Behind the Seams: Men’s Shirting

In my opinion, Chicago, where Stitch Method is based, is a menswear town. There are a wide variety of menswear brands designed and produced right in our backyard. This has given us the unique perspective at Stitch Method as two women becoming experts in men’s shirting. Our husbands are probably the happiest about this – second only to our menswear clients.

A men’s buttondown is a basic, you see them everywhere. They are in every store and every closet, but when it comes to development the process is anything but basic. To streamline the development decisions you will need to make as a men’s shirting designer we have approached this with two categories: Concepting and Construction.

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Concepting

When first thinking about your shirting line here are some key elements to focus on:

Target Market

Your customer’s demographics and lifestyle need to be considered for every decision in the process.

For example, if you find that your customer lives in a large city, does Crossfit for exercise, and spends a lot of time out and about then you will have a good insight not only into the fit needed but also the fabrics that will work for their lifestyle.

Sizing

Do you want to use S, M, L or use sleeve and neck measurements? Which is going to resonate best with your customer? Once you select your size offerings you will want to determine your size chart. Your size chart will be used by your customers to determine what size they will wear in your brand.

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Price

Pricing your shirting can be tricky. The reason we suggest you consider this while you are conceptualizing is to ensure you are sourcing strategically and have a good idea of your ‘budget’ for materials as well as the cutting and sewing of your shirt prior to design.

Construction

This is where the devil is in the details!

Collars

  • • What style of collar are you going to use?
  • • Does your collar button down or does your target customer usually need to wear a tie?

Cuffs

Consider the following:

  • • Style: Standard vs. French
  • • Shape
  • • Button quantity and placement

Fabrics

  • • There are so many options! Solids, all over prints, plaids, ginghams, stripes and polka dots
  • • You may also want to consider non-traditional shirting fabrics if it is right for your brand
  • • Don’t forget about the interfacing!
  • • If you have a dressier shirt, you may want a stiffer interfacing to hold crispness
  • • If your shirt is more casual consider a softer interfacing that allows for more flexibility

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Trims

  • • Buttons – quantity, size, quality and placement
  • • Labels – brand, care/content and size

Signature Details

  • • What makes your shirt stand out from the competition?
  • • This could be speciality construction in sewing, a signature lining or trim

Phew! That was a LOT! But it’ll definitely help you, as a new designer, to think through all of the necessary steps, and maybe more!

To get individualized attention from an industry specialist like Abbie, take a look at Maker’s Row Labs.

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