A shirt (from ahd. Hemidi, “shirt, robe, throw”) is a piece of clothing with neck and arm openings that can come in different lengths and with different sleeve , neckline and collar shapes . Shirts can be closed at the front or open all the way through. In the narrower sense, in the western world today, the term shirt is understood to mean the men's shirt. In a broader sense, there are blouses for women as well as underwear such as the undershirt and nightwearlike the nightgown .
History of origin
As early as 925 BC The Hebrew women wore a white linen shirt that reached down to the floor. Among the peoples of the West , the shirt was sometimes used as an undergarment, sometimes as an upper garment for women and men. It has been known as it is today since the 16th century and is used as a day dress. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the buttoned high stand-up collar (" parricide ") was common for formal wear. In 1863 the Hönigsberg brothers in Vienna invented the semi-rigid shirt collar made of double fabric, which no longer had to be buttoned, but was firmly attached to the shirt. The continuous button placket was introduced in the shirt around 1900 (patented since 1871) so that the shirt no longer had to be pulled over the head.
Until the 19th century, linen and hemp were the common materials. When cotton became cheaper in the course of the industrial revolution , it became more and more popular. Silk and synthetic fibers were added in the 20th century .
Particularly high-quality shirts are made of linen, hemp, silk , bamboo or regenerated fibers , cotton-wool (Viyella), cotton- cashmere (Alumo; Cashmerello), as well as mainly pure cotton of the best quality, mostly Pima, Supima, Egyptian Giza or Sea Island (ELS, extra long pile) 35 to 60 mm. The best quality is West Indian - Sea Island cotton WISIC, recently also Californian Cotton Supima "Corcoran".
The materials should meet the Oeko-Tex standard . They are mostly made of two or three-ply full-twisted fabric (“two ply” or “three ply”), but also “single ply”. They can be mixed, e.g. B. Linen and cotton 50:50, but not with synthetic fibers, this is only done with cheaper fabrics. They are also subdivided into threads per inch (thread count), the more threads the finer the fabric. Designations are e.g. B. 100/100, 120/120 to over 200/200 (two ply, weft, weft / warp, warp ) (Albini 330/4 holds the record). They are reported in hanks (840 yards ) per pound; z. B. 100 means that one pound of cotton is 84,000 yards of thread. The higher the thread count , the more susceptible to creasing the shirt becomes. There are good shirt fabric producers in Switzerland, Italy and England.
Shirt fabrics are traded per running meter, good fabrics are around 15–90 euros per meter. These fabrics can often only be obtained from bespoke tailors ; these fabrics tend not to be used in the normal trade in ready-made shirts . The prices of the lower fabric categories are in the range of 20 cents to 3 euros per meter; most ready-to-wear shirts are made from these qualities. These include both synthetic fiber blends and pure cotton. You can see an enormous price difference here, about 2-3 m 2 of fabric is needed to make a men's shirt . This also explains the high price of full-size shirts, which can be up to 1000 euros per shirt.
Shirt fabrics are also differentiated according to the different weaves :
- In plain weave woven fabrics:
- Poplin , (Engl. Poplin , broadcloth , Plainweave )
- Canvas (English canvas , duck )
- Zephyr / batiste , fine popline, "End-on-End" / "Fil a fil" , chambray similar to Fil-a-fil, but always with white warp thread, here the fabric is also calendered .
- Voile : The interwoven, heavily twisted and thus crimped threads ( crepe yarns ) result in tiny air holes in the fabric, which results in good air circulation. The crimping of the threads makes it feel slightly sandy, which also makes the fabric slightly transparent.
- Chiffon (mostly used for women's blouses): Similar to voile, but it is woven with other threads that are not over-twisted so that the threads do not crimp as much as voile. Chiffon is woven with alternately twisted threads (S-Twist, Z-Twist), which gives a slight stretch.
- Zendaline: Mixture of poplin and voile ( half crepe ).
- Noppengarn (Engl. Slub Yarn )
- Flamés: fabrics woven from irregularly spun slub yarns with a lively structure.
- Fabrics woven in a twill weave (English twill ), a distinction is made between many variants:
- Satin , atlas
- Oxford (English Basket , Panamaweave , Hopsack ); there is also “Royal Oxford”, but these are different, more complex weave constructions and finer threads are used.
- Pinpoint: a mix of oxford and poplin; finer yarns are used than oxford fabrics.
- Cord (English Corduroy )
- Jacquard ; Dobby is similar , but not quite as complicated patterns can be created here.
- Piqué (English Marcella ): fabric with a waffle-like structure, which means that the fabric does not lie on the skin over the entire surface, which results in better air circulation.
