Your perfect fitting custom shirts will be the best fitting and favourite shirts you’ve ever owned. If it’s the correct fit in the collar and the sleeves are the right length, also the body isn’t too big around the waist. You will have comfort and confidence knowing you are looking your best.
You can always make some small adjustments to improve your fit just a little further. Our goal is to build the perfect fit. Three things we think will help our clients go from a great fitting shirt to an entirely perfect shirt.
> Make sure the cuffs are not too loose or tight
A common problem is the cuffs are looser than they need to be. A perfect fitting shirt will have the cuffs fit snug without being uncomfortable. It is not a good practice when a guy tries to push his hands through his shirt cuffs before unbuttoning them. The reason we like the cuffs to fit so tight is that it prevents the cuffs from coming too far down your hand when your arms are at your side (which makes your sleeves look too long). A perfect fitting shirt cuff will always come to the right point of your hand without being uncomfortable. A 1/4″ or 1/2″ adjustment here can make a big difference. Find out more about how a dress shirt cuff should fit here.
> Avoiding too wide baggy shoulders
The second most common mistake we see is, shoulders being too wide. Depending on the shape of your shoulders, measuring shoulder width can be challenging, so it’s a common mistake. When you have your first shirt and can see how well it fits, it becomes easier to tell if the shoulders are the right width or not. Stand in front of a mirror, looking forward with your arms at your sides. If the yoke of the shirt is coming down past where the shoulder curves down to the arm it is too broad. Narrowing the shoulder width will make for a more tailored look and can also help improve the alignment of the shirt around the armholes and tops of the sleeve.
> Mastering Your shoulder slope
Shoulder slope is another challenging fit option that is sometimes difficult to get right on the first try. Changing the shoulder slope can help make the shirt drape smoother across the chest. Finding the correct shoulder slope will hinge upon whether the shirt is buttoned at the collar or open collar, so be sure to evaluate this as you plan to wear the shirt. If you’re wearing the shirt buttoned up with a tie you might want to specify greater shoulder slope than a shirt you plan to wear an open collar. With your arms at your side, check for pull-lines running from the shirt armpits to the back of the collar, or from the buttons out to the ends of the shoulder. Each shoulder slope adjustment will raise or lower the ends of the shoulder by 1/4″ to the back of the collar. A little change goes a long way.
Shirt Watch Allowance>
If you’re adjusting the cuffs of your dress shirt to be somewhat tight to your wrists and wear a larger watch on your left or right wrist, you will want to consider specifying a watch allowance
How your custom dress shirt watch allowance is determined
Selecting a watch allowance allows you to make the left or right cuff .25″, .5″ or .75″ larger than the other cuff so that it can slide over your watch with ease. You’ll want to specify the watch allowance for the wrist that will have the watch.
Identifying the right amount of watch allowance
Choosing between .25″, .5″ and .75″ will depend on the size of your watch, and how snug you’re making the cuffs in general. If you’re keeping the cuffs somewhat loose, you will not need a watch allowance at all. However, if you notice that the cuff of your watch hand is annoyingly not sliding over your watch, you will want to make your cuff larger. We find that .25″ is enough extra space for slim, dressy watches, but if you have a dive watch or otherwise large watch you might need the .5″ to .75″ difference.
Selecting a two-button cuff can be a good solution
This works well for guys that have extra large watches. If you choose a two-button cuff style cuff instead of our one-button options. The two-button cuff, you can button the back button on the cuff only, such that the cuff can more easily open around a larger watch.
Selecting the perfect shirt length depends on if you plan to wear the shirt tucked or untucked. Also, how high you wear your pants, the size of your stomach and the required number of buttons on the front should be a factor.
How long should your custom tucked in shirt be?
A tucked-in shirt should come to the bottom of the butt or slightly below. Rule of thumb, the longer a shirt, the more securely it will tuck into the pants, and the straighter it will stay aligned at the front.
How long should my untucked shirt be?
