What makes a good dress shirt...good?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Unfashionable, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. sellahi22

    sellahi22 Senior member

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    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.
    I don't understand the insurance analogy. I have many shirts from Thomas Mason's various lines and many shirts from no-name mills, and the TM are in a completely different class. I pay the slight premium because the shirtings are better, not so I can tell myself that I am wearing a prestigious brand. I agree with the brand name point only insofar as I would prefer to stick with TM/DJA over other brands because they have an established, stable business with consistent and expansive product lines. I know that if I like one piece of their cloth, I will be able to order the same fabric quality in different patterns/colors down the road.
    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?
    If you have a $150 shirt budget, obviously buy 3 shirts because you can't get by wearing the same shirt every day. That said, the difference between TM and the budget cloth is a lot more than durability. The budget cloth will probably feel stiff and scratchy, have ugly colors and patterns, and drape poorly.
     


  2. Liquidus

    Liquidus Senior member

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    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.
    Would it still be worth it to get Thomas Mason Silver Line ($140 per shirt) for OCBDs? I need to get some and I'm planning to get them from MyTailor.
     


  3. Unfashionable

    Unfashionable Member

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    Devil's advocate? What are you advocating for? :p
    For my client of course ;-P
     


  4. phxlawstudent

    phxlawstudent Senior member

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    Thomas Mason, available for ~$150 from several MTM makers represents the standard against which to measure most other MTM shirt options. IMO. And you can get it from J.Crew too for slightly less. Not sure how they're able to produce so much shirting and keep their pricing relatively low, but haven't heard any complaints about the quality on the interwebs so far.

    $140 for an Oxford cloth is more than I am personally willing to pay for an oxford cloth, but I'm sure it will be some of the best oxford cloth available. That said, obviously no personal experience with the stuff.
     


  5. badsha

    badsha Senior member

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    MyTailor has Thomas Mason for $125 or so, but if you factor in the $14 import fee they charge per shirt, then it can add up. Monti Rose Prince, Testa are pretty comparable to Silverline. Alumo i must say has some pretty damned nice stuff. Take a look at the Zephirs and Marco Polo line if you get a chance.
     


  6. P. Bateman

    P. Bateman Senior member

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    I wonder this as well. I don't understand the $450 Brionis and Charvets at Saks. The fabric is nice but I can't reconcile the cost. The most expensive shirt I have is a $100 Gitman Bros. and frankly I prefer the $25 MTM pieces I bought in Thailand.
     


  7. jessis

    jessis Senior member

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    Alumo has some really nice fabric but hard to find. Brioni shirts are awesome, even at that price!! Only man-handled a friend of mine's Brioni.

    I bought the 3 shirts and get 1 free from nialma in the TM silverline range. Works out to be $112+ a shirt or something like that. I would not spend this money on shirts regularly though.
     


  8. sinnedk

    sinnedk Senior member

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  9. Bartlebooth

    Bartlebooth Senior member

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  10. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    Sea Island cotton shimmers like the Nile. I have only 3 shirts made of this which I wear for evening outings. The way lighting plays off the shirt is movie star like. Every man should own at least one shirt made from this cotton, though it's not for hot weather.
     


  11. Fishball

    Fishball Senior member

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    Thomas Mason, available for ~$150 from several MTM makers represents the standard against which to measure most other MTM shirt options. IMO. And you can get it from J.Crew too for slightly less. Not sure how they're able to produce so much shirting and keep their pricing relatively low, but haven't heard any complaints about the quality on the interwebs so far.

    $140 for an Oxford cloth is more than I am personally willing to pay for an oxford cloth, but I'm sure it will be some of the best oxford cloth available. That said, obviously no personal experience with the stuff.


    You have no idea how much per yd of the TM oxford selling in wholesale price, for a normal size, you just need 1.8yd/shirt. If the shirts are made in mainland china, the labour cost is cheap. That is why J Crew can keep their pricing relatively low.

    My new TM OCBD CMT shirt cost me less than USD70, with 3mm Shell buttons and non fusing collar and cuffs. I can found someone do it cheaper, but the craftmanship will be lower. Of course, if I want better craftmanship like AC CMT, then the price will go up to 130 (thick buttons extra).
     


  12. mishon

    mishon Senior member

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    You want a shirt made from the most pieces, apparently.
    [​IMG] In any case, lots of factors, as been described. Fit, construction, materials, handwork and lots of it, with collars, sleeves, plackets, buttonholes, buttons (only MOP) should all sewn by hand.
     


  13. Ataturk

    Ataturk Senior member

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    Yeah, I know. My poor OCBDs are made out of only 17 pieces. I think. 2 fronts, 2 yokes, 1 back, 2 sleeves, 2 plackets, 2 bands, 2 collars, 4 cuffs. I think that's it. Sounds right. More for striped or plaid, though, of course. No interfacings, no pockets for stays, no pockets, no pointless split yokes or decorative gussets. No cutting the sleeve placket in half before sewing it so you can claim it's two pieces. Whatever.

    Anyway, handwork in a shirt is pretty much just a styling detail. Most seams in a shirt are sewn twice--the side seams, the attachments of the collar and cuff (usually--big factories do them with one line of stitching), the armhole seam, where the yoke meets the fronts and back, etc. Even the collar is sewn once, then turned inside out and topstitched over. Generally speaking you sew the first pass, then turn the fabric over and make the second row of stitching, which is more visible. Often it just tacks down a seam to close it.

    When they do hand stitching on a shirt, they almost always do that first hidden pass with a machine. The hand stitching leaves you with a somewhat weaker seam and it's purely decorative.

    Machine made buttonholes are stronger, especially on a shirt.

    On the other hand there's something to handsewn shanked buttons, but even then I've seen shanked buttons on a shirt I'm pretty sure were attached by machine.
     


  14. phxlawstudent

    phxlawstudent Senior member

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    You have no idea how much per yd of the TM oxford selling in wholesale price, for a normal size, you just need 1.8yd/shirt. If the shirts are made in mainland china, the labour cost is cheap. That is why J Crew can keep their pricing relatively low.

    My new TM OCBD CMT shirt cost me less than USD70, with 3mm Shell buttons and non fusing collar and cuffs. I can found someone do it cheaper, but the craftmanship will be lower. Of course, if I want better craftmanship like AC CMT, then the price will go up to 130 (thick buttons extra).


    That's because you live in HK. There's no way we can find a local tailor willing to sell him/herself for that cheap. Not to mention it would cost us ~$20 just for shipping that shirt across the pond. In addition, I would imagine there is an economy of scale since TM probably ships a lot more fabrics to China/HK than to the US. No idea what things are like in Europe.
     


  15. bjornb17

    bjornb17 Senior member

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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.
    What I look for in a shirt is: -100% Cotton (many in department stores are cotton/poly blends) -Exact neck and sleeve size (no 16/16.5 or 34/35) -Good fit Those 3 things will already weed out much of the lower-quality brands. Personal preferences for me are: -No chest pocket -split yoke Things I like to have but usually start getting into the very expensive range: -pattern matching -pearl buttons You can find a decent shirt online for about $50, and you can find something much better at higher cost, but with diminishing returns on investment!
     


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