When it comes to dress shirts, have you ever wanted more than the typical button-down collared shirt? Only a custom clothier can show you the many options available, whether it is collars, cuffs, buttons, monograms, pockets, even thread color!
Two terms to know are “point” and “spread.” The points of a shirt collar are pretty obvious. They’re anywhere from 2.0” to 4.0” in length, although 3” is the most common. Longer points are set close together and tend to elongate a face that is more round or full.
The spread of a collar refers to the distance between the points. The wider the spread is the more visible the shirt. Shirts with very tight or narrow spreads of 1” to 2” are best for skinny tie knots. Those with larger spreads of 4.0” to 9.0” are more British and European in style and best for ties with large, full knots. If your face is narrow or thin, go with a wider spread. For any tie knot or shaped face a traditional 5-spread collar with 2.75” point length is a safe bet.
Designing a custom dress shirt includes your choice of button placement. Why stick with the traditional single button at the collar closure when you can choose double buttons that can be aligned or offset? On the collar itself, buttonholes can be stitched with contrasting thread on the points, mid-way down the points or not at all. You can even have a third button at the back of the neck!
There’s no shortage when it comes to cuff styles. Edges can be made round, square, angled, contoured or with a tab. Barrel cuffs can have one, two or three buttons and be adjustable as well. French cuffs are double length cuffs that can be folded over and held together with cufflinks. There seems to be a misconception that they are very fancy and should be reserved for formal occasions. That may have been the case years ago, but today it makes a statement in the work place and transitions nicely for after office hours. Your choice of cufflink helps determine how dressy or casual a look you want.
FRONTS, BACKS & TAILS
The most traditional shirt front style has a center pleat. For a more contemporary look, try a pressed-back front—it has no placket stitching or lining. Fly fronts, where the buttons are hidden from view by the shirt placket present a modern, European look.
When the jacket comes off you want your shirt to look as good in the back as it does in the front. A smooth back has no pleats and looks great for the guy who wants a trim fit. If you like a bit more room across the shoulders, choose shoulder pleats on each side of the back. A back with an inverted pleat down the center can be considered “sporty” while a box pleat with a single outward turned pleat on the center is more traditional.
Shirt tails have risen in importance as dress shirts turn into classy casual attire when the tails hang loose. Traditional scalloped hems, squared off tails with or without a vent in the back or low side seams can be made any length to suit your fancy.
The current trend is a clean, modern look that translates into no pocket at all. If you still like the idea of a place to put your pen, you can choose pockets that are finished with round, pointed or square edges, to name a few.
Add your initials as the final detail to customize your shirt. There are so many styles and colors from which to choose! Gone are the days when they were embroidered only on the left cuff or pocket. Now you’ll find them on either cuff, the collar, the chest, below the back of the neck and the tail (See? We told you it’s become more important).