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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see a lot of people on this board have high praise for Borrelli shirts, even some OTR ones.

what makes them so great?

I saw one first hand the other day and wasn't that impressed. Fabric was okay, stitching was not bad, but no exceptional either.

Can someone tell me what i'm missing here?

Cheers.
 

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Many things make these among the finest shirts in the world, whether RTW or MTO. The fabrics are beautiful, for one. The buttons are MOP, not plastic. The handwork in these shirts is also very, very nice, with machine stitching employed where it makes a difference. For me though, the best thing about these shirts are the collars, bar none. Check these out, I can spot a Borrelli collar a mile away:
 

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If I'm not mistaken Borrelli is the company that sends their shirts to be heavily washed as soon as they are finished being manufactured. They do this because the shirts are hand made by older italian women who get blood, oil from their hands, and cigarette ash on the shirts as they are made. Now I'm not saying this is a reason to pay $495 for a OTR shirt, but it is pretty cool.
 

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If I'm not mistaken Borrelli is the company that sends their shirts to be heavily washed as soon as they are finished being manufactured. They do this because the shirts are hand made by older italian women who get blood, oil from their hands, and cigarette ash on the shirts as they are made. Now I'm not saying this is a reason to pay $495 for a OTR shirt, but it is pretty cool.
lol, that's the one.. I read that somewhere also..
 

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If you remain unconvinced as to the quality of Borrelli shirts, look again: not only Australian MOP buttons, but thick MOP buttons; strong silk side gussetts; and the collars are set by hand using a slightly longer stitch, thus moving with the wearer and providing additional comfort.

I particularly like the collar-style worn by Fabio Borrelli: it's a deep cutaway which bows (or arches) slightly, in the way that a good button-down does. A similar quality may be had from another Neapolitan shirtmaker, Barba. I enjoy the fact that Barba places small gathers in the sleeve-head.
 

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Great stuff.

Great shirts. I have a few that are several years old, and still look great. I agree that it is the fabrics and the collars that distinguish them. The fabric is fine, but somehow not delicate (like Fray, for example, where I say a little prayer that they come back in one piece from the cleaners).

That being said, I have heard some members comment that the quality has been on the decline (loose stitching, etc.). I haven't bought one in at least a year, so I cannot comment.

As for Isaia, I have a few, and they are well made. The arms appear to be hand-sewn like the Borrelli. However, I do not like the colored buttons that they often use. MOP is lovely as-is for a shirt of any color, IMHO.
 

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Beautifully constructed shirts, nice fabrics. IMHO and experience superior to the costlier Brioni, way superior to (cheaper) Finamore. Just wish i could afford more.

Can anyone give a comparison to the less costly Isaia? Have heard good reports on them.
This may be an Australian phenomenon. I think most places I see them, Borrelli and Brioni are pretty comparatively priced. I agree Borrelli is the better shirt though. In all honesty, I am a fan of Isaia shirts, particularly the casual shirts. I find the construction to be very good (probably pretty close to Brioni according to my untrained eye), and the collars are also very nice. The fabrics do not seem as good as Borrelli, but then again, they are much better than 99% of the RTW shirts I have come across. In other words, if I could not have a Borrelli shirt, Isaia would probably be in my top 5 alternatives for RTW.
 

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Borrelli makes a good RTW shirt. But the fabrics are nothing special, short of the Royal line. The handsewing is extremely inconsistent. Sometimes, it's very neat. Other times, it's sloppy and comes loose easily. I'm not sure what I'm missing about the collars: they look nice, but no different from what a lot of other Italian makers do. Moreover, they are not nearly as soft as a good Neapolitan shirt collar should be.

The buttons are arguably a gimmick. I happen to like thick MOP buttons, but I don't think they make the shirt any 'better'. A good argument can be made that less thick MOP buttons are more elegant.

If it were my money, I'd go bespoke before paying retail for a RTW or MTM Borrelli shirt.
 

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Borrelli makes a good RTW shirt. But the fabrics are nothing special, short of the Royal line. The handsewing is extremely inconsistent. Sometimes, it's very neat. Other times, it's sloppy and comes loose easily. I'm not sure what I'm missing about the collars: they look nice, but no different from what a lot of other Italian makers do. Moreover, they are not nearly as soft as a good Neapolitan shirt collar should be.

The buttons are arguably a gimmick. I happen to like thick MOP buttons, but I don't think they make the shirt any 'better'. A good argument can be made that less thick MOP buttons are more elegant.

If it were my money, I'd go bespoke before paying retail for a RTW or MTM Borrelli shirt.
I do not agree the fabrics are nothing special, particularly when compared to their RTW peers. Most of my shirts are RTW, and I have well over 100 from Borrelli, T&A, Brioni, RLPL, Lorenzini, Canali, Zegna, and many, many others, and I like the Borrelli fabrics best. It may be my uneducated palate, but we are dealing in opinions on relativism here, not absolutes.

I agree with you on the inconsistent sewing, lol, but to me, that's actually part of the charm. Can handsewing be amazingly consistent? Without a doubt. Do I demand it to be? No. Others may. I am fine with its consistency or lack thereof.

On your point about the collars, they are distinct in my eye. Again, I have a ton of RTW shirts, and the closest I have seen to the Borrelli collar is actually my Canali shirts. Go figure. I am not sure how soft a good Neopolitan shirt collar should be, so I won't address that other than to say a collar's softness is not a big selling point for me..

I also agree on the thickness of the buttons, and I actually dislike that about Borrelli as they can be hard to fasten. I prefer the footprint of the T&A buttons myself.

On your point about bespoke, it is valid. However, the OP was asking specifically about OTR, so I did not take that as an invitation to upsell him to bespoke.. :icon_smile_wink:
 

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I do not agree the fabrics are nothing special, particularly when compared to their RTW peers. Most of my shirts are RTW, and I have well over 100 from Borrelli, T&A, Brioni, RLPL, Lorenzini, Canali, Zegna, and many, many others, and I like the Borrelli fabrics best. It may be my uneducated palate, but we are dealing in opinions on relativism here, not absolutes.
Amongst RTW shirts that I think use better fabrics, Charvet and Kiton come to mind.

I agree with you on the inconsistent sewing, lol, but to me, that's actually part of the charm. Can handsewing be amazingly consistent? Without a doubt. Do I demand it to be? No. Others may. I am fine with its consistency or lack thereof.
Charm is fine, but personally, I can't stomach a $400 shirt that is structurally unsound. My bespoke shirts have far more handsewing, but it's neat and doesn't threaten to come undone.
 

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Amongst RTW shirts that I think use better fabrics, Charvet and Kiton come to mind.

Charm is fine, but personally, I can't stomach a $400 shirt that is structurally unsound. My bespoke shirts have far more handsewing, but it's neat and doesn't threaten to come undone.
Interesting. I have a couple of Charvet RTW and would have ranked the fabric as good as, slightly less so, but not better. Eye of the beholder I guess. I see your point on the inconsistency but I can honestly say none of the Borrelli shirts I have (about 7 or 8) had the same level of problems that your now infamous white shirt had. Luck? Maybe. But I stand by my statement, which I will modify slightly, that a well executed Borrelli shirt is for me, when compared to the other RTW shirts that I own, my personal favorite.
 
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