Many brands begin with a founding concept, an idea that they want to make a reality with their products. With Sleeve7, there wasn’t just one concept, one benefit to the customers that helped create the company and guide its products – there were seven.
These concentrated on the customers who would be buying the company’s products, men who were taller than average or who were classed as plus size. So the benefits of the brand and the products offered were designed to take into account the specific requirements of this group of men.
Who are Sleeve7?
Sleeve7 was founded by a group of Dutch men who were tall – in fact, as a rule the guys from the Netherlands and Western Europe are among the tallest in the world on average. The founders looked at the shirts that they could purchase and were vexed. Many of these shirts were aimed at ‘average’ height guys who were around the 6 foot tall mark. Where were the shirts made specifically for the taller guy? And what about the guy who is tall and plus sized? Both groups want to look their best but can’t manage this without the right clothes.
So the founders came up with a list of traits that they wanted from their own shirts. These were the seven essentials that their brand was formed around and that drive the company today. These were:
- Extra long sleeves
- Extra back length, also known as long tail dress shirts
- Unique button placement
- Custom designs
- 100% cotton materials
- Modern and stylish fit
- A personal approach
But what do all of these really mean for their customers? How do these essentials benefit the man searching for the perfect shirt? And how does it help pick the right shirt from the many on offer?
Extra long sleeves
Shirt sleeves can often be an issue for tall and plus size men because the average length simply doesn’t do the job. If your arms are longer than then shirt has capacity for, then the result is a sleeve that doesn’t sit where it should.
For most men’s stylists, the perfect place for the end of the cuff is around half an inch lower than the jacket sleeve. Therefore, if the sleeve is too short, then it would not show under the jacket at all. Added to that when the shirt is worn without a jacket, those short sleeves look odd and make the man feel uncomfortable. Therefore, Sleeve7 made extra long sleeves their first essential. These sleeves take into account the longer length of arm that a taller man has and makes sure that they fit correctly.
But how do you know if you need a longer sleeve length? Measuring the arm is relatively simple – place a tape measure at the centre of the point where the shoulders meet the neck. Run it down to the point where you want the bottom of the cuff to lie. This is your sleeve length. Typically, the average height man has a sleeve length around 33 to 36 inches so if your arms are longer than this, you need extra long sleeves.
Extra back length
The other most common problem for the tall man is the length of the shirt. Try tucking in a shirt that isn’t long enough then making any kind of movement – instant gaping area of flesh! Shirts don’t stay tucked in when worn with suits and when worn outside the pants, never reach the right point on the body to look great and feel comfortable.
Therefore, the second essential element that Sleeve7 decided to cover with their range of shirts was an extra back length. This means that the length of the shirt is longer than average and works perfectly for the taller man. No more worrying about having to bend over or stretch up because the longer length shirt will stay exactly where you want it to be.
Measuring the length of shirt needed is another relatively easy task. Place the end of the tape measure at the back of the neck and measure down to where you would want the shirt to finish. For most men this is around the bottom of the back pocket on a pair of trousers. This is your shirt length.
Typically, a medium sized shirt has a length of 31 inches while a large is 32 inches. But remember, by getting a larger shirt you may get a longer shirt but you will also end up with more shirt than you need – this is where the extra back length of the Sleeve7 shirt comes in.
Unique button placement
The average size man is usually said to be around 6 feet tall and therefore most shirts are aimed at this group. They will be okay if you are an inch or two taller but more than that and odd little issues begin to surface. One of these is to do with the placement and number of buttons on a shirt.
Button placement may not sound like a major issue – after all, they exist to keep the shirt closed right? But if the buttons are in the wrong place or there aren’t enough of them, then the look of the shirt can be spoiled. It can also result in gaping areas between those larger button spaces that can look unsightly when the taller man bends.
Sleeve7 looked at this issue and decided on a unique button placement system that accommodates the taller height of their customers. It also works well for larger guys who need to ensure their shirt stays closed too. The button ideals even extend to the collar of the shirt, ensuring that the collar doesn’t slip sideways and spoil the overall look.
Custom and personal designs
There’s no doubting that there are lots of high quality shops out there offering shirts so Sleeve7 decided they would look at what their customers wanted and shape their ranges around this. The actual fit and other key elements of the shirt were always to the top of any tall man’s list. But there are other areas that are almost as important.
