Mr. Porter: The Golden Middle
Just last year the powerful indsutry of men’s tailoring revived a certain style. As with the resurrection of the double-breasted suit in recent years, the collar-bar has stealthily weaved its […]
Just last year the powerful indsutry of men’s tailoring revived a certain style. As with the resurrection of the double-breasted suit in recent years, the collar-bar has stealthily weaved its way back into the charming showrooms of Savile Row.
image © ctshirts.co.uk
Despite its simplicity, the collar-bar shirt echoes the manly style of the 50s, enitrely reshaping your look; yes, through one delicate touch. From Frank Sinatra to Louis de Funès, the collar-bar was a must, but somehow it was shunned in the ever-changing market of fashion. However, one forward-thinking company, Tom Ford, dug through the wardrobes of history and revived this lost artefact.
The desirability of this shirt went through the roof and rapidly found its way to the front pages of GQ and The Sartorialist. However, the world of fashion seized its opportunity and jacked the prices higher up than one would care to pay for a piece of metal. The shirt itself requires more meticulous tailoring and is still incognito among the high-street brands, therefore designers from Ted Baker to Gieves & Hawkes cornered the market, charging anything from £100 to £350 for a collar-bar shirt, thinking that the uniqueness of the shirt would justify its fee. It is obvious that it is not worth such an absurd price, not even a fraction of it. The market then came to face much criticism from reviewers, who scrutinized the excessive price-tag. Their reasoning, in my eyes, is quite simple: the item is desirable; it is preferred by people who have a high interest in fashion; let’s add another ‘0’ on the end.
This case is an example of boutique companies seizing unique goods and hoarding them. However, in the last 5 years, two knights in shining suits have come to the rescue: Massimo Dutti and Charles Tyrwhitt. Although these two companies are one of many such heroes, they are the leaders in their field; they are the example of the golden middle. Massimo Dutti is a sister company of Zara, Pull & Bear and Stradivarius, all owned by the Spanish multinational company INDITEX. Charles Tyrwhitt is a shirt-maker gaining prominence in recent years, especially in the UK. Both provide high-quality clothing at incredibly reasonable prices, Massimo Dutti especially so. Although Zara is at times sub-par when it comes to weaving the thread, Massimo Dutti is the next step up, described by GQ as “a Hispanic Ralph Lauren for those who do not have a six-figure salary.”
The essence of these two brands is simple: “make good, pragmatic clothing and do not rip off the customer.” Both released the collar-bar shirt a few months ago, priced at £39.95 – a world away from the £150 price-tag of Selfridges and Savile Row. Yes, you might say that made-to-measure brands provide better quality, but the point is that the companies of the “golden middle” do not slap on an extra £70 – £100 just for putting a piece of metal through the collar, let alone for the brand name. At the end of the day, it is simply a white shirt and the cost of a white shirt should never stretch into triple figures. Yes, if you’d like some crazy, convoluted shirt with a golden bar, go to a pristine tailor, but the crux of my argument is that there are not enough companies providing customers with good quality products at reasonable prices, who also live up to the look revered by high-end tailors. So, if you’re tempted buy a collar-bar shirt, visit Charles Tyrwhitt or jump into Massimo Dutti, and save yourself a small fortune.
headline image © therake.com