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Custom Shirts in London

My wife and I will be spending a week in London this month. We are staying near Mayfair, and I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity to get a few custom shirts in the $150 range. Is that adequate time for the process, and are there any recent experiences with the local shops? I've looked at many of the websites, and detail is rather scarce.

I've used Proper Cloth with good result, but they lack some colors and fabrics that I would like. Years ago in the far east, one-day turnaround was pretty common. How is it in London?
 
Turnbull & Asser

The best sreet for shirt makers is Jermyn Street and one of the best retailers is Turnbull and Asser. However I think your budget is a bit thin and your time expectations are bit tight, especially if you need a fitting.

Personally I cannot justify the hign cost involved and shop at TM Lewyn for ready to wear shirts in high quality cotton.

New Season Collection | Explore our new collection of: mens shirts, suits, ties | T.M.Lewin

....or shop for shirts at Marks and Spencer which is what a great many of UK office workers do.

I dont know if you know London well but have a look at Fortnum and Mason, one of my favourite department stores in London, especially the food hall.

Fortnum & Mason | Luxury hampers, tea, coffee, food & gifts - Fortnum & Mason

Just opposite F and M is Burlington arcade, not to be missed.
 

Doc4

Moderator Emeritus
+1 on @Vacumatic

The Turnbull & Asser shirts ... the off-the-rack ones ... start at over $300. So "custom" shirts (either made-to-measure or bespoke) are going to be a lot more. Well over $150.

custom shirts in the $150 range
In London, I doubt you will find anything "good" in a custom shirt at that price range. You would be better served with an off-the-rack shirt from a good maker (TM Lewin for example) and have it adjusted by a tailor if needed.

Years ago in the far east, one-day turnaround was pretty common. How is it in London?
Have a read through the T&A website about bespoke shirts. It's a pretty involved process, including making a "trial run" shirt that you take home and launder at least three times and then bring back to them for additional adjustments. Nowhere do they tell you how much this whole process will cost in terms of getting you an actual finished shirt ... although someone who does go through all this is probably going to order several shirts, and have his pattern kept on file for ease of future ordering.

If you are pestered by a street tout in Nathan Street, I'm sure he'd offer you a really fast turn-around and a really cheap price. Yes, you are in part saving money because of far lower labour and rent* costs, but you are also not getting the same level of quality in the end product.

The other potential option is for you to do some digging while in London to see if there is a small, unknown shirt tailor somewhere in the industrial suburbs or somewhere that can do you a good shirt or three. Probably run by an immigrant with a tailoring background, and with a few family members or friends from the "old country" doing the rest of the work if it's more than a one-man-operation. Tiny workspace in a third-storey flat in an unattractive suburb, and you get measured while standing next to the sewing machines, and please don't knock over the bolts of cloth. But it would probably take the whole week just to find the place.

Good luck!

Yes, the Orient will offer better shirt options than the Nathan Street tout. They all have the benefit of lower labour costs to some degree, and tend to have more sensible places of business (compared to a Jermyn Street flagship store) and end up offering a pretty good product at a much lower price.


*Yes, rent is high in Hong Kong. But standing on a street corner and renting a small flat in Chunking Mansion is a lot cheaper than a storefront in Jermyn Street.
 
+1 on @Vacumatic

The Turnbull & Asser shirts ... the off-the-rack ones ... start at over $300. So "custom" shirts (either made-to-measure or bespoke) are going to be a lot more. Well over $150.



In London, I doubt you will find anything "good" in a custom shirt at that price range. You would be better served with an off-the-rack shirt from a good maker (TM Lewin for example) and have it adjusted by a tailor if needed.



Have a read through the T&A website about bespoke shirts. It's a pretty involved process, including making a "trial run" shirt that you take home and launder at least three times and then bring back to them for additional adjustments. Nowhere do they tell you how much this whole process will cost in terms of getting you an actual finished shirt ... although someone who does go through all this is probably going to order several shirts, and have his pattern kept on file for ease of future ordering.

If you are pestered by a street tout in Nathan Street, I'm sure he'd offer you a really fast turn-around and a really cheap price. Yes, you are in part saving money because of far lower labour and rent* costs, but you are also not getting the same level of quality in the end product.

The other potential option is for you to do some digging while in London to see if there is a small, unknown shirt tailor somewhere in the industrial suburbs or somewhere that can do you a good shirt or three. Probably run by an immigrant with a tailoring background, and with a few family members or friends from the "old country" doing the rest of the work if it's more than a one-man-operation. Tiny workspace in a third-storey flat in an unattractive suburb, and you get measured while standing next to the sewing machines, and please don't knock over the bolts of cloth. But it would probably take the whole week just to find the place.

Good luck!

Yes, the Orient will offer better shirt options than the Nathan Street tout. They all have the benefit of lower labour costs to some degree, and tend to have more sensible places of business (compared to a Jermyn Street flagship store) and end up offering a pretty good product at a much lower price.


