Is your idea of business shirt shopping a five-minute dash to the nearest department store to pick up a shirt and tie combo? Don’t worry; if it is, you’re not on your own. The majority of men are of the school of thought that surmises ‘any shirt will do,’ but they couldn’t be more wrong. A quality business shirt complements a suit while a cheap one can destroy all the hard work done on your custom tailored suit. So how can you spot the difference?
First things first, as far as business shirts are concerned, polyester and anything else synthetic is the tool of the devil. There’s a time and a place for these man-made fabrics, and the tailoring of fine shirts is neither.
Any shirt of quality should be 100% cotton and sometimes silk, but let’s stick to cotton. Cotton is both durable and breathable, which makes it the most popular choice of shirt fabric. But remember that a quality cotton shirt will be 100% cotton everywhere, which means no sneaky man-made fabrics in the cuffs or collar.
While there are many grades of cotton, Egyptian being highly regarded, if the shirt fabric stretches, then beware. Stretching usually signals the presence of another fiber such as lycra spun in with the cotton and possibly man-made.
A quality business shirt never has a collar that flops, flattens out, or fails to keep its shape. Usually, they have removable collar stays to maintain the required angles for a smart and sharp looking collar. To put it in simple terms, if the collar’s a flop, then give it the drop.
A cheap business shirt may have loose or inconsistent stitching throughout the garment, whereas high-quality shirts use a higher density 10–15 stitches per inch to strengthen them and make them less likely to have ripped seams. Unfortunately, the lack of good quality control for mass produced shirts means a lot of inferior products make it onto the market. So if you spot low density stitching, choose another shirt.
The yoke is the panelof fabric below the collar of your business shirt on your back. In a high-quality shirt this will be split into two halves at the back – a split yoke – allowing for a better fit. Many cheap shirts skimp on this step of the tailoring process as it takes a bit more time and a lot more effort.
Don’t concern yourself too much with how the buttons look or feel, and take more notice of how well they are sewn to the business shirt. They shouldn’t feel loose or like you could yank them off. If sewn on properly or attached using a lockstitch machine, then you should never have reason to use the spare button.
All of the above means little if the shirt doesn't fit you well. Remember, to get your right size you'll need a trifecta of neck size, sleevelength and fit around your midsection.
Of course, the best way to avoid mistakenly buying a cheap or bad quality business shirt is to have yours custom made. This ticks all the boxesfor a perfect fit, high-quality fabric and an unlimited choice of colours or patterns, not to mention avoiding the failings of cheap shirts as listed above.
Hats off to the team at Montagio Custom Tailoring Sydney. I was immediately impressed once I stepped into their boutique showroom... more »
The suit and shirts I received were terrific and much better quality than ones I've found in stores off the rack. I would absolutely recommend them... more »
I would highly recommend Montagio for anyone else planning a wedding or looking for a trendy tailor made suit... more »