Today Is The Day You Buy A Grown Man’s Shirt For The Price Of A Chinese Ripoff

I’d be lying to you if I said I was a fan of John Kerry; as the son of a Vietnam veteran, I don’t respect Mr. Kerry’s numerous evasions, exaggerations, and outright lies regarding his own service. Nor do we have much in common on a personal level, although I have to respect Kerry’s unsentimental actions with regards to marrying into $1.2B of fortune and $60M worth of personal residences. That’s the real pimp game right there.

Alas, the handsome (and handsomely privileged) Senator and I have one thing in common: we’re both bespoke clients of Turnbull&Asser, the English shirtmaking house notorious for its three-button cuffs. The cheapest custom T&A shirts are $600, with the most expensive more than twice that. The good news is that they wear like iron; I have one T&A shirt that I’ve worn on a relatively constant basis since 2003 and it’s still in passable shape. You don’t get that same kind of longevity from a Brioni or Kiton shirt — believe me, I know.

If you want to join the fraternity of T&A fans, so to speak, now’s a good time to do it on the cheap. Today the firm is putting an extra 15% vig on its seasonal sale. Which means that you could get an everlasting dress shirt of impeccable quality for about $130. Here’s the link. This is not an affiliate link, by the by. But it will take you to a neat and tidy listing of sale items that you can then filter to find what you want.

With regards to fit: I have a 48″ chest and a 39″ waist, and the standard fit for their 17.5/36 is pretty decent for me. If you are thinner than I am, congratulations! Also you might want to try the slim fit.

Every man should have a few things in his wardrobe that he can wear to any potential occasion, knowing that he won’t be under-dressed or obviously poorer than everybody else in the room — regardless of the room in question. And don’t worry if you’re a committed Republican — the list of T&A clients also includes Ronald Reagan, George Harrison, Miles Davis, and the Prince of Wales himself.

26 Replies to “Today Is The Day You Buy A Grown Man’s Shirt For The Price Of A Chinese Ripoff”

  1. AvatarTCS

    Thanks for the heads up. As a New England prep I have always been an Oxford cloth button down wearer exclusively. There is only one American manufacturer of OCBD shirts who has a clue on a proper collar roll. Brooks Brothers lost the plot in the early 90’s.

    Quality clothes are cheaper in the long run. I have sweaters that are over 30 years old.

    Mercer & Sons

    http://www.mercerandsons.com

    Great site and kudos from a long time lurker.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’ll have to write about Mercer at some point — I’m not part of the prep tradition so I always feel nervous wearing one, but they are very nicely made.

      Reply
      • Avatarrambo furum

        Except for the way they sew the buttons and then cut them open, I hear. And anyone not needing a voluminous body is totally SOL.

        Reply
  2. AvatarTomko

    Ah yes, I recall visiting Turnbull & Asser at Hazelton Lanes in Toronto, back in the ‘90s.

    Tip of the hat to the aesthete; Michael Coren, who sent me there.

    Reply
  3. AvatarFred Lee

    My brother had several bespoke wool suits made for him on his last trip abroad. They look every bit a T&A product, but they cost about $400 shipped to his residence from his tailor in China.

    Reply
  4. Avatarrambo furum

    Except for the way they sew the buttons and then cut them open, I hear. And anyone not needing a voluminous body is totally SOL.

    Reply
    • Avatarrambo furum

      Oops, double entry.
      Well, my understanding is that the three buttons are supposed to allow some tapered cuff or something, despite it looking utterly cylindrical above. I know that one Japanese shirtmaker was a very evident curve when the cuff is laid flat.
      As I expected, the sale offerings are mostly anglophilic pyjama stripes that I don’t much care for.

      Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      It hurts to write that.

      I was at a 36″ waist in 2014. I feel like I’m slowly turning into a bowling pin.

      Reply
  5. AvatarJames

    Brooks Brothers has a new U.S. factory; their OCBDs no longer feel the same as J. Press’s.

    Brooks Brothers OCBDs are now unlined and made (in the South) from Italian fabric. The body of the shirt is sewn to the edge of the placket, rather than continuing underneath. They are very much unstructured.

