Anatomy of the Best Shirt

Anatomy of the best custom dress shirts

For most of the 19th and early 20th centuries the dress shirt was the garment that showed a man's standing in society. A crisp white collar and starched, clean cuffs indicated that you didn't work with your hands, and great care was taken in the construction of custom dress shirts. Today there are any number of stores that offer dress shirts at varying prices and quality levels, but for the most part dress shirts look pretty much the same. What separates our top-tier custom shirts from the rest? Click on each detail to explore the construction and details of Requisite's custom made dress shirts.

1. Fabric

It seems pretty obvious that the best shirts should start with the best fabrics, but this is just not the case for many makers. Most off-the-rack shirts will use a cotton-synthetic blend. Some makers do it to cut costs; others do it to yield a more "forgiving" fit. Either way, it's a shortcut. Our custom made dress shirts feature 100% long-staple cotton fabric; long-staple fibers can bend and flex with less breaking, so the fabric holds up better over time. We use Sea Island, Egyptian, and pima cottons, all cut to your precise body measurements.

2. Single-Needle Tailoring

The best dress shirts, whether custom or off-the-rack, are made using classic single-needle tailoring. A lesser shirt will use a more modern process that creates a chain-like stitch through the seams. While this sewing method may work well for a pair of jeans, the heavier tension of the stitch creates puckers on lightweight shirting fabrics that only get worse as the garment "settles" (shrinks and ages with cleaning and wear). Our custom dress shirts feature single-needle tailoring with a painstaking 18 to 22 stitches per inch, creating clean, strong seams that allow the shirt to settle smoothly.

3. Milanese Fusing for Collar and Cuff

Fusing-a layer of material glued inside-gives a dress shirt's collar and cuffs their crisp and distinct look. If the fusing is too hard, the collar will look like-and much worse, feel like- cardboard around your neck. If it's too soft, the shirt will lose its formal air. If there is one place on the planet that has perfected fusing, it's Milan, Italy. The Milanese penchant for bold tie knots has led to the development of a collar with the ideal amount of body-not too stiff, not too soft-creating collar and cuff designs with a distinct, rich stance. We see no need to reinvent the wheel and feature the same Milanese process on all our shirts.

4. Side Gussets

These two little pieces of fabric carry some big functionality, serving two purposes: (1) They allow the "U"(the distinct curved shape of the shirt's lower hem) to dip further in the front and back with less material on the sides, giving you more range of movement without forcing your shirt to come untucked. (2) The extra material reinforces the side seams, protecting them from everyday wear and tear.

5. Gauntlet and Bottom Buttons

Our custom shirts feature gauntlet and bottom buttons with horizontal hole placement. The gauntlet button-the small button located at each forearm-is a detail frequently skipped by shirt makers. It helps keeps the shirt sleeve from bunching and binding inside the jacket while still being easy to roll up at a moment's notice. Orienting the gauntlet and bottom buttonholes horizontally helps keep them fastened, as these two buttons have unique stress points and tend to come undone when oriented vertically.

6. The Details

The little things add up. Our dress shirts feature details that can only be found in the best custom tailored garments. These include the following:

• 0" tie space on the collar. This means no gap exists between the collar points and that the collar closes with a fit conformed precisely to your neck. This styling gives a clean, sharp, tailored look.
• Posture-cut pattern. People are more than their raw measurements, and we take into account your posture-from the slope of your shoulders, to the curve of your back, to the length of your neck-when drafting your pattern. This care ensures the most comfortable fit.
• Hand-sewn buttons. Correct tension is the secret to keeping buttons on. Too tight, and the buttons break; too loose, and they fall off. Our buttons are attached using human hands, which can gauge the right tension better than any machine.