• Posted on July 17, 2013

How to fold your pocket square…

Now that NiAlma offers pocket squares when ordering your dress shirts, we thought it would be best to offer some advice.

You may feel that pocket squares are not appropriate accessories for your workplace (they should be) but there are many occasions where they are and you should take advantage of this. Take yourself out of your Monday to Friday comfort zone and dress up your plain suit with a matching or sensibly clashing pocket square.

Before we blog about styles and patterns, we need to explore the folding options. These can be as simple or complicated as you like. We found this rather quirky but effective guide to four classic folds you should try.

It is from a very unglamorous website but who cares, the fold is purely business.

CLICK HERE

  • Posted on June 07, 2013

Pocket Squares

NiAlma Custom Dress Shirts will be introducing a great new feature through the website. Customers will now have the option to have a matching pocket square made with their shirts. Alternatively, if a matching pocket square is not to your liking then a classic white can be selected instead.

A pocket square adds some flair to an otherwise standard suit/jacket/shirt combination. It may not be for everyone as a daily accessory but for that special occasion can help you step up to that next level of style.

Our pocket squares are 12″ x 12″ (30cm x 30cm), which gives great flexibility when deciding which way to fold. We will offer some tips and ideas on different folds in coming blogs.

Don’t forget that a beautiful cotton pocket square doubles as a functional handkerchief, should the need arise…

  • Posted on May 17, 2013

Update

It has been far too long since we have used this blog to communicate. Things will change and we will use this medium on a far more regular basis to update you on our product, the latest trends and anything else that is applicable to men’s fashion…

  • Posted on August 30, 2011

Dress Shirt Split Yoke

We have had many comments and a few complaints that we do not offer the option of a split yoke on our dress shirts. The fact is we can make the shirts with a split-yoke but have simply not built the option into the website (which we will do very soon.).

To order your dress shirt with a split yoke simply add the request in the Additional Information section when ordering or email us separately once you have placed your order.

The split yoke is wonderful detail on a dress shirt, especially when the fabric is patterned. The ability to match the split pattern across the yoke of the shirt is a sign of quality craftsmanship. NiAlma Dress Shirts ensures the split pattern is matched perfectly every time.

Next time you order a custom dress shirt from NiAlma, consider ordering with a split yoke.

  • Posted on August 04, 2011

Egyptian Cotton Dress Shirts

There is a great romance out there in the market place about wearing Egyptian cotton dress shirts. Egyptian cotton is synonymous with quality, strength, feel and above all luxury. This is for good reason, Egypt has and continues to produce some of the finest cotton in the world. The reason behind this is the incredibly fertile flood plains of the Nile Delta and the consistently warm, humid temperatures of the region create the perfect environment for cotton growth.

However, this does not mean that all Egyptian cotton is of the same quality. There are grades of cotton in Egypt depending on where it is grown and the type of cotton grown. The different locations and variations are denoted by a number, for example Giza 45 or Giza 87. These two examples are of extremely high quality and are sought after because of the extra long staples produced in the plant. The different types of cotton are suited to producing different thread counts of finished cotton shirting.

There are a lot of dress shirt brands out there claiming that their shirts are made from Egyptian cotton. The problem for the consumer is that there are no regulations in place to verify the authenticity of these claims. On a global scale there is very little cotton produced in Egypt annually and it is highly competitive amongst fabric producers to get hold of it. The fact is, there is simply not enough Egyptian cotton available to make all of these “Genuine Egyptian Cotton Shirts”.

Price is a good indicator of the quality of fabric used in a dress shirt, however one must be careful, as this is not a hard and fast rule and can be abused by the dodgy brand. The simple point is that there is no such thing as a $39.00 Egyptian cotton dress shirt. Fact.

NiAlma chooses to source its Egyptian cotton shirting from Thomas Mason. They have an incredibly long and proven history of producing the world’s finest cotton shirting and I have never been disappointed with anything we have ever stocked of theirs. To see the beautiful range of Thomas Mason Egyptian dress shirt cotton offered by NiAlma click here.

