Charvet stocks more than 6,000 varieties of cotton fabric—from Sea Island and Egyptian to royal oxford and Irish linen—and an equal number of color variations, including 400 shades of white alone. However, the 172-year-old Parisian shirtmaker is equally well-known for the proprietary construction method used to produce both its custom and ready-made designs. Bespoke shirts, for instance, incorporate collars made from six layers of unfused cloth for stability without stiffness, and shirttails are cut longer, square, and vented for a classically tailored, yet relaxed look. On the other hand, ready-made shirts feature one-piece curved yokes cut to the shape of the back, buttonhole yarns color-matched exactly to the stripes, and a one-quarter-inch wider cuff opening on the left hand to accommodate a watch. Most important, every Charvet shirt is a study in symmetry, with stripes on yokes, the shirt body and sleeve lining up precisely to give the illusion of one piece of fabric.
The company’s founder, Christophe Charvet, is credited with inventing the first shirt with a permanently attached collar and cuffs. Prior to this design breakthrough, a gentleman had only his removable cuffs and collar—stress areas that rub against the skin—laundered on a regular basis.