center pleats, side pleats, split yoke, or solid?

Discussion in 'Andy's Fashion Forum' started by miamimike, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. miamimike

    miamimike Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    Dress shirts.....Box pleats, side pleats, or solid?

    I see there are many variations for how you want the excess fabric on your dress shirts to look. box pleat, side pleat, or plain. I wanted to know if one is better than the other or is this a personal taste thing ie french cuffs to button cuffs.

    The shirts would be worn without a jacket.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  2. Andy

    Andy Site Creator/Administrator Staff Member

    United States
    Palm Desert
    Admin Post

    A Yoke has nothing to do with the back pleat.

    In the CD-Rom, The Encyclopeida of Men's Clothes, Dress Shirt Chapter, I have this:

    Split Yoke
    [FONT=Arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    The yoke is the strip of material sewn across the shoulders to attach the front to the back of the shirt. Instead of one solid piece of material, the yoke should be two pieces (actually four if you count the double layer of fabric) with a seam or split in the center. The four panels should be cut on the bias (diagonal), which takes advantage of the greater fabric flex.

    The sections are then stitched together at a 30 degree angle.

    This split allows for a better fit creating a natural stretch which moves with you. Plus it’s an easy way to tell quality in a dress shirt.

    Here's what Alexander Kabbaz, famous bespoke shirt maker of Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons Fine Custom Clothiers in New York City has to say about the split yoke:
    "A shirt, being of much lighter cloth than a suit and not having the tailors' luxury of the use of padding to shape the "top" of the garment, needs to have a "hanger" from which to properly hang the fronts and backs. Additionally, the one luxury that a shirt maker does have in this regard is that the yoke is a double layer of fabric. Because of this, though nowhere near as strong or rigid as suit padding, the shoulders of the shirt have double the firmness, strength, and rigidity of all the other shirt parts (collar and cuffs excepted of course). Thus, the yoke can do a bit more to "control" the position and drape of the fronts, sleeves, and back of the shirt than can be done with a yokeless.

    In addition, the human shoulder is comprised compound curves and slopes. It curves up and down. It curves frontward (or sometimes rearward). It slopes - often differently left and right - to whatever degree. Without the yoke, the shoulder of the shirt cannot be curved frontward or rearward. Nor can one differentiate shoulder slope (accomplished using the angle of the front and rear pattern pieces) from shoulder up & down curve (accomplished using the curve of the front and rear pattern pieces) because curving the front or rear more increases the effective angle more and visa versa.

    Can I make a yokeless shirt, which fits well? Yes. Will it fit as well as a yoked shirt? No."

    Back Pleat

    Back pleat(s) require more fabric from the shirt maker but allows for better freedom of movement. The most common is a box pleat in the center of the back under the yoke.

    Back Pleat Styles:
    • Box pleat - most common, pleats face away from the center creating a rectangular fold of fabric down the middle of the back.
    • Inverted box pleat -- reverse of the box pleat, the pleats face the center.
    • Side pleats – one or two simple pleats between the center and shoulder of the back under the yoke.
    • Side gathering -- gathering of the fabric instead of actual pleating.
    • Continuous pleats -- consists of small gathers over the entire length of the seam where the yoke and back meet.
    • Plain back – no pleat.
  3. miamimike

    miamimike Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    THanks for clearing that up with me. oopps. :icon_pale:
  4. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Tech and Business Advice Guru

    United States
    New York
    East Hampton
    Personal taste. Mine would go towards plain (shirred) or side pleats. A box pleat traditionally accompanies a Brooks Bros. roll buttondown (OCBD).
  5. Matt S

    Matt S Connoisseur

    United States
    New York
    I agree with Alexander Kabbaz. I like side pleats best for all shirts. I've never had a shirt with a shirred back, but I have seen them, and to me they have a very casual look. A centre box pleat tends to make the shirt billow out at the back, which I can't stand the look of. The box pleat also makes the person look wider, sort of like a centre vent on a suit as opposed to side vents.
  6. Rossini

    Rossini Honors Member

    I've often wondered - is the choice of pleat purely personal taste? Or is the size and position of the pleat important relative to body shape (which would seem to have some possibility of truth)?

    i've noticed slim fit shirts from london tend to have none, which seems logical. Most other business shirts I've seen have side pleats from the shoulder. A box pleat isn't something I come across very often but I think that's because I don't have many casual shirts and I can see how it would be more suitable to them and also the infamous OCBD with the little hook thing at the back. Also, the only shirts with darts I've seen are Brioni - are they just trying to be different to make themselves stand out?
  7. miamimike

    miamimike Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    I have never been a fan of box pleats on a dress shirt. To casual and to much material in one section for me, (remindes me of cheap dept store shirts). All my shirts (dress) are side pleat. I posted this post because BB has some good looking dress shirts that I want (non iron slim fit) but they have box pleats and wanted opinions before deciding weither to buy or not esp since shirts will not be worn with jacket.

    By the way has anyone bought the luxury fit BB dress shirts? Whats overall thoughts on them? 2 for $200
  8. pt4u67

    pt4u67 Honors Member

    I bought 1/2 dozen last year (they had a 50% off sale in July) and they have held up extremely well. No wearing/fraying in the critical areas. No significant shrinkage. The fabric feels very nice for a non-iron. I do all my own ironing so I can appreciate the convenience. One caveat however: I wash my shirts either by hand or on the delicate cycle.
  9. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Tech and Business Advice Guru

    United States
    New York
    East Hampton
    Yes, size and position are important.

    It is less difficult to sew darts into shirts than it is to sew curvy side seams where the waist is significantly smaller than the chest. The other advantage of darts is that they can be removed at such times - such as Holiday season - when many waists tend to begin to imitate Santa's.

    In a well shirred back-to-yoke seam, the shirring would be all-but-invisible. The back is approximately 1" wider than the yoke so very little shirring needs be done. You may well have seen them but not realized they were shirred.

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