Shirts: The basic.

I promised in the last post I’ll talk about style. I mean, you’ve snooped around, you’ve asked your friends and you’ve got your tailor. What now?

Bespoke tailoring means you get to make all sorts of requests and adjustments, just to get your perfect shirt, but being in an age where creativity seems to be the new buzzword, and a license to disregard rules in favour of organic development also means many people ditch rules that work, and end up looking like this:

Very cute.

Or we just sort of give up, and go to office looking like this:

Note to GQ: Your photo is brilliant.

So if we recognise how we carry ourselves is just as important, the best place to start is the basics. Don’t worry about being too “mainstream”; ironically everyone’s wearing such crappy, ill-fitting clothes that the very basics is now somewhat of a rarity.

The fit

Typically your tailor will measure all these for you, but if you’re out on your own picking up some basic officewear, two key factors I’d consider: Shoulder and collar. These are, to me, the most important. The line that marks the end of the shoulder and the beginning of your sleeve should fall on the rounded end of your shoulder. It’s a no-brainer, but many guys I know still have shoulder ends that runs over into their forearm. Note that I’m not a fashion expert and I’m making up terms like shoulder ends but you should know what I’m referring to.

Oh, and it’s called shoulder seam. Now I know.

The second is the collar. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to button up all the way, and still fit in two fingers into the collar.

The material

Upscale retailers usually use better cloth. For the locals, G2000 isn’t too shabby for their basic selection – the heftier ones with very fine diagonal stripes are good for coloured options. Your tailor will usually try to sell you the more expensive types. It’s your call here. The expensive one are usually cotton, 2, maybe 3-ply, while the cheaper options are polyester blends, and tends to wrinkle easier. If you’re in a perpetually warm tropical climate, cotton’s a good investment, but that’s just me.

The colour

Basics you should absolute have – white, blue (not too dark) and gray. A white shirt sans pockets would be great, because it can then also double up as a dress-down kind of shirt, something you’ll fold the sleeves for and pair it with dark blue jeans for a drinking session with your buddies. But it’s ridiculously difficult to find, which was why I went for tailoring in the end. Blue and Gray’s good with or without pockets.

Whew…thought I could be done with one post but evidently this is going to take quite a few parts. Next up, the pants.

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One Response to Shirts: The basic.

  1. Pingback: Trousers: The basics | Coffee and Pen

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