    Reply
  6. Avatartrollson

    Thanks, but most of the cheaper ones seem to be out of stock. Besides, who would buy such am expensive piece of clothing without trying it on first?

    Reply
  7. AvatarNoID

    And here I am scoffing at $50 polo shirts at the company gift store.

    Y’all fashionistos truly live in a different world.

    Reply
  8. Avatarjc

    Well, last time I looked I was a grown man, and I would sooner have my fingernails pulled out with pliers than spend $600 on a dress shirt. That sooner or later will come back from the laundry with a big tear in it.

    I would urge anyone who is not wealthy to the point that none of their descendants will ever have to work for a living, and who thinks buying a $600 shirt is a good idea, to re-evaluate priorities.

    Reply
    • AvatarJustPassinThru

      I second that.

      I grant that clothing, appearance, cut, price, are matters of personal choice. But we’ve all seen Jack’s pics here…again, I’m not going to snipe at choices of style; and over the years, I’ve been all over the map. Everything from a Jesus-of-Nazareth beard and hair, to my Navy boot-camp buzz-cut.

      But clothes that don’t match the grooming, lose the effect. Someone with a Snuffy Smith beard, wearing a $600 shirt…well, you think, someone just scored at the Salvation Army thrift shop. To get the full effect – in mainstream circles, anyway – a bit of barbering and genuflection towards hairstyles has to match the shirt, trousers and shoes.

      These days, the highest quality I buy are Faded Glory shirts. They are a good contrast to my Carhardt work tees.

      Reply
      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        You’re thinking like a man.

        I just cut my hair a little bit for the new job. Every single woman I know disagreed with that. You see “dirtbag in a $600 shirt,” they see “does whatever he wants.”

        Reply
  9. Avatartresmonos

    I couldn’t find anything about where they source their fabric. Is this some chinese knit shit? It looks like they’ve teamed up with Thomas Mason in the past but even Gustin cranks those out for less than 200.

    I may spring for one just for my old Brooks Brothers 3 piece that I wear every wedding / funeral / job interview I go to.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Do you mean where does T&A source their fabric or where does Mercer source theirs? The vast majority of Turnbull cloths are made in the UK.

      Reply
      • Avatar2000etc

        Actually, no. Vast majority are Italian from Thomas Mason (Albini Group). They also have Swiss for an upcharge (Alumo) Very few UK mills left.

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          Good to know. When I’ve been at the T&A custom shop most of the cloth books specified UK construction but obviously they have a zillion choices.

          Reply
          • Avatar2000etc

            Probably from Acorn if it’s UK made. Thomas Mason is all Italian. Btw, suspect the reason t&a shirts last longer than your Brioni and Kiton shirts is the cloth. T&a basics are 100s poplin. The Italians use silky 170s and above. Feels good but much less durable.
            I like my t&a shirts but since I relocated switched back to ascot Chang. They seem better made; my Row tailor also thinks so. That said, t&a does have a certain something about it. Has entry level price really gone up to $600 or is that the US price? UK used to be much less just two years ago.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            I got a few of their not-really-sea-island shirts 2 years ago for 475 UKP that’s about 600.

            For sure a lot of HK tailors are great but I am trying to keep SOME of my cash out of China…

  10. AvatarQ

    I can’t keep a shirt much longer than a year or two without the arm pits staining. Tried every “no stain” antiperspirant out there to no avail. Wearing undershirts is hot, uncomfortable, and keeps the shirt from draping right. This unfortunately keeps me from spending more than $50 on a shirt, and most of the time $15 clearance rack.

    Reply
    • AvatarBK

      Use a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. The aluminum in antiperspirant helps turn your pits yellow.

      I get stains on collars from sweat but a soak in oxyclean and/or scrubbing with a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide prior to washing does wonders for getting rid of those stains.

      Reply
  11. AvatarCompaq Deskpro

    Fill the sink up with hot water and a scoop of Oxyclean powder, then rub some into the armpits. (This stuff is really slimy, use gloves.) Let sit for an hour, then throw in the wash with the rest of your stuff. This has worked miracles on my armpit stained polos.

    Reply
  12. Avatar-Nate

    I bet if I was a rich man I’d pop for at least one or two really good shirts, if you like to dress well, go for it, no one else matters .

    -Nate

    Reply

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