When hunting for a quality dress shirt it is important to know what you are looking for. You must be able to discern what makes a quality dress shirt better than others. From the fabric to the cut, the buttons to the yoke and stitching. So many fine details must come together in harmony for a shirt to be considered great.
The men running the Gentleman’s Gazette YouTube channel know what sets a great shirt apart from the mediocre. They have made it their mission to help all men look their best. Several months ago, they put together this video below. Here we see what sets a $300 dress shirt apart from a $30 shirt. Below the video, I’ve also included their brief text description.
Here is the description from below the YouTube video for those that prefer reading over watching:
“1. Pattern matching
If the pattern is matched on the sleeve and the shoulder on both sides, you know it’s a quality shirt because someone paid attention to it.
The higher the stitch density, the higher the quality of the shirt overall. Also, you want to look for consistency of the stitching. The best way to look at the stitching is at the bottom hem where it’s round.
A quality shirt will always have a single needle stitching which takes a little more time but creates a cleaner look. On the other hand, a low-end shirt will double needle stitching
3. Collar and the cuffs
A lower end shirt will typically have a stiff interlining in the collar and it just comes in one level of stiffness. On the other hand, a higher end shirt will either give you an option to go with a softer interlining or something stiffer.
Traditionally, they were split in half because people usually have one shoulder that is usually more sloped than the other and they use that part to correct that. Today, most factory made shirts and even made to measure shirts don’t even take that into consideration anymore so all you can look at is the yoke split in the back. if so, it’s another step, it’s more expensive, it helps to match the pattern on the sleeve and it’s basically all it is.
A $30 shirt will likely have plastic buttons and they’re sometimes made to look like mother of pearl.
The next detail to look at is how the button is actually sewn onto the shirt.
Most of the time, relatively inexpensive shirts or low-end shirts have huge armholes and that makes them uncomfortable to wear because as soon as you lift your arms, everything moves up and becomes uncomfortable.
If you have a machine buttonhole that was first sewn and then cut, you have fraying edges on the inside and it just looks bad. On the other hand, a high-quality machine sewn buttonhole has a very high stitch density and you will not find fraying threads.”
This is a pretty good explanation of what makes up a magnificent dress shirt. However, I think we could skip all the talk and just agree that bespoke shirts are best. If you want the best fit and fabric on the market, bespoke is the way to go. The experience of getting fitted for a shirt and/or suit is also something every man should experience.