The third week of February is almost always total chaos for me. First I get hit with Valentine's Day and then immediately afterwards it's my wife's birthday and the requisite dinners and parties that both involve. Needless to say, it's tough to get things done. And that's been a recent problem for me: I have so much that needs to get done, that I spend all my time trying to figure out what comes next, and then I get nothing accomplished. This has become such a problem that I now literally have a closet full of "to do's".
And that's with most of the excess pulled to the back.
All of the shirts in that pile have something fit-wise that annoys me. Most need to have the bodies trimmed down. Some need collars reshaped, others need sleeves shortened or have shoulders that are ever so slightly too wide. Now that I've tasted from the table of well fitted garments, I want front arm scythes that start exactly at the arm/shoulder line. I want sleeves and cuffs that don't engulf my hands or wrists. I want collars that accent my face shape.
So lets take a look at a few of these to-do's. The Calvin Klein from above, that needs the body narrowed, the sleeves shortened, and the shoulders cut down (ever so slightly). A blue Ralph Lauren Polo-line that is massively baggy on me, a Red Level Nine that fits well, but has a ridiculously large collar/stand. And one of three Van Heusen shirts that are in need of some serious slimming. I'm also going to take a look at the John Henry (also above) and a Ben Sherman that I'll have to stop wearing if I keep going to the gym.
First up, lets talk buttons:
Notice something about these two?
Ben Sherman uses a pearl snap for his final buttons, which achieves the same effect. Look closely at how exactly the pattern continues on the Sherman and how sloppy by comparison the CK shirt is. I doubt that I'll try to improve the stability of the CK shirt, although I could do so by adding an additional button hole. I will however, make sure that all shirts I make incorporate either Shermanesque snaps or horizontal lower holes.
Next up, lets examine sleeve cuffs:
Speaking of collars:
So what have I learned from all this?
Van Heusen shirts are utter crap. I got exactly what I paid for out of those <$10 sale shirts. Lots of cut corners, cotton/poly-blends, and poor factory fits. I'll not be buying any more of these, no matter how low the sale price may drop.
Calvin Klein and RL Polo shirts are better in quality, are 100% cotton, but still cut a few corners. Factory fit was not great either.
The Red Level 9 shirt has some questionable design decisions, the same poly-blend as the Van Heusen shirts, and no collar stays. However it does fit me pretty spot-on through the body, aside from the massive collar assembly which eclipses my entire neck. I doubt that I'd ever buy this brand in the future(I got this one as a gift).
John Henry shirts fit me decently when I get them one size too small. This one was another gift, so I don't know how a medium would have looked. Based on the detailing the quality seems higher than the other inexpensive shirts; I would consider possibly buying more in the future.
Ben Sherman seems to offer the best detailing, build quality, and fit for my body. The one shirt also cost as much as all the others combined. That said, it gets worn all the time while the other shirts toil in the 'to-do' pile.
Based on all this, I plan to knock out the RL9 collar assembly first. After that I'll slim down the maroon Van Heusen, and then begin recrafting of the Calvin Klein shirt. If, along the way, I ruin anything no tears will be shed. The goal is to do one shirt a week until the pile is gone. After that, it will be time for me to apply what I've learned and make a shirt from scratch. Stay tuned for updates!