A Note on Shirts

A Note on Shirts

For many, the button-up shirt is the foundation of any day-to-day ensemble. There are shirts of every style, shape, fit, cloth and collar, all with their own unique functionality to suit different occasions. Historically, what started as strictly an undergarment in the 17th century to protect valuable waistcoats and frock coats from sweat and bodily oils evolved in the 19th century into a staple foundation with which to build an outfit.

The turn of the 20th century is where things got really interesting. The shirt enjoyed continuous innovation as changes in manufacturing techniques and methods of washing cloth made the regular wearing of shirts possible - not just for the wealthy, but the working classes also. 

The introduction of features such as breast pockets, soft collars, throat latches and elbow patches, alongside new construction techniques of triple-stitched seams and sturdier weaves of cloth all reflect this change. In this era, the whole form of the garment is something we are interested in and have taken inspiration from when designing our shirts. 

The silhouette of a classic shirt is different from contemporary, slim-fit shirts - an evolution often attributed to the introduction of darts used to make the garment closely form-fitting, one of the first modern examples of feminising men's apparel, as made popular during the 1960s. 

Instead, because shirts of earlier decades were worn as undergarments for gentleman and had to allow for full movement for working men, shirts were designed to fit well round the neck and then drape loosely over the body. This is why men's shirt sizes are traditionally sold as neck sizes.

We consider this style of shirt to be superior to contemporary shirts: they are more comfortable, more hard wearing (due to less stress on the seams) and offer a more masculine silhouette. Elegance in the garment is found in its detailing and features, with the silhouette determined by how it is tucked in at the waist. 

All SJC shirts celebrate the classic look and feel of the early 20th century, where the relationship between function and form was harmonious. If you are new to SJC, then our shirts may surprise you at first but will ultimately delight you with their look, feel and quality.


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