- Seersucker ( crepe fabric ): fabric with a gathered surface; a distinction is made between “real” ( yarn crepe ) and “false” ( equipment crepe ) seersucker, the effect is the same as with pique, seersucker does not have to be ironed.
- "Bazin" ( damask , atlas ), chenille or stretch fabric (an elastomer thread in the weft that is covered with yarn, while cotton or other natural fibers are used in the warp ) is rarely used .
A distinction is also made between the patterns of the fabrics: tartan , vichy pattern (gingham), melange , mouline , as well as the type of fabric: mercerising , shrinking (sanforising), gassing , flannel or “peau de pêche” (peach skin; roughened) and similar. a.
In the case of non-iron shirt fabrics, the fabric is treated with a synthetic resin using a finishing process ( dry crosslinking - treatment without ammonia, wet crosslinking - treatment with ammonia and a crosslinker (synthetic resin)). However, complete freedom from ironing is never achieved, so we can only speak of easy-ironing . This property decreases more and more with each washing process. In addition, cotton treated in this way does not absorb sweat properly, and the fabric feels a bit rough due to the resin coating. The easy-iron finish is not used for particularly high-quality fabrics.
The vapor permeability of a shirt must also be taken into account, because each type of weave can be woven differently. This affects the vapor permeability; This factor is particularly important when there is high humidity or increased body transpiration.
Since the shirt was originally viewed as underwear, its fashionable development was limited to the only visible part, the collar, for a long time. Only after the vest as a compulsory item of clothing has disappeared, the rest of the shirt is also subject to the fashionable dictates and received additional impulses by taking off the jacket during leisure time.
In the 1970s, shirts were cut very close to the body for the first time, the collars became higher and the collar legs very long and pointed. The colors, patterns and materials used achieved a previously unknown variety (e.g. disco shirt).
In the 1990s, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction. The body of the shirt and the sleeves were cut very wide, the sleeve seam slipped down the arm and the collars were rather narrow with small collar legs and almost right-angled collar tips. Concealed button plackets were often worn.
Shirts are currently being worn tightly again - “slim fit” - which is supported by the cut and stretch materials. The collars are moderate in shape and size, with a trend towards smaller collars becoming apparent.
For a long time, a pure white shirt was considered a status symbol of the gentleman, as it indicated that the wearer was not engaged in physically demanding or even dirty work and that he could afford a freshly washed shirt every day. To protect the sleeves, especially when writing with a pen or later with a fountain pen , sleeve guards were worn in the office that were pulled over the shirt sleeves. Sleeve holders are nowadays rarely used adjustable elastic bands that hold the sleeves on the upper arm and thus ensure the correct sleeve length. It was not until the 20th century that colored shirts and striped shirts (candy, bengal, hairline stripes) became established. The rule here is that the wider the stripes, the more casual the occasion on which the shirt is worn.
Nowadays a distinction is made between a man's shirt and a woman's blouse .
For formal dress belonging tailcoat and - dress shirt . The appearance is strictly regulated, such as B. white color, reinforced shirt front and the use of cuff and tailcoat buttons (concealed button placket is also possible with a tuxedo).
The short-sleeved polo shirt comes from sportswear and is now widely used in leisure fashion. A fashion that emerged in Europe after World War II was the Hawaiian shirt . As the original work shirts , flannel shirts (also known as “checked shirts”) are still worn today as casual clothing.
In the military, the field shirt, a jacket-like, robust, longer shirt, is common.
It wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century that the buttoned shirt that is common today began to gain acceptance. Before that, the shirt was only slit up to about chest height and had to be pulled over the head when putting it on. This form of the so-called slip shirt has survived to this day in various traditional areas, such as the fisherman shirt , the Austrian and Bavarian traditional shirt or the tailcoat shirt.
The stand-up collar is the older form and is a stiff or soft collar that stands upright around the neck. It can be designed with or without a button, open or closed. The best- known representative is the patricide or wing collar, also penguin, diplomatic, tuxedo collar ( English wing tips ), which is only worn on festive occasions with tailcoat or tuxedo. The flaps can be rounded or pointed. Another type is the so-called mandarin collar, a short, open stand-up collar based on the Chinese model.
The turn-down collar ("turn-down collar") consists of the collar stay or collar foot, collar band and the upper collar, which is folded down when worn. These parts can be cut separately or cut in one piece. The turn-down collar is the most common type of collar and it comes in many different shapes:
- The Kent collar is the most common shape today and is only moderately spread.
