Posted by: englishdubai | August 5, 2009

Blinded by the Shirt


I have previously mentioned that the most popular blog post I have ever written is about the experience I had buying a tailored suit in Dubai. Over the last couple of years I have become a regular customer at Parmar’s usually I get my work shirts and trousers made there. When some of my mates from London visit we make the pilgrimage down to Bur Dubai to see them and they have all been really happy with the results.

Every time I visit and I am selecting that blue or pink work shirt, I had always wondered if I could get something more casual made. The other week to cheer me up after my run around getting my e-gate card replaced I went to see what they could offer.

As usual I was greeted warmly (and by name) by the friendly tailors and immediately asked if I wanted something to drink. I then went on to explain:

“I am looking for a casual evening shirt”

“Something fancy sir?”

“Yes, that might be just what I need – something like that one over there” I said pointing at a bust which had a particularly loud stripey shirt on it with a massive collar.

“That is concept only, sir. Material no longer available”

“That is a shame”

“We can make sir something extra fancy, with designing”

“Show me”

I then proceeded into a really wonderful shopping experience. It was broken down into a number of distinct phases.

1. Material selection – I was shown some extra fancy materials and some more conservative. While I like loud shirts some of it was just too fancy for me

2. Collar and Cuff choice – they knew exactly what I wanted – large collar with triple buttons and wide single cuff

3. The Master – The shirt master is called and he comes with the selected collar and cuffs templates and fits them on you. Here you get the chance to have say, the left cuff slightly wider if you were to wear a watch. You are also expertly measured – I was less than delighted to hear that “Sir, has expanded since his last visit” I put it down to a large lunch and vowed to get into the gym more

4. The designing – with the measurements done the serious business of getting the extra design detail into the shirts was next. They had recommended a contrasting material for the underside of the collar and cuffs. I was keen for this as I had recently seen some lovely “designer” shirts with this detail but had balked at the price. The tailor knew what would contrast well and disappeared next door to the ladies branch and promptly came back with material that I had to double take. To say it looked like my Grannies curtains or pure chintz was an understatement. I was assured it would look super fancy and I thought I would trust them and go with it.

5. The finishing touches – finally a few decisions on button style, the cut of the shirt, pocket or no pocket, initials or not and if so what font and color

Then I was done. I was told to come back in 48hrs for a final fitting then they would be ready 48hrs after that. To say I was pleased with the end result is an understatement. Here are a couple for your viewing pleasure:

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The super chintz material really worked well:

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I have to admit I am a total sucker for the initials and the flowery contrast material on this shirt:

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I can’t recommend these chaps enough. Sure, there are probably cheaper places but for what I paid 550aed ($149) for a bespoke one off shirt made to my own specification, I am delighted.

I think they will only really get a true test drive when I go on vacation to Beirut next month. I can hardly wait.


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