I have just re-launched the #AskTPG series on the blog! I still had a few questions sent to me, that I had responded to privately, which I thought could help you guys out there by sharing on the blog. A question that I often get asked is, why are luxury dress shirts so expensive? And what are the hallmarks of a quality made dress shirt? If you do have a question, feel free to tweet at myself @ThePrepGuy with the hashtag #ASKTPG and or dm myself on Instagram @theprepguy.
For this list, I will be talking specifically about the comparison of ready-to-wear low-mid tier (under $80 CAD) and luxury dress shirts ($200 CAD+).
1 | Branding
I’m not going to bs you and say that the only reason that luxury dress shirts cost more is because of quality. I would definitely say the biggest thing that you’re likely paying for is the brand name. Luxury brands spend a lot of money into investing a specific brand image, and selling at specific retailers to build brand value in order to charge a premium.
2 | Stitching
One of the easiest ways to tell if a dress shirt is of higher quality, is that it will have a higher stitch density. Luxury shirts typically have 8 stitches/cm where as mid tier shirts have 4-6 stitches/cm. Premium quality shirts will have a single needle stitch where as a lower end shirt will have double needle stitching. This will create a cleaner and more streamlined look for the quality-made shirt vs. lower end.
3 | Pattern Matching
Pattern matching is not always easy to see, but essentially, if you have a patterned dress shirt. A quality-made shirt will always be cut so that the pattern is matched and seemless in the look, which is more time consuming and thoughtful.
4 | Buttons
Quality made shirts will often feature mother of pearl buttons, where as lower end shirts will have plastic. Additionally, the quality made shirts will use threads that are a little more elastic, without being too stretchy, and will also be more secured to the shirt itself.
5 Collar and the cuffs
Luxury shirts will feature multiple levels of stiffness in the interlining of the collar. This will allow for the ideal level of comfort for the purchaser. Lower end shirts will likely have only one level of interlining and stiffness, which will likely be stiff.
6 | The Yoke
Premium quality shirts will feature a yoke that is split in half, which would be used to correct that most men have one shoulder that is sloped. This is a process that is more expensive and often overlooked. Keep in mind that very few shirting brands still do this process but it is pretty much a hallmark for the best of the best.
7 | Sleeves
Lower quality and inexpensive shirts a lot of the time will have larger armholes. This will create discomfort and will move your shirt up and down when you lift your arms.
8 | Buttonholes
Once again, this all comes back to the stitch density. But when you look at lower end shirts, they will most likely have fraying inside the buttonholes, look bad and probably stretch overtime.
In conclusion, I would definitely recommend looking for these hallmark qualities in a mid tier shirt and shop smart. Will the difference be life changing? Probably not. It will likely depend on your personal preferences and financial position. A few brands that I love and would recommend right away are: Brooks Brothers, Michael Kors (not Michael by Michael Kors), Banana Republic, and luxury brands I would recommend include ETON, Canali, Zegna.