My fun shirt Prototype (8 different striped fabrics)

I’ve long had a keen interest in the fun shirt.

Legend has it that this style of shirt – made of pieces from several different fabrics – got its start as a practise piece for apprentice shirtmakers.
Before being allowed to construct shirts for clients on their own, the apprentices were tasked with creating shirts from various fabric offcuts.
The result was a brilliant shirt of many colours.

At some point in the previous century, the style became popularised among university students in the USA, after it was introduced by some of the most influential men’s clothiers of the time.
Dubbed the fun shirt, for its unorthodox nature, it went from a practise piece to a desirable piece of clothing.

Fast forward to today, and fun shirts are having another moment.
I’ve seen a number of international brands hyping them.
Some are young brands and makers looking to have some fun with their offerings.
Some are just re-highlighting it as an offering they’ve had for decades.
Here’s looking at you, Ralph.
Brooks, too.
Both are classic staples.

However, myself having a love for the style, paired with the tools to create my own, I did.
A made to measure option at a similar retail price to a ready to wear shirt was a no brainer for me to create.

It all started from looking at a series of swatches.
We had a number of varied cloths all close together in a shirting bunch book at work, and it struck me that a combination of these fabrics would make a brilliant fun shirt.
I immediately set about the task of figuring out how to put which fabric where.
It was time consuming, but immensely rewarding.

Designing and making a prototype fun shirt
It all started with this view.

Made from pieces of eight different cotton/linen fabrics, all varying shades of white and blue striped patterns, it makes for a distinctive appearance without being crazily loud.
The only solid fabric is used for the collar.
A white contrast collar felt like the cherry on the top for this design.
It fits in so nicely.

Fun shirt by Sam - Made to measure tailoring in Adelaide South Australia at Beg Your Pardon

The prototype has a single pocket and a fairly stiff collar.
Both of these are optional on the version we’ll be offering at Beg Your Pardon from now – I’ve since tried one with an unlined collar and that also feels good.

Designing this has seen me bitten by a bug.
I’ll likely be designing a few different fun shirts as the year goes on, with at least two more to come (including a special Christmas edition!).

If you’d like one, and are in Adelaide, feel free to get in touch or book an appointment via work.
If you’re international, still do get in touch. I’ll see what can be done about getting one to you!

In the meantime, I’m enjoying wearing the prototype regularly.
It’s super versatile with its blue shades, and even goes nicely with a tie.

Fun shirt made to measure at Beg Your Pardon, Adelaide South Australia. Designed by Sam
Designing and making a prototype fun shirt

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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