Anatomy of a shirt

Anatomy of a shirt

Making a shirt may seem simple enough….


However, in the case of Emanual Berg, there are thirty different people and as many machines involved to make just one shirt. Including strict quality control and the trimming of loose threads, this whole process can easily take up 140 minutes of effective working time.

Here at noshirt, we identify with that approach of extra care and attention to detail. To produce the best shirt under your (dress) shirt, in our ateliers more than 20 professionals work on one undershirt. Everyone has their own specialty and task. They take their time to create that perfect finish and due to their years of experience they have a keen eye for detail. Quite different from mass produced T-shirts where every possible second is shaved off the process to save money.

And because we spend so much care and attention on our premium undershirts, we also want to know everything about the anatomy of the dress shirt. After all, that’s why you wear an undershirt:  to keep your shirt looking crisp and feeling comfortable.

A good shirt consists of many parts. Besides the collar and the yoke, the sleeves, the back panel, two front panels, the sides, the gusset, the cuffs and the sleeves, you also have the haberdashery such as buttons and labels. The best buttons are made of mother of pearl, with the beautiful natural shine of the oyster shell.

The internal construction determines the sturdiness of the collar, buttoned placket and cuffs. Often the internal construction is cotton. That sturdiness decides the look of the shirt and whether the collar stays in shape during the day and looks good without a tie. Unstuck collars provide more flexibility but are also harder to iron and don’t have that same crisp look.  

The choice of collar is dependant on taste, the shape of your face and what you want to achieve with your look. Polo is known as the home of the casual button-down. The further the collar is cut away, the wider the neck looks and the more the shirt demands a tie. A long pointed collar makes a long face even longer. The tab collar has its origin in the USA and allows the tie to come forward but does make the neck look thicker.


The double cufflink used to be reserved for formal occasions. In recent years one or two cufflinks are worn under a suit. The breast pocket is a practical addition to a shirt but has nothing to do with the history of the shirt itself. Similar to the button-down, a sleeve placket gives the shirt a more casual look. The button in the sleeve placket improves mobility and prevents the sleeve opening up.

Bespoke shirts and button holes are the ultimate for true connoisseurs. A hand-crafted shirt will have less material around the armhole which makes the shirt even more comfortable to wear. Additionally, the sleeves, cuffs, collar and yoke can be darted, otherwise known as the Neapolitan process. A beautifully crafted button hole is a delight t the eye and barely distinguishable from a machine made button hole in refinement and accuracy. The most refines machines kan stitch seams of up to 9 stitches per centimetre which means extra comfort. The same goes for the round English seams. Besides the ‘gusset’ at the base of the side seam (for instance with a crow foot) these are quality characteristics that distinguish a good shirt from a mass produced shirt that was “glued” together in 25 minutes or less.

We have had our bespoke shirts made at the "New Tailor" for years. The finest bespoke tailor in Amsterdam ad Utrecht since 1997. And what are the chances they work with Emanual Berg….?


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