How to Tell a Quality Shirt?

March 7, 2013 / by Benedict Wojtenka28 comments

For ten days in February, he held an exhibition quite confidential but exciting in a new gallery in Paris, Made in town.

The idea was very simple and very interesting: bring a shirt Zara striped White and blue (the generic shirt) to 30 of tailors specializing in the shirt (and only in the made-to-measure shirt) in Rome and ask for copy said shirt Zara, but with all their know-how.

Important clarification: the fabric of each shirt comes from the selection (and suggestion) of the tailor, who is supposed to connect visually as possible to the Zara shirt. So we got to each shirt, a fabric striped blue and white, but different every time in his touch, size stripes, blue stripes, etc.

In the end, we have shirts with stripes 30, but each is unique! I was frankly amazed to be able to touch and see so many so luxurious shirts, including from some of the most beautiful homes in the world (I am thinking of Borelli). It was fascinating to see that every great Roman blouse has its own details of clothing, revealing a unique know-how. What was also interesting, is that there are all price ranges: the price ranged from € 80 to € 500, which allows to have a real variety in confections.

So on, there are photos these famous details that reflect a quality shirt. Do not expect to find the same details in ready-to-wear, they are for the most part very little present…

Note: the explanations in italics refer to the image located above.

A button sewn way “zampa di gallina” or also the “fleur de Lys” way. This certifies that it has been sewn by hand. You will never know button that stands alone with this type of seam. Next to the button, you see the buttonhole has a thick and dense, thread that avoids the typical fraying of bad buttonholes.

A more conventional way to sew the button, but the quality of the Pearl remains impressive, because even on high-end, we find very rarely mother-of-Pearl buttons as thick (and so resistant).

In the same kind of rare details, there is the famous travetto : it’s a reinforcement in the form of crochet stitch, done by hand, at the level of the Capuchin leg (but if you know: is this leg that starts from the wrist and that usually ends in the middle of the front arm). About the travetto (= the Capuchin leg strengthening), do not ready-to-wear, there is completely missing, even in the high-end. Maxim of SoDandy talking about it in one of his articles.

I was also surprised, it’s the variety of armholes. If most are actually staggered at armpit level, each shirt has its way up the neck to the shoulder.

Two montages of relatively ‘classic’ shoulders, which are not outstanding compared to what can be found in high range PAP. The two lines of stitching are visible here. Let’s get in line…

A shoulder high range. The stitches on the top horizontal line are very narrow, sign of quality and technical mastery. Similarly, these barely visible stitches apart and isolated between them on the vertical line (the one that made the rounds of the arm) are characteristic of editing by hand.

The best of the best: almost no visible seam aligned stripes between the shoulder and collarbone and hyper dense and almost invisible seam points. But we can do even better…

The Holy Grail: more no visible seam. Unbelievable but true! A true masterpiece. Here’s what you see if you look at the editing inside:

Another photo of the inside of a shoulder, where we see very clean finishes, and famous editing to the visible hand in the seam on the left.

Go to the pass, where a characteristic detail of a shirt in large measure is visible:

The neck is very thick. On all the shirts, the cervix is rigidity that I never felt before. It’s reinforced concrete! This flared neck is classic Italian style.
No suit would make smaller collar, because they thought it was too feminine.

It’s probably the shirt better finished I’ve seen since I started getting interested in men’s fashion. The seams of the pass are incredible: they are so fine that it is frankly difficult to distinguish the points!
Impossible to make more refined…

About the seams, if shirts are all in English seams, it is fascinating to see the different ways to:

Among the essential details of a high range shirt, there is the famous swallow of reinforcement, available here in many ways.

A very elegant reinforcement in the form of hand-made crochet stitch.

It’s really a great idea to exhibition and one begins to imagine extending the concept, with for example brands of prestigious jeans that would be the “same” John in their own way, or tailors that would demonstrate their skills on a suit jacket. This could be really exciting!

A few words on this new gallery Made in Town (26 rue Vertbois in Paris): the goal is to highlight artisan expertise in several areas such as fashion, design or gastronomy. I’m not the most erudite person in art gallery, but I welcome such an initiative. Thanks to Maxim always humble and pedagogue in his explanations.