*Yes, rent is high in Hong Kong. But standing on a street corner and renting a small flat in Chunking Mansion is a lot cheaper than a storefront in Jermyn Street.
Good advice!!

The problem with ‘bespoke’ clothing in London is that you need to plan on establishing a long-term relationship with the tailor. After a few garments, then they will know precisely what you want.

Much better IMO (and at my budget) is ‘made-to-measure’ where you can have an off the rack product adjusted to your frame by a good tailor. Just my $0.02!
 
Gentlemen, thank you for the advice. Although we will have seven days to enjoy the city, that is clearly not enough time to do what I had envisioned. I'll try to find some quality shirts and have them tailored when I get home. There is an alteration shop about 30 minutes away that does very fine work.

We are staying near Mayfair, and have a long list of shops to visit - now including Fortnum and Mason! Remarkably, my wife located the house her father grew up in...during The Blitz! Must find time to see that.

Also, I'd like to take her to a couple of nice places for dinner. After 33 years together, she deserves it. Clos Maggiore came up, but they were booked. She's not a seafood fan, so that has limited the options. I, on the other hand, can't wait to try everything. Any recommendations in that area would be most appreciated should you have the time.
 
In terms of shirt buying I second TM Lewin and usually buy my shirts there when there is a sale on, typically 5 shirts for £120, about $135

Men's Shirts Sale | This Season's Offers | T.M.Lewin

Shirts are very good quality with crisp collars. If you want to have the English City Gent look go for no shirt pocket and double cuffs.

When I am walking around new cities I like to to take a break, have a coffee, maybe a sandwich and relax a while, and ideally not starbucks. There are some good independants but there is a large chain called Pret a Manger, good coffee, freshly made sandwiches and very reasonable prices. They also actively support the homeless by donating any unsold food at the end of the day to homeless shelters. By contrast, Starbucks in London contaminate their food before throwing it away so that it cannot be eaten.

A place that is off the usual tourist agenda but is a wonderful place is James Smith and Sons in New Oxford Street, a shop selling umbrellas that is almost untouched since mid 1800s.

James Smith & Sons

If you are interested in architecture and history I would get the Tube to the financial district, you can pick up a walk on the attached map, I think you will enjoy it.

Tower of London and City of London Free Self Guided Walk

This is a full days walk and may be a little too much, I think I might cut it short and start at Bank, a tube station next to the Bank of England (9) and walk through to the Tower of London (2) and Tower Bridge.

For getting around there is always the London Black cab, although this can be a little expensive, most Londoners will prefer to use the Tube although avoid 7:30 - 9.30 and 5:00 -6:00 PM, it will be busy.

For getting around life is a lot easier with an Oyster card, a prepaid card, £5 refundable to buy each card and you load it with credit as needed, I would suggest £10 to start you off.

Oyster online - Transport for London - Oyster cards

This tfl site (transport for London) has some useful advice on planning journeys.

Hope that you have a great trip.
 
I was looking for something like the self-guided walk. That one is now printed and in our travel package. We usually spend a few days in Paris every autumn, and like to take the Metro to some unexplored area of the city, and then spend the day walking back. We have enjoyed that immensely, and met some interesting people. We'll probably do a bit of the same in London. One of our first stops will be to acquire a 7-day Travelcard for the Tube.

Neither of us are huge shopping enthusiasts, but we will take full advantage of this opportunity. For example, Truefitt & Hill is not stocked here, so I want to sample all the shaving cream fragrances and bring a few back. T.M. Lewin will definitely be an early stop, and a gentleman at Dege & Skinner has kindly offered to assist with determining fit for a new jacket. My wife can even replace her car umbrella which fell victim to our puppy years ago.

The spots that interest us are essentially limitless, so I suspect we will visit England with some regularity. Nearing retirement, I'm taking extended vacations in the fall. Next year we're back in France, and it will be an easy trip through the Chunnel for another go at it.

Thank you for your kind assistance. We are packing now and will be off in a couple of days. Weather forecast looks great.
 
I hope that you have a very enjoyable and the weather is kind, the forecast for the weekend is rain free and temperature in the mid 60s.

I used to live in London until a few years ago, moved north to Yorkshire when I retired. I lived and worked in Canary Wharf, the second financial district of London, which is about 5 miles out of the centre of London. as I am typing this I am watching a You Tube video called Canary Wharf Night Time walkaround, brings back some good memories.

Have a good one.
 
I don't know much about the London. But as it comes to the clothes I prefer Manning Tailor as it is far away from us but their services attract the people from anywhere, they provide online services as our convenience. They provide best Custom Shirts HongKong and it is the most Recommended Tailor In HongKong.
 
I guess it's time to post a report of the trip. Huge fun, very expensive.

My wife and I generally took the tube out in some direction and walked back every day. I was able to get a very nice tailored jacket from Dege & Skinner, along with some beautiful silk ties for my son. I struck out on the shirts. Just not enough time. Charles Tyrwhitt and T.M. Lewin were similar to some of the menswear shops in the U.S. Lots of pressure to buy 4 untailored shirts for £129. Not what I was looking for. Turnbull & Asser was very nice. Got another tie for my son there. Penhaligon's, Floris, and Truefitt & Hill also took a bite from the wallet. Trumper and Taylor of Old Bond got a nibble as well.

