The (21) shirtmakers I have known

Wednesday, October 9th 2019
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Three years ago, I wrote a post called ‘The tailors I have known'. The idea was to provide a single reference point for anyone to get a run down on everyone I had tried - and links to more detail. 

A reader recently commented that it would be nice to do something on shirtmakers, so here it is. 

Although I have reviewed several of these shirtmakers, I now realise that many have not had full reviews. So that’s something I will endeavour to correct over the next few months. 

I have, however, included observations and experiences below, and please do ask in the comments if you have any specific questions in the meantime.

Each entry below has links to all relevant old posts.

Turnbull & Asser

Turnbull & Asser were the first bespoke shirtmaker I ever used. I saved my pennies back in 2009 and ordered the six shirts required for a first order. 

The experience was pretty good, if a little intimidating, and David Gale (since left) was a superb cutter. I would recommend them today if you want English shirts - but I tend not to today, as I prefer the style of Italians, both in terms of make (eg light fusing) and style (English makers are not great at casual styles).

I covered the experience in two posts, as well as visiting the factory and writing about that:

Emma Willis

Emma made me a cream-silk dress shirt in 2011, which was nicely made but would come with the same qualifications as for T&A above. 

At the margins, I’d also say the T&A was a little better in terms of fit, but it is a small difference. Emma also has more modern taste than most at T&A, and I prefer her aesthetic.

Sean O’Flynn

Sean was recommended to me by a reader, and the experience was very good. Again, I haven’t used him since and wouldn’t for the style I now like, but for a wing-collar dress shirt like he made me, he was very good. 

Budd

Budd is the English shirtmaker I have used most recently, and would perhaps be quickest to recommend. 

Both Darren and James are more progressive than most English makers - always working on their own ideas for one-piece collars, different button-down styles and so on. Darren was also keen for our experiment a few years ago in making a bespoke safari jacket. 

I have yet to fully cover the point-collar shirt they made for me recently, which I will try to correct as part of this coverage. 

Charvet

Charvet is such a renowned shirtmaker that I felt I had to try them for completion. I love Jean-Claude too, and his knowledge of fabrics and eye for colour is unsurpassed. 

The fitting process was more involved than any other I’ve tried, with cuts, pins, drawing, and the carving away at a trial collar until the shape was perfect. It was (perhaps similarly to Maison Bonnet) the full bespoke experience - including picking an exclusive cloth from a whole floor of them. 

However, while the shirt fit very well, I’d still prefer the Italians on style (particularly shirts to wear both with and without a tie) and Charvet is slightly hard to justify for the price. Full coverage in links below (as with all these entries).

D’Avino

Fiorenzo Auricchio runs a small shirtmaking atelier in Somma Vesuviana, just outside Naples. He is unusual for employing almost everyone in-house (most in the area are freelance workers) and for doing a huge amount of handwork on every shirt. 

The shirts are beautiful, with hand-rolled hems and hand-sewn seams - truly works of art. Fiorenzo is let down slightly by his English skills, but I would still recommend him for anyone that wants that level of craft. 

Simone Abbarchi

Simone Abbarchi is based in Florence, but visits London and New York twice a year (less often than most other visitors) and has a large business in both cities. 

Simone’s key attractions are consistency and price. He makes bespoke and made to measure shirts for around €180 and €150 each, which is often what you would pay for a designer brand shirt that doesn’t fit. 

The shirts don’t have the handwork of other Italians, but with nice styles and him yet to make a mistake after years of working together, I would recommend Simone to anyone starting out. 

Luca Avitabile (previously Satriano Cinque)

Luca Avitabile has become my go-to shirtmaker over the years. He has had issues with consistency sometimes, and has become very popular recently, but he makes a great shirt and a collar style that is my favourite anywhere - hence the reason I also use him to make our shirts on the PS Shop. 

Luca is lovely, speaks good English, and comes to London frequently (roughly every six weeks). He also visits New York and Stockholm. The shirts have all the functional handwork, plus hand-sewn buttons and buttonholes, but no other frills. 

I should also say that, in my view, you want one shirtmaker to make most of your shirts. It creates consistency, and there is far less to tell between them in terms of style than with tailors. Today I tend to use Luca and then one or two others. 

