Explore the timeless style and exceptional quality shirts favoured by the most stylish men in the world.
Made in England
Introducing Turnbull & Asser: 130 Years, Made in England
Meet Bette Elton and Kathleen Cope, the twins who have worked together at our Gloucester factory since 1964
Anatomy of a Turnbull & Asser Shirt
Step 1: The finest cotton
Each shirt is made from the finest cottons ranging from long-staple Egyptian to ultra-rare West Indian Sea Island, with weaves including Oxford, herringbone and poplin. The fabrics mature with age thanks to their excellent laundering and wearing properties, meaning each one will see you through a number of generations. Turnbull & Asser shirts are made up of 34 individual pieces of cotton and 13 mother-of-pearl buttons.
Step 2: The stitches
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: every T&A shirt is made from 34 individual pieces sewn together by a single needle executing 18-20 stitches per inch. Constructing side seams involves four layers of fabric folded back on each other within 3/16 of an inch to stop it splitting, while a neat second row of stitches on the shirt tails adds to their strength. This all ensures each shirt has an ultra-strong, fine, flat finish.
Step 3: The collar
While many shirtmakers opt for fused collars for simplicity of construction, we understand that they can be stiff and uncomfortable. We adopt a more organic method using a woven bias cut interlining, relying on superior materials and craftsmanship to maintain the collar’s shape. We finish it by inserting branded collar stays to maintain a smart and strong shape and give in a natural tendency to turn down.
The three-button cuff
The most recognisable signifier of a T&A shirt is the iconic three-button cuff. We forgo flimsy plastic in favour of ecologically sustained mother-of-pearl buttons, using only thick, deep shell varieties rather than shard-like splinters. After being ground down five times to get the surface exactly right, only the whitest are picked for use. These are then graded, polished and given a smart double-ring edge, before each of their four sewing holes is punched through individually to prevent shattering.
Retail director Steve Quin discusses being a royal warrant holder and why our shirts are so special
By Royal Appointment
Discover more about Turnbull & Asser’s royal past with current royal warrant holder Steve Quin and previous royal warrant holder Paul Cuss
The measurements are used to create a paper pattern of your shirt; this drawing is then sent to T&A’s factory in Gloucester where it is skilfully replicated into a digital format for maximum precision. Experienced seamstresses will then masterfully cut your chosen cloth by hand. They use pencil marks to indicate any specific requests such as a minutely shorter sleeve. Finally, hand-worked sewing machines are used to bring the shirt together - they produce stronger seams while maintaining accuracy.
Turnbull & Asser believe in absolute precision and that requires trialing. Once a sample shirt has been created, you are asked to wear and launder it as normal, three times - this allows for inevitable shrinkage of the fabric. It is then adjusted to create a fit that is completely satisfying.
The firm continued to dress the MI6 secret agent in ten further films, including Pierce Brosnan’s Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002), for which T&A made exclusive ties, and, more recently, Daniel Craig’s turn in Casino Royale (2006), which brought about the creation of a dress shirt and bow tie.
Wall Street and Batman
Other costume involvements include a number of Oscar-winning roles – notably Michael Douglas in Wall Street (1987) and the late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008). The theme of the spies is also a recurring choice of movie for the brand as it has dressed the casts of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), while also being heavily involved with Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) and its 2017 sequel.
The craftsmanship of a tie
Following this, three outline pieces are joined together and T&A’s signature paisley tipping is added to both ends. This is the only part of the making of the tie that is completed by sewing machine, from here every part is crafted by hand.
Once the basic tie shape is formed, it is pressed to remove wrinkles and checked for faults once again. Then the slip-stitcher fits the lining and creates the seam underneath.
This is the most intricate stage as all 80 central stitches must run invisibly between the folds. While many brands use cheaper cotton thread, T&A only bonded nylon, matched to the exact colour of the silk fabric, which is practically impossible to snap.
Lastly, the labellers take the tie and apply the finishing touches, before it is handed to the quality-control team who inspect it once again.
‘Tie man’, Stuart Hamilton, knows everything about the accessory all men use to express personality
This exhibit was created by the British Fashion Council in collaboration with Turnbull & Asser.
All rights belong to Turnbull & Asser unless otherwise specifically stated. All models and photographers have been credited where known.