The Evening Dress Shirt Should Be Fitted


Flash photography can be cruel. I always smile, compassionately I might add, when friends take me through photos of “an amazing venue” they visited, only for the flash to utterly corrupt the memory by blanching the closest object and blackening the background; “Damn” my friends exclaim “it was a lot nicer than this, I swear!” The fact is, I have no doubt that it was. Flash has the capability of flattering faces, by accentuating angles and brightening eyes, but it utterly destroys everything else, including clothing.

Anyone who has been photographed with a simple point-and-shoot flash camera will attest that the results were nothing like that which they had expected; the lapels shined supernaturally, the black wool looked slightly grey and the shirt crumpled like a pillowcase. Slick? Hardly.

I recently spoke to a gentleman who wanted to dress smartly but didn’t want to have to worry about his clothing; “I don’t want to go into a meeting and be worrying about my sleeve length or anything like that. I want to look good and concentrate on the matter at hand.” His answer of course, is tailoring and it is also the answer I would supply to anyone rethinking their evening dress shirt.

Slim fit or tailored fit shirts are a better choice for evening dress because they are tauter across the torso; standard fit shirts, particularly for gentlemen not accustomed to wearing waistcoats, can often billow and bulge as the evening wears on, distracting the eye from a beautifully finished jacket or a roguishly tied bow. As uncomfortable as it sounds, a tighter fit is always to be desired in an evening shirt.

However, it is not always possible to find off-the-rack evening shirts with darts to fit one’s torso. Therefore, a gentleman should look upon a made-to-measure evening shirt as an important investment. Despite costing significantly more, a made-to-measure shirt has distinct advantages over the off-the-rack. Firstly, and most importantly, it will always fit better. A made-to-measure shirt is made to fit your singular contours; the length is exactly right, the width is exactly right, the sleeve length is faultless and the collar sits up perfectly. Crucially, the torso does not bag, sag or crumple; it is placidity itself, a mill-pond of a shirt.

Secondly, a made-to-measure shirt is much more comfortable than squeezing yourself into a slim fit for the sake of it. Gentlemen who experience a discomfort with slim fit shirts can direct the tailor where the discomfort is and how, considering that the exposed Marcella torso should be as taut as possible, any tailoring can avoid such discomfort.