My meeting with Howard's goes back over a year, when I tested the Grenadine silk tie, the brand's iconic piece.
I really liked Fred because we shared the same vision of the product, the finishes.
A great lover of Parisian Gentleman type media or Pitti photos, he perfectly understood the new expectations of men in terms of design and parts, but also prices.
Fred's understanding of new expectations is, in my opinion, what makes Howard's great strength.
An obsession with the quality/price ratio As a reminder, Fred had already illustrated on his famous neckties(three or seven folds), adding his own finishes (embroidered daisy, mother of pearl button).
He then attacked the scarves, with his reversible Vitale Barberis Canonico woolen models (one face in elegant flannel, the other with a more fanciful motif: houndstooth, tiles or even camo).
So we logically appealed to him for our ties.
The Grenadine silk tie has become a flagship piece of the brand. The embroidered daisy is a nod to her grandmother.
For every piece that Fred imagines, whether it's a scarf or a tie, he always wonders:
What can I bring back to what is already done elsewhere?
How to stand out against many brands?
How to offer more for less?
And each time, I always hooked ... so much so that it became my favorite shop to give gifts to friends.
But why did you call him again? Why be interested in his shirts?
Our last collaboration with Howard's: a shirt with a cutaway collar and houndstooth fabric! The evolution of Howard's shirts I noticed that he also had a range of pretty colorful shirts that spoke to me a little less, but that Fred liked a lot because he is a strong supporter of color in men.
His big project 2015 was to take over this range, to return to more sobriety. Howard's will reduce their colors on the shirts to focus on more original textures. He began by tightening his collection at the level of hues. White and blue now dominate, but declined in many textures and patterns.
We are on shirts much more simple to wear, more elegant, for which clothing remains in France. That being said, Fred sometimes enjoys some more unusual subjects, such as printed cotton flannel. In addition to the fabrics, he has studied finishes, always in the idea of offering as much as possible at a reasonable price, even with Made in France.
Why a high-end shirt?
If we talk a lot about "power shoes" or "power suits", the shirt tends to be less at the front of the sartorial scene. This is a garment worn on the skin, and I think everyone here has already experienced what happens when you put on your favorite shirt ...
Luca can not help touching the collars that fit well. Also note how the shirt renders with the first undone button.
A flattering cut, with a collar that fits perfectly and is placed properly under the lapels of the jacket, are small sartorial pleasures that every man loving elegance must know one day!
And with this collab, it was a bit that we wanted to propose to you: your new favorite shirt.
This is the shirt to conquer the world or on the roofs, you choose! I would even say that we wanted to go further: in close collaboration with Howard's, we wanted to realize our vision of the ultimate shirt; to wear with a suit or blazer, with or without a tie.
Howards' "Pitti Uomo/Italy" influences are obvious, and seeing this neck cutaway in the alleys of the Fortezza Di Basso (where the show is held), I convinced myself of his interest - many superstars Pitti are fervent defenders - Lino Lenuzzi only wears that, for example.
This is also what we notice first once the piece worn: the collar is a little what "makes" the shirt. Unfortunately, with our Hedi Slimane national whose influence is still felt more than ten years after its debut, it is a type of collar very little present on the French market.
We are much more used to small passes fine enough, while the cutaway has several useful benefits. Because the fact that he "back" back allows him to be perfectly under the back.
And as Luca says, "we quickly get hooked on this kind of detail".
With its back, the cutaway collar is positioned correctly under the jacket, even if you move a little. And by the way, you have a good overview of the rendering of the shirt worn without a tie.
He puts the tie in value by leaving room for the knot to express itself notably on very triangular knots (the ones I prefer, even if I bicker with Luca about it), leaving especially appear the second part of the tie way Pitti level 100. Make a shirt collar is a delicate operation, because you have to choose the right thickness to prevent it horn in one direction ... or the other.
The challenge is to have a design that is out of the ordinary, without being ostentatious ... But it took 8 tests on this collar, especially on the front/back ratio of the collar, or on the angle landing on the clavicle ... The way the spikes go back, the height of the foot of collar ...
These are very technical details that have a great influence on the visual aspect.
As a good technician, Fred even gives you the dimensions of the collar:
Length of the tips: 9 cm
Neck height at the back: 3.7 cm
Neck height at the front: 3.2 cm
There is a little wink at the tailor's universe, since some parts of the collar are not heat-sealed: if the visible part of the collar is heat-sealed to have an irreproachable hold, the invisible one - where we put whales - is not.
Fred did not want to make a collar completely free, because its maintenance and ironing are a little technical: if you do not do the right thing with your iron, the collar is all "wrinkled".
While whales are not usually removable at Howard's, they are not removable on this collaboration.
The inside of the collar (the part of the collar in contact with your neck) is semi-interlaced. It's more comfortable, and it allows the cervix to take your neck with more flexibility.
The outside of the collar foot is against heat-sealed, to bring the holding and facilitate the passage of the tie. Here too, the choice of the right heat-sealing is very important, because it guarantees the longevity of the neck wash after washing. And to give a more refined side, Fred wanted a seam 3 mm from the edge of the collar. It's a detail he appreciates so much that he has generalized it to all his shirts.
Another small detail ...
Howard's last detail is that the button on the collar is smaller than the others. This makes it easier to close; if you're ever the type to button your collar, know that someone has thought of you. Indeed, it is 6 mm in diameter while the other buttons make 8.
And we finish with the travettos on the capuchin paw (the opening of the sleeve on your forearm). Originally, the purpose of the travettos was to strengthen this part of the leg when the sleeve was open for ironing.
This is the famous travetto, handmade! As it is an operation that can only be done by hand, it was quickly abandoned at the beginning of the industrialization of the textile industry.
This is how she became a purist detail and a symbol of "hand-made".