For more detailed information about Thomas Mason and Egyptian cotton click here.

  • Posted on July 01, 2011

Dress Shirt Collar Length & Height

We often get customers asking what the standard dimensions of our collars are. Whilst we claim never to standardize anything, historically the industry norm is 3.00” point length and 1.75” collar height. This is the default setting when choosing this through the website.

These dimensions, like a lot of aspects of dress shirts, became the norm for some very basic reasons. The height of 1.75” ensures that a tie and be comfortably concealed without slipping down during the day. It also means that just about the right amount of collar will show above the collar line of a suit.

The 3.00” length of the collar points generally gives a good balance between the size of a standard tie knot and the size of the average man’s head!

Over the past few years a lot of designers are making their shirts with smaller collar dimensions. This has gone hand-in-hand with the reintroduction of slimmer ties; a smaller knot suits a smaller collar (and vice versa). This trend has also passed over into the button-down dress shirt collar.

The look is less complicated when applied to a casual dress shirt because there is less consideration for ties.

The dimensions of these ever more common smaller collars are generally 2”–2.25” in point length and 1.25”-1.50” in height. If you are going to want to wear a tie with the collar ever then you will need 1.50” of height.

There is something sharp and unpretentious about this style in a dress shirt. So next time you are ordering your perfect dress shirt from NiAlma, mix up the collar dimensions and add some diversity to your range.

Here is a great example from Armani on GQ.

  • Posted on June 14, 2011

Blue Dress Shirt with White Contrast Collar

For some men and women the white contrast collar seems a little pompous. Images of an ego-driven New York lawyer or London banker have put you off the idea. These days though there are more subtle variations of this traditional look that suit more people across different professions.

Traditionally this shirt is made with a bold blue stripe or sharp solid blue poplin. To tone down the contrast and create a less “in your face” look choose a toned down blue like this Classic range end-on-end.

If you prefer a stronger blue fabric and want the white contrast collar, consider reducing the dimensions of the collar to 2.5″ x 1.75″. This will create a better balance in your dress shirt between the blue fabric and the white collar. A timeless fabric choice for this look is this stunning Thomas Mason Black Label end-on-end.

There is great versatility in this famous style of dress shirt, it suits just about everyone and makes a feature of that favorite tie of yours.

  • Posted on April 28, 2011

Checked Dress Shirts

Traditionally checked dress shirts have been worn for casual occasions only, often with a button-down collar. These days checked dress shirts are worn as casual dress shirts but also in a corporate environment with ties.

It is not uncommon to find men wearing classic gingham check with a tie. A great example of this checked fabric is this blue and white Thomas Mason Black Label.This bold checked dress shirt is not for everyone but there are subtle alternatives that can add diversity to your dress shirt range. For example this Thomas Mason Black Label check is wonderfully versatile. This check can be worn with a tie or in an open neck work environment.

NiAlma has many casual check options for our customers. The most popular options are the gingham check and plaid check. An example of a casual gingham is this Classic fabric – matched with dark buttons it looks great. A popular plaid check dress shirt is this Classic range fabric. This looks great with jeans.

  • Posted on April 28, 2011

Striped Dress Shirts

Striped dress shirts in all of the variations offered these days are commonplace in the corporate world. This shirting pattern is a staple of most men’s wardrobes and is a first choice when donning a suit and tie.

Some of the more famous striped dress shirt patterns are the Bengal stripe at one end the hairline stripe at the other. A good example of the Bengal striped dress shirt is this classical blue and white Italian cotton.

Bengal stripe really just means a pattern that has even width alternating stripes. These can be thick and bold or narrow and subtle.
The hairline stripe on the other hand is most commonly found on a white background. The idea is to have a subtle yet stylish detail within the shirt that adds character without being overbearing. An example is this beautiful Thomas Mason hairline blue stripe.

The benefit of a hairline striped dress shirt is the ease with which a tie can be matched. The dress shirt effectively has a solid color appearance from a distance but up close has a classy detail to it.

