I am anal about my shirts: the fabric, collar, cuffs, which is why I travel to various parts of the world to get them. Here’s my list of what I think are the finest formal shirts:
Some years ago, I stumbled upon a rather unknown but spectacular brand called Thin Red Line, a truly bespoke but underground brand. In my estimation, the only bloke who understands shirts in this country is Avinash Punjabi who runs a cool boutique in Colaba, Mumbai. It is another matter that I have never visited the store or met the man. Things have been swimmingly good over emails. Avinash’s cut-away collars are swish. The fabric is fabulous and the cut cuffs, absolutely splendid. Another international brand currently available in India is Naracamicie. Their double collared shirts are supreme.
Dylan Chong of Dylan & Son in Singapore crafts a mean shirt. Dylan’s a bit of a dandy himself so part of his spiffy style spills over on his craft. He has a staggering range of fabrics (check out Sea Island Cotton). Yet another great brand in Singapore is Raoul: great prints and slim fits.
Up in Hong Kong, stay away from the usual Ascot Chang nonsense; instead, the quality of Mode Elegante’s shirts is heroic. Fabulous fabric, immaculate cuts and possibly the best monogramming that I have come across.
My love affair with shirts began courtesy my brother and in London. It was he who introduced me to Turnbull & Asser. It remained a favourite for several years but now in London, I prefer Oliver Spencer’s shirt. Oliver puts together shirts bearing the realities of life, like a stylus pocket and hidden Tube ticket pocket.
So that’s it. That’s my pick. Cuff luck!
When he is not collecting art, wine, books, music, movies, paper, fragrances, pens, pencils, erasers, shirts, candles, gizmos, ties, shoes and trivia, Swapan Seth runs an advertising agency. Ostensibly. His column will appear regularly on bpb.