Saturday, November 28, 2020

Formal Shirt

Formal shirt 
In the UK, the term dress shirt is reserved for a particular type of formal shirt. There are formal day shirts for wearing with morning dress, and the white dress shirts used as eveningwear.

A day dress shirt is fairly similar to a normal shirt, and is usually white, with a stiff detachable collar, though other designs, such as a vertical blue stripe, are also appropriate. Double cuffs are most common. This sort of shirt is also conventionally worn by some barristers and judges.

An evening shirt, for wear with eveningwear, for example as part of black or white tie has some unique features. In the U.S., this shirt is often called a tuxedo shirt or tux shirt. The shirt is always white.

The shirt required for white tie is very specific. It should have a detachable wing collar and be fastened with shirt studs instead of buttons on the front. The studs are normally mother of pearl set in gold or silver, but black onyx inlay is also permissible. The cufflinks should match the studs. The shirt front has panels made of different material from the rest of the shirt which are the only parts seen under the waistcoat. The shape of the panels, one on each side, is either rectangular, or the older U-shape (designed to sit under the older 1920s U-shaped waistcoats, now largely replaced by the more modern V-shape). The material for the panels is either layers of thick plain cotton that is heavily starched (this type is often called a boiled front shirt as the shirt needs to be put in boiling water to remove the starch before cleaning), or marcella (piqué) cotton. Marcella is more common, but a little less formal, though still appropriate, since it was originally designed to be used on formal evening shirts, as the ribbing can pick up more starch and create an even stiffer front. Traditionally, collarless shirts with a detachable wing collar fastened on with collar studs have been used, but all-in-one designs are occasionally seen, though this is considered incorrect and to give a poor appearance by many. Cuffs are single, and heavily starched (if the front is marcella, the cuffs usually match).
Black tie offers more leeway. Shirts may be soft (not starched), which gives the options of unstarched marcella or a pleated front, as well as the white tie shirts, which may also be worn with black tie. The collar is still sometimes a stiff high wing collar (common in America, though the attached variety is more popular there), or a turndown collar (more frequently seen in Britain). In past decades, particularly the 1970s, ruffled shirt fronts were made fashionable by Will Hunter,[citation needed] although they are now out of favour. Dress-studs are optional, and are onyx set in either silver or gold if used; otherwise the buttons are normally concealed under a placket. Cufflinks tend to be as simple and understated as possible, and harmonise with, if not match, the studs.

The placket of the shirt is the part that holds the buttons and the button holes. This is highly regarded as the focal point of the dress shirt when worn casually. Unfortunately due to the lack of reinforcement, the weight of the collar will cripple the placket throughout the day. No amount of starch, ironing, pressing nor does the type of fabric matter when it comes to combating the collapse.

Fit

In the US, ready-to-wear sizes of dress shirts traditionally consist of two numbers such as 15½ 34, meaning that the shirt has a neck 15 1⁄2 inches (390 mm) in girth (measured from centre of top button to centre of corresponding buttonhole) and a sleeve 34 inches (860 mm) long (measured from midpoint of the back and shoulders to the wrist). However, to reduce the number of sizes needed to be manufactured and stocked, an average sleeve length is sometimes given in the form 15½ 34/35 (indicating a neck 15 1⁄2 inches (390 mm) in girth and a 35 inches (890 mm) sleeve). Since the cuff frequently features two buttons, the cuff diameter can be reduced so that the cuff does not come down over the hand, allowing the shirt to fit the shorter length. Since the sleeve and neck size do not take into account waist size, some shirts are cut wide to accommodate large belly sizes. Shirts cut for flat stomachs are usually labeled, "fitted", "tailored fit" "athletic fit" or "trim fit". The terms for fuller cut shirts are more varied ("Traditional", "Regular" etc.) and are sometimes explained on a shirt maker's website. Additionally, "Portly" or "Big" are often used for neck sizes of 18 inches (460 mm) or more. Very casual button-front shirts are often sized as small, medium, large, and so on. The meaning of these ad-hoc sizes is similarly not standardized and varies between manufacturers.

In the bespoke (custom-made) industry where each shirt is made from an individually drafted pattern, these sizing problems are avoided, though there are still different ways of making the shirt fit. While many choose to cut the sleeve long and have the cuff catch on the hand to regulate its length, some prefer the much harder option of using a high armhole and carefully tailored shape, so that the cuff can be loose and still sit in exactly the right place wherever the arm moves.

Made-to-measure shirts may not fit quite as well as bespoke, but can provide a similar degree of customisation and fit at a lower cost.

For sixty years, US designers and manufacturers of neckties and dress shirts were members of the Men's Dress Furnishings Association but the trade group shut down in 2008 due to declining membership caused by the declining numbers of men wearing neckties

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