Summer Shirts

The shirt off your back should be different from the others stacked on the department store shelves. Especially when we have four real seasons to deal with. It feels like summer this morning, so let’s discuss your summer shirt choices.

As your custom shirtmakers, we here at Leviner Wood know your preferences for heavier twills and oxford cloth. They starch up nicely, look crisp and professional. They also wear warmer than some of the fabrics to which you have access. Besides, while blue and white solids and stripes are irreproachable business wear, hotter weather and stronger light call for a little color to be added into the strict blues and grays of your suit wardrobe.

First up: cotton poplin or broadcloth. Papeline was first woven in France, in the town of Avignon, once the papal seat. It is a plain, strong weave. Although it is very lightweight (heavier weights are used for khakis), it irons nicely and with a bit of  starch (if you like starch) keeps you cool and crisp all day. American cotton broadcloth is called poplin in Great Britain and here as there it is made up into everything from raincoats to boxer shorts. We recommend several shirts in various stripes which help to negate the slight transparency of a lighter fabric. Summer tattersalls, for example, are classics under a blue blazer

(A classic pink, aqua, royal and navy blue summer tattersall)

End-on-end is a term used to define the making of another kind of broadcloth in which two color stands of cotton are woven into a sort of cross-hatch. One of the colors is almost always white, although it doesn’t have to be. In a mid-blue or pink end-on-end makes up into a beautiful lightweight white collar and cuffs dress shirt. We like to see colored shirts made of this fabric: grays, blues, pinks, lavender, pale greens and yellows, although there are some beautiful patterns in this fabric, too.

(The familiar light blue end-on-end)

Pinpoint oxford. For those of you pining for the beefier oxford cloth of your buttondowns, pinpoint oxford is the answer. The only difference in this broadcloth fabric is that two strands are woven over two strands instead of the simpler basketweave of the oxford cloth. It results in a silkier hand (feel) that is faintly more lustrous to the eye. You can’t go wrong with a pink buttondown in pinpoint oxford and a white shirt will look beautiful for day or evening events.

(Pink pinpoint oxford in extreme closeup)

Finally, the ultimate in luxury summer shirtings — James Bond’s fabric of choice — sea island cotton first produced on Hilton Head Island in 1790. Of course, the original doesn’t exist anymore thanks to the Civil War, a  plague of boll weevils in the 1920’s and a host of other problems. We do have acceptable and luxurious alternatives: Supima® extra long-staple cotton and Egyptian long-staple cottons, and a Sea Island branded material that is every inch the extra-long-staple blend of Egyptian, Peruvian and American threads that you expect and appreciate. They are more vibrant when dyed, more lustrous, softer, silkier and very durable despite the fineness of the cloth into which it is woven. Every designer on earth uses the stuff. Only Leviner Wood makes it to fit you. We recommend an unfused, soft collar on all your most luxurious shirts. Consider a tuxedo shirt in extra-long staple cotton for the ultimate in comfort.

In addition to Sea Island cotton, Leviner Wood carries 2 ply 120’s twills by Loro Piana, luxuriously soft and lightweight broadcloths by Thomas Mason, Zegna and John Anderson and a new Royal 140’s, 2 ply twill and broadcloth that is tightly woven and lightweight without being see-through. If you’re looking for that special summer shirt that is the essence of understated luxury, give us a call today.

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