Jan 18, 2011
What kind of shirt do you get for $185? That's about what a standard-issue RTW Thomas Pink shirt costs here in New York. I'll be honest: I always associated Thomas Pink shirts with Wall Street big spenders who wanted to cultivate a bespoke look with a little flash.
I didn't buy my Thomas Pink shirt and it wasn't a gift. I found it on the street last year while walking the dogs; someone had simply draped it over the gate of their brownstone (townhouse), presumably so that some poor shlub like me could take it. It's not my size -- much too large -- but, since I make shirts myself, it's nice to have. Pink shirts are (were? -- see comments) made in Ireland, presumably by Irish people.
Thomas Pink pushes their Jermyn Street London identity hard -- as well they should: Jermyn Street is associated with the finest men's custom tailoring. But while Thomas Pink -- which was founded in 1984 by three Irish brothers, James, Peter, and John Mullen and is currently owned by prestige brand conglomerate LVMH -- offers custom shirtmaking, their trade is largely in Ready-to-Wear. You can purchase their shirts online or in one of their 75 retail stores throughout the world.
To quote their website: "Their idea was to reinvent the traditional Jermyn Street shirt, taking it to a wider, aspirational audience." That word aspirational speaks tons. It makes me think Wants the best, can't afford it along with Fancy on the outside...
Last week we took a close look at a shirt from the Gap. Today we're going to look at a Thomas Pink shirt. The first difference I notice between the two is the fabric. The Gap shirt feels soft but is made from coarsely woven Oxford cloth. It does not iron smooth. The Pink shirt is made from luxurious tightly woven Egyptian cotton poplin: creamy and rich feeling. Cuffs, button placket, and collar are stiffly interfaced for a crisp look.
There are more stitches per inch than the Gap shirt, but the difference isn't vast.
These are the armhole seams on the Pink shirt. A little off.
And on the Gap shirt.
Pink collar band: thread messiness above the (plastic) button.
Gap collar band:
Gusset on the Pink shirt:
Gusset on the Gap shirt:
There are special touches on the Pink shirt the Gap shirt lacks:
Collar stays. The collar is also shaped with multiple seams and reinforced along the collar/collar stand seam.
The under placket is turned in before the cuff is attached, creating a slightly snugger cuff.
The outside yoke is cut on the bias while the inside yoke is cut horizontal, I'm guessing to provide greater stability to the yoke.
The seams look identical. Both shirts are professionally constructed and made to last.
More pictures of the Pink shirt here. And the Gap shirt here.
So are you getting more with the Thomas Pink shirt? In some ways, yes. As far as cut goes, they're vastly different styles and the quality of fabric is superior in the Pink shirt. Gap shirts retail at less than 1/3 the price and often sell at deep discounts. Gap shirts are sized S, M, L, XL, and Pink shirts are sized by neck measurement, giving you more choices.
Would you pay $185 for a Thomas Pink shirt assuming you were in a position to? Are you turned off by the term "aspirational"? Do you think Made in Ireland is a valuable selling point? Does the fact that they're owned by a LVMH matter to you? A lot to think about.
We're going to be inspecting a custom-made shirt next so stay tuned.
Happy Tuesday, everybody!