The Perfect Shirt | Top 5 Ways to Know if You’re Buying a Luxury Shirt

Today I’m going to give you 5 things that make the difference on a luxury dress shirt. I’ve been running Hawkins & Shepherd for around 6 years now and have acquired a lot of knowledge and experience in the shirt making industry. Here are some things that I look out for immediately when determining the quality of a shirt.

THE COLLAR

The collar on a man’s dress shirt needs to be high quality. The first thing I look for is edge stitching. What is edge stitching? This is a term given when the stitching runs to the edge of the seam It’s harder to do as a tailor because there is less room for error so therefore it takes longer. It’s a technique that takes greater skill.

Most shirts will have quarter edge stitching.

Another thing to look out for on the collar is whether the collar is non-fused. There will be a lining in a collar that is sometimes fused to the fabric on one if not both sides. It’s a cheaper and quicker way to manufacture shirts. Sadly that adhesive used to fuse the collar can perish and react with the fabric over time and washes. You may have recognised a bubbling effect on your collars if you’re buying entry level shirts. To test whether you are buying a quality dress shirt you should be able to pull the fabric away from the lining on both sides. 

Lastly don’t forget about the removable collar stays. Entry level shirts will have them fused in which can be problematic when ironing. Plus ironing over plastic is not desirable and over time will leave nasty indentations on the collar.

STITCHING

Let’s talking about stitching on a dress shirt. Stitching is the most expensive part when it comes to manufacturing. Especially if the shirt is composed using single needle side seam stitching. (Try saying that after one too many Heinekens). A cheaper method of manufacturing is to use the double needle. But single needle leaves a beautiful finish.  

THE SPLIT YOKE  

The all-important split yoke. I’m talking about the block of fabric situated on the back of the shirt that sits over the shoulders. A split yolk means that 2 pieces of fabric lay over the shoulders. It fits better on the shoulders and there is more flow if you have a split yolk. If there is a pattern shirt then it’s more of a design aspect as to whether you chose to have a split yoke.

Personally I like a non-split yoke when its striped or checked. Watch for a split yoke on a lower quality shirt, quite often the patterns will not match up. 

FRONT PLACKET 

I love it clean no stitching. These might come down to personal preferences but there are certain features that will distinguish a luxury dress shirt.

The front placket should without question have mother of pearl buttons mother of pearl buttons, tightly sewn to the placket.

 Every buttonhole should be sewn vertically, apart from the bottom one. This needs to be sewn horizontally which will allow freedom of movement. The bottom button hole will often be the one that sees the most action and needs to flex with the body.  

Talking of movement, look at the gusset of the shirt. A well-constructed shirt will have the triangle area to allow for more movement. It also cleans the hem to a nice finish.

 Some shirts are over engineered with different fabric on the front. I personally don’t see this as a luxury choice. Just extra fuss and a distraction.

The fabric entry level for a luxury shirt will be a  cotton twin 100's. The higher you go up in the yarn count the finer is going to be and more often the softer. Lower yarn count like 40’s, 60’s will be a thicker fabric and not conducive for a dress shirt.

SLEEVES

It’s crucial that the shoulders line up pattern wise with the arms. Again there should be no fused linings in the cuff. I also look for a smaller button on the sleeve placket. I love double button cuff personally, but that it not deemed a feature of luxury, more tradition. If I have a sharp cut in the collar I would also look the same in the cuff, rounded cuffs and collar. 

The Must Have Summer Shirt Collection by Hawkins & Shepherd Tailored for Versatility

When it comes to fine shirt making you do not have to look too far, in fact you are already online, so just click on one of the images above and you've found them! In an increasingly digital world Hawkins & Shepherd have focused on operating solely in an online marketplace giving their customers across the globe an equal opportunity to wear their exceptional cotton shirts. Hawkins & Shepherd which was launched in 2013, continues to grow, improve and supply its loyal customers with the best in men's shirts. Many of the London based shirt makers still own retail spaces, which are extremely costly in terms of rent, security and staffing. Paying for these overheads has to come from somewhere and that often leads to selling an inferior product at a higher price, making more profit margins. Being online only, you do not have these costs and are therefore able to offer a better quality shirt for a better price - which is why a Hawkins & Shepherd shirt will ALWAYS be handmade using skilful tailors and the best fabrics.

At Hawkins & Shepherd, they realise that more men are after versatile shirts that can be worn day-to-night. A shirt that looks equally great in the office, walking along a marina on holiday as well as going for dinner or drinks. This summer collection has been designed with that in mind, a truly perfect shirt for this summer, holiday season. They've handcrafted their shirts using 100% cotton fabric in an Oxford breathable weave. The patterns are clean lines in a variety of pastel colours and a variety of different collar types to suit everyones personal style preference.

The Hawkins & Shepherd Summer pastel shirts are simply the best choice to look smart, cool & stylish. Now also available in plain super-soft luxury cotton.

At Hawkins & Shepherd, they are forever evolving and looking for new and exciting fabrics with even higher quality, so keep your eyes peeled for their developments as there will be some exciting improviments to the website and well as their products in the coming months.

David Vs Goliath | Hawkins & Shepherd take on London's Jermyn Street shirt makers

It really is a David vs Goliath battle. I launched Hawkins & Shepherd 3 years ago last month focusing on extremely high quality shirts with the best cotton and handmade tailoring. I did a lot of research when launching and tested the shirt quality of what is on London's Jermyn Street and found that on many occasions the quality wasn't as great as the street name suggests and seemed like profits took over from quality. A Hawkins & Shepherd shirt will always be handmade, which means the tailoring will always be the best it can be.  

Launching with a very limited budget the brand continues to be a one man band and at times it's extremely hard juggling my time from bringing out new designs, marketing, general admin and being the office tea boy! However year on year we have strong growth which is on target to continue into year 4. In a very saturated market, one of the toughest times for the retail sector in 20 years, a weak pound and retailers squeezing margins it's hard to believe how we are still in business but we are and people are starting to take note. Working on a shoe string budget, I'm competing with some well known shirt makers with £1m marketing budgets so it is down to you guys that Hawkins & Shepherd is able to continue to grow. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart all the support you give me and my company - it really means so much.

Hawkins & Shepherd signature Pin Collar Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd signature Pin Collar Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd still have the largest range of luxury Pin Collar Shirts globally, which is our signature range and growing. However we do not stop there. We have big ambitions to expand our range and 2016 has seen major investment for our Autumn Winter collection.

For example we have collaborated with luxury womenswear tailor Calder London to produce a range of designer suits using Savile Row British fabrics. Furthermore our biggest investment has come in producing a single and double-breasted 100% British cashmere overcoats. Available in both navy and camel as worn by Britain's supermodel and fashion ambassador David Gandy.

David Gandy wears Hawkins & Shepherd and loves the brand so much that he wore our cashmere overcoat in a recent advert for Wellman Vitabiotics. Check out the behind the scenes footage below:

Hawkins & Shepherd have just launched their Shirt Subscription Service. This was setup because I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to wear a Hawkins & Shepherd shirt because I believe that when you have tried our shirts you will not go back to buying cheap 5 shirts for £100 deals that are out there currently. By signing up to the subscription service you can spread the cost of one shirt over 2 or even 3 months and still get a discount on the retail price. The 'Enthusiast' subscription package is meant for the business traveller who churns through shirts and can receive a fresh crisp shirt every month with free delivery. Not only can you choose a payment plan that suits your needs, you can also specify the shirt colour and shirt collar types that you prefer and Hawkins & Shepherd will do their best to fulfil this request.

For more information, click on the image below.

 

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