(Istanbul & New York)
The last thing I expected when I went to Istanbul was to acquire a new bespoke shirt. This was less than astute of me, for Turkey is well-known for the excellence of the work done by its gentlemen’s outfitters. From the photographs I have seen of him, it appears that Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, was a man who liked to dress immaculately in the Western fashion. I suppose that the thriving tailoring industry of today might be part of his legacy. I happened to be staying at the Park Hyatt Hotel, just around the corner from one of the most famous Turkish tailors and shirt-makers. But I have to thank Antony Doucet, the Hotel’s Guest Services Manager, for the suggestion that I might be interested in a visit to Taji. He was, of course, correct.
The shop I found was thin and long and well stocked with smart young assistants. But I had come to see the owner, Taci Seker (pictured). He proved to be a most enthusiastic fellow. I learnt that he spends much of his time flying between his shops in Istanbul and New York, and dropping in to see his clients in London. He was dressed well himself, and I judged it certain that the clothes he made for others would be of a high standard. He therefore measured me for a bespoke shirt.
Prices for a bespoke shirt from Taji in Istanbul start at 110 euros. This is good value. Thousands of cloths are available, from pattern books or from the rolls in the shop. From the latter, I chose a pink stripe, with the stripes edged in black – a 120 made by Thomas Mason. The shirt would have, of course, mother of pearl buttons and hand finished buttonholes. Less usual in Turkey, I think, were my other requirements.
I like to wear separate collars – usually of the stiffly-starched white sort, but sometimes those which match the rest of the shirt. I chose a semi-cutaway design for this matching collar. And I am much given to ‘surgeon’s cuffs ‘ – cuffs which are separate and buttoned to the end of the sleeve. (The name derives from the time when medical persons would simply remove such cuffs before they began to cut into their unfortunate patients.) Mr Șeker assured me that there would be no problem in making my shirt exactly as I had stipulated.
I returned to London, and soon the communication arrived to alert me of Mr Seker’s next visit. Then it was a quick journey to an hotel in W.2., and the shirt was mine. I hope that you can see from the photographs that it is an elegant addition to my wardrobe. It fits as it should and it has been expertly finished. But it possesses an arrangement which is new to me. The matching collar is attached to the shirt, not by front and rear collar studs, but by buttons around the neckband.
At first I thought this might be a problem, when I wished to wear a starched white collar. But no – as you can see – such a collar fits well, for there are buttonholes at the strategic points, front and back, through which the studs can hold the collar in place.
So now I have my first Turkish bespoke shirt. Should you wish to follow my example, Mr Seker will be happy to deal with you in Istanbul, New York or London.
Teşvikiye Cad. No. 168, Nişantaşi, Istanbul 34365, Turkey.
Telephone +90 212 296 50 73
Fax +90 212 343 83 27
675 Madison Avenue, Suite 5R, New York, NY 10065, U.S.A.
Telephone +1 212 838 2490
Email & website: as above