Marol

Marol is a high-end Italian shirt factory that was bought a few years ago by Bo Yang. He has introduced new styles, moved factory, and generally improved the offering. They also now travel under the Marol name. 

Bo has made me a couple of shirts, but I have yet to do a full review. It took us a couple of attempts to get the collar right, but I was very pleased with the final result.

The level of finesse in the work is also extremely high - less in hand sewing, and more in the precision and detailing of the machine work. This is an interesting area that I’ll cover more at a later stage. 

100 Hands

100 Hands is headquartered in Amsterdam, but is run by a family that has its own shirtmaking factory in India. 

There are different levels of quality, but the top end is absolutely superb - on a par with D’Avino and any others doing things by hand. I’ve visited the factory, which is also very well run, and I can highly recommend Akshat, Varvara and the team. 

You might be more likely to see them as a ready-to-wear brand, but they also do MTM and bespoke through trunk shows. 

Burgos

Burgos is a storied shirtmaker in Madrid, and well known in its home country. They sell ready-made shirts, bespoke, and other pieces like dressing gowns and traditional teba jackets. 

My experience with them back in 2013 was OK, but not the strongest on this list. They’re also fairly formal. They did, however, make me some wonderful pyjamas last year, which I saw when they appeared in our pop-up shop. 

Langa

Langa is a bespoke tailor in Madrid, which has just as strong a reputation for its shirts - made by cutter Mariano. 

The shirt Mariano cut for me was good, a solid make and a decent fit. But unless you’re a resident of Madrid and like the style, there isn’t enough of a difference to recommend seeking him out. 

Ascot Chang

Ascot Chang is the best-known shirtmaker in Hong Kong, and has outposts in China and the United States as well as stores in HK. Justin, the youngest generation of the family to run Ascot Chang, made me a shirt last year that I have yet to cover. 

But the fit was good - perhaps the only maker ever to get my sloping shoulders spot on (even a little too sloped) on the first try.

Ascot Chang also make good-value RTW shirts, in collaboration with The Armoury and Bryceland’s.

Made to measure

Luxire

That’s it for bespoke shirtmakers, but I have used a small number of made-to-measure companies. Usually the difference is that smaller changes are possible - either by limit of process or time - than with bespoke. 

Luxire was one of these: a company that became popular online for its low prices and ability to copy others. I can’t recommend them that highly though (see link below).

Kiton

Kiton made me shirts years ago (2011) and at the time I was impressed by the handwork, such as the hand-rolled hems and hand-sewn seams. Also the two-part collar which was part fusing, part floating lining. 

But since then I’ve seen higher quality work from the smaller makers, particularly D’Avino and 100 Hands for this top level of quality. And even though I love the guys, such as Seabstiano Borelli (above), it’s very hard to justify the high prices. 

Drake’s 

I tried Drake’s made-to-measure shirts soon after they bought the Rayner & Sturges factory in 2013. The result wasn’t perfect but I would place no weight on that experience, as the process and product has changed substantially since then. 

It’s one more I should try and report on properly at some point.

Segun Adelaja

Segun is a designer with a small shop in the Princes Arcade in London. He’s a lovely guy, and has a strong business among the rich of his native Nigeria. 

The shirt he made for me was good, if expensive for made to measure. I’m not sure I’d shop there now, but that’s largely because my taste has changed, becoming rather quieter. 

Others

There are are a few other shirtmakers which I have covered, but never had shirts made by.

If you’re interested in them, you might still want to read those articles for information on make, quality and style. 

They include Salvatore Piccolo from Naples (above), who of course also makes lots of ready-to-wear; the incredibly expensive Siniscalchi from Milan (below), who is just bespoke and has a great archive; and also Emmanuele Maffeis in the shirt heartland of Bergamo.

I’ve also used English shirtmaker Stephen Lachter - but to make a dressing gown, not a shirt. 

Articles on all of them at those hyperlinks. 

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Anonymous

Very good read Simon. It’s always great to have a central article which sums up a topic and links to more detailed review.
I think I remember you mentioning W&S shirts in a comment at some point, however I know they changed some of their shirt making process early this year, such as the fusing. Did you try them recently? I’d be interested on reading your review on their shirts, as their prices is very attractive too.

