Quite a few years ago, I bought a lovely shirt from a small gents’ clothier in Bologna. It somehow epitomised everything that an Italian shirt should be: super-soft lightweight cotton, cutaway collar, beautifully stitched, in a shade of very pale yellow. It was one of those shops where everything is brought to you from behind the counter, and I spent a good time trying a number for size, all to helpful comments from the owner, before I settled on one.
That shirt lasted, and became a much-loved item in my wardrobe, until it eventually became too small for the – ahem – ‘lunch’ (as one of my favourite British menswear proprietors would say…)
I was looking for a replacement but yellow shirts seem to be at the nadir of their popularity at the moment – which is how I came to order one from Camiceria Olga (see earlier post).
It duly arrived some days ago after a couple of weeks’ wait. I was curious to see how it would compare with off-the-shelf items from the likes of Bagutta, which are superb but come at a significantly higher price – and would it be a worthy replacement for the original?
Well, I can’t remember what I paid for the original, but for €55 this is very acceptable. The same light, fine cotton is there, the collar properly cut away, though perhaps just a little longer than I would prefer. The stitching is also finely done, down to smaller details like the seam offset under the arms. The fit is excellent; it looked large when it arrived – but it doesn’t tug over the lunch as some off-the-shelf ones do.
The colour is even paler than the original shirt – almost verging on cream, and I would have liked it just a tad darker. But as I said, this is very acceptable; the fabric comes from Olga’s ‘everyday shirt’ range, but it is certainly a lot finer than one would find on the average British High Street – and one has the luxury of choosing collar, cuff and other details as well.
There are undoubtedly more luxurious tailors available online – but at a much steeper price; for my money Camiceria Olga is excellent, and I shall be going back for more in due course. Except I will have to wait for the autumn, as true to Milanese style, they are chiusu per ferie (closed for holidays) until then.