Spring is here and it’s time to shed your layers and step out with new fashion wear. How should you pick from the myriad options that the sartorial world presents? Let’s consider some options and weigh the choices that we have for new men’s fashion dress shirts these days. For me, the designers of the men’s fashion shirts on the market right now break into three classes: the Big Designers, the Imitators, and the Upstarts.
First let’s consider the Big Designers. You know who these guys are and you’ve known about them since you were 14. They offer not just shirts and not just men’s wear. They have a global presence, and you can buy their wares online or you can go to a high end department store in your local mall or maybe in a high rise downtown and check them out in person. Their shirts fit great, and you know that you are getting a quality dress shirt. However, though their runway shows certainly feature outlandish and forward thinking styles, the fashion shirts available to you may be a little on the conservative side. Let’s be clear, anyone into fashion probably has lots of these shirts in their closet. Sometimes you need just a white dress shirt or a blue dress shirt that you can trust, and that you know fits you right. If you get it from the Big Designers you’ll be paying extra for the name, but you know what you’re getting.
The next category is the Imitators. These guys don’t really do enough for me to waste much space here writing about them. They take the classic styles and ideas of the Big Designers and they offer shirts for dramatically less financial outlay. Sure, this seems like a good idea at first, but when you get the shirt home and it doesn’t fit quite right, and the buttons start falling off, it doesn’t look like such a good deal. These guys are notorious for skipping over the details that make your favorite shirt special. Clearly, I think they do not deserve your patronage.
Finally we get to my favorite category, the Upstarts. These designers are the smallest firms, and thus the creative types have more freedom to express themselves through the design of the product. This is where you’ll find men’s designer shirts that have real fashion innovation, that are cutting edge, shaping the sartorial landscape of men’s fashion, able to take ideas from the runway and put them into products that you can actually get your hands on. These brands will charge you a pretty penny just like the Big Designers will, and you might not immediately recognize their name, but you get what you pay for in this world and that means these shirts are of the highest quality. The fit is every bit as slim as the top designers (sometimes even more!) and the material is impressively smooth and soft.
For me, the choice is simple. I go with the Upstarts. Sure, I have stuff from the Big Designers in my closet. I’ve tried the Imitators and I won’t go back. Life is about going for it and taking chances, and that’s just what the Upstarts are doing with their shirts, and that’s an idea I can get behind.