Michael

I have a number of shirts from W&S and have been very pleased with them from both a style and value for money perspective but can only compare them to other English bespoke options. They are my favourite of the English options I’ve tried and the finishing has been very consistent. I have preferred the collars on the more recent shirts, which I presume relates to the change to the shirt making process referred to above.

Of course, it also exceptionally convenient as I also visit W&S for tailoring and have limited amounts of time to spend on clothes. If I used a different tailor then I might be more inclined to experiment with other options for shirts (I have looked at 100 hands trunk shows a couple of times but thus far restrained myself).

Simon mentioned below that he had perhaps forgotten W&S because he thought of them primarily as a tailor. I share that sentiment (and I suspect W&S would be disappointed if I did not). I think their shirts are very good for both quality and value but I think their tailoring is superb quality and exceptional value.

Richard T

Those are really helpful comments, Michael. I’ve been a customer of W&S for some time and have been exceptionally pleased by the quality, value for money and customer service. I’ve tried a small number of other tailors, but have pretty much settled on using W&S. I’ve been using Simone Abbarchi for shirts + and will continue to do so – and have been similarly pleased. The only drawback is that he only visits twice a year. I’ve been considering trying W&S shirts for some time, but haven’t been able to find any comments on them, so it’s good to read your comments. I’ll give them a try.

Michael

Richard, my pleasure. I look forward to hearing about your experience with them in due course (and any comparisons you draw with Simone, whether from a stylistic or technical perspective)!

In my experience almost always you need 2 or 3 iterations (so 2-3 shirts) in order to nail the fit and style. Which makes the initial investment for trying a new shirt maker always relatively high (you pay 1 or 2 expensive shirts that you later don’t really like).
Also consistency is an imporant point. For example if your shirt sleeve length varies. It will vary also against your jackets which would sometime be negative – for example showing too much or too little cuff.
So for these reasons after trying 3 bespoke and 2 MTM shirtmakers I stuck with one of the MTM shirtmakers ever since and tend not to experiment anymore.

Parker

You’re from Munich, aren’t you? Who do you use?

Hristo (STEMESO socks)

Hi, Parker, yes, I am in Munich. I use Emanuel Berg MTM because I am really satisfied with the fit and style that we acchieved after several shirts and because of the lower price compared to bespoke.
The handwork on the bespoke shirts just made them cost me much more effort when ironing (for example the hand made buttonholes). I really liked the shirt that Anna Matuozzo made for me and she was the only bespoke maker that was a spot on from the first shirt, but the price is more than double the price of Emanuel Berg MTM.
At the end of the day a shirt is in my opinion a consumable item. White shirts loose their mojo after some time, edges fray (and not everybody is on the opinion that frayed edges are ok in a business environment with a formal suit), so that shirts definitively don’t have the same longevity as a jacket and a high financial investment is somehow more difficult to justify.
I am wearing just around 10 shirts in rotation, so that every shirt gets washed and ironed more than 25 times a year so that a shirt seldom survives longer that around 5 years of this abusive wear.

Bijan

Probably one of my favourite series on PS.

Good Joh Simon

SM

Agree. Well done.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

I seem to recall reading somewhere on the blog that you had also tried W&S for a shirt. I might have just imagined it, it if not, would it be appropriate to include them here too?

Robin

Very nice to see this type of consolidated article .
Fit me it raises several questions .
Firstly if someone is using one shirt maker such as Simone Abbarchi what would be their next move if trying someone else ?

Secondly , you repeat that your personal preference has changed more for Italian shirt makers .
How does that effect your judgement and others reading this article ? A reader could easily dismiss some of the Spanish shirt makers in favour of Luca Aviatable.

I suppose what I’m asking is how best to use this article . It’s so easy with these kind of articles to dismiss certain products because of a perceived slight criticism.

P.S. hope I don’t sound too blunt i’m Just trying to get the point across as best I can .

Anonymous

Simon, since you say you prefer the Italian make because it’s more casual, could you do post where you highlight where those differences are, with comparison pictures please?

