|Seems like everybody wants to talk about what makes their shirts such "high quality". But, what is it really that defines a high quality dress shirt from a low quality dress shirt? What can you look for so that you don't realize after the third washing that you've made a mistake?
If you're fairly rich, you might not worry about this so much. To ensure high quality products you can simply shop at bespoke shops such as Kiton, Anderson & Sheppard or Norton & Sons. It's going to be expensive, but you can shop with confidence that you're getting a quality product. However, the rest of us are looking for a good deal... or we don't have time to fly to London....
Luckily, what distinguishes a high quality dress shirt, is more than just black magic and flashy marketing. There are a few things you can look for. These things are generally signs that the shirt took longer to produce and will help you identify a dress shirt made without shortcuts and capable of lasting you a long time.
It all comes down to capitalism and profit really. When a corporation is mass-producing millions of shirts, or even an independent tailor in Shanghai hand making hundreds, saving a couple pennies on raw materials cost, or minutes on production time translates to a large savings. Luckily, most customers aren't savvy enough to notice. Look for dress shirts with high quality raw materials as well as high quality construction.
Premium Raw Materials
1.) Fabric. One of the most critical things you can do is find a shirt made from a nice cotton fabric. The majority of dress shirts are made from 60-80 thread count fabrics. For a professional shirt, select a fabric with at least 80 threads per inch. Oxford cloth fabrics can be a lower thread count, but they are intentionally woven to be rougher, thicker and more substantial (they're also more casual). Low quality dress shirts made from cheap fabric will lose their color quickly, shrink more and not drape as well across your body.
2.) Buttons. Nice buttons are key, but how do you tell them apart from the rest? Some folks suggest thicker buttons are higher quality, but this is not always the case. Cheap, clear, or white plastic buttons are not acceptable - not only do they look like a kid's toy, they become brittle and break prematurely (usually at the dry-cleaner).
1.) Buttons should be stitched on with a criss-cross "x" stitch.
2.) The seam on the sides of the shirt and under the sleeves should be done with single-needle stitching.
3.) All stitches should be straight and parallel to the edge of the seam.
4.) Whether you're getting a spread collar or a point collar, the construction of the shirt collar is the most critical because it is the most visible. The collar should have a stiff interlining in the collar band and in the collar itself. This doesn't need to be super heavy duty - if it is, it won't be comfortable - but it should be fairly stiff. Look closely at the corners of the collar points. They should be sharp without a bulge of fabric in the tip.
5.) Removable collar stays are a must. This is so basic I feel bad actually writing it, but you never know.
With our made to measure system, we can provide the perfect fitted dress shirt online for a reasonable price.