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Custom Tailored Shirts

I came here to learn about wetshaving and much to my surprise I found a good source of gentlemanly wisdom. I would be grateful for some help resolving a minor issue that has been bothering me for a few years. Dress shirts from department stores have never fit right. My awkwardly triangular torso and relatively large neck have always left me unsatisfied with something.

Does anyone have experience with online retailers of tailored dress shirts? Any advice about them? How does the quality compare to dress shirts you'd find at a department store?

My assumption is that a local tailor will be out of my price range so I'm focusing online. I'm in my 20's and I just want to look good, I don't need to look wealthy. Would a local tailor be competitive with the $50-$75 price range that I'm finding online for a basic office shirt? Are there advantages to buying from a local tailor that I might be overlooking?
 
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I have found that tailors give discounts when you purchase in volume. Rather than ordering one shirt, you could order 3 and see what the discount comes out to. I have used a gentleman from Hong Kong that used to come to local hotels and measure for orders. He was quite good and I usually got the shirts in 4-6 weeks from Hong Kong. I have not bought custom in quite some time though.
 
Dress shirts from my tailor cost around $125 per. Pullover or casual short sleeve were substantially less. My opinion is to find a tailor and stop in for a chat. You might find that they have significant price reductions right now.
 
Another thing you can do is go to your local tailor and have him make you a few shirts. Wear them for a while to make sure they meet your needs. Then send one of those to a cheaper online tailor (likely based out of Asia) to duplicate.
 
I can't say that I've ever used an online "custom" tailor... I've always been a bit skeptical of them. Your best bet is to shop around for a local tailor that will make them for you. You can likely find a deal for around $90-$100, but anything more than ~$130 is a bit steep. I know, (I'm in my mid-late 20's as well), that seems like a lot of money for a shirt, but it is some of the best money that you'll ever spend.

Another option, is to take them a shirt you bought at the department store recently, and have them alter it to fit you. It won't be quite as nice as a custom tailored shirt, but it will give you the same general feel, for a much cheaper price. Once you get it back, wear it, see the reaction/feelings that you get, and check out the stitching. If it seems quality, go back for one shirt... After that, many times they will become a little cheaper (since they won't have to measure you again), and you'll enjoy them more and more....
 
I've never ordered from here before, but a while back this topic came up and I bookmarked the site http://www.ravistailor.com. There was some good feedback about it, and it looked like he had some quality fabrics. I just got an email from the site saying they would be visiting the following cities in early August, so if you live nearby you could go have yourself measured:

Los Angeles (CA), San Diego (CA), Denver (CO), Washington (DC), Atlanta (GA), Chicago (CH), St. Louis (MO), Kansas City (MO), New York city (NY), Birmingham (AL), Cininnati (OH), Memphis (TN), Milwaukee (WI), Jackson (MS), Little Rock (AR).

I think dress shirts from this guy are around $45, or $60 if you want iron-free.
 
I've never ordered from here before, but a while back this topic came up and I bookmarked the site http://www.ravistailor.com. There was some good feedback about it, and it looked like he had some quality fabrics.

I have bought shirts from Ravi and have no complaints whatsoever. Very well made and fit well.

You have to measure yourself unless you can get along to one of his fitting sessions but there are easy to follow instructions on the web site on measuring, You also need to send a couple of photos of yourself, front and side views, wearing something fairly tight fitting such as a tee shirt so he can see your general body shape and he can then make adjustments to the fit.

You get plenty of feedback on how they are coming along and the likely date of arrival. It's only a few weeks.

I'm thinking of getting one of his suits and a few pairs of trousers next.

As usual, no connection with the man, just a satisfied customer.

Gareth
 
i'd HIGHLY recommend tailoring your existing shirts first. online tailor/shirtmakers can be good, but they'll only be as good as the measurements you give them.

the myth is that there is a "perfect" custom fit for you that corresponds directly to your body measurements. the truth is, a "perfect" fit is going to take some trial-and-error depending on a number of factors that include your personal preferences, the materials and construction of the shirt, and how you'll wear the shirt (w/tie, collar open, w/jacket, w/sweater, etc).

