Turnbull & Asser is literally known throughout the globe as one of the highest quality and most respected bespoke shirt makers in history. In fact, if excellence is known by the company one keeps, it is informative to realize that a Turnbull & Asser shirt is often compared to the King of all bespoke shirts, those made by Charvet in Paris.
Although a Turnbull & Asser shirt isn’t cheap, countless satisfied clients have been willing to support the company for more than a century, including members of the Royal Family, Presidents and Prime Ministers. Every passing year, they continue to vote with their pocketbook that the satisfaction offered by the storied shirt maker is worth every penny. Here is some information to help you determine if you want to take the plunge and become a bespoke client yourself.
The Fabled Turnbull & Asser Dress Shirt
The process of having a custom Turnbull & Asser bespoke shirt made is one of life’s great luxurious for the man with sufficiently deep pockets and a devotion to maximum comfort and style. Although the firm is known for its traditional stance, it is also fond of bright colors, allowing a gentleman to stand out and make a statement when he so desires.
In the dress shirt department, Turnbull & Asser has long been considered one of the finest shirt makers in history. Forbes magazine has included the price of “a dozen Turnbull & Asser bespoke shirts” in its Cost of Living Extremely Well index. Although the specific price will vary based upon the fabric and choices one selects, Forbes currently estimates a dozen bespoke shirts would retail for $4,200, or $350 each before tax.
The esteem for the shirt brand is well known, even in fiction. This was illustrated in The Great Gatsby when social heroin Daisy Buchanan falls into tears upon seeing the Turnbell & Asser shirt collection of Jay Gatsby, so taken was she with their beauty and perfection! Once your master pattern is on file and you can order new shirts on demand, you might just feel the same way, slipping into your flawless clothing each morning.
This reputation is well deserved because designing the perfect shirt will help you ensure the fabric, weight, comfort, cut, and style ideal for your own life, lifestyle, body and taste. This means that no detail is overlooked. From collar style to cuff style, down to the materials used for buttons, the expert tailors serve to make your clothing dreams come to fruition, all matched with the highest possible construction.
Turnbull & Asser employs a method of joining side seams and sewing shirt tails in one operation, with a neat second row of stitches adding to the strength. All stitching is single needle and is executed at 18-20 stitches to the inch (2.54 cm), thus ensuring a strong, fine and flat finish.
All the buttons on their shirts are made from finest quality Australian deep shell mother of pearl, not the flimsy shard-like splinters used by so many other shirt makers. To meet Turnbull & Asser’s high quality standards the buttons, chosen for their ‘whiteness’ have been graded and polished to give a special double ring edge with four sewing holes. They also demand that their mother of pearl is obtained from ecologically sustainable sources. All buttons are attached with crossed lock stitching to prevent them becoming detached.
For better durability, a small and very neat hexagonal T&A signature white poplin gusset is laid on and sewn where the side seams join the shirt tails. This special feature, since copied by other Jermyn Street ‘names’, gives increased durability at the base of the side seams. Also, dress shirt tails are long to ensure the shirt remains in place in even the most demanding situations. No short tails that require constant ‘tucking in’ after each slight flection of the torso.
There are more than 1,000 different dress shirt fabrics alone for customers who want to find the perfect fit and express themselves through a unique pattern. This includes a wide range of luxurious cashmere fabric to use in the construction of custom sports coats, overcoats and suits.
One of the things that makes a Turnbull & Asser product different is that almost every item the firm stocks is sourced from suppliers within the United Kingdom, including all ready to wear and bespoke shirts and ties. With only some of the cloth imported from outside of the country, this helps maintain a more stable cost basis, which in turn causes global elite to flock to London to buy their clothes when their respective currency is strong against the British Pound Sterling, permitting them to effectively but at a significant discount.
Turnbull & Asser Ties, Cufflinks and Accessories
These accoutrement offer yet another way to personalize your attire. Several cufflinks, by way of example, are available in mother of pearl but in varying colors to introduce a bit of flare to a specific ensemble.
Famous Turnbull & Asser Clients
Turnbull & Asser has a distinguished client list and is one of the bespoke tailors that enjoyed the privilege of dressing Sir Winston Churchill, Prince Charles, President Ronald Reagan, John Kerry and President George H.W. Bush. In fact, until the shift to Brioni suits more than twenty years ago, Turnbull & Asser had been responsible for designing the suits worn by Sean Connery when he played his famous James Bond role. The firm still offers the so-called James Bond Cuff, which denotes dress shirts with turnback cuffs fastened with buttons, not cufflinks.
As for Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, Turnbull & Asser was the first company to which he granted a royal warrant after his mother, the Queen of England, granted him authority to issue royal warrants in his own name following his marriage to Princess Diana.
The tailor had been providing the prince his dress shirts since his youth and, other than a brief affair with comparably respected bespoke tailor Anderson & Sheppard, he has largely remained loyal to Turnbull & Asser.
History of Turnbull & Asser
The tailor was founded in 1885 by Regan Turnbull and Ernest Asser, a hosier and salesman, respectively. The original name, John Arthur Turnbull, was changed in the now-famous Turnbull & Asser in 1895 and in 1903, the company moved to its present location, marking more than 107 years of continuous operation crafting custom clothing for the well dressed man.
In 1986, the tailor was bought by Ali Al-Fayed, who is the younger brother of former Harrods department store owner Moahmed Al-Fayed. He was responsible for opening the Turnbull & Asser store on 57th street in New York City to make it more convenient for clients in the United States to order bespoke clothing.
Where to Purchase Turnbull & Asser Clothing
The bespoke shop is next door to the company’s main retail shop on Jermyn Street and offers a full range of custom bespoke dress shirts, bespoke ties, bespoke suits, woolens and accessories.