Menswear has to be more that looking stylish right? Don’t get me wrong, everyone wants to look good in what they wear because if you look good you feel good and if you feel good you can live your life better. I believe however, that being stylish is a by product of function and fit of your clothes. I cringe when I look back at earlier photos of me on this style journey, I was doing the most, doing all I can to be stylish without a care in the world of function and fit. Wearing flat front pants with my big quads, taking in the side and center seam of an already slim fit jacket so that I can have a really tapered look even if it meant suffocating myself, what was I thinking? We as fit men need to make smarter purchasing choices and the function and fit of a garment should be major influences in those decisions. The function is the why, why a particular garment makes sense, in terms of environment, weather, occasion and of course to accommodate our physique. The fit is a close second because once we figure out the purpose of the garment then we can worry about how well it fit us. And then be stylish. A very long winded intro but apropos to the topic of today’s blog which is Split Yokes on shirts and why they are beneficial(function) to the Fit Man.
Split Yoke? No Yoke? What Is That?
Grab your nearest dress shirt and take a look at the back right below the collar it will either look like…..
The former is a shirt with no yoke and the latter, a split yoke. As you can see there seems to me a seam running a good 3-4inches at the back, cause a split of the fabric. To fully understand what it is you must first know the warp and weft of a fabric. The warp is the vertical direction the thread was woven and the weft is the horizontal direction. When pull horizontally or vertically a fabric can’t stretch but oddly enough when stretched diagonally it does.
How Is it Done?
This can be seen better on shirts with stripes or some pattern to it but two pieces of the same fabric are stitched at an angle. This is a tediuos and time consuming job done by hand that’s why most menswear enthusiasts identify shirts with split yokes to be of a higher quality.
How Is It Beneficial To The Fit Man
Other than making the patterns match the sleeve, classically split yoke were made so that the shirt can properly drape on a man’s shoulders. As far as why we benefit from that as fit men, the diagonally stitched fabrics gives the wearer a much needed stretch especially when he has a broad back (in gym lingo, cobra back) and sloping shoulders. I fit both molds because i do have a large back and my shoulders naturally slope, added to the fact I have decent sized traps.
Where To Purchase These Shirts?
My shirt collection if made up of MTM and OTR. Out of the MTM, the only one that come with a split yoke is Tailor Lamb, which is odd because if split yoke shirts are of a higher quality then all MTM shirts should have it. With the OTR, Twillory has it, Spier and Mackay has it, Charles Tyrwhitt and The Tie Bar has it.
Split yoke shirts are for me. I can still wear single yoke shirts but my preference will always be with the split yoke. If you are going the MTM route and you need more room to move, you can always add back side pleats like I did with Tailor Lamb. Charles Tyrwhitt is OTR that comes with a split yoke and back side pleats, that’s why they are my favorite shirts out of the bunch.