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Yet another jantzen review...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Thracozaag, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. naturlaut

    naturlaut Senior member

    Messages:
    565
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    Feb 27, 2003
    Hi all, I'm back [​IMG] Anyway, regarding my comments on the shirt --- the biggest problem I have was the fabric and lack of house style. Â Between me and Thracozaag, we have pretty much tried shirts from every major makers, and each one is unique. Â Jantzen could do pretty much anything you ask, as long as it can be produced by machine, and that bothers me. Â It is not merely a matter of machine-made or hand-made (there are great shirtmakers on both ends) but a complete lack of recognizable style --- every custom shirts from Kiton to Turnbull, though with the same measurements, will look entirely different, as these are houses with their individuality; otherwise, no one will order shirts from them and all will go to Jantzen instead. Â Individuality reflects the philosophy of a maker. For example, you may complain that the Neapolitans do not do pattern matching on the shoulders very well... well, if that's what is of utmost importance to you, then don't get a Neapolitan shirt. Â However, you can't deny the craftsmanship the Neapolitans put into attaching the armhole, which the English can't match. Â While the English insist on the necessity of pattern matching, the Neapolitans insist on a great many other things, and that gives individuality to these guys. Â Kiton doesn't offer any other buttons except the undyed MOP, Borrelli has buttons of one thickness, so are Turnbull and Hilditch; and picking a shirt for you is to choose which style works best, instead of commanding the tailor to do everything. Â I know this may further bring on arguments, but an equivalent to this obstination is when you commission Beethoven to compose a piece exactly like Bach ... it's impossible. Â Beethoven will always write like Beethoven, and Bach will always sound Bach. Â So is Bach a better compose than Beethoven?.? Â An actual example may be found in Prokofiev's "Classical" symphony. Â It's classical, yet unmistably Prokofiev.
    My opinions on Jantzen shirt was not a comparison with any one else - where in the 'review' do you see me mentioning Borrelli or Charvet? I like different shirtmakers for their own specialty, not just Kiton, and Kiton is not generic either --- have you made a comparison even between the Neapolitans from Kiton to Borrelli to Barba? Â Whether others follow a certain style is of no concern to me, moreover, you can put this argument to any other point of styling: you are bound to be choosing something that others are already wearing. Â Also, I did take the shirt out from the bag, otherwise how could I see the armhole and the monogram?
    I wouldn't exactly lean completely on machine stitching or hand stitching, as each has its own merits. Â However, I haven't had any problems with Borrelli or Kiton, on the other hand, I have threads coming loose from machine-stitched shirts ... Â In any case, as long as you don't step foot in these Neapolitan makers, you have a wide selection of machine-made shirts. My final comment: if you have not yet the courage (and in my case, the accumulated wealth) to try makers from the bigger houses, Jantzen is a good choice for a custom shirt. Â Picking the fabric may be tricky, but you can get pretty much anything you want; they won't say no to any styling eccentricities from you. Â However, other options exist if you have doubts about Jantzen, namely getting a good ready-made from Kiton to Zegna Napoli Couture and have them altered to fit you. Â Kiton tailors are happy to remodel the whole shirt to fit you, and Zegna Napoli Couture even does it for free in Hong Kong (a one to two month wait): they could alter the body, and sleeves (of course), the sleeve buttons according to thickness of your wrist, and even the shoulders --- and if you like, put a little monogram on the shirt too ... and rest assured, these Kiton or Napoli Couture monogram are all beautifully hand embroidered.
     
  2. naturlaut

    naturlaut Senior member

    Messages:
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    Feb 27, 2003
    I've just looked through my Kiton shirts (custom and ready made) and realise that patterns do match. However, since the armhole is attached by tucking into the shoulders (thus forming ripples) they don't match exactly, but it's obvious that care has been taken to match the patterns.
     
  3. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Senior member

    Messages:
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    Jul 28, 2003
    i meant that for you to criticize the fabric, you would have to be comparing the fabric to shirts that cost much more.

    what one looks for concerning a shirt's style is very much a matter of personality. i like to have some involvement in the way my shirts are made. it took me some trial and error to develop my own style, and now i wear that style almost every day, albeit in different fabrics, and from a couple of different makers. i love creativity, and to see a man wearing a shirt that was essentially designed by him puts a smile on my face.

    buying rtw shirts from different makers means wearing different styles all the time, though i still contend that the italian shirts all have the same "look" even if some of the details vary.

    it's just a matter of preference. both ways will put a shirt on your back, but i think custom will give you more for your money - unless you're not picky about the style being your own.
     
  4. naturlaut

    naturlaut Senior member

    Messages:
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    Feb 27, 2003
    As much as one is picky about something, it's another thing to have the same thing everyday. I think we are all a picky (and hard-to-please) bunch, but I also believe that most of you have a diversity of styles in your wardrobe (do correct me if I am wrong), from shirts to suits to shoes. If you think all Italians look the same, try looking at the English. Actually, in my opinion, they are all different (from Brioni to Kiton to Turnbull to Charvet), and as I have said, unless you have been visiting Jantzen alot, a custom from Kiton to Turnbull is going to be very different even with your own stylistic specifications.

    On top of that, as I fall in the range of a regular sized person (who fits perfectly in ready-made sizes with only minor adjustments) I could afford to have a variety of style to suit my different moods, very much like you picking a different tie everyday (or different restaurants every night). I just think that for HK$280, it is a great price for a custom shirt, but not great enough considering the material. I am actually more picky about the material as it deals directly with the rest of the attributes like comfort and durability, not to mention its appearance and coordination with the rest of the ensemble.
     
  5. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
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    Apr 24, 2003
    On the Kiton shirts that I have, the shoulders aren't pattern-matched because of the puckering, but the sleeve plackets are. What's more, the horizontal lines in the checks are matched at the side seams, which is something that I've never seen before.

    Borrelli is more hit and miss. The shoulders usually have decent pattern matching, but sometimes the sleeve plackets do and sometimes they don't. I guess that it depends on who cuts the shirt.
     
  6. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    4,582
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    Jan 6, 2003
    My experience with Jantzen fabrics is that the quality varies a lot. Some were less-than-stellar. Yet I ordered a shirt in 140's Sea Island cotton that was positively luxurious, it felt like silk. Ricky will send you fabric swatches to look at - that can solve the problem for you. I think we will all agree that nothing touches the quality for $38.00. It's hard to find anything ready-to-wear for less than $200 that is as good.
     
  7. MPS

    MPS Senior member

    Messages:
    217
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    Aug 31, 2003
    Just for the record, my Jantzen shirts are holding up fine (though I've only had them for a few months). I'm leaving for Hong Kong tomorrow and will pick up another half dozen or so. I can't understand why their fabrics are being knocked: I would say that they have a more than adequate selection of fabrics. If you're willing to search through all of their swatches, then you'll find fabric that is as good as the fabric used for Jermyn St. shirts (e.g. T & A, H & K). I can also vouch that their "sea island" cotton is silky. Moreover, they have some wonderfully soft and luxurious herringbones and twills. As regards Jantzen lacking a house style, I think it's difficult for a "hole-in the-wall" in an obscure building to cultivate a house style, and to be frank I'd rather they took the cues from me (and not the other way round). Besides, I haven't seen too many people walking around in shirts with large cut away collars & with cocktail cuffs.
     

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