Not All Cotton Is Created Equal
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: In the world of menswear, fit is paramount. Even the most exquisitely crafted dress shirt is going to look terrible on you if it’s billowing at the arms and swallowing your torso. Which is why ours are specifically designed to flatter your frame, with slim arms and a tailored cut through the body. It’s something we feel is absolutely essential. But it’s not the only thing. Because as any man who’s ever experienced the displeasure of wearing one of those poly-blend monstrosities you find at the mall can tell you, when you’re talking about dress shirts, there’s another, equally important factor at play. Fabric. It’s quite literally the foundation of any great shirt. Get it wrong, and you might as well not bother. Which is why, when we set out to design our dress shirts, the material is the first thing on our minds. Namely cotton—and some of the very best in the world, at that. See, not all cotton is created equal. The cotton plant produces fibers called staples, which vary in length. And while the distinctions between different categories like “medium staple” and “long staple” can be as small as a couple of millimeters, they make a world of difference. The specifics are, well, very specific—think textile-industry-insider level—but the key thing to remember is this: The longer the fiber, the better the yarn. The better the yarn, the better the fabric. So what do we mean by better? Well, stronger, for one. And more more comfortable, with a softer, smoother texture. The sort of fabric that feels great when you put it on for the first time, and ages just as beautifully. To get it, we use only the best cotton available: extra-long staple (ELS) cotton. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill stuff; it accounts for only 3% of the world’s production. But the way we see it, there’s no better material for shirts. We won’t settle for anything less. In fact, we go even further with some of our shirts. Within the world of extra-long staple cotton there are still more distinctions, marks of even higher quality and greater rarity. And two of the varieties we use—Giza 45 and WISICA Sea Island cotton—rank among the most extraordinary. Egypt is renowned for producing ultra-high quality cottons, thanks to a highly favorable climate and the fertility of the earth bordering the Nile. Giza 45, which accounts for only 0.4% of Egyptian cotton, is the most impressive of the bunch. Incredibly uniform and fine, but remarkably strong, it produces a fabric with a soft, silky hand that’s particularly well suited to shirting. Like Egypt, the environmental factors in the Caribbean islands of Barbados and Jamaica are practically tailor-made for growing exceptional cotton. Owing to the location of its origin, this variety is called Sea Island cotton, and it represents just a tiny fraction of a percent of total production in the world (0.0004%). Like Giza 45, it produces soft, strong, and uniform threads— all of which are inspected by the West Indian Sea Island Cotton Association (WISICA) to ensure the utmost quality—with a fineness that makes them perfect for shirts. We source our textiles from historic Swiss and Italian mills like Alumo and S.I.C. Tess, which specialize in producing fine fabrics. From there, we cut our shirts to fit you perfectly, and finish them with thoughtful details like perfect button placement on front and sleeve plackets, expertly crafted collars and cuffs, and double-thick mother of pearl buttons with whipstitching. The result is the most stylish and comfortable dress shirt you’ll ever wear. It takes many steps along the way, all of which are important. But the most important is the first one: Getting the right cotton. That’s why we won’t settle for anything other than the best. You shouldn’t either.
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