Designing a shirt

The journey of the Pantalon sleeveless shirt project started around the middle of last year when I was searching through some fabric swatches to sample with. A particular fabric caught my attention for the richness and depth of colour – it was a crepe blend originating from Japan and it still had a few colours left over in the collection that were being sold as remnants. It had a textured yet light feel, good drape and a creaseless finish which were the first things I remember as I felt the fabric swatch between my fingers. I thought that if Pantalon is doing colour it needs to feel classic as well as bold and work against our core pieces in black. 

Around this time I was noting down the attributes that make a good shirt to me personally; a versatile, smart and low maintenance top to wear through the milder months of the year. So I began researching styling cues based around a classic cut shirt while also thinking about the design features of shirts I already wear. What features felt like non negotiables to me in terms of cut and finish. The first thing I thought about was the collar of the shirt. If it was to be made in a bold colour, it had to be a balanced classic cut; not too exaggerated so if the collar was to be worn outside of a sweater or jacket, it would appear nonchalant. Next, I thought about shaping in the back, which was primarily referenced from a silk top in my wardrobe. Having the front remain loose and relaxed and the back nipped in slightly gave the shirt some depth whilst remaining again, nonchalant. The lapels and buttons were sampled against the body with reference to the ideal placement when wearing the shirt 1) buttoned up 2) open at the decollatage 3) open at the bottom to meet with the rise of the trouser/skirt. 

The buttons were a little journey of their own. Since I had sourced fabric originating from Japan for this Issue I was inspired by the idea of Japanese buttons and found some samples made from natural corozo nut – a hard and dense seed that was a popular choice for manufacturers before the development of plastic and were used extensively for World War 1 uniforms. It’s strength is exceptional making it a really reliable trim. The buttons were ordered from a Japanese supplier and we had them colour matched to the shirts and dyed locally here in Sydney. 

I had a couple rounds of sampling where the length of the shoulder, length of the hem and armholes had to be perfected. A sleeveless shirt is a classic garment but still should show the right amount of skin on the shoulders and decollatage.

How it wears 

It was interesting at our pop-up in December to see how the colours wore against people’s skin and hair tones. People generally know which colour would suit them best; it’s what you naturally gravitate towards to first that is likely the colour for you. The nature of the crepe fabric makes it more suitable for milder seasons of the year. The drape and creaseless finish make it an easy slip on for workdays at home or the office without too much fuss. As the colour is so vibrant it’s a great styling piece; worn open over a sleeveless roll neck top/bodysuit, worn under a coats and jackets with the collar and lapel visible or layered underneath a long-sleeve shirt or sweater with the collar visible. Shirting in general really can be so versatile. 

In terms of sizing, this piece runs small so we would recommend sizing up. This was done to maintain the dimensions and fit without compromising on the design attributes that make a great sleeveless shirt. Please forgive the smaller sizing on this piece - measurements and sizing remain a work in progress at Pantalon as we gain knowledge in the process.

If you’re Sydney-based and would like to try our pieces on in person, reply to this email and we can arrange an appointment.

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