Turnbull & Asser has been creating legendary menswear for nearly 130 years, but it only introduced its own slim-fit shirt less than three months ago. That's due in large part to two things: customer demand (the men who order shirts from the company's bespoke service tend to prefer a slimmer silhouette), and to T&A's relatively new Head of Design Dean Gomilsek-Cole, who was happy to share some of his knowledge with us.
The designer, who's been with Turnbull and Asser for just under a year, knows a thing or two about shirting. He gave us his tips on how to spot a cheaply made shirt and his secret B.U.P. rule. Plus—the reason you won't find a spare button on your next Turnbull & Asser purchase.
1. "An obvious style staple is a great white shirt, but I would up the ante and say a great bespoke white shirt. One that fits you and only you—a limited edition of one. I like to always add a detail of interest to the classic white, be it by using a textured fabric or a specific cuff and collar combination. The options are endless."
2. "Choosing a shirt color should come down to matching it to your complexion, but softer pastel shades—in particular pink tones—are a great color for this spring and summer in general.
3. "I strongly believe that it's time for stripes to take back their rightful place at the head of the table and kick the checks back into the shadows."
4. "If you find a shirt you love, buy at least two and rotate their use. Otherwise, these go-to favorites get worn out too quickly. To prolong the life of my shirts I launder and iron my own—it's actually quite therapeutic—as I don't trust laundries to follow specific instructions. Remember, with great shirts comes great responsibility."
5. "Be realistic: don't try and squeeze yourself into the latest silhouette. Great fit is about comfort and looking good. I call it the B.U.P rule (button under pressure). If you've got buttons under pressure across your chest or waist it's not a good look. My wife has called me out on this rule a few times and I have ignored her at my own expense only to have a button fly off whilst commuting on the tube."
6. "Accessories are your secret weapon. For trousers, obviously a great new seasonal belt, but also a new shoe-and-sock combination will breathe new life into those old dogs."
7. "A good way to spot a good quality shirt is the matching on patterns, like checks, at the seams. To me there's nothing worse than a mismatched panel, a sign of mass production and lack of attention to detail."
Buttons are also a giveaway. We use the top grade mother of pearl buttons that are stronger than their cheaper plastic alternatives. Our buttons are sewn on with a lockstitch machine with a whip stitch that is thermo sealed to prevent buttons coming loose. This is why you don't find spare buttons on a T&A shirt."
8. "Ties have been becoming so slim, that they're in danger of becoming invisible. Don't hang a shoelace around your neck: buck the trend and wear a proper tie."
9. "It's important to have proper sleep, and this is a direct result of a good bed and personal comfort. Pajamas or a T-shirt and boxers are your choice, but if I have to tackle intruders at 2 a.m., I'd rather be chasing them down the street in my monogrammed T&A pajamas. They also look much more civilized when eating breakfast. and I have been tempted to wear them whilst I pop out to collect the weekend papers, which is a lot more risky in underwear."
10. "Outside of clothing and accessories, every man should buy a well-designed chair (1950's British or Danish is my preference) or a motorcycle (Triumph or Norton, old or new)."