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Choosing the finishing touches

La gorge

Different styles of button plackets can be selected at the front of the shirt. This part of the shirt can be presented in several different styles.

Plain front (or no placket)

This is the most common choice at the moment, but also the most restrained style. It is plain and discreet and can be used for most shirts, both casual and formal.

Standard placket

This is a stitched placket which, contrary to many people’s preconceptions, is generally used for causal shirts and goes well with button-down collars for example.

Concealed placket

This kind of placket defines the style of your shirt most conspicuously – it immediately creates a more formal effect and is frequently worn with a bow tie. It can nevertheless also be worn with a standard tie or an open neck for a smart-casual look.

Polo placket

As its name suggests, this placket style is particularly suited for casual shirts to be worn at the weekend or on holiday, giving the shirt a tunic-style appearance. Of course, it also makes the shirt more complicated to take off.

You can combine these plackets styles with a long or short plastron. The plastron is a piece of fabric that is placed on the front of the shirt, adding a finishing touch while reinforcing the cloth on the front of the shirt. It is frequently used for dress shirts, to be worn with a tuxedo. Short plastrons were historically worn with a cummerbund. If there is no cummerbund, opt for a longer plastron, even though the shorter version is frequently worn without a cummerbund nowadays.

The back

The finish on the back is directly related to the fit that you tend to wear (tailored, straight, or classic).

Non-pleated back

This describes a flat back with no pleats or darts. It is generally used for tailored fits or straight cuts, with the benefit being that the back of the shirt is perfectly smooth back that is therefore easier to iron.

Twin-dart back

Twin-dart backs are only suitable for tailored fits. They allow the shirt to follow the line of the back more closely while providing more comfort around the shoulder blades and shoulders. With a straight or classic cut, darts are completely pointless and, even worse, they detract from the appearance of the back of the shirt, so they are to be avoided at all costs!

Our tip: If you gain weight, and you feel that you are squeezed into your shirt, you can loosen the darts to let out the shirt around the waistline.

Twin-pleat back

Pleats are generally used for straight or classic cuts. They allow for some movement (and therefore, greater comfort in the shoulder area. This is particularly noticeable when moving the arms to the front of the body, when you will notice that the pleats naturally open to give greater comfort whereas an unpleased shirt would tend to stretch its fabric.

Single-pleat back

This option is very similar to the previous one, but there is simply only one pleat in the upper centre of the back of the shirt, instead of two smaller pleats behind the shoulders. The result is very similar but at Swann, we find this option to be less visually appealing than two smaller pleats in the sides.

A herringbone back is an option that is completely separate from the choice of darts and pleats. This option simply allows the top of the shirt to be attached to the back as two pieces rather than one behind the collar, between the shoulder blades. What’s the point? There isn’t one except when it comes to striped fabrics, because a herringbone fit allows you to join the lines in a herringbone pattern, instead of the fabric being cut as a single piece with horizontal lines. The appeal is purely cosmetic.

The bottom of the shirt

Curved shirt tails

This is the most common style, as well as the most practical, when worn tucked into the trousers or left hanging out, as it limits the amount of cloth placed inside the trousers. The shirt is generally longer at the back than at the front to prevent the shirt from riding up and hanging out of your trousers when bending over forwards. (If you bent over backwards, it’s probably impossible, or at least very painful, for the shirt to rise up…)

Square hem

With a normal shirt length, this hemline would make it very difficult to wear the shirt hanging out of the trousers and you run the risk of being asked if you left the house in your pyjamas by mistake. This style is therefore recommended only for those who prefer to wear their shirts long, down to the seat of their trousers, so that the shirt doesn’t ride up.

Split square hem

As with a square hemline, it would be very difficult to wear this style outside your trousers. You can however opt for shorter shirts, with a specific cut and style to allow you to wear this type of shirt outside your waistband: it will look better than a square hemline without any splits.

Warning: generally speaking, there is no single shirt length that is ideal for wearing both tucked into your trousers or outside your waistband. You run the risk of having a shirt that will always ride up a little and hang out of your trousers when tucked in, while being a bit too long when worn outside the trousers. Start with a standard length, to be worn tucked into the trousers, and then gauge how many extra centimetres are required when placing a second order for a shirt to be worn outside your trousers. If you choose this option, we’ll keep two active sewing patterns on the accounts of customers who wish to maintain a choice of lengths: one pattern for longer shirts and another for shorter ones.