Shirts are sold at nearly every menswear store and are the most commonly worn item of clothing in a man’s wardrobe. Shirts are so versatile and easy to wear, so it makes perfect sense that they’re so popular. However, choosing the right fabric, style and quality is difficult with so much choice. Fear not, we have put together a guide to help you check the quality of the shirt you are buying, and how to care for your shirts to make them last longer.
Style and quality check
When purchasing a shirt, check the seams for quality. Are there threads hanging out?
Wiggle the collar and cuffs a little to check the stiffness of the collar. You’ll quickly see if it’s made cheaply if it badly crunches as you move it. If it’s sturdy and not making a terrible noise, then this is a good sign. There are a number of different collar styles to be aware of, too:
Stiff collars – You’ll find that the collars and cuffs of the shirt are much thicker than usual and are ideal for business shirts or a more structured look.
Soft collars – You’ll find that the collars and cuffs have a softer, more relaxed appearance. This type looks best for more casual shirts.
Button down collars – Not as commonly seen now but nonetheless still a choice for those who want an in-between option and don’t like their collars going awry.
Caring for your shirt:
Washing and ironing – I recommend putting the shirt inside a wash bag to ensure it’s kept safe from the harsh sides of the drum. Keep all colours the same: don’t mix light pinks with whites as it’s best to do whites alone to keep them crisp. Wash at 30 degrees and use a soft detergent. Fabric conditioner is fine, but keep use to a minimum as it can make the fabric a little too soft and weaken over time.
Tumble drying – This is my least favourite drying option as it bashes the shirt around and usually damages the cuffs and collars so you may find them fraying much faster than usual.
Dry cleaning – When you take shirts to dry cleaners, you’ll find that they mainly launder the shirts rather than use the harsher detergents used in dry cleaning methods. Although they may come out freshly cleaned and ironed, be cautious and don’t be afraid to ask your dry cleaner what their particular process is for laundering. Ideally, you’d like to hear them say they use gentle detergents and wash at 30 degrees at the most.
Collar care – Finally, keeping your collars straight and stiff after washing is tricky, but important. I’ve tried washing shirts in a number of ways and still, the collar seems to like curling up. Although John Travolta looked great in Saturday night fever, his shirt collars are probably best left on the dance floor back in the 70’s.
So what can be done? We are just a little excited about the revelation that is magnetic collar stays. They are similar to regular, metal collar stays, in that they go under your collar in the little pockets that can be found, you just add the small magnetic, flat circle inside the collar, where it will naturally find its place. Rest assured your collars will stay firmly in place all day long (just don’t forget to remove them when washing your shirts). If there’s a pair of plastic stays already in there, simply replace them with the magnetic stays.
Sets of our very own magnetic collar stays are available @ £20 a pair in-store and in our online shop.
See you soon,