For most men, a shirt is what you wear because society and the workplace aren’t ready to instil casual Monday-throughFriday just yet (even then, the sleeveless tank wouldn’t ever be considered appropriate boardroom wear). Men need a good shirt like they need, well, a lot of other things in the grooming department. If you are here wondering why you need tailored shirts when off-the-peg fits you just fine, then know that I, sir, am extremely jealous of your divine and perfect form, one which has been serving as the template for all shirt manufacturers worldwide. As for me, this one-size-fits-all world is just not my place.
So, when (and not if) you decide to go in for your first bespoke experience, remember to pay attention. They will throw a plethora of options your way, some of which are vital and some like pizza add-ons — they don’t really improve the pizza, but definitely up the ticket price.
THE FIVE ESSENTIAL THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS OUT ON
PLACKET AND POCKET
Say no to both. The reason tailor-made shirts sit so snugly is that they don’t have plackets running down the front – and a pocket is just so blue collar.
If you have been hitting the gym as regularly as you claim to, then there is no reason you will shy away from a tapered fit, both on the body and the arms. As long as the shirt is long enough to cover your seat (OK, bum) it will not flower every time you stretch. Do not use man garters, for the minute someone has seen you in them, it will be impossible to un-see that sight. Also, on the back, pick darts over pleats.
Choose a collar wisely. In most shirts (especially if they are simply in a muted pastel shade), the size and shape of the collar decides whether it’s for formal or casual settings. Retro collars with rounded edges, button-downs and collars with tie-pin eyelets or collar-bone sleeves are some popular options.
Another important customisation option. Single or double button, buttoned or French cuffs, I always choose my cuffs after I have decided upon the fit and the collar. By then I have a fair idea of how and where I intend to wear the shirt, so it becomes easier to choose between cuff links or the simpler option of buttons.
Apart from the stitch and style, the most classical sign of a handmade shirt is the monogramming that it can accommodate. I used to like it on the cuffs, but now I go for the more old school below-the-breast. It may look odd placed there, but under a jacket, it doesn’t show, while the cuff is still on display.