In search of the elusive white shirt

As the year approaches its end and post-christmas sale sets in, many of us would probably be exuberant, ditching traditional activities like making resolutions we know we’ll never keep for other, more meaningful activities like burning holes through our bonuses and wallets for a new TV, tech gadgets or a wardrobe. This year, I’ve decided to do just the latter.

The trip downtown to spot potential buys were rather disappointing, and even that was quite an understatement. I have actually begun reading some books on styles and classics, and while I wouldn’t be getting a bespoke tailored suit from Savile Row, the information presented in Details Men’s Style Manual was nevertheless sound, and almost turned the attention to detail into an art form. Despite its American/European leanings, I thought it would not be difficult to adapt it for an Asian like me. My wardrobe makeover hence began with the simplest of shirts: the classic white shirt.

Here, my friends always like to boast of G2000 as a safe choice, being an Asian label. “You absolutely cannot go wrong with G2000,” they’d say. While the selection was indeed very formal and business-like (save for their penchant for odd shades of pink and purple), it was a tad too formal, like a boardroom full of stoic middle-management drones in a meeting you wish you’d never attended. It’s great for the office and formal meetings, but little else. The white shirt is the de facto classic for its versatility, meant for the professional black suit and tie, but casual enough to be paired with dark blue jeans or a grey sweater. In G2000, it was the pocket that did it in; amazing how a small rectangular square could limit the flexibility of the shirt by so many degrees.

Many of the other shops and boutiques I visited didn’t carry a plain white shirt either. Most of the shirts were either of the wrong cut (too trendy) or the designers probably felt so desperate to sell their creativity that they saw fit to add logos, emblems and floral prints to an otherwise perfect shirt. The search for a simple white shirt ended with sore disappointment as I returned with no leads even after visiting no less than 6 different boutiques and shops.

Having once thought that having a tailored white shirt would be overkill and tailors were meant for suit-making, I had completely reversed my thinking by the end of that day. The only question was, which tailor should I go to, out of the hundreds of options available?

Googling around returned some very interesting results: skipping the higher end tailors like CYC custom shop, I came over to this particular tailor located in the industrial area of Ubi. It’s called Grand City, and while many would pay $120 to be ripped off by a shady tailor somewhere in Peninsula Plaza, their cotton shirts go for $50, and supposedly they have had rave reviews and a loyal fan base. I actually happen to live close to the area and wouldn’t mind paying a visit. Perhaps I shall have a white shirt made there, and report on the results!


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2 Responses to In search of the elusive white shirt

  1. My husband likes white shirts. He wears them with suits (of course) but also with plain black trousers and no tie. But it is difficult to find really good white shirts – as you are discovering. And they are almost never sold at a reduced price.

  2. Pingback: Why we need tailors (Yes, it’s way past friday) | Coffee and Pen

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