Vitale Barberis Canonico


Originally, it was a simple tunic, then the Persian “camis” was introduced with the Crusades, to which we owe the modern structure of a shirt, with sleeves cut out separately and sewn onto the sides of the body. Even today, you can see the difference between a handmade shirt and an industrial one by how the sleeves are sewn on. In an off-the-peg version, the body and the sleeve are sewn together by a single row of machine stitching. In a bespoke shirt, the sleeve is sewn on at the end, just as in jackets. “There was a time when in the majority of cases, a shirt had to be white. White shirts had a kind of “virtue” and they can be worn with practically anything. A blue or grey shirt, or coloured shirts were worn by farmers and workers …” (Domenico Rea) This is where the expressions “white collar worker” for office workers and “blue collar worker” for manual workers comes from. Today, we have a number of collars to choose from, such as sporty button-down, Italian collars with longer points, or cut-away French collars. When combining shirts with other garments, not only the colour is important, but also the fabric. With a winter sports jacket, an Oxford or twill is better, while in summer a comfortable poplin or a rare plain weave, or even a Liberty design.