they drop to during the sales. I've been picking up a couple every sale. Great shirts!
     


  8. sstomcat

    sstomcat Senior member

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    How does Hilditch and key shirts compare to Brooks Brothers Golden fleece line?
     


  9. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    H & K shirts have softer collars than H &H.
    Not sure of quality comparison with Brooks Bros.
    H &K styles are different for a start.
     


  10. etsi3

    etsi3 New Member

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    Obviously most of you do not have the opportunity to walk down jermyn street regularly as you live in the US but if you did you would quickly understand that H&H and H&K are not comparable.
    H&H has almost continuous discounts running on odd/ old stock and the shop looks ..well not classy.

    H&K are on another league and only have sales twice yearly (for the most part)

    Crucially AFAIK H&H unlike H&K are not made in the UK, which is relevant as it is a big step to say: the hell with this Made in England/UK thing and let them eat cake

    Generally speaking AFAIC there are only two good RTW shirt shops in J street: H&K and T&A. Both Made in UK. I am not British but that is my litmus test for shirts of the 'British tradition'
     


  11. Naive Jr.

    Naive Jr. Senior member

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    Dear etsi3,

    May I limit the discussion to slim fit (tailored fit N&L), extreme cutaway, double cuffed, and poplin.
    Your first point about first hand experience is what touches a nerve. Your remark about H&H having continuous discounts contradicts the impression I get as sensory deprived website shopper. Your general judgment about origin of manufacture may be wrong - I wrote H&H to ask about price difference between two poplin cutaway doublecuff and the new girl says the St James cheaper line is not UK. But the other? Your Jermyn St judgment makes me ask what about RTW N&L? By the way, where is RTL N&£ made? What do you think about E&R cutaway doublecuffed? What about Th.Pink extreme cutaway?

    Thanks very much for your kind consideration.
     


  12. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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  13. sstomcat

    sstomcat Senior member

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    Any idea what grade of cotton they use? 2 X 100, 120, 140 or higher? I doubt they will be higher than this at this pricepoint. Also, there Sea island is probably not the true West Indies Sea ISland cotton as they say Sea ISland Quality.

    Anyone know more??
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014


  14. Len

    Len Well-Known Member

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    I have worn and enjoyed Hilditch shirts for around 30 years and do not recall a problem. Roger Talbot, their US rep, was a personal friend, too. It was so simple, and always a pleasure, to visit Roger when he was in NYC and order a few. That said, since he's retired it has become even easier for me to order. We became their US representatives, so now I don't even need to leave the store!! How easy is that??

    Leonard
     


  15. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    I too would be interested if anyone could shed any light on from where Hilditch get their shirting.
     


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