Soft cloth, stout make

Makers. Specialist makers. That’s what it’s all about. Establishments that make one type of garment and make it as good as can be. That’s why the new spring raglan shirt is made by none other than a factory which knows better than most the ins and outs of shir—… outerwear.

Off-white raglan shirt worn with slate narrow cord trousers.

The most promising developments on the specialist maker front in the past few months has been making the acquaintance of a shirtmaker in south-east England. More than a shirtmaker; a master shirtmaker, on first name terms with Savile Row or Jermyn Street’s finest. Staffed by people who work on cuffs, say, or collars, or plackets, and nothing but cuffs or collars or plackets, the place elevates shirtmaking craft to the level of sublimity.

But raglan shirts don’t count. They don’t do raglan. According to shirtmaking tradition and lore, a raglan shirt is not, despite appearances, a shirt. And so you don’t get them made with a shirtmaker; you get them made with places that do good outerwear — places like the North London factory, renowned for its outerwear-making prowess. Because of this, the raglan shirt is, above all, abundantly sturdy, with all the firmly-put-together attributes of a solid overshirt, but made from the country’s finest lightweight pinpoint.

Versus last year’s raglan effort, one or two advances have been made in design, mostly at the neck. The collar stand is lower, the collar points has been rounded off, and the tie-space, in a triumph for pedants everywhere, has been reduced by an eighth of an inch. Kept the same is the placket, which goes from button-through to hidden in five buttons.

The cuffs of the shirt are rounded to match the collar, while its hem is straight.

Mightn’t be up Lady Savile’s street, then, the raglan, but that’s probably for the best.