Friday, 27 February 2015

How to spot Good Quality when Buying a Shirt - don't judge by the price!

Spot the Quality!



As we all know the “Encyclopaedia Britannica” used to be one of the fountains of all knowledge and now for the majority of us this is now the Internet. That said I was surfing net and found lots of articles and blogs about what constitutes a quality shirt with much common ground but also differences of opinion.We would like to share with you our hints on what to look for in a quality smart shirt but, from a customer’s perspective to ensure you are getting value for money.

Let’s keep this very user friendly, concise and definitely not industry jargon. Of course a lot of this is good old “common sense” and some others not so obvious. Use a combination of, what you know, the detail you can see, and lastly the feel.

So here are some useful tips to look out for when selecting that shirt with a difference, or, a smart/occasion shirt where you are perhaps splashing out.

Fabric

A'Legions Fabric swirl
To be honest before actually being in Retail I wouldn’t have been able to spot a good quality fabric from a bad one except, that 100% cotton was generally better. Trouble is there are many, many different cottons with different production techniques which the person on the street will be blissfully unaware of. Why should they be if it’s not your own profession? So what are the useful simple pointers?

1) Price – Common sense!
Very high quality cotton fabric costs a lot to buy. Our fabric cost alone is more than some high street chains sell a finished product for.

2) Feel
Depending upon the texture - the fabric should feel soft, silky and appear strong. This is not so easy as there are some very good imitators out there. However, reputable brands have exactly that - a reputation to uphold and some comfort can be drawn from the fact they can’t really afford to get it wrong. If in doubt ask!!

Stitching


A big clue because you can’t hide inferior stitching - look at collar edges and number of stitches per cm. Bigger stitches lower quality. Lose threads and the way that button stitching is finished. Higher quality shirts will have edge stitching to collars, cuffs and plackets etc although this sometimes depends on the type of look the design is trying to achieve. A closer inspection combined with an appreciation of the design look is generally a good way to determine if you have a quality garment.


A'Legions buttonhole detail

Properly Finished Button Holes


Better quality shirts have more stitches around the button hole with clean finishing.

No signs of fraying or lose threads.





Summary

The better the quality shirt, the more attention to the detail and finishing there will be. The cost of a shirt is a function of the fabric + trims + labour. The cheaper the components and the quicker they are produced, the cheaper the overall cost. Then it’s a question of the brand and their margin!!

Cheap shirts are not necessarily bad value for money. Taboo = Poor quality at high price, and they are out there, so we urge caution!!

To end, a few more glimpses of the near future...

The "Kent" Collar
The "Kent" teaser cuff
The "Wright" cuff teaser

Friday, 13 February 2015

Men: Are You Well Groomed? Do your Shirts Fit?

It’s amazing how many times we see guys out there who are wearing clothes…. that just don’t fit. Generally it’s clothing that’s too big, or the cut not fit for the body shape, or worst of all both. All the research we have done shows that the male and female body shapes are changing in the UK and other places. You have probably guessed that the average size is getting larger as each decade or so passes. Add to this the confusion over sizing, i.e. some US Brands sizing is way larger than the UK. My personal experience is, I’m an “M” in some US Brands, ”L“ or “XL” in some UK Brands an even “XXL” in some EU Brands.

What to do?


We recommend that when buying clothing, like shirts that are different, smart, or occasion shirts, time is taken to understand how the product will fit you as a person. I find that shopping online is now the easiest and most convenient way.

Why buying via the internet is better for most guys


Apart from not having time to traipse round the shops or shopping malls, on some websites now you can get a “virtual try on” by adding some personal information like height, weight and age. I tried it and to be perfectly honest the result was a very accurate, albeit fairly unflattering for me, view of what that special shirt would look like on! You can see what each size would look like and select the best fit that’s not too big. By the way nothing better than seeing this than to spur the next round of losing weight………. until I see a cake shop that is.

If you are anything like me and hate undressing to try things on this is definitely something to try when the software is perfected. Keep a look out for the size information or “virtual try on” when shopping online. The technology will become more widespread and we are investigating for our own website. The best way is to look at the size and fit information the retailers are supplying now which is more than ever.

Be aware of what your measurements are before you go to buy……. we all change. It’s truly amazing how many times we try and squeeze into a pair of trousers with the same waist line as we used to have. The trouble is……… we have a problem with where the actual waist line is, which is in a lot of cases, above where you’re wearing trousers causing you to look worse than wearing a bigger size that actually fits. The same is true of that shirt with a difference, that quality shirt you want to buy to look good at a special occasion…….. know your measurements!!

The A’Legions Pledge

Choose the right size and cut for you. I promise …… you will look better, feel better, and be amazed at how many comments about losing weight you will get. You will project more confidence and as a result be happier.

There is nothing better than a well groomed male projecting an air of confidence to make you attractive. In most cases age and looks don’t matter………. how you dress does!

So now when shopping either online or around the highstreet?

Worth spending just a little time choosing the right fit for every day or special occasion??

You bet ya!!!!!
All for now……… Alexander


PS Remember the floral accent shirt design diagram we asked you about in the October Blog???? Well…………… below is a photograph of the actual prototype!! 
(Dear Reader – forgive my photography)

Back with multi-coloured embroidered logo
Prototype pre-production sample