Chancellor

I share these comments, Simon. You’ve discussed jackets in great detail over the years and I think I have a pretty good handle on different jacket styles (English structured v. drape v. Neapolitan v. French). With trousers, it’s much weaker, but I still vaguely understand what you’ll get from a Neapolitan tailor v. an English tailor.

However, I’m largely at a loss for what differentiates an english shirt from an Italian shirt, etc.

I suggest an equivalent to “Which House Style Suits your Body Shape?” for shirts would go a long way to correcting this. Would also love to see something like that for trousers at some point, though that’s less needed.

Some of this might also be worthwhile incorporating or emphasizing in your upcoming shirtmaker reviews.

On a personal note, I’m looking forward to your review of Marol as the two shirtmaker to which I have access are T&A and Marol and I’m hoping to better understand their stylistic and value differences.

Chancellor

Thank for the recent post–I think you’ve now very effectively covered the technical details of this and some of the regional tradition around it. Not sure if there’s more to discuss, but if so I’d still be curious about more details on regional traditions (more on various geographic regions and perhaps other style points beyond collars and cuffs).

Also, any chance we could get a review of your Marol commissions some time?

Anonymous

Is the “roll” the right expression to describe the collar of a dress shirt Simon?

Anonymous

Sorry, second attempt re “roll”.

A dress shirt collar has no “roll”. The roll is the term used to describe how a collar bows outwards if it is correctly made/fitted as a button down.

Happy to help with this precision.

Matt

Have you tried Finamore? I’ve always found their handwork to be neater than Kiton and some other RTW brands who use hand stitching.
As a very well known Neapolitan shirtmaker, their absence from your list is conspicuous.

Anonymous

Interesting. It prompted me to click on the links and pick up on some of the back stories.

One in particular struck me, the debate about wing collars on O’Flynn’s page.

I don’t have strong views about wearing a wing collar with black tie (although personally I wouldn’t), but the key point here is that a shirt worn as part of white tie should not have double cuffs as here, and so this shirt can’t be worn in that context.

For white tie the shirt should have single barrel cuffs, with links. Further, these links should be faced with mother of pearl, as should the studs.

I hope this small precision helps your readers.

Matt

Finamore do, or have done, MTM.

TM

Outside of Luca who do you find yourself reordering from and why?

Anonymous

Dear Simon

I submitted a short piece earlier about the correct format for the cuffs of a white tie shirt which I hoped would be of use to your readers, but it has not appeared.

Did you receive it?

Thank you.

Anonymous

Dear Simon

I will type it again.

I enjoyed this article and it prompted me to go to some of the links within it. The piece about wing collar dress shirts caught my eye.

I don’t worry too much about wing collars with black tie (although I wouldn’t wear it) but the point is that, a wing collar shirt for white tie is properly made with single barrel cuffs that take links. So really your shirt from O’Flynn should not be worn for white tie.

Ideally, the links should be faced with MOP and the studs matched to them.

I hope this is helpful.

I base this on 30+ years attending Corporation of London events. By the way you may be interested to know that the rules regarding black tie was relaxed earlier this year to allow lounge suits to be worn, but the white tie rule is still rigorously applied, even today

Anonymous

Simon,

I like how you consolidated all your shirt experiences into one article. Nice to have everything in one place. Well done.

I only have experience with one bespoke shirt maker which is Anto in California. They have been making me shirts for a few years now and I have been very satisfied with their work and customer service. Your U.S. readers may find them to be of interest.

Interestingly, there are a couple of makers you mentioned that I have been curious about as well. However, as another gentlemen commented above, it seems that to really achieve what you are looking for requires a bit of experimentation and trial and error. This in turn of course requires additional expense and time which is why I have decided to just stay with the maker I have as we now have a solid business relationship.

That said, these craftsman are still a lot of fun to read about. Thank you for another fine piece.

Anonymous

The article, as an overview, works well if you have spent a lot of time reading PS and can understand the subtleties interwoven within the descriptions. I agree with Robin’s point ‘how to use the article’, as you tread an understandably neutral path throughout. Perhaps, in a follow up, a rating from best to worst though you might think this a little unfair. Though you might see little difference at the top end it is also worth remembering that fairly large sums of money can be spent on a collection of bespoke shirts – readers are therefore looking to get it right. This is furthered by the unfortunate practice of shirt makers demanding multiple orders from the first. As Hristo points out the first 1 – 2 orders may be lacking in exact precision. Multiplied across the order this can prove to be expensive and, perhaps, illuminates the reason as to why some prefer to use RTW, as the fit can be ajudged immediately. I therefore applaud the approach of some of the Italian makers who will make on single commissions. If success is met further orders are made. It is a lesson UK makers could do well to learn and for the wearer it would allow for a greater number of one-off commissions such as dress shirts.

