Revamping The Custom Dress Shirt: Allen Young Shirt Review
24 October 2018
The brand on this review, Allen Young, is just about to launch its Kickstarter project. Please consider backing them up by going to the official campaign webpage.
My Dapper Self backers will get exclusive perks by supporting Allen Young shirts:
Reward associated with the pledge tier you choose.
By pledging at the $85 level or above you will also get the following exclusive perks:
Allen Young A-List: gives you discounted shirt pricing for 2 years ($95 per shirt. Retail price is $135 per shirt). This perk is exclusive to My Dapper Self subscribers.
Grand Prize: you will be entered into a drawing where the winner will receive 1 new shirt each month through all 2019 (12 shirts total).
Slowly, but surely, it seems My Dapper Self is turning into an exclusively dress shirt review site.
And for good reason.
There are many great new (and not so new) brands coming up with great advancements in the custom dress shirt industry.
The shirts that I will be reviewing in this blog post are one of those that are truly, seriously, pushing the boundaries of what we have to know as the regular dress shirt.
Here’s what makes Allen Young shirts special and unique.
The Dress Shirts Gets An Impressive Upgrade
We all think we know dress shirts, right?
For years and years, it seems the basic structure of a dress shirt has not seen any major improvements. It is just one of those things that we have pretty much come to recognize as a thing that cannot be further improved upon.
Not to make you feel bad for believing that’s the case. That was also my belief.
Allen Young shirts proved me wrong.
How? Queue in: personalized, detachable collars and cuffs.
What? Dress Shirts With Personalized and Detachable Collars and Cuffs?
“But that’s nothing new! Detachable collars were popular back then” will say with an arrogant voice any obsessive and pompous menswear enthusiast (we all know at least one of those ha!).
And technically, they’d be right. But sometimes it is a great idea to look back in time, at the history of a certain garment, and ask ourselves: where all these various steps in its evolution really a good idea?
And so, what makes Allen Young custom shirts special (besides their quality, which I will cover in more detail further down the review) is the chance they offer to experiment with different shirt/collar/cuffs combinations.
Why is this an exceptional idea? Let’s take a look at the benefits of dress shirts with detachable collars and cuffs.
1. Extend The Life Of Your Custom Dress Shirts
Even though there is a huge number of ways you can take proper care of your dress shirts in order to extend their lifespan, tear is common after several wears (and washing cycles), particularly in the collar and cuffs areas.
Imagine if you could simply change your old collars and cuffs for a fresh new set and therefore, extend the life of your shirts by twice you would normally expect? And while we’re at it, why stop there? If this is a shirt you love, you can keep updating your collars and cuffs as many times as you’d like.
Well, that’s what you’ll get with these shirts: the wonderful possibility of keeping your shirts looking as fresh as new for a very long time.
Having said that, proper care of the body of your shirts is still highly recommended, of course.
2. Several Shirt Designs In One
This is probably what gets me more excited about Allen Young shirts and their fascinating detachable collars and cuffs idea.
Just think about it. You can wear that favorite shirt with a point collar today and exchange it for a widespread collar tomorrow.
Read also: The 9 Shirt Collar Types That Really Matter
The possibilities are endless. Alright, perhaps not endless, but you get the idea.
But what about one of my favorite type of shirts, those shirts with contrasting collars and cuffs? Well, you’ll be also covered. Grab your colored shirt, detach your collar and cuffs set and attach a crisp white, contrasting set.
Voilà, your regular shirt now has contrasting collars and cuffs.
Extra tip: For those of you looking for even more options (as if those weren’t enough), you can easily wear all your Allen Young shirts as a band collared shirt by simply detaching the collar.
I seriously need to get the calculator out and do the math of how many possible combinations you could come up with.
All of this is nice and dandy, but all these innovations are kind of meaningless if the shirt is lacking in quality. Things like fabric, thread count, construction and most importantly, fit, are essentials for a good shirt.
So how do Allen Young shirts measure up against these criteria? Keep reading.
Allen Young Custom Shirts Quality
Before going into detail, here are a few essential details about the quality and construction of Allen Young shirts:
- 18-20 stitches per inch.
- Split yoke.
- Single needle lock stitch construction.
- High stitch count on each button hole.
- Contrast side seam gussets.
- English felled side seams.
- French placket.
- Side back pleats.
- Mother of pearl buttons.
- Premium interlining for collar, cuffs and placket.
For seasoned shirt buyers this will surely sound as great attention to construction and details.
For those of you who are new to the fantastic world of custom shirts, I am not going to ask you to blindly believe in me. But believe me (blindly ha!) that this is top notch quality level, just what you should expect.
Now let’s go into specifics about the shirt I got from Allen Young and whether it delivers or not.
I went for a gray shirt after realizing that, strangely enough, I don’t have enough gray shirts in my collection.
The fabric I choose for my shirt is 100% Egyptian cotton with a medium weight with a simple, nice Pinpoint Oxford pattern.
If you’d like to get more technical, this is an 80/2 fabric, which means this is a high-quality fabric.
The result? A fine, soft fabric that is durable and makes the shirt feel very comfortable and fresh when worn.
With 18-20 stitches per inch, split yoke, single needle lock stitch construction, high stitch count on button holes, mother of pearl buttons, etc., there is not much more I could say about the construction of the shirt.
Just inspecting the shirt up close you can easily tell the manufacturing quality is really there.
One thing that had me a bit worried initially were the detachable collar and cuffs of the shirt. Weirdly prejudiced, I know, but I was expecting a set of sloppy fabric stripes (and we know how much I hate a sloppy shirt collar).
I am glad to report my prejudice was completely unwarranted.
The collar and cuffs that come attached to the shirt have enough body to them, just the way any dress shirt meant to be worn in a classy way needs to be.
And so do the detached sets that come with it.
We have talked about how the ultimate factor that either makes or breaks a custom dress shirt, is the fit.
So how do Allen Young shirts fit?
Provided you know your right measurements, of course, you will get a perfectly fitting shirt.
I’m certain this shirt is one of the best fitting shirts I have in my collection of custom shirts. The fit is trim and clean, with no extra fabric where it is not needed. I particularly like the fact that the biceps area of the shirt doesn’t have any billowing and follows closely the shape of my arm.
If you were to push me to find a flaw in the fit, it would be that it is perhaps a bit too short. But since I wear all my dress shirts tucked in, mostly with pants at my waist, this really isn’t a problem. It could even be a positive thing if I decided to wear this shirt in a more relaxed way, untucked and not having to deal with it looking super long.
All in all, in general, the shirt met with satisfactory results my high expectations for a great fit.
I am convinced what Allen Young is doing is seriously a game-changing idea.
These shirts successfully deliver in quality, fit and innovation.
And just think for a minute of all the stunning combinations you can come up with!
Personally, I am at a point when I am starting to wonder if I will ever need to keep experimenting with custom shirt brands (which, to be honest, I most likely will in order to keep you guys up to date with what’s going on in the industry), but if Allen Young keeps expanding their collar choices, I think soon all my custom dress shirt needs will be covered for life.
Who would’ve thought the secret to advances in the custom dress shirt industry was hidden in its very past?
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