- The cutaway collar ( shark, shark, Napoli collar ) is a fashionably high collar, spread wide (up to 160 ° angle) and therefore well suited for particularly large tie knots (Windsor knots ). Generally it is provided with collar stiffeners. It is also possible to have a collar with the legs spread 180 ° or more ("extreme spread").
- The Windsor collar or New Kent collar is a variation of the Kent collar and cutaway collar and is spread at an angle of approximately 120–140 ° (“semi-spread”). In America the term Keaton collar is used .
- The button-down collar is a soft button collar without collar stiffeners, the tips of which are buttoned to the shirt front. The buttons can be open or covered ("hidden button-down"). Due to its sporty nature, it is usually not worn with a suit or double-breasted jacket. While the button-down collar is also worn with a tie in the USA, this is not common in Europe, although Gianni Agnelli made the combination with a tie wearable.
- The tab collar has a narrow spread and is worn with a tie . The soft collar ends without collar stiffeners are held together with buttonable flaps, flaps or a snap fastener under the matching narrow tie knot.
- The needle collar or Piccadilly collar ( pin, pinned or eyelet collar ) is only rarely used today. The mostly rounded or pointed collar corners are held together with a special collar pin in this shape.
- A so-called "club collar" (Eton, round or clover leaf collar) with rounded collar ends is also less common.
- The pointed collar ( spear point , narrow ) is a type of collar that has not been used for a long time and has a very narrow spread (less than 45 ° angle). It was worn with a narrow tie knot or bow tie and has now been replaced by the cutaway collar. The collar can be spread apart by sewing around the collar ends and thus converted into a shark collar.
- The Winchester collar (also called "contrast collar") is a white collar that is worn with shirts with colored, often striped bodies. Usually the cuffs are also white. In popular literature, this form is also known as the “ Gordon Gekko shirt”.
- The lido, capri, camp or lapel collar is worn open and unfolded, the collar button is often missing and it is without a one-piece collar and often without a button placket. At the front of the collar, a beak is made with an envelope with a point inside (notched), which is then folded out. The beak can also be made with a button or a tab. A similar shape is the Hawaiian, Pajama, Cuban or bowling collar (attached collar), here the collar extends to the upper envelope with a point on the shirt. He is also known from US police and army shirts.
- The Longflower, Poet, California, (Gary) Cooper or Ludo collar ( one-piece and placket ) is usually without a collar button and collar tape and is folded out, also possible as a hidden button-down or button-down. Often there is no button placket here and the collar legs are usually spread wide. The collar and the "smooth bar" on both sides are cut from a single piece of fabric ( one-piece collar ) that extends into the front upper body. This reinforcement effect allows the collar to stand on its own without collapsing under its own weight. There are no inserts or collar bands. It doesn't have a pointed envelope on the inside or the top like the Hawaiian or camp collar. However, it can also be designed in such a way that a collar tape is covered.
- With the double collar, a second, slightly smaller upper collar is usually in a contrasting color over the other.
- With particularly high collars, the collar stay is closed with two closing buttons.
- It is also possible to simply design the collar without a collar button ( Walbusch , Trelegant or Vario collar ). This collar can also be worn with a tie, it is then only held together by a tie knot.
There is also the rugby or lacoste collar like the polo shirt, as well as the lace-up collar with a laced button placket .
In the past, collars were treated with starch to maintain their shape. They also wore shirts with detachable collars. These had the advantage that they could be washed separately, as collars get dirty faster than the rest of the shirt. It also made it easier to strengthen them. Nowadays, cleaning a shirt is not a big hassle, which is why the collar and shirt are sewn together.
Today the collar insert keeps the shape stable, so that laborious strengthening is no longer necessary. It can be measured in different strengths, a distinction is made between "very soft, soft, medium, hard, very hard". No insert is normally used in women's blouses ("very soft"). The inlay is usually glued, but can also be sewn in (preferred in England). Collars with glued inlay are more dimensionally stable, collars with sewn in inlay have to be ironed more carefully, but are considered more elegant because the material is prevented from moving naturally by gluing.
Additional to the collar ends inserted collar stays ( collar stay ) reinforce the wing. These are usually made of plastic and are glued or rarely sewn into the collar. High-quality shirts also have removable sticks made of plastic or metals such as tinplate or brass , depending on customer requirements . Very noble designs, on the other hand, can also be made of horn , mother-of-pearl , fine wood , silver or fossil mammoth ivory . The collar stiffeners are removed before washing. This protects the tips of the collar and prevents the stiffeners from getting lost inside the washing machine. They are usually used again after ironing.
The cuff (engl. Cuff ) is a hand-wide fabric strip which forms the cuff. In addition to the collar, it is one of the most heavily used components of the shirt and is usually reinforced with inserts. It encloses the wrist and can now be closed with buttons. In the baroque era and earlier, the sleeves were often without cuffs, but only had an often long pleated, folded end.
