In an industry dominated by conservative stodgy offerings that are indistinguishable from those worn by your grandfather, Americans are becoming increasingly aware of imported offerings, largely coming from Europe. These European luxury shirts are often at a price point that may shock some consumers but appeal to those who are ready to paying high prices for shirts that look very similar to those you can pick up at your local department store. However, these European offering are nothing like the plain starched white shirts your ancestors wear.
First off, these European shirts fit differently than a traditional American dress shirt. While a traditional American dress shirt comes in sizes that show the neck size and arm length of the consumer (e.g. 16-32/33), European shirts for men come in general sizes (e.g. Small, Medium, Large) that are mean to be fit off the rack but can also be tailored to give a more bespoke fit. Importantly, European shirts also fit vastly different. European shirts are much slimmer around the torso than American shirts, and while this may rule out some more indulgent Americans, it provides a chic slimming effect on the wearer by eliminating the baggy bulges of fabric that are commonplace on American shirts. Additionally, this slim fit makes European shirts much more versatile than traditional shirts, in that they look great either tucked in or unlocked, perfect for a seamless transition from the boardroom to a night out.
Secondly, these European shirts, and especially French shirts offered by designers like Franck Michel, contain stylish details that would shock your grandfather. Franck Michel, for instance, has patented design details like French cuffs that are held together by leather bands that resemble a leather watch band. Franck Michel also has introduced details such as the reverse collar, a collar that takes an extra turn, folding over twice and adding an unmistakable flourish to many of their shirts. Additionally, many European shirts use double collar shirts, another unique look that you won’t see from traditional offerings at the department store.
Lastly, these European shirts use the highest quality raw materials. Because of the proximity of the designers to fabric markets in places like Italy, designers have strong relations to the world of high quality European textile manufacturing. This leads to constantly refreshing collections with cotton of unmatched quality with unique patterns that are hard to find anywhere else.
These European shirts are increasingly becoming available stateside. Franck Michel, for instance, now provides their shirts through urunique.com. Their collection refreshes constantly and prices range from $99 to almost $200 depending on the details incorporated in the shirt, and its relative novelty.