Striped dress shirts are flattering and thinning when worn in a well fitting shirt. Choosing the right stripe is also important. People with larger builds should avoid very narrow stripes as it can be a bit overbearing. Opt for a medium to wider stripe to better balance your body shape. Conversely, people with slim build should not wear wide striped dress shirts, it gives the appearance of an ill-fitting shirt and a pattern that does not compliment the slim build. Medium to narrow striped patterns are perfect and will look great.

  • Posted on April 28, 2011

Slim Fit Dress Shirts

A very common reason for customers wanting to use our service is to create a slim fit dress shirt. The fit of a dress shirt through the torso and sleeves is critical to the look of the shirt on someone.

All bodies are different in length, width and depth. Ready to wear brands have to err on the side of caution when sizing their dress shirts. This means that the dress shirts will almost always be on the larger side of the scale. This makes it very difficult to buy a genuinely slim fitting dress shirt.
Through our online service customers can ensure that they get a shirt that is designed to fit them and not fit a cross section of the community just because they have the same neck size.

A slim fit dress shirt should not be like a second skin, it is not a t-shirt. A well designed, slim fitting shirt should follow the contours of your body but still allow room to breath and move comfortably. There is nothing worse than a dress shirt that has the buttons pulling laterally across the chest and stomach area.
We generally allow about 4.00” of room from a customer’s submitted waist measurement. This can be reduced to 3.00” if an extra slim fitted cut is requested.

  • Posted on April 28, 2011

Dress Shirt and Ties

Depending upon which line of work you are in, you may not ever find yourself needing to wear a tie. However, there are still many professions and occasions that require men to wear ties. The next dilemma is matching the dress shirts and ties together. Do you match your ties to the range of dress shirts you have? Or do you by shirts to compliment the ties you have accumulated over the years? I guess it often works out to be a little from column A and B.

Many men find themselves coming back to blue and white dress shirts or white dress shirts with blue stripes. Not only does blue and white look good on almost everyone, it is an easy color combination to match up ties with. In fact all men should have a plain blue and plain white dress shirt as part of their rotation, as they are not only easy to match ties to but when they fit well, look brilliant.

If you want to move away from blues and whites or add some other colors to your dress shirt range, without making it impossible to match your ties, there are alternative options. Gray is a great alternative to blue and white striped shirts. This beautiful Italian gray and white stripe is the perfect example is this Italian gray striped fabric. Any tie that goes with your blue and white striped dress shirt will match this fabric. White with black stripes is also a good option for matching ties to. Here is the perfect example from our Black label Thomas mason range: a stunning fine black striped fabric. This dress shirt will look amazing with a red tie.

When designing your dress shirt, make sure the collar you choose is suitable for the type of knot you tie. If you like a strong Windsor knot you need a collar with enough spread to accommodate the larger size. Our widespread collar would be perfect. If you wear thinner tie and use a smaller four-in-hand knot, you can opt for a narrower spread collar. If you want versatility with your dress shirt collar then choose our spread collar and you cannot go wrong.
For more information on tie knots this website is a great source of information: www.tieknot.com.

  • Posted on April 28, 2011

Dress Shirt Sizes

When shopping for your dress shirt size in store from a ready to wear brand, generally the only option you have is to choose based on your neck size. Most conventional, ready to wear brands will create a full shirt profile solely off the neck size. Some brands will offer their dress shirts with sleeve length variations to try and create a better fit.

The standard dress shirt sizes we offer are based on the database of customer measurement profiles we have stored and multiple different ready to wear brands. We have tried to create more accurate dress shirt sizing to give those customers who do not want to measure an existing shirt or their body, a genuine opportunity to wear a good fitting shirt.
There are two key measurements of a dress shirt that need to be right (as a bare minimum) for your body in order for it to look good. The shoulder seams need to sit on the edge of your shoulder bones, they act effectively like a coat hanger. Getting the dress shirts sleeve length right is important so as to not have excess fabric bunching in the arms or vice versa, have cuffs that disappear up the suit jacket sleeve.