Anonymous

I decided I need bespoke shirts because of my broad and especially high shoulders. With most rtw shirts there are tension lines from the highest closed button (except when buttoned completely) to the shoulders (you can see this problem surprisingly often even on advertising photos). The few shirts I find that fit are usually Italian and tend to have other disadvantages, like too small collars or a short length.
So I tried two of your recommendations, one twice the other five times, always coming back to the store to discuss the results and got exactly one shirt that had a clean breast, and that one strangely was a first. And while the service was great and everybody perfectly nice and attentive there were also consistency problems with both tailors, fit changes I requested ignored or things like arm length changed which had been good.
Sadly, I can still get a cleaner fit with rtw (e. g. S. Piccolo).

Ilya

Thanks for the comprehensive and useful guide. One think that surprised me in the article is that you view D’Avino as a very consistent maker, while I have quite different experience. While the number of hand steps is high and the selection of fabrics is nice, after ordering some 20+ shirts from him in the course of two years I experienced some good share of those shirts that had not very straight stitching lines and some other less than perfect points. At the same time, I completely don’t see those issues in 100Hands bespoke or even Kiton MTO.

Bob

Given your a well known commentator do you believe you actually get the standard quality of output from these firms? I guess somewhat linking into your influencer piece or the whole food critic spotter… pop culture would suggest that a minimum a higher level of quality assurance would be applied to whatever you have made and so whilst you can comment on the peak of their ability you are probably less exposed to their standard level or variability?

Craig Rolle

It would be great to see you commission some bespoke shirts from Wil Whiting.

Thoughts?

Regards,

Craig

Reuven Lax

I’ve been through a few shirtmakers before finding the one I use now. I spent some time getting shirts from Luca, but had too many consistency issues with those shirts. I really liked Luca, and if I had lived in London where I could see him more often I probably would’ve stuck with him and tried to work out the issues. The past couple of years I’ve been wearing shirts by Wil Whiting. Beautiful make and style, and the fit is consistently spot on each time.

Consistency is something that is especially important to those who live a distance from the makers. It can often take months – or more! – to see the maker to address issues. This is an area of quality I don’t often see addressed on this site, and for many it’s more important than comparing buttonhole finishing. When I read a post that talks about the best “first fit” of any tailor/shoemaker/shirtmaker/etc., I’m never sure how to interpret that. Is this something consistently repeatable, or was it happenstance? Maybe the tailor’s last customer had a similar body shape to you, so he/she knew exactly what to do. Maybe it was simple sheer luck that the maker nailed that item, and the next one wouldn’t be as good.

Measuring consistency is understandably difficult to do in a format like this one. It can take several years to get an idea, and even then it’s hard to know if your experiences are matching others. However there are makers that you have used multiple times over the years: several jackets from Steven, several items from Sexton, A&S, Solito, etc. I think it would be extremely interested for you to talk in more detail about how consistent your garments have been from these makers. Consistency in make, in fit, and in finish. This would also provide a forum for readers to comment on their own experiences. I would find such content very useful and interesting.

REUVEN L LAX

Good point about bespoke tailors being pretty consistent. This is what first pushed me to using full bespoke tailors a number of years ago. I found that many “budget” bespoke and m2m outfits would sometimes produce great results, but consistency varied widely from garment to garment. One suit might be great, and the next one not so much. Maintaining consistency takes extra work and time, which raises cost, and budget operations don’t have the margins to cover that. Bespoke tailors have margins that are high enough to provide consistent results (which includes the ability to completely remake a garment occasionally).

VSF

Very helpful Simon. Perhaps it’s time to update the tailors you’ve used as there have been some additions.

Anonymous

What about Frank Foster? What are your thoughts Simon ? I’ve read his workmanship is unrivaled. Any thoughts of a visit/review?

