Shirts are the cornerstone of our wardrobes. Some are superior to others, but how can you tell? Modern manufacturing methods have put paid to many traditional shirt-making techniques, but there are a handful of labels that remain committed to doing things in a different way. At J.L.Berlue we are proud of our classic heritage shirts that are of the finest quality. Here's a list of the key features that make a good shirt so next time you're shopping you know what to look for.
Buttons Are a Signal Of Quality
The shirt must have at least seven buttons; this will ensure that it fastens properly and the material won’t stretch at the fastenings when you sit down. It’s more discreet for a gentleman. The buttons should also be of a high quality and not too plastic looking. You will notice J.L.Berlue has it’s own exclusive branded buttons showing these shirts pay attention to detail.
Examine The Collar
When you look at the collar of a well-made shirt, you’ll see the fabric bunches slightly because it’s made from two separate layers of cloth. Most mass-produced shirts have a fused collar, where the lining of the collar is glued to the outer fabric. They look unnaturally flat because everything has literally been stuck together with glue. When you iron a collar like this, you’ll start to see little grooves and bubbles come through the surface, which won’t go away. When a collar is laid by hand, the canvas lining is floating and it moulds to the shape of your neck over time, making it far more comfortable for long days at the office. When ironing, you need to be conscious to start at the tip of the collar and work upwards, so you don’t end up with a crease at the point.
Get Hands on With the Fabric
It’s all about the feel when it comes to fabric. Oxford cotton should feel chunky and have some texture to it – you want to be able to see the weave. With chambray, it’s much more about the colour. Inferior cloth will feel limp and lifeless to touch, good quality material should feel cool against the skin when you first put it on.
Inspect Patterns Closely
Another sign of quality is matching patterns. They should be symmetrical from one side of the shirt to the other and the same with the arms. It’s quite easy to spot, but you only get this with high-quality shirts. It takes a lot of skill, knowledge and time for a shirt maker to be able to do this. It’s also worth noting the crispness of prints. The colour should have sharp clarity and well defined edges, so the pattern will not fade or distort over time.
Pay Attention To Stitching
Single-needle stitching is the hallmark of a well-made shirt. Lower-grade shirts are produced on a machine that stitches with two needles at once. The advantage of single needle stitching is that it looks discreet and is more precise, and the material won’t distort or warp when it is washed. A good rule of thumb for stitching is there should be about 20 stitches per inch, or eight per centimetre.
Now you know the essentials, you will never buy a bad shirt again…