The most common complaint we get regarding dress shirt sizes is the excess fabric through the torso of the shirt. For slimmer people it is almost impossible to by off the rack dress shirts that are well contoured through the torso. This is where knowing your body measurements is extremely useful to enable you to utilize NiAlma’s full dress shirt tailoring service. All of the critical size aspects of the shirt are cut perfectly to your body. An easy way to establish a good measurement profile is to measure a shirt you own and wear and make adjustments to the dimensions based on the size issues you have with it. If you feel there is too much fabric around the torso take 1.00” – 2.00” off waist measurement. This can be applied to each dimension of the shirt until you have created your own unique dress shirt size profile.

  • Posted on April 07, 2011

Dress Shirt Designs

To streamline the ordering process for those customers who do not want to choose every design aspect of their shirt, NiAlma has created a range of dress shirt designs for different occasions. This section is called Our Designs.

Customers can select a dress shirt from Our Designs and use it as a base to create their perfect shirt. All features of the designs are interchangeable. If you like the shirt but simply want to change the collar you opt to edit the dress shirt design after you have selected it.

If you feel comfortable with off-the-rack sizes you can simply choose from our standard sizes. Of course those looking for a shirt cut and made just for them can enter their body measurements or measurements from a favorite shirt and create their own dress shirt design.

  • Posted on April 07, 2011

Dress Shirt Pockets

Dress shirt pockets are considered taboo across continental Europe for any shirt, casual, formal, or business, it does not matter. In other parts of the world a pocket is a normal addition to a business shirt.

At NiAlma we just want you to have the shirt that you want. If that means you like a pocket on your work shirt then have one. Especially if you use it to hold business cards or other small trinkets. Two button-down flap pockets on a casual shirt looks great.

The only dress shirt that simply cannot have a pocket is one you are designing for a formal or special occasion such as a wedding or dinner party. We do not recommend having a dress shirt pocket for these types of events.

  • Posted on April 07, 2011

Dress Shirt Collars

There are a number of differing opinions regarding the right dress shirt collar choice for individuals. A fundamental rule that tends to be agreed upon is if you have a narrow shaped head then you should avoid the long and narrow shaped collars. Vice versa, if you have a wider shaped head then extra widespread collars are only going to accentuate this.

NiAlma offers a large range of collars to suit all people’s taste. Another consideration when choosing your collar is whether you will wear a tie or not. If you will be wearing a tie with the shirt then consider the size of the knot and ensure your collar has enough spread to width to accommodate it.

The final decision is how thick the interlining should be inside the dress shirt collar. Business and Formal shirts should generally have a medium or hard lining and casual shirts a soft lining or perhaps even no lining at all.

  • Posted on April 07, 2011

Dress Shirt Cuffs

Choosing the right dress shirt cuffs is very important. When making your decision about which cuff to choose, consider the purpose of the shirt you are making.

For a more formal occasion French Cuffs are the most appropriate choice, as you will most likely be wearing your jacket for the duration of the event.

Many people have a preference towards French Cuffs for their business dress shirts purely as a style choice. The fact is though that French Cuffs can be rather impractical when seated at a desk and working on a computer due to the bulky size. A good compromise is a Double Button Cuff. It has a slightly longer barrel than a Single Button Cuff to give it an air of formality.

Casual dress shirts really only need a Single Button Shirt Cuff. This will also provide you with the option to comfortably roll the sleeves up if desired.

Which ever style of dress shirt cuffs you need, we will help you create your ideal shirt.

  • Posted on March 09, 2011

Women’s White Business Shirts

It seems there is a strong design movement this year towards women’s work shirts being decidedly more masculine. This means smaller collars, often buttoned-down, epaulettes, pockets and a less fitted shape.

We have come up with a design we really like. A beautiful white fabric with epaulettes and button-down flap pockets. The shape is designed to still be feminine but with room to move. This business shirt can be worn untucked but just as easily be tucked in and look great.

Let us know what you think…