any local tailor should be able to alter your current shirts to fit you pretty nicely and will be much cheaper than buying new shirts (maybe $20-$30/shirt depending on how much alteration they need). this will allow you to experiment with your existing shirts until you understand exactly how you like your shirts to fit. once you've got it right, you have a number of options: continue buying off-the-rack shirts and having your tailor alter them, ask your tailor about making custom shirts, or measure or send a shirt you like to an online tailor to be duplicated.

don't be afraid to shop around. let your tailor know that you've never had tailored clothing before, and you want to just do one shirt to see how you like the fit. if you don't like their prices, work, or don't feel like they're taking good care of you, try somebody new. if you like the service you receive, take them another shirt or two and be honest about the first shirt they did--were the sleeves a bit too long or too short for your preference? do you like them to fit a little tighter or looser around the waist? do the sleeves need to be slimmed/tapered at all? once you establish a good working relationship and find a tailor you like, you can take the rest of your clothes and trust them to do a good job, or you can order custom online and be confident that you'll like the shirts that you receive.

for reference--after getting 6 or 7 (all of them came our pretty decent, but some are better than others) shirts tailored and trying three different tailors i have a pretty good idea of what works for me and would be confident ordering custom online. however, i've been so happy buying shirts off-the-rack from www.tmlewin.co.uk and having them tailored locally that i see no need for custom. i pay about $30-$35/shirt for a shirt (including shipping) that would cost me $80-$100 in a department store for comparable quality, then have my tailor go to work and end up with a really nice shirt for somewhere around $50-$60 total. not to mention, custom shirts would take 4-6 weeks, but it takes a total of about two weeks to ship from the UK and tailor locally.
 
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Doc4

Stumpy in cold weather
i'd HIGHLY recommend tailoring your existing shirts first. online tailor/shirtmakers can be good, but they'll only be as good as the measurements you give them.

+1, provided he actually has quality shirts worth altering. Long-term, this would only work if the store-bought shirts fit both his neck and shoulders, and could be taken in along the torso.

I'd say that a local tailor would be a better choice than online, assuming we are talking about a fairly large city where there are good shirtmakers. There is a benefit of having the expert take the measurements and talk to you directly about what you want (how slim-fit, &c). You can try on one shirt, and then if it needs "tweaking", that can be done ... and presumably the tweaked measurements saved on file for future shirts.
 
I appreciate all the responses. If I do decide to order from an online tailor I'll be sure to do a review.
 
The biggest difference I've found in the fit is in the armhole. Department store shirts have these monstrous armholes that assume I'm some power-lifter with 30" biceps. Custom shirts allow the shirt to fit much closer and let you move your arms without un-tucking your shirt. I've found that BB slim fit has a similar feel, but I don't have any stores locally.
 
I completely second all the advice that's been given about having existing shirts tailored to fit you. This is exactly what I do, as I have long arms, but I'm thin.

For $10-15, I can have a shirt that I've picked out made to fit me perfectly. This is totally the way to go if you ask me.

I think I'm going to have my next suit made-to-measure, though.
 
I wear Tyrwhitt and Paul Fredrick shirts, semi custom, purchased on line and Thomas Pink and J.Press purchased from the New York stores and all are excellent and of equal quality. Maybe, maybe, the Pink shirts are a bit better finished then the rest. The Paul Fredrick 140s on sale are a steal though.
 
For many years now, I buy my shirts online. Got 3 taylors, that do the djob perfect for me... one in HK, one in Paris and one in Lucca... not cheap, but I feel and see the diference. The one in HK really got a VERY big choice of fabrics. The one in Italia... okay.. you simply see it's something "special"... :c2:


Frank.
 
I have used execshirts.com with good results. They are located in Thailand. Have also ordered trousers and suits from them. I recommend sticking with their more expensive shirt fabrics (Egyptian cotton).
 
I wear Tyrwhitt and Paul Fredrick shirts, semi custom, purchased on line and Thomas Pink and J.Press purchased from the New York stores and all are excellent and of equal quality. Maybe, maybe, the Pink shirts are a bit better finished then the rest. The Paul Fredrick 140s on sale are a steal though.

+1 to both Tyrwhitt and Pink. They all have different "levels" available, depending on how much you want to spend.

Good luck.
 
I received my Brooks Brothers catalog yesterday and they now offer custom shirts.

I just received a batch of Tyrwhitt shirts and ties. They're having a sale; 4 shirts for $200 and 2 ties for $80. I had alterations done and had my shirts delivered to me in less than 10 days.
 
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