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Spending Money to Save Money: Buying the Best Shirt You Can Afford

August 25, 2009

Antonio Valente Double Stitch Bespoke Shirt

A lot of guys feel that they do not want to spend large amounts of money on their clothing, especially in uncertain economic times. Instead of buying an Antonio Valente ready-to-wear dress shirt, trouser or suit, they may decide to search out a bargain at an outlet store or perhaps one of the many mid to low range clothing stores that are infamous for their blowout sales.

The old adage of “you get what you pay for” really holds true in the menswear industry. On the surface, the difference between a $100 dress shirt to a $200 shirt is a savings of $100. However, looking closer, there is more than meets the eye.

The top contributing factor to the longevity of a garment, other than avoiding dry cleaning, is the fabric’s thread count. To us, a quality dress shirt should be 2 by 2 ply with a thread count of 100 or more, which means that within a square inch of fabric you can count 100 threads running in either direction in addition to each strand being made of two threads twisted together. Consequently, the higher a thread count, the better the quality  and the longer the shirt will last. On the other hand, cheap clothing is generally made from 1 by 1 ply 50’s and will begin to fray or wear through quickly.

A second attribute that contributes to the life of a shirt are removable collar stays, which can be easily replaced when  frail or warped to keep the collar looking crisp. Most importantly, when collar stays are removed before pressing, unsightly impressions of the stays are not imprinted onto the collar by an iron or press.

White shirt, from our Sartorial Collection, features pic stitching, fine cottons, and hand details throughout construction to make it one of the finest shirts available

White shirt, from our Sartorial Collection, features pic stitching, fine cottons, and hand details throughout construction to make it one of the finest shirts available

Shirt cuff and collar interlinings are another important feature of which to take notice. Cheaper shirts may look good out of the bag, but after washing bubbles and puckering will form on the undersides of the collar and cuffs because those areas have not been fused with interlinings. The Antonio Valente Sartorial white shirt, pictured above with dark pic stitch, as all Antonio Valente shirts, has a collar and cuffs that will remain fresh and crisp after numerous washings.  Why? The collar and cuffs have interlinings fused onto both the front and back sides. The shirt will continue to appear like a $350 dollar shirt long after a $100 dollar shirts has lost its original appeal.

One last reason for a shirt’s short life span is a low stitch count per inch (some  as low as 10 to 12 per inch), which create weak seams. When this and all the aforementioned features are added up, the quality difference between a high and low end garment is extremely significant. In fact, it would be safe to say that the former will last about 4 times longer than the latter. In the long term, that’s money in your pocket while affording you much more comfort,  incredible fit and attractive designs.

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