Ledbury Shirting: Something New Under the Sun
I recently had the privilege of trying out a shirt from a relative newcomer onto the men’s shirting scene, Ledbury. Ledbury is quickly garnering a high profile through their sponsorship of stalwart menswear web institutions like StyleForum and PutThisOn!, and from an appearance in my most recent print issue of GQ.
Ledbury’s origin story is an interesting one, and brought about in large part by the exigencies of 2008’s catastrophic global financial meltdown. Ledbury’s two founders, Paul Trible and Paul Watson, found themselves prepared for careers in finance, having just received MBAs from Oxford University in England, when the global markets turned sour. Faced with diminishing opportunities in the finance sector, Trible and Watson decided to turn their gaze away from Wall St. and towards Jermyn St., London’s high street for men’s shirting—home to storied companies like Turnbull & Asser, Thomas Pink, Hackett, and others.
Though hailing originally from the American South, Trible from Virginia and Watson from Louisiana, Ledbury’s aesthetic is a fruitful combination of the sensibilities of Southern Trad and Savile Row. After making the switch from finance to fine shirting, Trible apprenticed for a year under the watchful eye of one of London’s premier shirtmakers, and immersed himself in the art of fine shirt tailoring. He brings that hands-on experience to Ledbury where he melds English traditionalism with a little American ingenuity by offering a shirt whose fine attention to detail makes it something a little different than your average off-the-rack, or off-the-peg as they’d say in England, dress shirt.
Ledbury is neither a custom shirtmaking company, nor a made to measure one, but they do offer a high-end product that allows them to stand out from the throngs. Though not inexpensive (shirt prices range from $115-$155), Ledbury offers luxury shirts that are designed with a careful attention to detail that will make them one of the first you reach for in your closet. They have a specially placed second button that allows you to wear your shirt with the collar and first buttons undone without looking either too buttoned-up, or excessively louche. Also, Ledbury’s collars are constructed by a process of being fused from the outside in rather than sewn on separately which allows them to stand at attention all day long, without becoming rumpled or anemic looking. Ledbury’s shirting fabrics come from some of the finest Italian mills in the world like Thomas Mason, Albini, Canclini, and Tessitura Monti, and Ledbury’s shirts are all finished with high-quality mother of pearl buttons.
Ledbury’s shirts come in two cuts, a Classic Fit (which I have not seen), and a Slim Fit (which I received) which fits a hair slimmer than Brooks Brothers’ Slim Fit shirts (the slimness is achieved, in part, through the use of two darts on the back of the shirt). If you’re not sure what cut you want Ledbury’s website offers a clever user-friendly feature that suggests a size and cut for you based on your current shirting preferences (i.e., Ralph Lauren Custom Fit or Classic Fit, Brooks Brothers Traditional Fit or Extra Slim Fit, etc.), which suggested I order a Slim Fit in a size 16” (neck)/41” (chest) and it fits perfectly (Ledbury allows you to shorten sleeve length by up to 3” but it costs an extra $10; the standard sleeve length on a 16/41 shirt was 35” so I had to have the sleeves shortened an inch).
I’m very happy with my Ledbury shirt, and if you’re in the market for a luxurious dress or casual shirt, made from some of the finest fabrics in the world, and crafted with an attention to detail that will set it apart from other shirts in your wardrobe then definitely give Ledbury a try!