If you plan to wear your shirt primarily casually untucked, you will want a slightly shorter shirt length. But don't go too short! This is a common mistake. A good matrix is that an untucked shirt should come to the centre/bottom of the butt. Another good rule of thumb is that the front bottom shirt tail should just barely align with the ends of your sleeves when you stand up. Every body type is shaped different, so these rules don’t always work out. When in doubt, measure an already owned shirt that has an untucked length you like.
Number of buttons on front of your shirt
The length of the shirt will affect the number of buttons depends on the front according to the following matrix:
> Shirt length = 24 to 27-inch shirt length has six buttons
> Shirt length = 27.5 to 30-inch shirt length has seven buttons
> Shirt length = 30.5 to 33.5-inch shirt length has eight buttons
> Shirt length = 34 to 37-inch shirt length has nine buttons
> Shirt length = 37.5 to 39-inch shirt length has ten buttons
If you only dry clean the shirt, will it still shrink?”, Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Indeed, if you rarely wear the shirt and only occasionally have it spot-cleaned by the dry-cleaner, it will not shrink as much as if it is washed regularly in water. And if you’re very careful it may not shrink at all. However, for other reasons, we don’t suggest dry-cleaning as the best method to wash a dress shirt. We recommend sizing the shirt such that some average amount of shrinkage is taken into account and then washing it with water and pressing it after.
If you wash your shirts in the washer, and then dry it on high heat, you will see shrinkage that is much more significant.
When you wash your shirt according to our suggested methods, you should see more minimal and predictable reduction over time, without the costs and burden of dry-cleaning.
Shrinkage happens over time, not all at once
The first time a shirt is washed it usually shrinks the most, but it can still be expected to shrink more over the life of the shirt.It’s also common for a shirt to be slightly smaller after fifty plus washings than it was after its first washing.
Typical dress shirt fabrics vs. some casual fabrics
Nice dress shirt fabrics shrink in this 1-3% range. At Brooks Bingham Clothing, we test all of our dress shirt fabrics to ensure that they meet these criteria. Occasionally we come across casual new fabric that we think are extraordinary for its look or feel that shrinks more than 3%. In some cases, we will opt to make these materials available (of course we do try to account for this shrinkage specially). High reduction materials can include some of the chambrays, oxford cloths, and fine printed fabrics
Why did my shirt become looser in the torso or sleeves?
In some cases, you may find that rather than shrink; your shirt becomes looser around the chest, midsection and around the biceps. This is a result of a shirt being stretched out. We’ve seen this occur when an individual, aggressive cleaner clean shirts made from fabrics with a looser weave.
To understand how this can happen, it helps to know how most shirt cleaners wash/press a shirt. First, the shirt is soaked in water. Secondly, it is put through a spin cycle to wring most of the water out of the garment. And finally, the shirt is put on a machine or hot press where the remaining water is then steamed out, resulting in a wrinkle-free and dry shirt.
Problems occur when a dry-cleaner puts the shirt on the hot iron press such that the fabric is under tension in the width direction. This pressure stretches the shirt out in the width direction, and then when the shirt is steamed dry, the stretch is actually locked into the shirt. This can result in the midsection width being 0.5-0.75″ larger than it should be.
In most cases, washing the shirt and then drying it on low heat in a tumble-dry will return it to its original size.
With a good dry-cleaner, you won’t have this problem. It’s also worth noting that some fabrics are more susceptible to this sort of stretching. While we’ve found broadcloths to be resistant to this effect, we’ve seen it happen quite severely in some imperial twills and even pinpoint oxfords.
How we adjust for shrinkage:
> Brooks Bingham Clothing adds 0.5″-0.75″ to the collar size. Less on smaller collars and more on larger collars.
> We add 0.5″ to 0.75″ to the sleeve length. Less on shorter sleeves and more on longer sleeves.
> We add a flat 0.5″ to the width of the chest, midsection and bottom width.
