How to Improve a Classic: The Trunk Austin Shirt

Trunk’s own-brand label presents our ideal version of the classics, designed entirely in-house. Among carefully selected garments and accessories from around the world, these are the hardy perennials: the essentials that any contemporary wardrobe needs.

It’s hard to find a better example than our in-house shirts, the first item ever developed in the range. A good shirt anchors an outfit. A great shirt anchors the whole wardrobe. From the beginning, the vision was something crisp enough to dress up and relaxed enough to dress down, happy half-tucked into shorts in the summer or layered under sweaters in the winter.

This year sees a refresh of our shirts, with new design details and fabrics. The goal for the new shirts was unchanged: to design the best version of a staple, something that elevates the ordinary, that feels special but is always wearable. But how do you improve a classic? Julia, Trunk’s own label manager, explains. “It has to be clean and elegant, beautifully made and durable,” Julia says. “Details are very carefully considered: the right seams and stitching, the correct thickness and feel of buttons, the correct balance of body fit and collar shape.”

You might not necessarily notice these small details, and that’s the whole point: no gimmicks, nothing fussy, just the kind of considered design choices that make a shirt feel right and look right, wear after wear. “I really zeroed in on details,” Julia explains, “narrowing the seams on the collar, hem, cuff, and placket whilst also increasing the number of stitches per inch. These subtle changes really refine the look of the shirts, making them much more elegant. I also looked at the shell buttons, making sure they were the right thickness—fine but not fiddly.” Add to this a lighter, softer collar, and you have a shirt that’s a considered evolution from its predecessor. The same Trunk DNA, but a little more visually refined, a little more comfortable.

Mats wears a size 40 in the...

Mats Trunk Austin ShirtMats wears a size 40 in the Trunk Austin Cotton Stripe Oxford Shirt

Most important, Julia says, are the new fabrics. In more complex garments like suits there are multiple layers and materials, but in a shirt, the fabric is everything. There are considerations of colour and finish: a great all-season, all-occasion shirt should have some texture without being rough or uncomfortable. It should be wearable without breaking in, and it should get better with age. “The handfeel and weight are two of the key factors that make a fabric successful,” Julia says. “I prefer a crisp, lightweight cloth and that is easily worn, not too heavy or formal. The Oxford cloth I chose for the Austin shirt is a fine-weave cotton from a creative mill based in the Veneto region of Italy. The Chambray is a lightweight Japanese cloth, the colour has been washed down to just the right level.”

The result is a versatile capsule of new Trunk Austin shirts: a dark blue Japanese chambray, mixing indigo and white threads for a complex, heathered finish, rich in texture yet light in weight; and a trio of refined and yet hard-working Oxford cloths: white, blue (coming soon), and a light blue stripe: each an unimpeachable classic. As Julia says, they are the fundamentals of a versatile modern wardrobe, and the definition of smart casual. Blending the charm of workwear with the unpretentious sophistication of Trunk’s casual tailoring, they are as much at home with a Fresco suit as with corduroy and denim.

Shop the new Trunk Austin Shirt here.

Follow Trunk

  • @trunkclothiers #trunkclothiers