Sunday, 24 October 2010

Paul Smith reissue shirt - the review

Well, my reissue shirt arrived yesterday, and I’ve now had a good chance to look it over and can venture some opinion on how it looks, and it’s not entirely positive I’m afraid.

I had high hopes for the shirt, and to be honest I’ve been left a little disappointed. If someone knew the exact cut and details of the shirt, it would be Paul Smith, but sadly they seemed to have missed a trick here.

Now, it’s slightly difficult to do a true like-for-like comparison, as to my knowledge no-one ever found a perfect, as screen-used shirt. Several flavours of the Scroll Striped shirt surfaced, each showing one or more of the key style features, but not all of them. I am therefore going to do a side-by-side with appropriate shirts as needed, as well a reference images from the broadcast episodes. The reissue shirt is always shown on the LEFT.
At first glance the shirt is made from the right stuff, with the correct design, but again, looking closely and putting it side-by-side with an original release shirt, it is not quite right.

The fabric used is much whiter, where first time round it was a more natural Colour with a sight yellow cast to it (see left).

The printed pattern is now much sharper and the scroll lines are thinner than before.
The distressing on the lines also appears to be slightly different, which is curious. It is almost like a redrawn copy rather than the original artwork reprinted.
This is the easy one - the JohnAnthony shirt was the only version seen with a breast pocket, and the reissue shirt correctly does not have one.
At first glance the cuffs are great, with the stripes, but once you start looking a bit deeper, things are a bit amiss here.

The cuff is a good 15mm narrower than my Mobi shirt (see above) and as a result means only four stripes are visible (though my blue shirt would have had five, if the fabric had been placed better!).

Matt’s shirt clearly showed five full stripes (see left).
Also, if you look very closely, the buttonhole in the placket is red rather than white, but more on that later.

While we are here, also note that only one of the cuff buttons is done up. Now I thought this was down to The Doctor’s haste in getting dressed, but I have noticed that in Flesh and Stone he wears the shirt in the same way (see right).

Could this be a little quirk matt introduced to make how he wears it unique?
The buttonstand is an odd one here. The screen used shirt has a single line of stitch on either side of the stand, a few mm from the edge – here we have two parallel lines, firmly holding the edge down.

It is also not an accurate three columns of scrolls wide (see left).

The shirt Matt Smith wears is one of the tailored fitted versions. That is to say there are two darts either side of the back and the pleat running the height of the centre back is sewn top to bottom. This pulls the shirt in by a good 4 inches.

The reissued shirt has the darts, but the back pleat, like the buttonstand, is sewn so it ain’t going anywhere, with two parallel lines of stitch at the pleat’s edge (see right), making it into almost a surface sewn strip of fabric, like a faux pleat!

The collar on the reissue shirt is some 5mm shorter at the collar point compared to an original (see left).

The collar stand is also noticeably shorter.

There are a number of tiny design points that are often included in a genuine Paul Smith shirt, and the screen-worn shirts show a number of these.

Ribbon Loop
On the back of the collar stand is a 2 inch loop of crimson ribbon (see above, right). this is sewn with red thread, and shows through to the inside of the collar.
This is totally missing in the reissue shirt.

Hanging Loop
The original shirt included a detail often seen in shirts: a small loop sewn into the centre of the yolk back, at the top of the pleat (see above, right). The reissue shirt simple does not have this (see above, left).

Red Button Hole
Some Paul Smith shirts have the button hole on the right placket sewn in red, rather than white (see screen grabs with Cuffs And Plackets, above).

Embroidered PS Motif
As an alternative to the red buttonhole, some Paul Smith PS shirts have a red PS motif sewn on top of the right placket (see above, left & centre) or a bar of red embroidery on the bottom hem (see above, right).

Interestingly, someone has sent me some images from the official exhibition display at Newcastle of the Matt Smith costume, and the shirt on display is a little surprising (see left).

Displayed under the tweed jacket, it mainly obscured, but what is visible of the shirt is a bit odd.

The cuffs do not match each other! (see below)

The lines of scrolls between the stripes are clearly a burgundy colour, not black as they should be; plus they are spaced from the stripes, where they should clash and be slightly covered by the stripes.

If you look closely, the stitching on the cuffs are not consistent: the leading edge has its line of top-stitch in a different position, as well as the width of the stripe on the edge being a different width.

Looking around the bow tie (see left), it is possible to see that the scroll lines do not show any of the distressing on the Paul Smith shirts – the lines are unbroken and clean.
Those aren’t Paul Smith buttons either.

Could this be a cheap copy? On display as screen-worn?????

Discuss. . . . 


  1. As always, thank you Steve for your incredibly thoughtful, thoroughly researched, and detailed (with pictures!) analysis. At least those of us who ordered the PS reissue will know its shortcomings and those who are on the fence will be able to better decide how to spend their $$$ - on an authentic PS or a screen authentic SR! (And personally, I know where I'm leaning from now on!)

  2. I could see Cardiff using a cheap knockoff shirt for stunts and such, and stunt-used costume bits have been known to find their way to exhibitions as screen-used, but with something as iconic as this shirt it's a bit odd that they'd use that at Newcastle.

  3. Steve, thanks for the review. Do you plan on making/selling your own version of the shirt again any time soon? I would love the blue version of this shirt.

  4. I'm liking the "click title to view more" style of the newer posts Steve. I wanted to comment as I often forget these days.

    Loving the comparison shots of the shirt, though it is a shame given the price of the PS shirts and the demand which caused them to bring it back, that they couldn't simply release something they had done before, or at least get some of the simpler details right.

    As always, (like torchwoodny put it) I would honestly go with you every single time without hesitation. At least with you, all the details you demand are there for your money, exactly as seen on screen.

    I highly recommend anyone undecided to trust Steve with your custom, he WONT let you down!