Andy

Hi Simon,

You finally wrote this type of article and its a pleasure to read such great reviews.

Also, do you have any plan to try Wil Whiting?

Anonymous

Have you ever tried Camiceria artigiana Carmen bespoke in Turin?

Anonymous

No Simon. I live in Italy but I’ve never tried Camiceria Carmen. But I have some friends who have made shirts made of pure Merino wool that can be machine washed and are really beautiful, with wonderful handmade buttonholes. This is the reason why I asked you if you had heard of it. Thank you

Emanuel

How was the Lachter gown? LOVE KHL, and Stephen is a dear gentleman, as are John and Terry!

Russ

Simon, one important thing that is unfortunately missing from this interesting review is an analysis of what the shirt from each house is like after multiple washes and long use. Most of my bespoke shirts have come from T & A, and I have to say that they get better with wash after wash. I’m also enjoying the Luca Avitabile denim shirt I bought from your site. A critical thing here is that a shirt takes a lot of daily battering, especially in a work setting, so needs to become like a dependable old friend, moulding more to the body shape, becoming softer and more lived in without looking tatty. I suppose I might be at risk in applying a particularly English criterion of what constitutes a good piece of clothing, whereas an Italian or Frenchman might prefer something that looks sharper and is disposed of more quickly, but in my view the prospect of enjoying long use of a garment and its dependability are what make the extra expense of bespoke worthwhile.

Andrew

Simon, you should try shirtmaker John Garland who can produce great shirts with handwork similar to Italian shirt makers

Anonymous

Vicariously can I ask for thoughts (pending commissions?) on Anna Matuozza, Luigi Borelli and Battistoni (and Marol – pending). I’ve read that Lanvin bespoke in Paris is also very good, comparable, if not better than Charvet. Re. Frank Foster, I believe he has passed away (2016) but his wife (who used to make with Frank) and daughter carry the business on. As to commissions – for those who have bought from Frank, such as Matt Spaiser, his work was always regarded as the best.

Felix vL

Have you ever heard of / tried Santamaria Shirtmakers (based on Ossington St. in Notting Hill)? I got my first shirts made there (it was on my street).

Felix VL

Positive – although it’s the only time I had shirts tailored (except for readjusted Tyrrwhit / Curtis & Hawes, etc. standard) so I cannot compare.

The experience itself was great, the owner Ana really takes you by the hand, offers tea, coffee, maybe cava if you’re lucky. You’ll run through the different textiles and styles you want. She’ll do one fitting, send your measurements off to Spain, and then you come back in to try out how the first “draft” of the shirt fits and whether adjustments are needed.

So the experience was entirely positive. The fit definitely beat that of the “main street” brands. However, I cannot compare the quality against other fitted shirts.

Rob

Hi Simon, Interesting Article. I can imagine everyone have their favourites and one tailor could suit someone while another not. Do I understand your personal recommendations based on your article are Luca, 100Hands and D’Avino and perhaps Simone if someone wants to experience some nice bespoke/mtm shirts?

Anonymous

Appreciate the article, Simon. You mentioned them in your Parisian guide in the section about Charvet, but have you had any interest in checking out Lucca or Courtot? I’ve heard good things about their attention to detail and fit, especially with the former’s collar work, though the latter has a greater choice of fabric. Would be interested in a comparison between them and 100 Hands’s higher end offerings.

Anonymous

Lucca uses a trial paper collar, and is specific about second button positioning, with a supposedly welcoming atmosphere. Courtot I think offers more options for fabric, but I see them recommended less often. Both are around low-to-mid 200 Euro. Lanvin’s prices are Charvet-level, but they’re considered by some to be more impressive. Curious how much of that is fashion house branding, or actual bespoke work.

tim

That you did not visit the late Frank Foster if you want a good shirt is an unfathomable mistake.

Jim Moreno

Is it correct to say in order of quality and craftsmanship: (1) Charvet . (2) Luca Avitabile . (3) Budd

Ajay

Simon, Excellent summary. Seems then that 100 Hands and D’Avino are the two top in terms of finishing? Outside of finishing, which do you prefer and why? It appears to me that D’Avino is superior with executing both fit and collar.

