Hi, I'm Kevin. I wear button-down shirts on a regular basis. Because of this, I tend to buy them pretty often. I wanted to find out if the amount I spend on a shirt makes a difference in terms of fit and quality.
To test if fit/quality differs based on how much money you spend, I set out to four different retailers and I tried on three different casual shirts at each place.
I used Bloomingdale's as our high-priced store, Topman as our medium-priced store, and Uniqlo and H&M as the low-priced stores.
First, what I look for in a button-down:
Personally, when shopping, I look at color first. So if a shirt fits into the color scheme I'm currently wearing (darker in the winter, lighter in the summer) then I'll pick it up for further inspection for quality. I don't typically like thinner (think linen) shirts, regardless of the season. Also, I don't ever tuck in my shirts, so I prefer them to fall right below my waist. Finally, I look for price.
* Is this shirt worth it?
* Is spending more than $40 on a shirt going to change my life?
* Is this shirt so amazing that I have to have it?
These are the questions that quickly run through my head when shopping.
How a men's button down shirt is supposed to fit:
Now, let's go shopping...
Bloomingdale's is a pretty expensive store, and with high price, you expect high quality. Shirts at Bloomingdale's range from as low as $79 all the way up to $498*.
Bloomie's had a lot to choose from in terms of shirts. This was the only store I visited that had a selection of different brands. I asked a sales associate which shirts he tended to recommend to guys, and these were his choices:
Because of Bloomingdale's reputation for high quality (and high prices), I'd figured the shirts would be more tailored and have a better fit. I was wrong. The three shirts I tried on all felt like they were made to be tucked in (except the Theory one). They fell longer than I normally wear my shirts, and the shoulders were a bit wider.
If you like to wear your clothes a bit more relaxed, then this might be a good place to get your shirts — although I don't think the high prices, considering the fit of the ones I tried on, are justified. If you get shirts from here, you're pretty much buying for a name brand and nothing else.
*I will admit though that I did try on shirts from the higher priced range, despite its website having cheaper options. While Bloomingdales is expensive, it's not always inherently ridiculously priced. I think that if you want to shop at a store like Bloomingdale's you just have to be more proactive with finding sales.
Topman has mid-priced clothing. Its shirt range from $40 to $190, although you can get some shirts for even cheaper if you catch a sale.
Its shirts are mostly casual, but the store does sell suits and other more formal wear. Topman's shirts are much more trendy, and they have an array of items that fit anyone's style. I like what Topman offers, so going in I hoped that they would have a lot of good options.
Overall, I really liked the selection and quality of Topman's shirts. They were all on trend and, for the most part, looked great. While the prices were slightly high, I think that for what you get in terms of quality, it's a justified trade-off.
Uniqlo is synonymous with affordable but stylish clothing. Its shirts range from $20-$40. The Japanese brand is known for its slick and tailored cuts, though the shirts fit more tightly than all the other stores. All of the shirts I tried on were also reasonably priced and, for the most part, on trend and stylish. It's pretty easy to walk into the store and either completely revamp your wardrobe for the season or grab a new outfit for a night out or special event. Overall, I was pleased with the selection of shirts and their fits.
H&M is easy. Its shirts range from $9.99 to $50. The brand is constantly coming out with new items so you can change your look for less. I felt like the shirts all fit great, I liked the designs, and they were comfortable. But, unlike the more expensive shirts, the quality wasn't close. I missed the thickness of the Theory shirt from Bloomingdale's — that's something I couldn't find at H&M. Also, based on my experience with H&M shirts, they usually have a shorter shelf life — maybe one to two seasons, then you have to donate them because they've shrunk, don't fit, or are out of style.
Despite that, I still like the store, its options, and its affordable prices!
Overall, I fell like the more you spend on a shirt does not have an effect on how you look.
I will admit that because of my slim figure (lol) each brand is not going to fit me perfectly. Many of the stores and brands have their on generalized fit. For example, Topman and Uniqlo are known for their more slimmer fits, which definitely explains why they fit my body better.
Despite this, I do think that the expensive shirts, while nice in quality, didn't make me feel any different. If you have expendable income, I think you're better off buying a more moderately priced shirt instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a single shirt. With that said, Bloomingdale's did have some really nice options, but the store certainly caters to a specific type of customer; I don't necessarily fit into that category of customer. I just want something that fits well and makes me look good. Stores like H&M and Uniqlo are great for the average person, and Topman is a good place to go for more "splurge" items.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that even if a shirt you find and love at a particular store doesn't fit the way you want it to, you can always go to a local tailor for a better, more specific fit. It'll probably be much cheaper and more satisfying than spending anywhere near $300 for a designer brand name.
*Oh yeah, I know it looks like someone stole all my joy away; it was a rough morning. 🙃