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Searching the right shirt around London

Evergreen88

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I wanted to share my experience in searching the right kind of shirt around London and ask for some advice.

A bit of background first: I am in the slow and moderately expensive process of improving my wardrobe. In the past couple of years I bought a decent amount of good shoes, a decent italian suit (I am Italian but I live in London), good trousers and so on. Shirt wise I am slacking behind.

At the moment I wear TM Lewin fitted shirts for my office shirts and PLRL for my casual shirts.

So wanting to step up my shirt game I started to do my homeworks and research on this forum and elsewhere. I am looking for a well made shirt (good fabric, mop buttons, split yoke, pattern matching etc...), that justifies the extra expense compared to TM Lewin (I usulaus get them for 25-30£ each using various offers).

I am looking at the around 100/150£ per shirt, with a slim and young cut.

So I started my tour from the most obvious choices: Brooks Brothers and Hackett. I must say I wasn't very impressed, for shirts that cost 3 or 4 times my current shirts, they are still made in third-world countries, with plastic buttons, and pretty conservative designs. At sales price I might consider them, but not full price. BB has a "made in US mop buttons", but for 160£ seems a bit too expensive to me.

I then visited Harvie & Hudson, that on paper (well..on the website) looked very interesting and they were having also good sales. As soon as I got there I felt like it wasn't the right place for me, that their target audience was 20 years older than me and much larger (I am 30, 178cm and slim). I must say, the assistant there didn't help in making me feel more comfortable, at any question he was replying suggesting me to go elsewhere. I tried a shirt (basically forcing him) and the fit was actually awful. Even their slim line had huge armholes, probably it's just a more conservative fit.

I then turned to Pink regardless of its bad fame on this forum and I was plesantly surprised. Very good collars, fabrics, construction and buttons. Unfortunately none of their ''fits" actually fit me perfectly, but the assistant (really great guy, he was very knowledgeable and helpful) suggested that they are starting their MTM service, that should be around 160£ per shirt. He also mentioned that, being part of their rebranding/expansion of their offering they will also allow customers (maybe only the first few?) To visit the fabric where they make them here in London. It's a bit over my budget, but for a shirt that ticks all the boxes seems like good value to me. And the visit might be really interesting too! Does anyone have any experience with Pink MTM? I know they did it already in the last.

Any other good value shirt in the same range (100-150£)? Either RTW or MTM?

I am actually italian, so I am able to explore options in Milan as well.

Than you!

P.S. sorry about the typo in the title, can I fix it?
 

mitsein

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First, you may want to search the fora for recommendations as there are quite a few threads on shirt hierarchy etc
Second, for your price range, I think the best deal is Drake’s three shirts for £345.
In my experience, others might have different view, slightly higher options (both in quality and price) are Turnbull & Asser, Anderson & Sheppard and Dege & Skinner. The latter two are exceptionally good quality and the fit is more classic and not too slim.
For something unique, check out SEH Kelly.

But... If you are after more of a slim “young” fit - as you say - then try Boggi, maybe. I have tried but not owned as it was too short and too slim body with little room for movement.

In the search for “quality” shirt I’d skip brands like Reiss, Brooks Brothers, Pink, Hackett, Ted Baker, etc etc. In my experience, they were all great for a year but the quality rapidly deteriorated with time. But YMMV.
 
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Evergreen88

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First, you may want to search the fora for recommendations as there are quite a few threads on shirt hierarchy etc
Second, for your price range, I think the best deal is Drake’s three shirts for £345.
In my experience, others might have different view, slightly higher options (both in quality and price) are Turnbull & Asser, Anderson & Sheppard and Dege & Skinner. The latter two are exceptionally good quality and the fit is more classic and not too slim.
For something unique, check out SEH Kelly.

But... If you are after more of a slim “young” fit - as you say - then try Boggi, maybe. I have tried but not owned as it was too short and too slim body with little room for movement.

In the search for “quality” shirt I’d skip brands like Reiss, Brooks Brothers, Pink, Hackett, Ted Baker, etc etc. In my experience, they were all great for a year but the quality rapidly deteriorated with time. But YMMV.
Thank you for the suggestion, Boggi is already a brand I heavily rely on. Basically half of my wardrobe is from Boggi, including a couple of linen shirts. Unfortunately I don't find it a significant step up shirt wise, I think it's at the same level of PLRL, Hackett and BB.

I searched the forum extensively, in fact I am familiar with all the brands you mentioned.
I already excluded more ''fast fashion" brands like Reiss and Red Baker.

I will explore the Drake option, do you know where their shirts are made? I find that very few brands clearly declare it.

I also wanted to explore more Italian brands, but without being able to try them on I don't know what to do. Finamore looks very interesting for me in the price/quality curve, does anyone know if it's possible to find it in London?
 

dieworkwear

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I would recommend not getting so hung up on country of origin, or even really things like mother of pearl buttons. The most important thing about a shirt is the fit. Once you get to know how a shirt is supposed to fit, it doesn't really matter if it's made somewhere in East Asia or the UK or wherever. There are plenty of really good shirts right now being made in cheaper countries (Proper Cloth is a good example). The second most important thing is the collar. Things like country-of-origin and mother of pearl buttons are just easy-to-remember proxies for quality, but if you have the shirt in front of you, you can judge the quality more directly.

