23 November 2010

Shirt and Tie - The Classic Look

The shirt has come a long way from its humble beginnings as an underwear garment when its long tails were used in the absence of underpants.  It is now, along with the always attention seeking neck tie, an item of clothing where you can really experiment with colour and patterns, where you can express your personality and fashion flare, and where you can easily change your look depending on your mood.
Eton white shirt plus striped tie

Take for instance the Classic man – Your look needs to be smart and well groomed.
The crisp white shirt is the epitome of classic. Originally it was the symbol of a gentleman because it soiled so easily and indicated a man who worked at a desk (if at all) and could afford a good laundry. But now you can also achieve the look with the pastel shades of pale blue ( a colour which became standard in the 1920’s but before then was unthinkable for a gentleman to wear), light grey, pink and lilac.

Eton blue striped shirt with striped tie
 Patterns here are the classic stripes and fine checks.

It’s all about quality and not quantity so you’re looking for:
 Good quality cotton: Sea Island and Egyptian cotton both have extremely fine long staple fibres, allowing them to be spun in to tight yarns and so producing a high thread count which gives a silky feel to the finished cloth.  They also hold dyes better.
Attention to detail: Single needle stitching gives strong seams that are more pucker resistant. Buttons (mother of pearl) should be cross-stitched onto the shirt by hand to ensure that they do not become loose over time. Split yokes ensure a perfect fit across the shoulders. And the collar should be handmade (fused or unfused) A well fused collar will give a smooth look with no puckering, and should use cotton interfacing materials. Collars should have removable bones to keep the shape of the wings perfectly straight when inserted.

French shirt makers, Charvet offer bespoke and RTW shirts and are considered the best, as are the Italian brands Brioni and Kiton. However they are very expensive so make sure your luck with the horses is not a flash in the pan before investing in a few of these.
Cheaper options are the British shirt makers Turnbull & Asser, Swedish shirt makers Eton which feature a non iron finish – great for those of you who have an aversion to ironing (me included) and also British
shirt makers TM Lewin who were one of the first to make the 'coat shirt', i.e. a shirt with studs and later buttons down the front. Before this, shirts were cut like smocks and pulled on over the head.

Simon Carter compass grey tie
For the classic look in ties it has to be silk. A quality silk tie should feel smooth and be made of three pieces of fabric to lie better, cheaper ties use only two pieces.  A classic combination would be a white shirt and dark coloured plain tie. This is a good look for you high contrast men but for the lower contrast men go for a lighter coloured tie such as a mid blue or grey.  And for a softer look go for tone on tone e.g. pale blue shirt and light blue tie or a softer contrast e.g. pink shirt and light grey tie.

Sonia Spencer Horse Win cufflinks
And why not add a touch of light humour  to your classic look with Sonia Spencer’s bone china and sterling silver plated cufflinks with their quirky illustrations.

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1 comment:

  1. A classic man look is great, with the perfect matching of ties and mens suits or dresses, a man could be so formal and well groomed.