Luxury Shirting: A Review of Ledbury Dress Shirts
Disclaimer: Ledbury sent The Peak Lapel this shirt for free for the purposes of this review.
Ledbury has long been regarded within the menswear community as a truly luxury shirting company. They are pricey, but you’re getting some truly incredible shirts, with all sorts of great details, in some excellent and very unique fabrics. Of course, we had to take a look and see what all the hype was about.
Style & Design
Ledbury offers a fairly wide selection and range of shirt options. They have a number of different styles (casual, more dressy, very formal, and so on), as well as your standard fair when it comes to cuff options, and collar options. Of course, not every shirt is available in every style — it depends on the fabric. But you can easily sort by whatever style you prefer on their clean and easy to navigate website. So, kudos to Ledbury there.
The fabrics they make their shirt from truly are in a league of their own. The options you will see at Ledbury you will not see elsewhere. If you want your standard plain, solid shirts, or ginghams and so on, you can certainly get those here (and they’ll be super high quality, rich fabrics). But, if you’re getting a shirt at Ledbury, I would highly recommend going with a selection that is more unique. There are so many absolutely gorgeous fabrics that Ledbury offers, it would almost be a pity to “waste” a purchase on one of their plain fabrics. (And I truly mean that in the best way possible.)
Personally, I preferred the look of their Alden spread collars, and also wanted to go with a casual shirt. For the purposes of this review, I went with a Chalmers Check shirt (in size Small) and a Harrisburg Print shirt (in size Medium). Both shirts are made of absolutely wonderful fabrics. They are unique, and have tremendous visual interest, all without being over-the-top. The closer you get, the more detailed and rich the fabric looks. As far as patterns and style of shirt fabrics go, Ledbury’s shirts are amongst the best I have seen. These are beautifully designed and detailed shirts. If you go with the spread collar, it is a nice cut (though I wish it was a bit more spread, and perhaps a bit larger overall). The cuffs are single button, with curved edges. It’s pure class. The shirts, in my case, both have a regular placket. (Again, depending on the shirt, all these details may vary; you can get a shirt with the details you’d prefer. It’s just that not every shirt is available in every style.) Finally, in signature Ledbury fashion, the second button is slightly lowered. You know how un-buttoning the second button exposes way too much chest sometimes? But how leaving that button closed is just too stuffy-looking? Well, not to worry with Ledbury shirts. Since the second button is lowered, leaving it buttoned gives you that perfect laid back look without being too forward. This is a wonderful detail, and something you can do on custom shirts, but I very rarely see on off-the-rack options.
Quality & Construction
This will come as no surprise, but these shirts are extremely well made. Nothing is fused, all the stitching is super clean and neat. The fabric is substantial and weighty, without being stuffy. The fabrics all move super well, and hardly shrunk at all in the wash. The buttons are shell buttons with tension threading so they are not going anywhere anytime soon. The fabric is, of course, 100% cotton and the whole shirt is made in Europe. There is not much more to say here. Everything about this shirt screams quality. You’ll know it when you feel it.
(I am 6’1” and 165 lbs., and usually wear a size S or 15” shirt in the slimmest fit available.)
Ledbury offers two fits: a Classic and a Slim. Being a rather slim guy myself, I, naturally, went with the slim fit. According to the measurements on Ledbury’s site, it wasn’t clear if I would best fit into their Small or Medium. (Many of their casual shirts Ledbury offers in true neck/sleeve sizes, though not all.) I tried both, but the Small clearly ended up fitting me better. Still, it was not an amazing fit. The shirt was a bit long, and was much too roomy in the chest and waist. Being an otherwise awesome shirt, despite my typical version to tailoring shirts (especially when you can get custom shirts quite readily these days, or truly slim shirt from a variety of combines), I will be bringing this one to my tailor to take in a bit in the chest, waist, and sleeves to make it fit me better.
In short, Ledbury is a more classically fitting shirt company. Their slim is not remotely a true slim as offered by so many companies today. That’s fine, but at the price, you’ll lose slimmer customers like myself who can’t justify spending money further on tailoring the shirt to fit. Perhaps one day Ledbury will introduce a slimmer cut to their lineup? I’d sure like that, and I would imagine quite a few slim guys out there would as well. In the meantime, if you’re a slim guy like myself, Ledbury won’t fit you too well.
(On that note, Ledbury does offer Made To Measure and even true Bespoke options, but they start at well over $200, and go up quite quickly from there. Plus, you have to visit them in person in either Virginia or Washington DC. Both of these facts make it prohibitive for most guys as a real option.)
Price, Value, & Conclusion
Ledbury shirts will run you at least $145 at full retail. While they can be had for somewhat lower (think about the $100 range) when on sale, sizes will be scattered, and it’s still quite pricey for a shirt. In this day and age, when some excellent custom shirt options are available at about half this price point — and some even more luxurious options are available at this same price point, or for just a tad bit more money, it’s hard to justify the cost of Ledbury shirts for most guys. Custom will be designed exactly the way you want, and will fit you much better. On the other hand, custom shirts take a lot longer to nail down and get right, and you won’t find the awesome Ledbury fabrics there either (though some custom shirt places do have some great fabrics of their own).
Now, that being said, perhaps custom shirts and off-the-rack shirts need not be compared in quite this way. If you are happy with off-the-rack fits, and want a super high quality, well constructed shirt with all the bells and whistles, and fabric options that are sure to turn heads, I cannot think of a better place than Ledbury. You’ll pay for it, but if the priorities of Ledbury are the same as yours, you’ll get what you pay for; your Ledbury shirt will be well worth it.