Recently I was at work and leant on the desk folding my arms and resting my chin on my hands and Rip!! My shirt tore at the seams at both elbows. I thought “what?” As my colleague looked up and began laughing. I cursed at the poor workmanship and quality of the shirt. I had paid good money for this white dress shirt. I had only purchased it roughly 9 months ago, and had only worn it about once a week for 6 months.
I had bought this and four other shirts in the U.K. at the same time. They were all single cuff, slim-fit and white. I do have other shirts that are mainly double-cuff and those ones I’ve have had longer and from the same shop. Hence my disbelief at how easily the newer one ripped.
Shirts are such an important part of a business attire that I pride myself on the shirts that I buy. I ensure they have the length to be tucked in nicely. I prefer solids, usually powder blue and white for work. Occasionally I’ll buy white with blue Bengal vertical stripes.
One thing I am particular about is a shirt’s fit. The arm length has got to be perfect. Enough to show an inch outside my suit jacket arm. Then the body of the shirt has to be caressing my physique. I dislike baggy shirts, nothing is more tacky and uncomfortable with a business suit.
I prefer a nice cutaway collar, not the pointed gullwing collars that almost touch your breast. There must not be a pocket on either breast, it’s too much like an engineer’s shirt. Finally, I am eighty percent in favor of double cuffs. If I am going without a tie, then I will every so often wear single cuff.
Of course, the material has to be cotton of the highest quality. Poplin has a nice touch and a little sheen. Pinpoint Oxford and Royal Oxford I prefer over regular Oxford the latter is a tad rough in texture. I am not a fan of Herringbone even though it is very popular among men’s formal shirts.
Oh! Before I forget. What about button down collar or not? For work and casual wear, I prefer an open-neck collar. I will keep an odd button down just for lounging around in.
Finally, from a cotton material perspective, even though Egyptian, Pima American and Sea Island are derived from the same plant. They have their differences. All three are desirable as they can be spun into a finer more durable yarn.
All three are some the highest quality shirt yarn in the world. However, of the three Pima American is spun into the lowest grade. Followed by Egyptian Cotton.
The variety of Egyptian known as “Giza 45” is extremely rare and is the highest grade of all Egyptian Cotton.
Even though I am fan of the Egyptian variety, my mind was blown away when I came across Sea Island Cotton from Barbados. It’s the rarest ultra-high quality cotton used for making shirts. Sea Island is highly durable, vibrant in color, high consistency, silky texture and virtually “hairless”. Shirts made from Sea Island get smoother after every wear and wash. Look for “Certified Sea Island Cotton” instead of “Sea Island Quality”. Only The former is authentic.
Then you have two-ply vs single ply. Two-ply is more durable but not necessarily smoother. You also have to think about thread count. A higher thread count means smoother, silkier and more expensive fabric. Also, anything over 100 thread count implies a two-ply shirt.
Well! there you have it. I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on the conundrum of buying a nice shirt for whatever occasion. So now that you have the insider knowledge go forth and procure thy shirt for thy next urban adventure.
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