Shirt Shift

THE WORLD OF BE­SPOKE TAI­LOR­ING RE­VOLVES AROUND SHARP SUITS, BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO END THERE. VIR­TUOZ­ITY EX­PLORES THE WORLD OF BE­SPOKE SHIRT MAK­ING

Virtuozity - - Hand Made -

many peo­ple, it’s some­thing they’ll wear more of­ten than their suit.

To find out how the process works, Vir­tuoz­ity vis­ited As­cots and Chapels in Dubai’s Ma­rina Mall to try out be­spoke shirt shop­ping. The com­pany treats the shirt process in a sim­i­lar man­ner to buy­ing a high­end lux­ury car. You sit with the con­sul­tant to run through the avail­able options, fab­ric and styles, all from the com­fort of a clas­sic leather sofa.

But if any­thing, the choices avail­able with be­spoke shirts are as var­ied as a full suit. When de­sign­ing your shirts, you can opt for a va­ri­ety of different cuffs. Then, of course, there are the col­lars, which again have a mul­ti­tude of styles de­pend­ing on your taste and us­age.

But­ton­holes and stitch­ing also re­quire a de­sign de­ci­sion and the colour of the stitch­ing can be changed to pro­vide a bit of con­trast for the wearer. For an ex­tra touch of style, you can add your ini­tials, stitched into the shirt.

The tai­lor can even make your watch wrist sleeve slightly big­ger to ac­com­mo­date your favourite watch, such is the level of at­ten­tion to de­tail. The whole thing is recorded on a tick box-style sheet, which you sign for once done.

It’s odd that very few men think about be­spoke shirt buy­ing. It’s strange be­cause the cost is about the same per unit, as buy­ing a qual­ity shirt from a nor­mal store, but with that per­fect fit be­spoke pro­vides.

It’s also very easy to do. With brands like As­cots and Chapels op­er­at­ing from air­con­di­tioned malls, there’s no longer a need to visit the back­wa­ters and al­ley­ways of the city to find a good tai­lor. It can now all be done as part of a visit to the shops, with­out the has­sle of park­ing, ir­reg­u­lar hours and the myr­iad prob­lems that come with deal­ing with the back­street op­er­a­tors.

In short, it’s a bit like flying busi­ness class. Un­til you do it for the first time, you’re quite happy flying econ­omy. But once you’ve done it once, you can’t fig­ure out how you’d go back to econ­omy.

Hav­ing been through the process, few peo­ple are ever sat­is­fied with off-the-rack again. Why should you pay for some­thing made to roughly fit you, when, for around the same price, you can have some­thing made ex­actly for you via a per­son­alised ser­vice?

If any­thing, the world is go­ing full cir­cle. This is how peo­ple used to have shirts made. With the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion and mech­a­ni­sa­tion, most peo­ple moved to masspro­duced generic cloth­ing. But for those in the know, the move back to tra­di­tional hand-made cloth­ing is truly tak­ing hold.

Clearly, some­times the old ways are ac­tu­ally the best.

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