My perfect dress shirt is a slim-fitting cotton poplin or broadcloth with an unfused spread collar, unfused French cuffs, no pocket, and a placket on the front of the shirt – all for an affordable price. On this quest for the perfect dress shirt, I found Kamakura Shirts, the Japanese maker of handsome, really well-made, reasonably priced dress shirts. Their “New York Slim Fit” in broadcloth was a godsend, hitting all the bullet points for my favorite shirts, until recently.
A few weeks ago, I went to the Kamakura website to purchase replacements for my light blue dress shirts, which are starting to show their age. They’ve held up beautifully for several years and are just now starting to fray a bit where the French cuff folds. I still plan to wear them, since I like a bit of distress to mess with anything that looks too perfect, but it was time for new ones.
As I was scanning the site, applying filters to narrow down the search for my size and desired color, I couldn’t find the exact shirt I wanted. The shirt that I wanted had a placket, like all the other New York Slim Fit broadcloth shirts with a spread collar and French cuffs that I’ve bought from Kamakura in previous years. But no dice this time. All the shirts on the website had a French placket, which means no placket.
For anyone who might not know, a placket is a narrow strip of fabric that is sewn onto the front of most dress shirts. It’s where the buttonholes live. An alternate design of dress shirts features a “French” placket design without the strip of fabric, creating a seamless, unbroken look with the buttonholes cut directly into the front of the shirt.
I’m not a fan of the French placket, and I much prefer the traditional placket.
Until now, my preferred dress shirts from Kamakura featured a placket. Well… not anymore.
I thought that it must be a mistake or that perhaps the shirts I sought were simply out of stock. After contacting Kamakura, I received a reply confirming that they no longer make my dress shirts with a placket. This broke my heart.
I bought two of the new placketless versions of the shirt anyway, thinking I might like them. I don’t. I’ll wear them, but I’ll wear them exclusively with ties since I dislike the look of the French placket so much.
I’m extremely disappointed in Kamakura. They were the only resource for good, 100% cotton shirts (NOT the no-iron/wrinkle-free bullshit) with unfused collars and cuffs without charging an arm and a leg. This is very distressing for me, as these may very well be the last shirts I buy from a company I had liked and championed so much.
Thanks for letting me vent.