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What makes a good dress shirt...good?

Unfashionable

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I am in need of a professional wardrobe, and will need to wear dress shirts every day. I would prefer to buy good quality shirts that will last, but don't really know what to look for. Any pointers would be welcomed. Thanks.
 

AncientSoul

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A good dress shirt for you will be the one that fits you the best, above everything else. A $500 bespoke shirt that doesn't fit you will look a lot worse than a $20 shirt that provides a good fit.

The second thing to look at would be the material. I try to stick with pure cotton shirts because I find them more comfortable than cotton/poly blends. Your mileage may vary.

For a professional look, stay away from shirts with bold stripes, patterns and colors. stick with whites and light blues with subtle patterns, thin stripes or plain.

Collar is a personal preference. Some like it soft and others like it stiff. nothing wrong with either.
 

linkinwayne

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Originally Posted by AncientSoul
A good dress shirt for you will be the one that fits you the best, above everything else. A $500 bespoke shirt that doesn't fit you will look a lot worse than a $20 shirt that provides a good fit.

The second thing to look at would be the material. I try to stick with pure cotton shirts because I find them more comfortable than cotton/poly blends. Your mileage may vary.

For a professional look, stay away from shirts with bold stripes, patterns and colors. stick with whites and light blues with subtle patterns, thin stripes or plain.

Collar is a personal preference. Some like it soft and others like it stiff. nothing wrong with either.


Well said. Fit, followed by material are easily the two most important aspects to look at.
 

Klobber

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A little research goes a long way. Do a search in this forum and you will find what you are looking for answer wise.
 

Unfashionable

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Thank you for the answers so far.

Fit is my number one concern, and have just ordered the trial Moderntailor shirt to see what MTM is all about.

As for quality of material on MTM sites, what is the difference between the generic %100 cotton vs. Sea island or Thomas Mason? Are you buying a name? Or would I be better off buying an almost-fitting Thomas Pink for that money and spend a few bucks for tailoring?

As for searching this forum, I find that there is often so much information spread about in dozens of threads that it is a difficult proposition to find an answer!
 

radicaldog

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^ Quality of cotton makes a big difference. Superfine cottons are a joy to wear but are generally fragile and prone to wrinkling. Just make sure you get a decent two-ply cotton to begin with.
 

phxlawstudent

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Originally Posted by Unfashionable
As for quality of material on MTM sites, what is the difference between the generic %100 cotton vs. Sea island or Thomas Mason? Are you buying a name? Or would I be better off buying an almost-fitting Thomas Pink for that money and spend a few bucks for tailoring?

The generic cotton ones are grown and spun in China. For obvious reasons, not the best quality. There is a reason no one bothers to attach their name to it. Sea Island is a brand name representing cotton from the sea islands. It has been plagiarized though, so you have to make sure it has the WISICA seal to be 100% sure it is genuine sea island cotton. That said, you probably don't want to buy one because they are exceptionally rare and command a large premium. Egyptian cotton or pima cotton are long staple cottons. Pretty similar to sea island if good quality.

Thomas Mason is a brand. They source the good stuff and turn out a reliable product at a known quality. Not to say others cannot compare, but you know what your getting.

Construction and cloth are what is important in custom shirts. With online MTM, you have to make sure the CAD is able to generate a pattern that works for your body. You also want to make sure the maker isn't just churning out shirts using poorly trained workers. In the end you get what you pay for with most MTM makers.
 

Ataturk

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A Turnbull & Asser shirt is made up from 33 individual pieces (excluding the 7 buttons on a double cuff shirt or the 13 buttons on a barrel cuff); many other makes have only around 30 or fewer pieces.
You want a shirt made from the most pieces, apparently.
 

sellahi22

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Originally Posted by radicaldog
^ Quality of cotton makes a big difference. Superfine cottons are a joy to wear but are generally fragile and prone to wrinkling. Just make sure you get a decent two-ply cotton to begin with.

The fragility of superfine shirtings is often overstated on SF. I wear my 140/2 and 170/2 shirts pretty hard and send them to ****** commercial laundry and they all remain in good shape. Also, while they wrinkle slightly more than my 100/2 and 120/2 shirts, the wrinkles are more soft and subtle, whereas the thicker cottons tend to show unsightly cardboard-esque creases (relatively speaking).

To the OP, don't cheap out on cloth. It's the biggest mistake that bespoke novices make. Throw down the premium for Thomas Mason, G&R, Alumo, etc.
 

Unfashionable

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Originally Posted by sellahi22
To the OP, don't cheap out on cloth. It's the biggest mistake that bespoke novices make. Throw down the premium for Thomas Mason, G&R, Alumo, etc.

I am going to wait for my MTM test shirt before I purchase anything else.

Allow me to be a little bit of a devil's advocate: For those of you who have dealt with Moderntailor, for example--does it make sense to spend $150 on a Thomas Mason MTM shirt, when I can get three for that price of the lower level two-ply cotton? Even if they each only survive for one third as long, it is still the same price in the end and I get to rotate three shirts in the interim. Also, am I throwing my money away on good fabric that is assembled poorly?
 

Ataturk

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A good shirt needs fit, fabric, construction, and styling. You shouldn't buy too many shirts or splurge on expensive fabrics until you have an idea of what you want, especially with fit and styling. That takes time and shirts.
 

phxlawstudent

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Originally Posted by sellahi22
The fragility of superfine shirtings is often overstated on SF. I wear my 140/2 and 170/2 shirts pretty hard and send them to ****** commercial laundry and they all remain in good shape. Also, while they wrinkle slightly more than my 100/2 and 120/2 shirts, the wrinkles are more soft and subtle, whereas the thicker cottons tend to show unsightly cardboard-esque creases (relatively speaking).

To the OP, don't cheap out on cloth. It's the biggest mistake that bespoke novices make. Throw down the premium for Thomas Mason, G&R, Alumo, etc.


Yes, but I would imagine that those are actual 140s and well made as well. The cheap 140s sold in nearly every department store will more than likely not hold up to such treatment. Agreed with the second part. Quality lasts. But you can end up spending extra just for a brand name. But its like insurance, you pay extra for peace of mind.

Originally Posted by Unfashionable
I am going to wait for my MTM test shirt before I purchase anything else.

Allow me to be a little bit of a devil's advocate: For those of you who have dealt with Moderntailor, for example--does it make sense to spend $150 on a Thomas Mason MTM shirt, when I can get three for that price of the lower level two-ply cotton? Even if they each only survive for one third as long, it is still the same price in the end and I get to rotate three shirts in the interim. Also, am I throwing my money away on good fabric that is assembled poorly?


Devil's advocate? What are you advocating for? :p

Uh... no. It is not worth it. Not worth it because their QC is crap. I've ordered about 10 shirts from them and had problems with three that were their fault (they took care of it, to their credit; but the last time they vehemently denied any wrongdoing until I virtually had to prove through time stamps and logins that I didn't change my measurements and that someone on their end did it (which was the last shirt I ordered (it did come out nicely though, in the end))).

So, basically, if your going to throw down for good quality fabric, buy the good quality construction. Some options are your local tailor, Nialma, Deo Veritas, and ProperCloth.

But all that said, MT is pretty good if you just buy their sales items and stick with the Chinese fabrics.
 

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