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Kamakura Shirts

Kamau Hosten

During a recent work-related trip to New York, I was able to stop into Kamakura Shirts on Madison Ave, just one block north of J.Press. Prior to my visit, I'd read favorable reviews on the Style Forum regarding the Japanese brand, which opened its first U.S. store in 2012.

The store itself is quaint, with the focus on the product rather than flashy advertising. The sales staff is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the details, like the single needle stitching. That's what separates the smaller shops from the large department stores: the level of service.

The store offers four fits: The Tokyo Classic and Slim and, for the American market, the New York Classic and Slim. The latter two are considerably wider than their former counterparts. The Tokyo Slim I tried on was ideal, with no further tapering required, which rarely occurs with shirts. I should add that the store carries 'Try-on' shirts, so as to not unfold several shirts. That streamlines the process. Additionally, should you decide against purchasing a shirt, trying on one versus a half dozen leaves you feeling less guilty. The collars include, on a scale from most to least formal, cutaway (below), spread, semi-spread and button down.

 

White Pinpoint Oxford Tokyo Slim

They've recently launched a Made-To-Measure program featuring 300 count cloth, which is worth a try judging from the quality of the RTW shirts.

 

Blue Oxford Tokyo Slim

Well-made dress shirts under $100 are difficult to find. I'm talking retail, not reduced prices. Normally, it's a sea oversized, cotton-poly blend with awkwardly small collars and sleeves cut for two arms. Not so, here. There's a welcome combination of quality, fit and price. Naturally, I recommend picking up white and pale blue, as these are the best backdrops for most suits and sport jackets. Following that, some of the more bold stripes are welcome alternatives, not just for this brand, but all shirts.