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Wed, Aug 05, 2009
Urban, The Straits Times
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What is appropriate menswear for the office?
by Hong Xinyi

Q I am stepping into the working world for the first time and am clueless about how to shop for appropriate office menswear. What should I look out for?

A Here are some tips from Geoff Quinn, managing director of British menswear brand T.M. Lewin: 'A plain white shirt is still the safest when it comes to workwear.

'You can express your personality with a striking tie but, in general, it's better to keep things simple. You don't want people to be distracted by your shirt and not pay attention to you.'

Next, you need to develop an eye for detail.

For example, a well-made shirt collar can be made of as many as 12 separate pieces of fabric, including the interlining and removable collar pins (removing them before washing helps to prevent the pins from warping) that help it to stand up smartly.

Compared to collars made with fewer components, these collars will fit better and feel more comfortable.

Also run your fingers across the collars and cuffs of your shirts and the lapels of your jackets. If the fabric and interlining in these areas are loose rather than fused together, this is a sign of better workmanship.

Machines are typically a cheaper way to fuse fabrics and lining in these areas, whereas loose, floating lining has to be done by hand.

Remember to check that the buttons are stitched with two threads rather than a single thread. The buttonholes should also be finely rather than sparsely stitched. The armholes of your shirts should be curved rather than straight.

The latter is easier to manufacture with machines, but looks less flattering on the body.


This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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