The Difference Between Every Shirt and a Thomas Mason Shirt

The Difference Between Every Shirt and a Thomas Mason Shirt

When I first entered the world of custom shirts, I had no idea why someone would spend $300 on a custom shirt when there were other options for $100. Growing up, none of my shirts were over $100 and fairly ubiquitous – this foray into custom shirting was not only new but, damn near, frightening.

To anyone who may share the same experience as me or is just curious as to why there is a price difference, I am here to ease any unnecessary stress by answering the question, “What goes into a $300 Thomas Mason shirt?”

There’s a lot that goes into a shirt; each ingredient adding its own flavour to the perfect pie. There’s the finish, the staple, the ply… But what does it all mean?

Let’s start with a few Textile Terms to help us understand what each ingredient is:

Thread Count

The thread count is how many threads per square inch. The higher the number, the finer the threads used and the more of them you can fit in a square inch making the fabric softer and stronger.


The finish is the final product after the fabric is processed at the mill. This will attribute to the material’s performance, appearance and hand-feel.

The finish is what separates reputable mills from the others. Even though a mill might produce a 200-thread count cotton rung, if the finish is wrong, a 50-thread count fabric from a reputable mill may still be far superior.


The individual cotton fiber is call a staple. The longer the staple, the higher the quality of cotton it is. This is important because the longer the staple, the smoother your shirt will look and feel.

A short staple is up to 1 ⅛” long, a regular one is between that and 1 ¼” long. Extra long staples are between 1 ⅜” and 2” long.

Ply (1-ply or 2 ply)

The ply speaks to how many yarns are twisted together to make the actual thread. 2-ply is generally twisted tighter leading to a smoother and more crisp hand-feel. 1-ply fabrics are lighter and more breathable, great for a more casual shirt.

Perfect! We’ve gotten the Textile Terms out of the way, how do they apply to a Thomas Mason shirt?

First, Thomas Mason shirts are made with only the best, long-staple cotton; uses only 2 ply fabrics for smoothness and elevated hand-feel; and a “pure” finish meaning it hasn’t used harsh chemicals allowing for the cotton’s natural lustre to come through.

Thomas Mason also uses poplin cotton. This is an extremely hardy weave, with it starting out fairly thick and rigid. This means the shirt will wear and loosen to how you move and soften with each wash; ultimately, contouring to your lifestyle and getting better with age! If you’re the type of person who wants fewer but better things, a Thomas Mason shirt is definitely a better thing.

Come into one of our locations and book an appointment to feel the difference for yourself!

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