I really was not aware of the affluence of central London. Cars that I would keep hidden away are parked on the curb everywhere. We were never out of sight of Bentleys, McLarens, and Astons. The average driver seemed to be in a Mercedes, and I joked with my wife that only the homeless drove Hondas. Knightsbridge was a beautiful neighborhood. We ran into Ringo Starr during an evening stroll. I had one girl, he had two. Seemed fair.

Later in the week, we ventured west to Acton and found the house that my father-in-law grew up in. It seemed little-changed from the 1947 photos. On our last evening we saw Wicked at The Apollo. Absolutely stunning. Don't miss it if you have the chance.

London is one of those places that simply defies description. We enjoyed it immensely, and may return next year.
 
It sounds like you had a wonderful trip, the great thing about London is that you can just walk around and watch the world go by, never a dull moment.

Glad you mastered the tube, its the best way of getting around, at least compared to taxis and the cars, or should that be supercars. A large number are brought over by arab families from the midlle east who come to London to escape the heat at home bringing their gold plated Bentleys and Bugattis with them, quite a sight. I dont know how they do it. I lived in Canary Wharf - about 5 miles out of the centre - and my BMW never moved from one week to the next, I used to walk or get the bus everywhere. My neighbor had a Rolls Royce that hadnt moved since 1995, must have lost 90% of its value in 20 years having given no enjoyment or practical benefit to its owner.

As you say, its an expensive city, I think you were in Mayfair which is the most expensive part of this expensive city, you can do London on a budget but it is a challenge.
 
Maybe
I guess it's time to post a report of the trip. Huge fun, very expensive.

My wife and I generally took the tube out in some direction and walked back every day. I was able to get a very nice tailored jacket from Dege & Skinner, along with some beautiful silk ties for my son. I struck out on the shirts. Just not enough time. Charles Tyrwhitt and T.M. Lewin were similar to some of the menswear shops in the U.S. Lots of pressure to buy 4 untailored shirts for £129. Not what I was looking for. Turnbull & Asser was very nice. Got another tie for my son there. Penhaligon's, Floris, and Truefitt & Hill also took a bite from the wallet. Trumper and Taylor of Old Bond got a nibble as well.

I really was not aware of the affluence of central London. Cars that I would keep hidden away are parked on the curb everywhere. We were never out of sight of Bentleys, McLarens, and Astons. The average driver seemed to be in a Mercedes, and I joked with my wife that only the homeless drove Hondas. Knightsbridge was a beautiful neighborhood. We ran into Ringo Starr during an evening stroll. I had one girl, he had two. Seemed fair.

Later in the week, we ventured west to Acton and found the house that my father-in-law grew up in. It seemed little-changed from the 1947 photos. On our last evening we saw Wicked at The Apollo. Absolutely stunning. Don't miss it if you have the chance.

London is one of those places that simply defies description. We enjoyed it immensely, and may return next year.
New York City and London are Disneyland for grownups. I've been to many major cities in the world and none other come close to having the culture, entertainment, food... options those 2 have.
 
There were so many pretty girls in short skirts walking around that I would not have noticed Godzilla. I'll try to pay closer attention next time. Try. I sure do enjoy Europe.
 

Acmemfg

Contributor
Ambassador
We saw plenty of "Werewolves" in West End London when we were there last month. But indeed that's another story for another time.
 
It’s a bit late given that you’re back now, I have always found Thomas Pink and Hawes & Curtis good for shirts.

Did you get to any of the museums? I enjoyed the Churchill bunkers when I went once.
 
I would wholeheartedly recommend European travel to anyone in the USA. For several years, my wife and I have gone to France during the fall, and ventured out from there. While my French is adequate, roaming around London was a bit more comfortable. I'll add that language has never been a problem, and we have met the most accommodating and warm people during our travels. Last year, we traveled by motorcycle through Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland without a hitch. It's comfortable to think of the USA as the center of the Earth, but there's a lot more to the world. Although I've traveled worldwide, Europe is a magnet for my wife and me. Give it a try if you've not traveled from America. Enjoy new scenery, food and customs. Keep an open mind and the rest will take care of itself.
 
I would wholeheartedly recommend European travel to anyone in the USA. For several years, my wife and I have gone to France during the fall, and ventured out from there. While my French is adequate, roaming around London was a bit more comfortable. I'll add that language has never been a problem, and we have met the most accommodating and warm people during our travels. Last year, we traveled by motorcycle through Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland without a hitch. It's comfortable to think of the USA as the center of the Earth, but there's a lot more to the world. Although I've traveled worldwide, Europe is a magnet for my wife and me. Give it a try if you've not traveled from America. Enjoy new scenery, food and customs. Keep an open mind and the rest will take care of itself.
Well said!
 
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