Today's shirts have two basic shapes: the single and the double cuff. The most common is the Italian or sports cuff (barrel, single cuff), a single cuff with a sewn-on button. Off-the-rack shirts often have two buttons next to each other so that the wearer can adjust the width to suit his or her wrist. Occasionally, sports cuffs also have two buttons on top of each other (double head cuffs) that are closed at the same time. Variants with three buttons are also possible (London cuff). At the front of the button they are usually rounded or beveled (mitered), but an angular, straight design (Parisian cuff) is also possible. There are also shapes in which the button is set back towards the sleeve (hamburger, Florentine cuff).
The simple cuff can also be made without a button and must then be closed with cufflinks.
Another variant of the simple cuff is the combi, vario or convertible cuff, which can be closed either with a button or with cufflinks. The combination cuff has two buttons next to each other like the adjustable sports cuff, but with a head hole between the buttons for inserting a cufflink. The Viennese variant has only one button like the sports cuff, but it is sewn to a buttonhole and can also be put back through the hole. Then the cuff can be used as a buttoned, simple French or English cuff. Or a cufflink can be used, here no button is visible on the outside.
While single cuffs only get their rigidity from the insoles, double cuffs are turned over for this. The cuff (also Umlegemanschette ) or French (rounded) and English cuff (angular, straight) is twice as long and is folded back once before buttoning. Cufflinks are used to close.
The Neapolitan, Cocktail or James Bond cuff is a double cuff with two buttons sewn on top of each other. However, the folded part does not go completely around the cuff, but leaves the buttons free. Small buttons can also be attached to the envelope. However, James Bond also wore French cuffs and a tab cuff at one point.
The tab (Italian cuff) or the envelope cuff are also possible, with the tab shape the cuff is closed with one or two flaps, with the envelope shape the buttonhole side of the cuff is pointed.
Tailcoat shirts have envelope or often combination, Viennese cuffs and must be closed with cufflinks.
The saddle (English yoke ), also known as shoulder, back yoke , shoulder part , sometimes also Göller , Goller or Koller , is the piece of fabric attached to the upper part of the back. It has a great influence on the fit of the shirt, e.g. B. with sagging shoulders. It can be made in one or two parts with a central seam ( split yoke ). Some believe that the two-part saddle allows a more fabric-saving cut and that the additional seam offers advantages when adapting a made-to-measure shirt. Other varieties are the back of the moon or country and western cuts, and the execution without a saddle is also possible.
The back part can be attached smoothly to the saddle or with different folds to allow a little more mobility. Two side folds ( sidepleats , knife pleats ) that lie over the shoulder blades or a central fold that can be designed as a boxpleat or box pleat ( inverted pleat ) are common. A coat hook loop can also be sewn in the middle of the back saddle seam. In a form-fitting shirt besides a waist of the side seam in the lower back portion, in addition to vertical darts (engl. Darts ) is mounted so that the shirt is snug.
The back and front part can also be pleated ("shirred") and sewn onto the saddle over their entire length .
The lower edge of the shirt is finished with a narrow hem, whereby the hem line to the side seam can be rounded or made with a side slit. The lower end of the side seam can be reinforced by a so-called stick gusset (also known as “fly”, English gusset , Italian, Spanish mosca ). This small triangular fabric insert should prevent the seam from tearing and provide a little more freedom of movement. The slit and stick gusset date from a time when shirts were considerably longer and without slits would have restricted the freedom of movement of the legs. One differentiates between a cheaper variant which only serves as a reinforcement.
On a men's shirt, the buttonholes are made on the left front part (as is customary in tailoring, seen from the wearer). Depending on the design, one differentiates:
The button placket ( placket front ): Here the buttonholes are worked into a vertical length of fabric that is separated by a quilting and a small fold. This stripe looks like it has been attached and optically divides the shirt. It is the most common but also the most casual form. Occasionally, fashion designers use a striking contrast fabric here to use as a design element.
Shirts can also be made without a button placket. The smooth bar ( French front , No Placket ): Here the buttonholes are inserted directly in the left front part without a separate bar being visible. This version is considered more elegant and places higher demands on cutting, as the pattern must not be interrupted by the fabric edge. The left edge of the front part can then be sewn or not.
Another variant is the concealed bar ( fly front ): Here a fabric bar for the buttonholes is attached to the underside of the front part or the left front part is folded over so that the buttonholes are covered. The buttons and buttonholes are no longer visible after closing. This version is often used for festive shirts such as tailcoat and tuxedo shirts.
