The Custom Dress Shirts: why building your own made to measure dress shirt is better

The dress shirt, more than any other male garment, has served to distinguish a man’s wealth and social class. Up through the XIX century, a white shirt was considered the epitome of male elegance and functioned exactly like the modern T-shirt by keeping sweat away from the outer garments while protecting the body from the coarse outerwear materials.

Nowadays a high-quality button-up shirt has changed its use but it still is a cornerstone of every man’s wardrobe, it’s in fact the most versatile garment you can own.

We wear it under the jacket while at the office, we wear it outside our jeans or slacks at the weekend: the dress shirt is something that cannot be missing in our everyday wardrobe.

You can easily dress it down with a blazer and a pair of chinos, or you can pair it with an elegant suit and tie for more formal occasions.

There are shirts of infinite types, colours, fabrics, but most of the times it is difficult to find one that perfectly adapts to our style and our built.

The standard shirts sold in shops are made to be worn by the majority of people, but even so it is very difficult that two people have the same circumference of the neck, chest, waist and hips. What does this mean? That if we choose to wear a standard shirt, we will have to adapt to the size range of the shirt, and adapt to own it looks on us.

Fortunately, there is an alternative, and it’s easy and available to everyone: the tailoring. Here it’s explained why and how to choose a custom dress shirt.

Especially custom shirts have become a major trend in recent years, not only for the absolute control they afford you over every aspect of the customisation, but also for the precise fit they offer to everyone. Tailored to your body rather than to ordinary on the rack garments (that are made to fit many and as a result, they fit no one perfectly), a custom shirt fits better than just about anything.

Most men wear dress shirts that do not fit them properly forgetting that details do really matter. The shirt you wear, in the absence of a jacket, for example, is the most powerful signal you are using to non-verbally communicate with people around you. Your shirt, whether you like it or not, is speaking for you, so make sure it’s saying who you really are (or, at least, who you want to be)!

But let’s go into details and discover why, who, when, where and how to choose a custom dress shirt and what are its main features.

Why to choose a custom dress shirt


What really means to wear a custom dress shirt can only be understood once tried. To wear a unique suit in the world, that was exclusively made for us, it’s really a priceless luxury. The advantages of choosing a custom dress men’s shirt are not only about the importance of wearing a shirt that fits us in the right way, following the lines of our body, and respecting our proportions, but takes in consideration the longevity and the value for money.

Custom dress first of all means resistant, and resistant means lasting. A shirt made following the tailoring tradition, using only Italian fabrics of premium quality, it is a shirt that resists to ripping, usage and can last in time. Last but not least, the style factor.

A custom dress shirt is made following our own tastes. You will be able to choose all the details: from the colour of the fabric to the pattern, from the shape of the collar to the cuffs, so to create a shirt that goes well with its use and our personal taste.

Who should choose a custom tailored shirt

For those who a have a standard built, custom dress often is a matter of taste and elegance, for all other men is a real necessity. There are those who have a bit of belly and would like to hide it, there are those who practise a lot of sport and need to underline their built, there are those who are very tall or short and would like a shirt that will add value to them.

For all those who have specific characteristics, choosing a custom dress shirt means not having to give up appearing in their best shape in all occasions and wearing the perfect shirt.

When to choose a custom tailored shirt

Starting by saying that wearing a custom dress shirt it is a pleasure that each one of us should be able to afford everyday, there are some recurring situations in which the dress code imposes an elegance beyond the usual standards.

In the more private occasion like the day of the degree, our wedding or the one we are invited to or we are the best man, a romantic appointment, a banquet. Or for business occasions: a first job interview, a very important meeting, the day of our promotion, an elegant business dinner.

How many times have we found ourselves looking for a suit? The day of the wedding who wouldn’t like to wear a custom dress shirt, choosing the best matching with special ties for ceremonies?

Choosing a dress shirt appropriate for all the more formal occasion means knowing how to respect the etiquette (business and not only), but mostly it means choosing to present to the others the best version of ourselves.

How to choose a custom dress shirt

Choosing a custom dress shirt today is easier than you think. First of all you need to choose the fabric: colour, pattern, material and weave.

Once you have chosen the fabric you can continue adding the various details, among which: neck, cuffs, buttons, chest pocket and embroiders.

The last but not least passage is the one about taking the effective body measures.