> In addition to the above, for specialty fabrics that are known to shrink more than 3%, Brooks Bingham Clothing will also adjust all of the dimensions (length and width separately) by 1-3%
You want to purchase high-quality dress shirts but are having trouble discerning whether what you are looking at is the best quality or not. The last thing you need is something that looks good at first and ends up being junk. So with that established, let’s have a look at seven factors to look for when buying a high-quality dress shirts
Needless to say, the quality of the fabric is the foundation of the garment. Higher quality dress shirts are often made from Egyptian Cotton, which is considered the standard for fine cotton.
Egyptian cotton fibers are considered the longest, at 1 ½ inches. Egyptian cotton is considered soft, silky and firm. Alternatives to Egyptian cotton include Sea Island and Pima.
Additionally, the vast majority of shirt fabrics fall into five major weave categories; Broadcloth, Oxford, Pinpoint, Twill and Herringbone, which can be read more about here.
Of importance – Broadcloth – alternatively known as ‘Poplin,' is considered the quintessential dress shirt fabric. Broadcloth fabric is manufactured using a simple over / under weave pattern and is woven tighter with finer yarns so that the fabric is smooth and silky. Because broadcloth fabrics are of much smoother texture and quality than its Pinpoint or Oxford cousins, they are more suitable for formal dress.
A key consideration in assessing the quality of your dress shirt fabric is Yarn count. Occasionally, when you come across a shirt at a major retailer, you will see something along the lines of: “100’s two-ply cotton”. What exactly does this mean? It can be broken down into two components:
Yarn Number – describes the thickness of the yarn. A lower yarn number indicates a thicker yarn, whereas higher yarn numbers are indicative of slimmer, finer yarns.
Because these thinner yarns can only be created from the smoothest, longest cotton fibers, shirts made from higher yarn counts are more expensive.
Ply – refers to the number of yarns used in the weaving process. A two-ply shirt indicates the twisting of two yarns together to form a single yarn before weaving. Fabrics made from two-ply yarn are of higher quality than those made from single yarn. Because fabrics are woven using yarns in two directions (warp for vertical and weft for horizontal), the following delineations are often used:2 x 2: Two-ply for both warp and weft
2 x 1: Two-ply for one direction and single-ply for the other
1 x 1: Single-ply in both directions
2. The Collar
A close inspection of the shirt’s collar will give you a sense of the quality of the shirt. Quality collars are cut perfectly symmetrical, with straight and clean edges. High-quality dress shirts have fused collars, which have a level of crispness to them.
These collars should curve in a circle when buttoned and should not lose shape. While an unfused collar is not a sign of poor workmanship, it is important to note that the work required to create an unfused collar is generally of higher technical standard, and hence, while a high-quality unfused collar can look great, a lower quality one will look subpar.
3. Split Yolk
High-quality dress shirts always come with a split yoke. The yoke of the shirt is the panel of fabric that runs across from shoulder end to shoulder end, right below the collar. The split yolk is where the yolk is made of two different pieces of fabric.
The functional benefit of this is that the shirt fabric can stretch more, enabling the wearer with a greater range of motion.
4. Cleanly Finished Button Holes
If there are loose threads around the button hole or any sign of fraying, this is indicative of a lower quality shirt. Premium quality shirts will have more stitches on the button hole clear openings with no signs of fraying.
5. Hand Sewn Cuffs
Similar to collars, cuffs can come either fused or unfused. Fused cuffs are preferable for formal attire, whereas unfused cuffs are superior for more casual wear. Either way, hand sewn cuffs will exhibit attention to detail with straightness in the stitching and pointedness of the cuffs.
6. Quality Edge Stitching
The finest quality dress shirts will have stitching close to the edges of the collars, plackets, cuffs, etc. Typical shirt makers tend to stay away from edge stitching, however because it’s harder and ultimately more costly for them to mass produce.
7. Removable Collar Stays
Higher quality dress shirts, in addition to quality collars, also come with removable collar stays. Collar stays are little pieces of metal or plastic that are inserted into the points of the collar, and they keep the collar points looking straight and looking sharp.
Some shirts may come in with sewn-in collar stays. Removable collar stays will allow a collar to retain its shape and pointedness over the years.
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