To give you an idea, the installation of 420 travettos (two per shirt) will have required at least 40 hours of work, just for this detail ...
We can easily understand why the big brands have "forgotten" as soon as they could, the volume of time would be disproportionate on several thousand folders to assemble ... Like the Milanese buttonhole, it is a very rare ready-to-wear finish.
And I weigh my words, unless you have at least 240 euros of budget for a shirt. With Fred, we are extremely proud to offer you this detail in this price range, and we do not have to be ashamed of brands historicallyfamous for their shirts.
Very high end finishes "made in France" Fred made the brave choice to make his shirt in France, in a beautiful workshop in Normandy. This brings him close communication with the seamstresses, in order to push the details thoroughly. When Fred has redesigned his range of shirts, there are many finishes on which he dropped a little, that we usually found all together on shirts over 200 euros.
There are obviously the English seams.
But they reach here a sacred degree of finesse and sharpness (3 mm wide!). At no time does the seam frown, everything is very clean.
Moreover, at this level, the seam joins underarms is perfectly executed. The English seam is so fine that it is almost invisible! The armpit, where the two English seams join perfectly.
It's impossible to talk about a high-end shirt without mentioning the pentagon-shaped swallow in a Thomas Mason cotton twill, with two well-known initials embroidered on it.
As a reminder, it aims to strengthen the join between the front and back of the shirt.
The little swallow reinforcement, with the initials of BonneGueule embroidered (on an idea of Fred), a wink to the time when the blouses signed their creations on a place that was not visible.
Note that a pentagon-shaped swallow is more refined because it requires much more precise cutting than a triangular swallow. Incredible stitching (8 to 9 points per cm).
Small technical figure for the most meticulous of you: it is between 8 and 9 points per centimeter, which puts this shirt in the top of the basket (or the fate of the basket).
Note also that the seams of the collar and wrists are very close to the edge, which reinforces the elegant appearance of the shirt.
The seams of the collar and wrists are 8 to 9 points per centimeter, and three millimeters from the edge!
Fred has paid a lot of attention to the buttons since it is a beautiful Mother of Pearl mother of pearl from Australia, without the shadow of imperfection, perfectly homogeneous, even at the back of the button.
It's a costly finish too: the cost in polyester buttons is a few tens of cents on a shirt, while it is several euros on a piece with mother-of-pearl buttons, without the pose that is more.
Note that they are slightly concave in the center to protect their mounting friction of everyday life or the drum of your washing machine.
So, if you look at the profile button, you will not see the wires as they are protected by the relief.
In this regard, they are sewn in Zampa Di Gallina, a well known finish if you follow BonneGueule for a little while. The rendering has the advantage of being as resistant as on a cross stitch, but with a small additional aesthetic twist.
It sounds very simple like that, but it's the kind of detail that the French workshops do not do at all (or do not want to do especially), and Fred had to insist for ... three years to be satisfied with the result.
Other features you should know, the buttons are on tail (= they are slightly elevated to facilitate the buttoning).
Here too, the operation is entirely done by hand, without a machine.
We can see here the foot of the button (also called button tail) which raises it slightly, thus facilitating the buttoning. The small red dot is the thread used to sew the last button.
To the most anxious of you, do not worry, this red stitching point is ONLY the; last button, the one that's hidden in your pants. At least, it highlights the foot of the button.
Oh yes, the last buttonhole is, in addition to being red, horizontal! We left nothing to chance.
Regarding the cut of the shirt, it was a huge building site (the last patronnage date of June 2015, so it is very recent), so Fred was maniac at the cuts.
His model office has almost even throw in the towel against his very specific requirements, millimeter! And as he rightly says, "it's hard to make things happen on such small values."
Beside that, he did not fail to make prototypes try to his customers who passed in store, "to advance the science". He sometimes told them it was a proto, sometimes not to watch their reactions. And he wrote down everything.
For example, he particularly cared for small sizes by refining the sleeves at the armhole and biceps. And as always, he has "field tested" his new patronage with his customers.
The success was immediate, so much so that it became his basic patronage. We took the cup called "slim"Howard's, because we were very satisfied! It is a shirt intended to be worn in the pants, so it is long enough to not come out when you move or sit.
Finally, the turn of the wrist was not chosen at random: Fred measured that of many of his clients (17.5 cm on average!), wanting a compromise between adjusted wrist and ease for the wearing of the watch.
Very specific requirements with the office of model making
a number of fittings on its customers
= cut very worked.
As for how to choose its size, sizing is once again very classic. If in doubt, please refer to this size guide.
It changes a little of our usual fabrics, with the incursion of a small houndstooth pattern.
From a distance, we get the impression that it's a blue shirt, but from near, the pattern is revealed. The houndstooth pattern that takes the light beautifully! It is a 100/2 cotton twill, just right between finesse and ease of ironing. Given its "diagonal" weave, twill crumples less than a poplin.
Finally, given the dominance of light blue, there is no problem wearing the shirt with a blue or gray suit. The silky of the material will make it particularly elegant matching a textured tie, to make a nice contrast.
You now know well the houndstooth pattern, and all the nuance he can subtly bring to an outfit.
Here, the shade effect is reinforced by the cutaway collar: more rare, it easily brings a touch of additionaloriginality. In an intuitive way, we first find the shirt in a very formal look: while conveying a certain refinement, it lends itself quite to a professional context.
The houndstooth of the shirt remaining discreet, you can afford to wear it with a patterned suit (avoid the "total look houndstooth", no one wants to be mistaken for an illusion of optical).
Cutaway collar, crossed suit with wide lapels, tie ready to fly ... unsurprisingly, Luca is clearly in the Italian style! Note the twist of the white pouch blue edging, which reminds soberly the shirt.