The perfect white shirt

With a history of two hundred years, the classic white dress shirt has represented status, wealth and power throughout society. Different groups within society adopted the white dress shirt as a symbol of the values they wish to promote. For some, this was trustworthiness, for others, it was power.

So today, when the occasion calls for a white dress shirt, it is really calling for the best white dress shirt. One worthy of its iconic status, yet suited to the wearer and the occasion. Simple, yet stylish. It’s superficial plainness backed by quality and dependability. Take the following advice into consideration when buying your next white shirt, and you’ll be sure to stand out even if the room is full of black and white.

Office, Formal Dinner, or Wedding

The white business shirt is a never fail option for the office. Classic in appearance, its simplicity can be elevated to a whole new level by choosing quality fabric, designs and cuts. A cutaway collar will add a truly modern edge, the right tie brings it all together and perhaps cuff links to add your individual style. A simple change to oxford weave can make the look a little more casual, and by changing cuff style you have even more options again.

For a truly formal dinner occasion, by which we mean black tie and tuxedo formal, you have the option to pull out all stops and dress to impress. Quality shirt makers will also ensure the look isn’t let down by plastic buttons, and will use mother of pearl instead. Nice!

Taking the formality and style of dinner shirts one step further, lands us in the world of weddings. While the events themselves are not always as formal as in years gone by, the chance to dress up in the most elegant and formal attire, is rarely passed up. White dress shirts suitable for such amazing events are similar to the formal dinner shirts, but can now have the front pleats that have become symbols in and of themselves of formality and best dressed.  Such a beautiful dress shirt will often have wing collars and double cuffs, allowing for cuff links to complete the look.

When you next have the opportunity to attend a formal occasion, one that is inviting you to wear your best men’s dress shirt, seize the chance and make the most of it. You’ll definitely get compliments, and if such an award existed, you’d probably win “best white dress shirt for men!”

Since we are in the “silly season”, and all manner of events and functions are filling our calendars, it might be the perfect time to get those new shirts now.


Dressing for the office in summer

At the height of summer, while everyone is in a Caribbean resort posting Mojito pictures, you are probably still in the office. If this is one of those years for you, here are some very practical tips about what to wear at work over the next few weeks to survive the heat, muggy days, air conditioning and resist “the shorts temptation”.

1. Do the transitioning to a summer wardrobe

If your office has a specific dress code, you will probably enjoy air conditioning, won’t you? If it’s freezing cold in your office, it doesn’t mean you should wear the same old autumn suit. First of all, because you will be hot in a 280 g herringbone suit when you have to walk long distances. Secondly, your heavyweight wardrobe needs breathing, allow it a break, it will last longer.

2. Check your suit jacket construction

Let’s be honest, your jacket is your worst enemy in the heatwave. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear it and if you are about to put it off, don’t do it! Just pick the right office jacket. Have a quick look at all your summer jackets and make sure they are unlined or half-lined, better if they are not provided with shoulder pads.

3. Learn to tell differences among fabrics

Cotton and linen are the best materials to use in summer: this is a fact (and we keep repeating it!). Yet, staying cool is not just a matter of fibres, but also a matter of weaving. So, opt for garments cut from plain-weave fabrics, such as hopsack, which helps create air flow. One step behind: what’s a plain weave? It’s the most basic weave, since every weft thread crosses a warp thread, making it hard-wearing.

4. Do not wear loose-fitting clothing

You are looking forward to wearing loose-fitting clothes, right? A baggy garment can spoil anybody’s style. Do allow a small distance between your clothes and you, your sweat will be able to evaporate then – one centimeter will be enough.

5. Choose the right accessories

Do you like braces? We do understand you, yet, they are ideal for colder months, because they prevent sweat from evaporating. As to the main accessory of man’s clothing, the necktie, we are sure that nobody will blame you for not wearing it. Show off a pocket square instead!

6. Always wear socks (or a kind of)

Socks are now allowed in the most conservative workplaces: in an unbearably-hot summer you are allowed to bare your ankles a bit. Wearing a pair of no-show cotton socks will save your feet from excessively sweating and then smelling.

7. Wear an undershirt

It’s hard to believe, yet wearing a thick undershirt will help you stay cooler. Its absorption properties help sweat evaporate from your body and protect your shirts from bleaching in the sleeve area.

