For many, style of dress is a way to express one’s individualism and identity; a way to distinguish yourself from the masses. For men especially, no other article of clothing gets more attention than the SHIRT.
Shirts are now available for men and increasingly, women, through a number of ways. You can get your shirt off-the-rack, which consists of stock based on pre-established sizes and designs. Made-to-measure shirts on the other hand are chosen out of a set of existing patterns to adjust to your own measurements with limited preferences. Bespoke shirts, however, are the traditional and conventional way of getting your own customised shirt. Bespoke shirt makers make a pattern specifically to match your measurements and allow you to choose almost every detail, from the type of collar, type of buttons, to the fabric that you desire.
But what makes a great shirt? How does someone deserve the title of Best Shirt Maker?
According to Forbes Magazine, there are three criteria involved in judging the Best Shirtmaker – the best value for money, any revolutionary approaches to shirt design, and a general acknowledgement as masters of their craft. Other factors of fabric, cut and construction are also significant to the overall allure of the shirtmaker.
The whole concept of bespoke shirts in general mean that it is fundamentally value for money. Although most quality shirt makers charge quite a high cost, this cost covers the painstaking labour and personalised detail that goes into the making of each shirt. For the other two categories, there’s Luigi Borelli and Cessare Attolini – two names from none other than the classic shirt making centre of the globe, Naples, Italy.
After fifty years of stitching shirts for well-established shirt maker Rubinacci, Anna Borelli and her son, Luigi, founded their own atelier ‘Luigi Biorelli’, to now become one of the most expensive shirt makers in the world. Every item is made to be a perfect fit by hand – hand-cut, hand-stitched and hand-finished, all from the finest Italian fabrics. The eight steps involved in the creation of every Biorelli shirt is intended to replicate machine assembly, but without the imperfections cause by machinery such as stiffness.
Cessare Attolini is also a family business spanning three generations since 1930. Today it is run by brothers Massimiliano and Giuseppe Attolini, and upholds a a century of expertise and elegance that is unmatched. Cesare Attolini was the first to counteract the British movements of fashion in the 1930s to start the Neapolitan style trend. Cesare Attolini questioned the British mould and invented new cutting techniques to create a shirt without shoulder pads, lightweight and superbly minimal design. The creative process continues to involve a different tailor at each stage, with each sewing step followed by a passage of ironing and periods of rest in order to rectify in the most microscopic of imperfections.