One of these is the range of designs and styles on offer. A man who likes to wear a shirt will want one for every occasion. From his best quality, formal white shirt for interviews and other very serious occasions through to striped and checked shirts for casual occasions, this is a man who wants the right shirt for the right event. And he wants to have a choice between the different collar styles depending on the tie he wants to wear.
Therefore, another of the brands essentials were that they had a comprehensive set of custom and personal designs on offer on their website. This meant that whatever type of shirt their customer wanted, there would be options to choose from. The details also matter on these shirts, with options such as French cuffs allowing customers to pick the perfect shirt.
While all their shirts take into account the taller height of their customers, others are designed for their tall, plus sized customers. Others include those who need a slim fit, the slender tall man who normally finds that shirts hang around him like he was wearing a tent.
Once they were happy with the range of shirts on offer through their website, the brand continued to expand their range. Extra long t-shirts are a crucial partner to many shirts, adding that vital layer between body and shirt. These t-shirts protect the fine qualities of the dress shirts from sweat and other stains and enhance the overall look.
While the cut of the shirt is a major issue, especially for the taller man, the quality of the shirt is an equal concern. A poor quality shirt won’t look great, will feel uncomfortable to wear and won’t have the best lifespan.
Sleeve7 quickly realised that quality of shirt comes from the quality of the cotton used. Getting the weave of cotton with a good thread count makes for a great quality shirt that will look excellent when worn and will wash time and again. Using the best quality cotton also ensures that the shirts produced are excellent. The brand began with the best Egyptian cotton as well as cloths such as the Italian Monti, offering top quality at the best possible prices – all being 100% cotton with no other materials blended in.
One of the most popular styles of cotton that the brand decided to use is twill. Twill uses diagonal parallel ribs to create a detailed and elaborate fabric. It can even use different coloured threads to create patterns such as herringbone. Twill is a little thicker than some of the weaves, meaning it holds its shape well and lasts a long time. Surprisingly, denim is a type of twill though most fine shirts are made from either fine or royal twill, using a high thread count and tight weave.
Oxford is one of the most well known cotton weaves and has been used in fine shirts for generations. One of the big reasons that Oxford is popular for smart shirts is that it is naturally resistant to wrinkles. This makes it ideal for all day wear as it will retain a smart, pressed appearance. Royal Oxford is a dressier version of the weave that has a real shine to the material and is often paired with French cuffs and wide spread collars
Satin is a variation of cotton that makes use of longer fibres, meaning the resulting shirt is stronger than some of the other weaves. It is soft to the touch and uses a special stitch, called satin stitch, that hides the threads to further enhance the look of the shirt.
Once the right types of cotton were established for the brand’s shirts, the next thing they looked at were the collars that their customers would want to wear. Spread and widespread collars are ideal for men with a slender face as it gives them some width while narrow point collars work well for men with a round face shape, creating a slenderer appearance.
Finally, there was the issue of fit. Many of their customers want the traditional classic shirt but with a little modern twist. They sought a good fit, slightly tailored that is not too tight and certainly not too wide. These shirts make use of the very latest in designs and styles while retaining the classic elements that make them suitable for business or other formal occasions.
The last of the brand’s essentials was their personal service. Because Sleeve7 is an internet company, there are no opening hours to inconvenience their customers. Shop when you want, order from your PC, tablet or mobile and have the shirts delivered to your door in a timely manner, these were the principles that the website was founded with.
The design of the site ensures that customers can find what they want quickly and easily, whether they want to search by a shirt style, a type of cotton or even a particular collar variation. This allows quick and easy shopping as well as offering ideas if their customers were unsure exactly what shirt they were searching for.
The company were also conscious of their social responsibility and aimed to reduce waste and encourage sustainability in their transactions. Production of the shirts takes place within Europe to minimalize the cost of transportation and while the items can be posted around the world, packaging is kept to the smallest possible amount. This final element of their personal service essential is key in the company becoming the ‘world’s leading brand in tall dress shirts’ while maintaining a focus on the environment and associated values.
So all these essentials combined with the personal experiences of the founders Mark and Sean to produce a brand that prides itself on quality, modern styles and overall, the perfect fit for its big and tall customers. No longer do tall men need to experience that sinking feeling of a gorgeous shirt that just isn’t long enough or that is too big to get the right length. All they need to do is pick one of the Sleeve7’s extensive range and have the perfect dress shirt for every occasion.