If your budget is £150, see if there are some bespoke options near you. At least in the US, the starting price for a bespoke shirt is about $200. The main advantage of bespoke is that the shirt is obviously made for you, but just as importantly, you get the services of someone who can tell you how a shirt should fit. Sometimes the easiest thing is to leave this in the hands a professional. Although, it can be hard to do this through a sales associate, depending on the store. If you're working with a good tailor, the chances of getting a good fit are higher.

In London, there are a ton of custom shirtmakers -- Budd, Turnbull & Asser, Dege & Skinner, etc. I use Ascot Chang, although I don't know if they visit London. Luca Avitabile visits London every once in a while with Sartoria Solito. I've seen his work and it's really nice. He makes a good, soft collar.

For MTM, the guys at Anglo Italian probably have something. They do a very youngish take on classic style and the two founders there have a lot of experience with custom tailoring/ fitting (they are not cutters, but they're experienced fitters). English Cut is just around the corner from them, I think. I would probably check out Trunk Clothiers in the area.

Personally, if it were me, I would go to Proper Cloth for online MTM. Or do bespoke through Dege, Ascot Chang, or Luca.
 

ntempleman

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Simone Abbarchi is in London this week, he’s here every 6 months. I’ve had lots of shirts from him and I really like them, I’m pretty slim and I like my clothes to be close fitting, everything off the peg is like a tent on me. Simone nailed the fit first time and the price is good, ~150€ depending on fabric
 

Evergreen88

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Thank you all for the very useful suggestions.

Regarding country of origin: it's not a fixation and I don't assume something is of poor quality if made in 'cheaper' countries, but I like to support the economy of my country, that I love (in this case is actually two, Italy and the UK).

Mop buttons are one of the elements I consider, I like them a lot and I think a plastic buttons on a shirt that is 100£+ is a non-sense, but I might be wrong. I am not an expert but I am able to roughly understand the quality of the shirt when I see it, I found Pink more impressive than Hackett and BB.

Online MTM: this is actually a very good idea. I explored this route in the past, but without buying anything. I found a store called Lanieri, that ticks all my requirements: made in Italy, good reviews, good fabrics, slim cuts, mop buttons, good stitching. I could not find much on the forum, but if anyone has direct experience I am interested to hear about it!

They have a store in Milan, that I am not able to visit for the time being, but surely I will during the summer period.
 

Evergreen88

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Simone Abbarchi is in London this week, he’s here every 6 months. I’ve had lots of shirts from him and I really like them, I’m pretty slim and I like my clothes to be close fitting, everything off the peg is like a tent on me. Simone nailed the fit first time and the price is good, ~150€ depending on fabric
Thank you for the suggestion, where does he work? Do they have a website with more info about their process and what to do?
 
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ntempleman

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Simone’s based on Florence, but travels to London every 6 months and stays at the Dukes Hotel in St James’s. If you google him you’ll find his website easily enough, travel details are all there, send him an email and see if there are any appointments free. He started today I think, but he usually stays for 3 or 4 days. Just go along, get measured, choose some fabric, the collar shape you like, buttons etc and he’ll make a shirt for you. Very straightforward. I’ve been getting shirts from him for a few years now and I’m a happy customer, never needed to go anywhere else. The difference between his shirts and TM Lewin, Pink etc are night and day; much better collars, fit me well through the body, and I can choose exactly what I want for not a lot more than an off the peg tent from Pink.

He’s more MTM than “bespoke” from what I can tell but it’s not so important for shirts as far as I’m concerned. There’s less hand finishing I guess than you get from more expensive shirtmakers, but again that means fairly little to me. The fit, and how the collar sits under a jacket, that’s all I’m really chasing
 

JJ Katz

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Have you thought about Luxire?

It'll take you a couple of iterations to dial in the fit but they are reasonably priced and offer lots of options.
 

Aloysius16

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I did. Nice product (nice button down collar) and very helpful and responsive customer service (quite the opposite of Luxire in this respect). I didn't order more than one shirt as they couldn't change their pattern to adjust for my forward shoulders, but I would recommend for others to try (they have a fit guarantee for the first order, so didn't charge for mine). I just received a first shirt from Shirtonomy - also online MTM from EU (Swedish firm, made in Portugal) and would categorise them alongside Apposta as similar in terms of service, product and value. Their pattern seems to suit my frame better, so I will likely order again from Shirtonomy.
 

Evergreen88

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MENAGGIA!! :eek:. If you are Italian, why even look in London!!
Italian indeed, but I live in London!

Unfortunately I moved before developing an interest in menswear so I never explored much what Milan and Italy had to offer. Now I regularly shop in Boggi whenever I go back to Italy. My hometown (Monza) actually has a pretty cool Boggi outlet.

I decided to try Lanieri, to support "made in Italy" and to try my first MTM shirt. Taking profit of the current sales, I should spend around 80£ per shirt.

I will let you know when the shirts arrive and I will post some pictures!
 

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