Classic shirts for tailcoats and tuxedos sometimes have no sewn buttons, but buttonholes on both sides. They are closed with separately attached tailcoat buttons . Or a special, attached, wide and more or less stiff front (Marcella, Piqué) with an open or concealed button placket is often used.
The buttons used to close the bar come in different shapes and colors. The choice of thread also allows for many design options. Nowadays, buttons made of various plastics or resin are mostly used . Classical or quality shirts on the other hand often have buttons made of mother of pearl, ivory nut (Corozo) or horn, and buttons made of coconut shell are available. The buttons are usually sewn in a cross stitch, but cross or arrow stitches are also possible.
When it comes to the button placket, there is an obvious difference between shirts for men and women. On men's shirts, the buttons are sewn on the right front part. In contrast, blouses wear the buttons on the left.
Special variants are the sweater button placket (sweater plaque) it does not run continuously, but only in the upper half of the shirt, it can be made with buttons or laced, even with a zipper.
The sleeve is the part of the shirt that covers the arm. It is available as a short or long version. Short sleeves go up to about half of the upper arm and end with a folded hem. With the long-sleeved shirt, it extends from the shoulder to the wrist and ends with the cuff. To enable it to be rolled up, the long sleeve has a sleeve slit that goes from the cuff to about half of the forearm. A small button ( placket or gauntlet button ) is often attached to the slots to prevent them from opening.
Rolled-up sleeves are sleeves that are worn turned up. For this they often have a latch ( sleeve tabs , Eng. Sleeve tab ), which is buttoned to the impact and prevents slipping.
It was also once fashionable to pleat the sleeves lengthways on the outside ( Perry pleat ; Perry Ellis).
The sleeves are sewn mostly straight, smooth the top of the saddle and on the front and back, but it is also possible the sleeves gepleated , crinkled to sew ( pleated, shirred or Neapolitan shoulders ). This is also done with jackets (here Spalla camicia ), here other shapes are possible. This shape can also be used on the bottom of the cuffs.
Shirts often have one or two breast pockets . These can be completely open or closed with buttonable flaps . Occasionally the flap is not completely sewn through, but a small slit is left open through which a pen or glasses can be inserted without opening the flap. Some shirts do not have a breast pocket (s). The shirt pocket only caught on after the vest was abandoned as an everyday item of clothing.
Shirt sizes for ready-to-wear shirts
In German-speaking countries, only the size of the collar is given in centimeters. This corresponds to the neck circumference measured "loosely" with a measuring tape. In the case of men's shirts, two consecutive collar sizes are usually combined into one size, for example 39/40 or 41/42, which correspond to the US clothing sizes S, M, L, XL etc. When it comes to sleeve length, a distinction is made between short sleeves (up to the elbow) and long sleeves . In the Anglo-Saxon area, the shirt size is defined by the combination of two numbers in inches . The first number indicates the collar size, the second the arm length. The cut of the shirt is given in terms such as waisted - untapered or slim - regular - comfort fit .
Besides buying assembled Shirts "off the shelf", manufacturers also offer the possibility maßkonfektionierte (Engl. Made to measure ) or customized (Engl. Custom made or bespoke ) to give shirts in order. Usually, a salesperson or a bespoke tailor takes the customer's measurements using a tape measure . The relevant sizes for shirts are collar width, shoulder width, arm length, chest, waist, hip and arm circumference, as well as the length of the shirt.
With made-to-measure clothing, the customer can then select a model, which is then made according to his measurements. There are often different designs of the model available in the shop that he can try on beforehand. However, this step does not replace trying on your copy after it has been completed. Sometimes the customer also gets options for a few individual adjustments. Depending on the provider, this can be a small selection of fabrics, buttons and seams or the shape of the collar or breast pocket.
A bespoke tailor, on the other hand, offers the customer a comprehensive selection. Each shirt is redesigned according to the customer's wishes. Good tailors give the customer extensive advice and also pay attention to small details, such as B. at what level the first button should be below the collar. The shirt is then made and, if necessary, corrected after trying it on.
The most important criterion for a suitable shirt is the collar size. It should be wide enough to just fit a finger or two between the neck and the fabric. The sleeve should be long enough that it reaches the knuckle of the hand even when the arm is bent. The shirt sleeve should protrude at least one to two centimeters from the jacket sleeve. The length of the shirt is usually from the base of the collar to the end of the buttocks, the buttocks size of the shirt depends on whether it is tucked into the pants or worn over the pants.
Some manufacturers also offer the refurbishment of their shirts, in which the particularly wear-intensive cuffs and shirt collar are replaced.
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