The Neopolitan shirt
The British and French must pardon me. The world's best shirts are sewn in Naples. With hand-sewn features and a classic well-tailored fit, you will find some of the best manufacturers here: Barba, Finamore and luigi Borrelli.
According to Neopolitan tailoring tradition the shirt is sewn with a round – instead of the conventional solution, oval – armhole. This creates a closer fit without restricting free movement. When the arm is matched to the narrow armhole, small folds form at the shoulder end, the signature of the Neopolitan shirt tradition. A detail indicative of a shirt's quality is the length of the stitches. Shorter stitches are more timecomsuming but create less tension and greater mobility in the fabric. Creating a shirt fabric is a complicated process. It is a matter of choice of raw cotton, weave and finish. Better fabrics use long-fibre cotton which can be spun more tightly which creates a richer and more robust colour during dying. Pima, Sea Island and Egyptian cotton are ranked as the best quality cottons. The collar is the most important part of the shirt. A hand-sewn collar with stitched and woven interlining creates a naturally elegant shape where the collar falls softly around the neck. Hidden seams fix the shirt's back and front to create as simple a look as possible. A triangular fabric strengthener, known as a gusset, is sewn into the lower edge to strengthen the seam where both pieces meet. One can argue whether hand-sewn buttonholes fulfill any function. Stylistically they are, like buttons in genuine motherof-pearl, attached with a so-called Neopolitan three-point stitch – a clear reminder of the handiwork behind each shirt. The story of Luigi Borrelli stretches back to the beginning of the 1900's when Anna Borrelli opened a shirt studio in Naples. His son Luigi later took over the business and created the world famous label which is now run by the third generation, Fabio Borrelli. The production process with its many hand-sewn features still lives on.