Chris

Hey Simon! Given that Hong Kong is a former British colony, would you say that Ascot Chang is strongly influenced by (and still mostly adheres to) the British school of shirtmaking? I am keen to try them the next time I’m in HK.

Jan

I have tried Ascot Chang (3 shirts) and I am not impressed. Specifically the fit around the neck and shoulders and the collar. Noticed the problem after the first shirt was finished and they adjusted slightly for the two shirts after that but still pretty uncomfortable. The collar is also too stiff for my liking but that’s a matter of personal preference I guess. Finally, the whole ordering and fitting process was very unlike bespoke – more like a relatively impatient MTM maker. I can find a relatively impatient MTM maker who manages the same or better fit on every street corner in Hong Kong for 1/4 of the price. Not recommended

Claudia Fung

You should visit Harvie and Hudson. They have a great selection of Shirts!

Stephen

This is really interesting and appreciate the run down. I dove head first into my first bespoke order with T&A and am glad I have them but also should have chosen a maker that can be more casual. Being in Los Angeles, there aren’t too many makers that do trunk shows here. Can anyone suggest shirtmakers I may have missed that would be more of the Italian/casual style? Thank you.

Colin

I believe Wil Whiting’s bespoke shirts start at £500 for machine stitched (guessing around £700 for bespoke) This is more than the 100 Hands Gold Line Bespoke, fully hand stitched. I’m sure they are incredible and as perfect as a shirt can be but it would be hard to justify repeat purchases at this price. Interesting though the level of attention to detail that’s now being applied by this relatively new maker

Don Gibson

Simon,
I recently got a couple of shirts made from Luca.
I have to say, I’m not impressed – the fit isn’t great at all, and it took 5 months – a long time for only one fitting.
I wanted to share my experience. But also had a question. I have never previously had shirts made bespoke.. I am not quite sure how possible it is to ask for adjustments? Obviously I would on a jacket or pair of bespoke trousers, but is this something a shirt maker can do, and should he be obliged to after delivering the product?

Chris

Hey Don,
I recently had to get Luca make a few alterations and he honestly couldn’t have been more helpful. I’d lost about a stone since the first fitting, so this was my fault not his. But Luca was a total gent about it, and is turning it around very quickly despite the fact the shirts were already delivered. Just give him a message and I guarantee you he will do everything he can to make sure you’re satisfied. It sounds like you’ve done bespoke before, but honestly, the process can be tough sometimes – communicating exactly what you want, understanding books of fabrics.. it’s hard, and easy to make expensive mistakes .
That said, the process of working on a pattern with an artisan over several fittings and orders is special, and though I know Simon doesn’t see shirt makers as the first choice to get something made bespoke, if you’re anything like me and live in shirts, but can’t afford to be commissioning a suit, working with a shirt maker to get your perfect fit, style and cloth has been quite magical and I can not speak highly enough of Luca’s skill on fit, understanding of fabrics and the fact he’s just a really nice guy. I honestly can’t see myself ever having a shirt made elsewhere. My ten cents! Best of luck.

DKP

Simon – Having recently received my very first bespoke shirt order I wondered if you might be able to advise on a particular aspect which I had not expected. The shirts arrived with darting. This wasn’t something discussed during the ordering or fitting process so wondered if this is generally a common practice amongst bespoke shirt maker (mine is from Naples if that makes a difference). Additionally, I wondered if you might be able to advise on the advantages/disadvantages to darting. Form reading another of your articles I note that darting is often the “easiest” way for a maker to achieve a certain shape and fit to a shirt but I’d imagine easy isn’t necessarily what one would expect from a bespoke shirtmaker, however if it’s also the best approach, that’s something else entirely. Lastly, do shirtmakers use darting as a means to make future alterations more feasible, i.e. over time if the client begins to experience a bit of spread around the middle, would darting allow the shirtmaker to expand the middle of the shirt where a lack of darting would not?

REUVEN L LAX

To add to what Simon said – I believe that in years past, darts were considered a sign of a RTW shirt and bespoke makers avoided them. However those shirts were always intended to be worn under a jacket, so the fit down the back wasn’t considered as important. Many modern shirtmakers are cognizant that their shirts will often be worn with no jacket, and aim to make them look good on their own. This often means a slightly more fitted look (though of course you still don’t want it to be tight!). Fitting your back may or may not require darts – it depends on the shape of your lower back.

