Friday, 27 February 2015

How to spot Good Quality when Buying a Shirt - don't judge by the price!

Spot the Quality!



As we all know the “Encyclopaedia Britannica” used to be one of the fountains of all knowledge and now for the majority of us this is now the Internet. That said I was surfing net and found lots of articles and blogs about what constitutes a quality shirt with much common ground but also differences of opinion.We would like to share with you our hints on what to look for in a quality smart shirt but, from a customer’s perspective to ensure you are getting value for money.

Let’s keep this very user friendly, concise and definitely not industry jargon. Of course a lot of this is good old “common sense” and some others not so obvious. Use a combination of, what you know, the detail you can see, and lastly the feel.

So here are some useful tips to look out for when selecting that shirt with a difference, or, a smart/occasion shirt where you are perhaps splashing out.

Fabric

A'Legions Fabric swirl
To be honest before actually being in Retail I wouldn’t have been able to spot a good quality fabric from a bad one except, that 100% cotton was generally better. Trouble is there are many, many different cottons with different production techniques which the person on the street will be blissfully unaware of. Why should they be if it’s not your own profession? So what are the useful simple pointers?

1) Price – Common sense!
Very high quality cotton fabric costs a lot to buy. Our fabric cost alone is more than some high street chains sell a finished product for.

2) Feel
Depending upon the texture - the fabric should feel soft, silky and appear strong. This is not so easy as there are some very good imitators out there. However, reputable brands have exactly that - a reputation to uphold and some comfort can be drawn from the fact they can’t really afford to get it wrong. If in doubt ask!!

Stitching


A big clue because you can’t hide inferior stitching - look at collar edges and number of stitches per cm. Bigger stitches lower quality. Lose threads and the way that button stitching is finished. Higher quality shirts will have edge stitching to collars, cuffs and plackets etc although this sometimes depends on the type of look the design is trying to achieve. A closer inspection combined with an appreciation of the design look is generally a good way to determine if you have a quality garment.


A'Legions buttonhole detail

Properly Finished Button Holes


Better quality shirts have more stitches around the button hole with clean finishing.

No signs of fraying or lose threads.





Summary

The better the quality shirt, the more attention to the detail and finishing there will be. The cost of a shirt is a function of the fabric + trims + labour. The cheaper the components and the quicker they are produced, the cheaper the overall cost. Then it’s a question of the brand and their margin!!

Cheap shirts are not necessarily bad value for money. Taboo = Poor quality at high price, and they are out there, so we urge caution!!

To end, a few more glimpses of the near future...

The "Kent" Collar
The "Kent" teaser cuff
The "Wright" cuff teaser