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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Everything You Wanted To Know About Shirts But Were Too Afraid To Ask….


Edge Stitching Versus Foot Stitching:
It’s not often that you take the time to look at the detail. One critical detail that most customer’s overlook is edge stitching versus foot stitching. Edge stitching is where the technician comes as close to the edge of where the fabric of the cuff or collar finishes to stitch the fabric down, usually about 1-2mm. It needs careful workmanship and takes a little longer to finish the shirt. Foot stitching is a faster way to finish a shirt and usually the stitch is set back around 6mm. Whilst edge stitching gives a neater finish, it is not always preferable. Furthermore, depending on the detail of the shirt, some shirts will be better with foot stitching, especially in cases where an alternate colour is being used for the stitching as this detail would be lost as a contrast if edge stitched.


Should I Have White Collar White Cuff?
White collar / white cuff is a magical combination that usually transforms a shirt from dull to bright. The white significantly enhances the colour of the contrast shirt. For example, a light silken blue in our Canclini Rothschild 200 cotton looks fine on its own, but the moment you put white collar and cuff on the same shirt it transforms it and makes it the blue come alive. White collar and white cuff is the best way to show off the contrast stripes or pattern of the cotton you have chosen as a feature. It doesn’t work on all cloths. It doesn’t work as well on gingham, oxfords and patterned shirt fabrics, but it is fantastic on basic stripes and solid block colours. It particularly brings out the colour on pastels such as light blue, baby pink and lilac.

What Sort Of Cuff Should I Look For?
Your cuff should be in tune with your collar. That is the first thing to look out for. It is incongruous to have a pointed long peak collar with a club (rounded) cuff. The cuff is a very important detail because it is something that people tend to look at when you are wearing a jacket and people do notice the subtle details on a cuff before they would notice the body of the shirt when it is cloaked in a jacket.
My favourite cuff is a two button mitred cuff. I don’t work in the city so I don’t need French cuffs to show off my cufflinks. Therefore, I choose a practical cuff which I can use every day, one which I can roll up and down depending on the temperature and what I am working on. So far my favourite happens to be the two button mitred. Whereas the rounded cuff is fantastic for special occasions, I find it to be restrictive in terms of what you can wear it with. It doesn’t seem right to me to have a sharp or slim cut suit and then a rounded cuff.

Dark Coloured Shirts
It is important to look at your complexion before choosing the colour of the cloth you want for a shirt. Because I have a darker skin tone, I prefer to have lighter colours. I have found that when I wear darker colours I feel a little more brooding, a little too serious. For this reason I rarely wear black suits and search for lighter more playful fabrics for shirts. If I am to wear a darker colour, I prefer to steer towards those which have contrasting stripes or to offset the darker colour by having white collar and white cuffs. The last piece of advice I offer is to be careful with grey. Grey is a colour that can really wash a man out if he is not careful as to how he uses it.
Contrast Stitching
This is more of a gimmick for me than something I take seriously. I don’t mind contrast stitching on some shirts, but it can become a little tacky of the contrast is too Mickey Mouse against the chosen cloth. Especially on softer pastels, it looks very odd to see loud contrast stitches used as I have seen on the offerings of some brands.
Layered Collars
I have seen recently the rise of the 2 and three layered collar. Let me be very honest with you, this is a passing trend and be careful if you wish to embrace it because you might be wasting your money. The actual look of these collars is so loud and screams ‘Over here, I’m here!’ that I think it is a ‘buyer beware’. Shirts that last are shirts which don’t stray too far from lines of classicism. Since the economic affairs of the country don’t seem to be getting better, I think it is far better to choose a shirt that you will toss when it is threadbare rather than because of a change in seasonal fashion.


Embroidered Initials – Liver Or Cuff?
I never knew about the initials on the cuff until a Bostonian called Scott Army got a shirt made by me. Until then, I had always had initials on the liver. Increasingly it is becoming more popular to put the initials on the cuff so that when done correctly, the initials on the cuff sit just below the end of the sleeve of the jacket. This was done recently by David Arquette on David Letterman. Personally, I like the way the Italian’s do it on the liver area, about 2 ½ buttons up from the bottom on the left hand side (if you are wearing the shirt). As for the ‘Americana’ way of doing initials? I am now a fan.


Well, I hope some of this might help.
Best wishes,
Nicholas.







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