BRULI summer wardrobe

Lightness, comfort and colour: these are the keywords of every summer dress code. Blue colour with all its shades, red and beige dominate other nuances. Natural, lightweight and breathable fabrics, entirely made of cotton, silk or linen, for a flawless look even on the hottest days.

BRULI Spring Summer 2018 collection is enriched with new shades and textures. Pure and essential lines, never extreme, designed for contemporary travellers and all detail lovers.


Before we break down the 5 major dress shirt fabrics, it is important to point out the fundamentals of what makes a great fabric.

Step one:  Identifying the core: is it cotton, man-made fibers or silk? Ideally, you want to stick with cotton as it is the undisputed king of dress shirt fabrics. A finely woven cotton fabric has all the properties a man could want from a garment worn close to the body: good heat and moisture conduction, durability, smoothness, and the ability to take shape when ironed.

Man-made fibers, on the other hand, don’t offer the same comfort as a cotton shirt but do have their own set of advantages. They are often wrinkle and stain resistant and can be ideal for budget minded individuals. Lastly, there is silk, often associated as a luxury fabric, silk offers that high sheen and light drape.

Step two: Know your ply. Ply is how many yarns are twisted together to make a single thread. Dress shirt fabrics are most often two-ply or single ply. Two-ply fabrics are generally superior to single-ply fabrics.

Step three: The count. Thread count indicates the size of the thread in the fabric and therefore how many threads per square inch and is often referred to with a number like 50s, 80s, 100s, 120s, 140s 160s, etc up to 200s. For example, 140s means there are 140 hanks (1 hank = 840 yards) of yarn in one pound. Higher numbers mean that the threads are finer which results in a softer, smoother and lighter fabric.

Step four: The finish. Often overlooked, the finish of the fabric is the production process used to actually mill the fabric. A 2-ply 200s fabric sounds impressive but if it’s made with low quality cotton by a dubious manufacturer then it is no better and probably worse than a 1-ply 50s fabric made by a reputable mill.

  • Similar to pinpoint oxford- slightly heavier thread and looser weave
  • Slightly rougher texture but is more durable than most fabrics
  • Symmetrical basket weave where one yarn may cross two yarns
  • Originally developed for sports, the oxford shirt is great as a casual button down shirt


  • A plain weave fabric with a colored warp and a white weft
  • Generally made with heavier yarns for a rugged,  blue-collar workwear appeal
  • Great for casual wear


  • A sturdy cotton twill textile- possibly coarser twill.
  • Typically softer, lighter versions of the fabric then that of your jeans
  • Great for casual wear


  • Made from a plain weave of fine yarns, creating a thin, soft, smooth, long-lasting fabric
  • Thin and breathable – great for under jackets or blazers
  • Can be slightly transparent due to it’s thinness
  • Does well with retaining smoothness after being ironed


  • Distinctive diagonal weave
  • Soft, and a bit thicker and warmer than poplin
  • Has a tendency to wrinkle easily for some
  • Works under a jacket, but not quite as breathable as poplin
  • Seems to be difficult to remove stains from twill

“The pocket square for a man is like the bag for a woman, it should be never missing”.

            Inexplicably absent in the breast pocket of politicians and showbiz personalities, one could think it is only worn by people of the industry and style lovers. Nothing wronger: that pocket is there for a reason, which is not only to hold the sunglasses. Sufficient reason for social disapproval is surely to choose identically patterned pochette and tie. Elegance means “balance” and the trick is to find the right match between shirt, jacket, tie and pocket square as for the fabric and the pattern. For instance, a wool or cashmere pocket square is better with a tweed jacket just like a solid one is more advisable if combined with a striped shirt and a patterned tie. Fabrics range from silk, to wool and from cashmere to linen and cotton; measures are diverse, but 40x40cm, hand-rolled pocket squares have a particular charm.

           Regarding this mysterious accessory, a common and old doubt is about “how to wear it”. The web is charged with photos of origami-shaped or ufo-shaped handkerchiefs and there are many ways of folding, but surely those stiff four peaks coming out of the breast pocket do not get on well with the so-loved and all-Italian sprezzatura.

           Whether it be squared, with two, three of four peaks outside, “rose-shaped”, with just the center outside or with both center and peaks outside (the last one is very elegant), the best is to wear it with nonchalance. An old saying goes: “Elegance means forgetting what you are wearing”. Wise words.










Written by Fabio Attanasio – author of the blog