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Shirt Darts Reconsidered

I am a creature of habit when it comes to clothing. I have a particular supplier for most items including trousers, jeans, jumpers, socks, jocks, shoes and shirts. When I find something that works, I tend stick with it. Replacements are easily sourced when required and shopping trips are quick without the need to try anything on.

Unfortunately, my shirt supplier threw a spanner in the works when they went out of business. They had been annoying me for some time by constantly being out of stock on items which made bulk orders almost impossible. This sparked an extensive search for a new supplier with several fails along the way. I finally found my Goldilocks shirts the other day. Excellent fit, quality fabrics, nice detailing, a wide selection and a stable business that keeps the same cuts year in, year out.

All was good and I was ready to sign the supply contract for the next twenty years until I discovered a fly in the ointment. These shirts came with back darts. I had always considered back darts to be a obvious aftermarket alternation that was only done on shirts that didn’t fit correctly in the first place. I have been firmly in the no dart camp for all of my adult life. Not for me. But there was no denying that the fit of these new shirts was spot on off the rack. So I gave the darts a chance.

What I’ve discovered is that darts do much more than simply subtract excess fabric around the waist. They provide shape to a shirt in a way that is simply not possible with side seams and flat panels of fabric. These new shirts fit well without being skin tight. There’s room for movement but the overall shape matches the outline of my body and any extra fabric is uniformly distributed. They hug the concave on the small of my back. This in turn allows a more natural drape at the front.

Aesthetically I’m still not totally on board with the darts but I can not argue with the improved fit and comfort. Ironing requires a slightly modified technique but is not a big deal. Care certainly needs to be taken to pattern match fabrics and not be too aggressive with the fit. These darts are subtle and done very well. I didn’t even notice that they were there until I got my test shirt home. I think I’m becoming a dart convert. At least where formal shirts are concerned.
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Shirt darts (for the uninitiated)

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Curious to know which supplier you found ...
MJ Bale has now been awarded the supply contract for shirts. This is in addition to the suits and sports jackets that they were already supplying.

Prices are resonance for what you get. They have a few bricks and mortar stores around town. There’s always someone there to help you when you walk in. You just tell
them what you want and they will go away and dig out the right sizes and styles. They will also organise your alterations if required. It’s all very convenient.
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