DKP

Simon – When it comes to having shirts made, what are your preferences in terms of fit and detail, i.e. Barrel Cuff, single button/two button, darts/no darts, box pleat/side pleat/no pleat?

DKP

Thanks Simon – I’d certainly welcome such an article. In the mean time – is there any practical benefit to no button on the cuff placket or is it purely personal aesthetic tastes?

Paul

Hi Simon, I think my T&A shirt collars ride a little too low on my longish neck.Your collars from Luca A. are much nicer.Could you tell me how high your collar is at the back and the length of the collar points.This will hopefully give me some idea for my next commission!

Anonymous

Thanks Simon.I’ ve just seen some photos of Gustaf’s collars as best dressed man 2019 on your site.I would like to achieve that look but not sure if my local shirtmaker is up to the job.

Luke

Hello Simon,

Given your general praise of Whitcomb and Shaftesbury, I wonder whether you have any experience with their bespoke shirts. They apparently start at £220 plus VAT, which seems to me a rather good price for bespoke. I imagine they have the shorts finished in India much like with their classic bespoke service.

If you have tried them, I would love to know what you think; if you haven’t, I suppose I would ask ‘why not?’

All best,

Luke

Luke

Ah, forgive me! I found some info in the comments!

SC

Hi Simon. Have you any experience with MCR shirts ? I’ve tried their RTW in Trunk Clothiers and liked them, but the fit wasn’t quite right. But I know they run a MTM program with Trunk which may solve this issue. Price wise they seem excellent.
Thanks as always for any advice.

R

Simon- do you get your shirts with fusing in the collar, cuffs and placket too? Or just the first two?

Paul

Hi Simon,
Do you know a shirtmaker for shirts with stiff detachable collars and detachable cuffs?
Thanks
Paul

JOHN Scott-leith

I still have Coles of Sloane street Turnbull and asser and ascot chan still in good shape afyer 40 years my favourite Coles cream sea island cotton with semi cutaway collar long tail.

Petar

Hi Simon, another great read. I wanted to hear your opinion on how do you compare ready to wear shirts from Anglo-Italian and Emma Willis, besides the difference in style… And would you recommend one starts with say one, or both of those or another RTW label, or goes with Luca Avitabile.. Perhaps apples and oranges, who does Anglo RTW compare with Luca Avitabile shirts, where Luca is almost double the price of Anglo’s ( I believe also made in Naples).

Petar

Thank you Simon, good insight. Luca is starting to visit London again, so will have a look into that…

Sumit Aggarwal

Have you tried liverano and liverano shirts?

fentoids I

Luigi Borrelli ? (Sept. 2020)
#

Philippe

I had a disappointing experience with Langa in Madrid. The workmanship was not bad (although I had to go there three times for measurements and fittings) but, after five months, they were still sitting on the VAT they charged me, and it will at this point probably never be reimbursed (I live outside of the EU and had the shirts mailed to me as an export package). I had a similar experience with another Madrid-based shirtmaker, De Grado.

Dash Riprock

My first bespoke shirts where from
Turnbull and Asser in 1969 three big spread cutaways. They cost £7 each. The Hayward collar was standard in those days at T&A. Also Fisher in the Burlington Arcade made some shirts for me. Good days!

Alexandre

Hi Simon. How do you find A.Kabbaz? Some style bloggers advertise him (rather aggressively, in my opinion) as the world best shirtmaker: best cuts, best finish, best fabrics, lots of handwork, etc.

Petar

Hi Simon, did you have any experience with Domenico Mazzarelli shirts, and if so how would you compare it to Luca Avitabile? Thanks

Jon

William Fields in Washington, DC may be worth a look if you explore makers in the US. I have used him for suits and shirts for years and have always been quite pleased.

anonymous

Simon,
Can you mention where Mr. Yang moved the Marol factory to?

Jasper Smit

Hello Simon,

I was wondering.. What is the most difficult thing to get right for a mtm or bespoke shirt, fit wise in your experience?

Thanks for sharing.