W.H. Taylor Shirtmakers – frequently asked questions

Buying a new shirt should be a carefully considered process. So, here are the answers to some of our frequently asked questions.

Why are our shirts unique?

All WH Taylor luxury shirts are handmade, constructed to the highest standards, and contain many unique features. These features include fabric designs that are matched precisely at all points to provide flowing, seamless lines. The removable collar stiffeners keep your collar flat and smooth whilst the two-piece yolk comes together at an angle to create perfectly smooth lines across your shoulders. The two-piece (non-fused) collar is cut to allow the joining edge between the band and the top elliptical to provide a ‘spring’ when sewn together, giving the collar a natural tendency to turn and stay down. Only the finest two-fold cotton poplin fabrics are used in our shirts. Our shirts are constructed using fine stitching, which achieves strong and elegant seams. To provide extra luxury, single needle stitching is used, albeit costly; it produces an excellent but strong seam. The gauntlet consists of two pieces of fabric that prevent gaping; therefore, removing a small button would be cheaper. The cuffs are rounded to avoid catching on the edge of your jacket. To provide movement across your hips, the lowest buttonhole is stitched horizontally. All buttons are sewn using crossed lockstitches, which prevents them from becoming loose. A butterfly gusset on our regular fit shirts provides added strength and contours the back tail of the shirt.

What happens if my bespoke shirt doesn’t fit properly?

First step: don’t panic! We know that mistakes can happen sometimes with measurements. So, we’ll always accommodate shirt alterations. We want you to enjoy our shirts after all.

What are the differences in buttons?

Troca, MOP, Akoya and many others are all mother-of-pearl shells. Many years ago, certain shells became known as MOP and only referred to those particular shells, whilst the words mother of pearl or nacreous refer to the effect on many different shell types.

Troca is a standard trade button when shirtmakers use the term MOP buttons.

Iridescent MOP are used for the production of cultured pearls. These are considered the Rolls Royce of buttons as they have a superior iridescent look and are usually only found in high-end shirtmakers.

What is a ‘placket’?

A dress shirt front placket is the most common dress shirt front style and is standard for our shirts.

The fabric is folded back over and sewn with a fused interlining to give it a crisp and dressy appeal. It rarely fails to make the right impression as a business shirt.

The Plain (or French) front is a popular placket style with no fold-back. It has a cleaner appearance but can be slightly harder to iron. It works well with business and casual shirts.

The Concealed or ‘Fly Front’ placket is a more formal style with an extra piece that covers up the buttons on the front of the shirt. Commonly used for tuxedo shirts, it certainly provided a very dressed-up appearance.

Are your shirts handmade?

All our shirts are workroom-made using the same single-needle sewing machines we have always used. The shirts are also finished by hand. The sewing types for our ladies’ shirts will vary according to the design.

What type of cotton do you use for your shirts?

We get our cloth from well-respected British shirting mills specialising in bold patterns and weaves, with a deep collection of primary and staple designs.

Most of our shirts are made from two-fold 100% cotton poplin with 100’s (standard 105 grams/m2) and 140-200’s (superfine 100 grams/m2) thread count.

Poplin – the ‘stock in trade’ of quality British shirt-making. Poplin has a smooth, finished weave that is both comfortable and durable. The weave gives the surface colours prominence, making it great for sharp checks, stripes and ends on ends.

Two-fold – mainly relates to Poplin, where two yarns are twisted (folded) together to give added durability. A single string can be broken, but two twisted together can’t.

End on end – a weave where the warp yarn is one colour and the weft another. When a colour is mixed with white, the effect is of a subtle, plain colour. An intense, vibrant primary colour is produced when two different colours are mixed.

Herringbone – a twill weave customarily made using a softer yarn that runs in lines of opposing directions, giving a zigzag effect. It was reputedly named because it resembles the varying diagonals of a fish’s backbone.

Oxford – a plain, relatively open weave which is semi-formal. This is a slightly thicker fabric than Poplin.

How should I care for a W.H. Taylor shirt?

Permanently remove the collar stiffeners before washing at no higher than 40 degrees Celsius. Our shirts can be spun or rung dry but not tumble-dried.

Ironing your shirt while it’s slightly damp is better to make it easier. Moisten with a water spray if the sweater is already dry.

Don’t starch the collars or cuffs, as this will reduce the shirt's lifespan. Don’t forget to replace the collar stiffeners to keep your shirt looking great.

Will my new shirt shrink?

All our fabrics are pre-shrunk. We allow approximately one centimetre extra in the collar and sleeves for further settling of the material that might occur.

Can I have a monogram on my shirt?

We use a specialist company for any monogram requirements. Please get in touch with us with your needs before ordering your shirt, and we can send you a quote and further details.

What tolerances do your shirts have?

Our shirts are made to order, so the measurements are adjusted according to the fit selected by you and within accepted tolerance ranges. We add an allowance of one centimetre to change for the shrinkage that may occur on washing, although our fabrics are pre-shrunk.

In some cases, visible chalk marks or marks from ironing might be left on the shirt, which usually disappears without needing extra treatment during the first wash.

Shirts made from different rolls of fabric may differ slightly in shade of colour due to standard variations that occur during the dying process.

What’s the best knot for a tie?

A ‘4 in hand’ knot is recommended for our tailored shirts as this knot can be used with Classic, Button Down and Cutaway collars to give a professional and sophisticated look.

The ‘Full Windsor’ knot is recommended for a Cutaway collar.

The ‘Half Windsor’ knot can be used with the Classic or Button-Down collar but is best suited to the Cutaway Collar.

You can read more about necktie knots on our blog here.

Why are your ties so special?

All our ties are made from 100% pure silk woven in England.

The quality of the silk is exceptional, and unlike many of the woven silks from Italy, it’s not weighted down with metal to give the impression that it’s heavier than it is.

We hand-make every tie in England.